NEW YORK, N.Y. – There was no burst of thousands of camera flashes and the crowd was eerily silent when Travis Snider pulled into second base with his second double of the fifth inning.
This was not the milestone Yankees fans came to see Monday night.
Snider had two of an American League record-tying six doubles in a seven-run fifth inning and the Toronto Blue Jays prolonged Alex Rodriguez’s search for his 600th homer in an 8-6 victory over New York on Monday night.
“It really didn’t set in that we were just hitting doubles,” Snider said. “I didn’t realize that until after the game that we had tied the record. Any time you can put together an inning like that it’s a good step for the ball club.”
Snider began the barrage of doubles with a leadoff hit against A.J. Burnett and finished it with a drive off Sergio Mitre. In between, Fred Lewis, Jose Bautista, Vernon Wells and Aaron Hill all doubled off Burnett (9-9).
The power surge matched the Washington Senators, who had six against the Boston Red Sox in the eighth inning on June 9, 1934, and the Texas Rangers on July 31, 2002, against the Yankees.
“For them to string an inning like that together could show the confidence that we have in our team, that we can go out and play that we can compete,” said reliever Scott Downs, who came on for starter Brando Morrow in the sixth inning.
The Yankees rallied from an 8-2 deficit but fell into a tie for first place in the AL East with Tampa Bay, which beat the Minnesota Twins 4-2. New York dropped two of three games this weekend against the Rays. The Yankees had been alone in first since June 20 and had not lost consecutive games since June 29-30.
Rodriguez returned to the comforts of Yankee Stadium after a homerless, seven-game road trip, but 600 still looms after an 0-for-5 night. A-Rod is 9-for-43 in 11 games since hitting No. 599 on July 22 against Kansas City.
The three-time MVP isn’t worried about the home run drought.
“I only have 16 homers,” he said. “It’s not like I have 30.”
He grounded to short in the first and struck out with a big swing in the third — when he worked the count to 3-1, the crowd roared in excitement only to groan in disappointment with the out. The slugger struck out to end the fifth and grounded out to shortstop in the seventh.
Rodriguez came up with two outs in the ninth to a huge ovation from the crowd of 47,034. But he grounded to shortstop against closer Kevin Gregg, who gave up Nick Swisher’s second homer of the game but finished for his 24th save in 28 chances.
“I thought I swung the bat better today. I had some pretty good pitches to hit,” Rodriguez said. “The difference between 0-for-5 and 2-for-5 is small.”
The real damage with the long ball, though, was done by the Blue Jays, baseball’s leading home run-hitting team with 163. Wells ended Burnett’s scoreless streak at 12 1-3 innings with a leadoff drive in the second that just cleared the wall above the 314-foot sign in right field, the shortest part of the ballpark.
Edwin Encarnacion then hit a two-run shot after Snider led off the fifth with his first double.
Swisher had given the Yankees the early lead, connecting for a two-run homer in the first. Mark Teixeira hit a two-run blast in the fifth to close the score to 8-4. Lance Berkman got his first RBI with the Yankees when he singled off Morrow to end the starter’s night.
Morrow (8-6) won his third straight start despite allowing five runs and seven hits in another poor outing on the road. Morrow came in 1-5 with a 6.23 earned-run average in seven outings away from Rogers Centre. He struck out nine and walked two.
“I wasn’t in trouble too much, just a couple of pitches I left up and they hit it out,” Morrow said.
After Encarnacion’s homer made it 3-2, Burnett walked former teammate Jose Molina and gave up a double down the third-base line to Lewis. An out later, Bautista lined a two-run double to left-centre and Wells drove him in with a two-bagger to left.
Lyle Overbay struck out before Hill ended Burnett’s outing with an RBI double. Mitre relieved and gave up Snider’s run-scoring double to left-centre to make it 8-2.
“He lost the sink on his fastball, got flat, and lost his command. He didn’t correct it,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said of Burnett. “You’re surprised when he gives up a big inning like that.”
After two scoreless outings, Burnett gave up eight runs — the second time this season he gave up eight earned runs and seventh time he gave up more than six runs in an uneven year.
NOTES: The major league record for doubles in an inning is held by the Boston Braves, who had seven in the first inning on Aug. 25, 1936, against the St. Louis Cardinals. … Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston gave OF Adam Lind a day off.