New York Yankees pitchers have taken advantage of a patchwork Toronto Blue Jays lineup this weekend.
Phil Hughes is next in line for the Yankees as they aim for a fifth straight win Sunday and their first three-game sweep at Rogers Centre in more than nine years.
New York (67-46) has taken the first two games of this series while recording 18 strikeouts of Toronto hitters. The Yankees last swept three north of the border in a season-opening 2003 series.
The Blue Jays (53-60) have lost five straight, getting held to 10 runs and batting .168. They remain without injured starters Jose Bautista (wrist), Brett Lawrie (oblique), J.P. Arencibia (hand) and Adam Lind (back). Those players account for 60 of Toronto's 154 homers, second in the majors to New York's 174.
Making matters worse for the Blue Jays is that outfielder Colby Rasmus is expected to miss a second straight game after leaving Friday's 10-4 loss with tightness in his right groin. Rasmus is third on the team with 20 homers.
Shortstop Yunel Escobar was hit twice by Ivan Nova in Saturday's 5-2 defeat. Escobar was forced to exit after he was struck on his left elbow the second time he was hit by a pitch, and manager John Farrell said he is day to day.
Farrell has been forced to pencil youngsters like Moises Sierra , Adeiny Hechavarria and Anthony Gose into his lineup. That trio combined for 11 hitless at-bats Saturday, with Gose striking out in all four.
Hughes (11-9, 4.10 ERA) will look to take advantage after going 0-1 with a 2.92 ERA in his first two starts against Toronto this year.
The right-hander is 0-3 with a 4.67 ERA in his last three road outings, having allowed four runs over 4 1-3 innings in Tuesday's 6-5 defeat at Detroit. Hughes had provided quality starts in each of his previous four outings and nine of 11.
The Yankees will have Ichiro Suzuki back in the lineup Sunday. The Japanese star did not start Saturday after matching a career high with five RBIs Friday.
"We had it kind of planned out so we just kind of stuck to it," manager Joe Girardi said. "It's a day game after a night game, he hasn't had a day off since we've had him so just figured give him a day off on the turf."
New York is an AL-best 24-14 against left-handed starters as it gets ready to face southpaw J.A. Happ (0-1, 6.35), who will make his first start against the Yankees.
Happ, acquired from Houston on July 20, made his first start with Toronto on Tuesday and gave up four runs over 4 1-3 innings in a 4-1 loss to Tampa Bay.
The only Yankee with more than three at-bats against Happ is Casey McGehee , who is 3 for 13. McGehee had a three-run homer Saturday, marking the first time he has gone deep since New York acquired him July 31 from Pittsburgh.
"We got so many guys that have been so good for so long, and (I want to) just try to do something to help," he said. "I made a conscious effort to relax today and just try to play my game."
One of those players who has been good for a long time is Derek Jeter , who had two hits Saturday to take his league-leading total to 150. Jeter and Hank Aaron are the only players to record 17 straight seasons with at least that many.
|New York Yankees|
|August 09, 2012||CC Sabathia||15-Day DL||Left elbow soreness|
|July 25, 2012||Alex Rodriguez||15-Day DL||Non-displaced fracture in left hand|
|July 25, 2012||Nick Swisher||Day-to-Day||Strained left hip flexor|
|July 24, 2012||Alex Rodriguez||Day-to-Day||Left hand fracture|
|June 28, 2012||Andy Pettitte||60-Day DL||Fractured left ankle - out 6-8 weeks|
|June 27, 2012||Andy Pettitte||Day-to-Day||Fractured left ankle - out 6-8 weeks|
|Toronto Blue Jays|
|August 04, 2012||Brett Lawrie||15-Day DL||Strained left oblique|
|August 03, 2012||Brett Lawrie||Day-to-Day||Left game - rib cage tightness|
|July 26, 2012||Joel Carreno||15-Day DL|
|July 26, 2012||J.P. Arencibia||15-Day DL||Broken right hand|
|July 26, 2012||Adam Lind||15-Day DL||Mid-back strain|
|July 25, 2012||J.P. Arencibia||Day-to-Day||Broken right hand|
TORONTO (AP) -- No one is happier to see the end of another Yankees road trip than pitcher Phil Hughes .
Rajai Davis matched a career high with five RBIs, Edwin Encarnacion hit a two-run homer and the Toronto Blue Jays beat Hughes and New York 10-7 Sunday, snapping a five-game losing streak.
Hughes matched a season worst by allowing seven earned runs in four innings, and dropped to 0-4 with a 6.75 ERA in his past four road starts.
"He made mistakes in the middle of the plate and they didn't miss them," manager Joe Girardi said.
In sharp contrast to his road struggles, Hughes has gone 4-0 in his past four starts at Yankee Stadium, and hasn't lost in the Bronx since June 20 against Atlanta.
Hughes, who gave up four runs in 4 1-3 innings of a 6-5 loss at Detroit last week, lost consecutive starts for the first time since dropping back-to-back outings April 25 at Texas and May 1 against Baltimore.
"It's been a battle this road trip," Hughes said. "I need to hopefully hit the reset when we get back home, kind of clear my mind and get back to doing the things that I was doing earlier, just try and forget about these two."
Hughes (11-10), said poor command of his fastball is to blame for his recent struggles.
"It's kind of just been all over the place and I haven't really been in control out there," he said.
Hughes surrendered nine hits, walked one and struck out four.
Davis made the defensive play of the game, scaling the left field wall in the seventh to snare a potential long ball off the bat of New York infielder Casey McGehee .
"He hurt us today, there's no doubt about it, offensively and defensively," Girardi said of Davis.
Blue Jays manager John Farrell called Davis' catch "outstanding," and even McGehee was impressed.
"When I saw him turn his back I thought he gave up on it," McGehee said. "Little did I know he was just timing it up.
"I guess I've got to hit it a few feet farther next time," McGehee added.
Rookie Moises Sierra had three hits and J.A. Happ pitched 5 2-3 innings for his first win since joining Toronto in a July 20 trade with Houston.
"He did a good job," McGehee said of Happ. "I've seen him quite a bit in the National League. He's got three quality pitches. When he's got all his pitches going, he's a handful."
Happ (1-1) allowed four runs and six hits, walked none and struck out four.
Casey Janssen finished in the ninth for his 15th save in 16 chances, helping the Blue Jays avoid a sweep. Toronto had lost 11 of 13 coming in.
"We've been in a tough stretch," Farrell said. "A win always lets people take a deep breath."
Robinson Cano hit a two-run shot and Derek Jeter had a solo homer among his three hits. Still, the Yankees lost for the first time in five games.
With outfielder Colby Rasmus and second baseman Kelly Johnson both nursing groin injuries and shortstop Yunel Escobar still sore after being hit on the elbow by a pitch Saturday, Encarnacion was the only player from Toronto's opening-day lineup to start the game. Johnson came on as a pinch hitter in the seventh.
Toronto was already without All-Star outfielder Jose Bautista (left wrist), catcher J.P. Arencibia (right hand), third baseman Brett Lawrie (ribcage strain) and first baseman Adam Lind (back).
Led by Davis and Encarnacion, Toronto's makeshift lineup amassed 14 hits and 10 runs, one more than the Blue Jays scored over their entire five-game skid.
David Cooper 's RBI single in the first gave Toronto its first lead of the series, and the Blue Jays piled on with a six-run fourth against Hughes.
Jeff Mathis doubled in a run, Davis hit a two-run double, Mike McCoy had an RBI single and Encarnacion drilled a homer off the center-field restaurant, his 30th.
McGehee put New York on the board with an RBI double in the fifth, but Toronto tacked on three more in the bottom half when Davis hit a bases-loaded double off former teammate Ryota Igarashi , recalled from Triple-A after CC Sabathia was placed on the disabled list.
Facing reliever Brad Lincoln , Jeter led off the sixth with his ninth homer, and Cano cut it to 10-4 with a two-out shot, his 25th.
New York cut it to 10-7, batting around in the seventh. Jayson Nix and Jeter hit back-to-back RBI doubles and Nick Swisher singled home a run, chasing Lincoln and bringing on Darren Oliver . Mark Teixeira doubled and Cano was hit by a pitch, loading the bases and bringing the go-ahead run to the plate in Andruw Jones , who grounded into a fielder's choice.
NOTES: Davis also had five RBIs against the Los Angeles Angels on July 10, 2010, while playing for Oakland. ... Jeter came within a triple of the cycle. ... Yankees OF Ichiro Suzuki was held out of the starting lineup for the second straight game but pinch hit for Nix in the ninth. ... Girardi said INF Eric Chavez (back) has not been available since Friday, but should be ready to return Monday. ... With Sabathia (elbow) on the 15-day DL, RHP David Phelps will start for the Yankees when they return home to open a four-game series with AL West-leading Texas on Monday night. RHP Ryan Dempster will start for the Rangers.