The New York Yankees have somehow split the first two games of this series despite scoring in one of their 18 innings at the plate.
That production will likely have to improve over the final 10 games for them to reach the playoffs, and they have already lost once to Toronto Blue Jays starter Todd Redmond heading into Thursday night's series finale at Rogers Centre.
New York (80-72) was blanked for the first 16 innings in this set before breaking through for four runs in the eighth Wednesday to rally from a three-run deficit for a 4-3 victory that ended a four-game slide.
"We hadn't shaken hands for a while, so it was kind of nice," manager Joe Girardi said.
The Yankees and Kansas City are 2 1/2 games behind Texas for the AL's second wild-card spot. Baltimore is one game back and Cleveland is one-half game out.
Numerous hitters continue to fare poorly. The most notable is Alex Rodriguez , who is 1 for 18 over his last six games while dealing with a strained right calf and a sore left hamstring.
Ichiro Suzuki did not start Wednesday and has three hits in his last 23 at-bats, Curtis Granderson is 8 for 36 with 13 strikeouts on this 10-game trip and Robinson Cano has three singles and no walks in his last 16 at-bats.
The Yankees will get another look at Redmond (3-2, 4.10 ERA), a rookie who is 2-0 with a 3.18 ERA in his last three outings. That run began when he limited New York to two runs over 5 2-3 innings in a 7-2 home win Aug. 28.
Redmond yielded one run over a career-high 6 1-3 innings last Friday in a 5-3 defeat to Baltimore, striking out seven with no walks.
"He threw a whale of a game," manager John Gibbons said.
Girardi said last month that Redmond has a deceptive arm angle and the manager will once again use Hiroki Kuroda (11-11, 3.13) to oppose the Toronto right-hander.
Kuroda surrendered seven runs over five innings in that outing after going 4-0 with a 1.60 ERA over his previous five starts against the Blue Jays. Last month's loss is part of a six-start winless stretch in which he is 0-4 with a 6.69 ERA.
The Yankees will be happy to have the right-hander on the mound to cool off Colby Rasmus , who is 3 for 27 with 11 strikeouts against him.
Rasmus continued to be Toronto's hitting star as he homered in his fourth straight game Wednesday - all since being activated off the 15-day disabled list before Friday's game against Baltimore.
Chris Stewart figures to be back at catcher for the Yankees after he did not start Wednesday, with rookie J.R. Murphy making his second career start.
New York is 14-4 against Toronto (69-82) for its most victories ever in this season series.
|New York Yankees|
|September 14, 2013||Alfonso Soriano||Day-to-Day||Sprained right thumb|
|September 12, 2013||Brett Gardner||Day-to-Day||Left game - Oblique|
|September 08, 2013||Derek Jeter||60-Day DL||Left ankle soreness|
|September 08, 2013||Chris Stewart||Day-to-Day||Left game - left foot contusion|
|September 07, 2013||Vidal Nuno||60-Day DL||Strained left groin|
|September 07, 2013||Derek Jeter||Day-to-Day||Left ankle|
|Toronto Blue Jays|
|September 17, 2013||Edwin Encarnacion||Day-to-Day||Left wrist surgery - out for season|
|September 16, 2013||Edwin Encarnacion||15-Day DL||Left wrist surgery - out for season|
|September 13, 2013||Brett Cecil||15-Day DL||Left elbow discomfort|
|September 08, 2013||Moises Sierra||Day-to-Day||Left game - lower back tightness|
|August 21, 2013||Jose Bautista||15-Day DL||Left hip bone bruise - out for season|
|August 21, 2013||Maicer Izturis||60-Day DL||Sprained left ankle|
TORONTO (AP) -- There aren't too many tomorrows left for the struggling New York Yankees .
The Yankees stumbled again in what appears to be an increasingly futile September, losing to the Toronto Blue Jays 6-2 on Thursday night, their fifth defeat in six games.
"There's only so many `Get `em tomorrows' left," infielder Mark Reynolds said.
Hiroki Kuroda lost his fifth straight decision, allowing two runs in the third inning and a solo home run to Anthony Gose in the sixth. Adam Lind added a three-run homer in the seventh off Joba Chamberlain .
New York, which dropped 3 1/2 games back for the second AL wild-card berth, lost two of three in Toronto while scoring just six runs and hitting .198 (19 for 96).
"It's frustrating," manager Joe Girardi said. "We haven't swung the bats that well for the last week."
In danger of missing the playoffs for only the second time in 19 seasons, the Yankees return home for a six-game homestand against San Francisco and Tampa Bay - what could be Mariano Rivera 's final games in the Bronx - then close with a three-game series at Houston.
"We've got to run the table, there's no way around it," Reynolds said. "We've got some tough games coming up. The Giants have good pitching, Tampa's got good pitching. We've got to have a good homestand and hopefully go into Houston with a chance."
The Yankees opened this 10-game road trip by taking three of four from Baltimore but were swept in Boston last weekend before losing the series to last-place Toronto.
"We ran into the Red Sox wave and we haven't recovered," Alex Rodriguez said.
New York won 12 of its first 13 games against the Blue Jays this year but lost four of its final six. Kuroda has stumbled of late: He is 0-5 with a 6.37 ERA in his last seven outings after going 11-7 with a 2.33 ERA through Aug. 12.
"He was in trouble every inning," Girardi said of Kuroda. "He got some double plays that helped him. It seemed like the first guy was on every inning, or the first two guys were on every inning. He did a really good job of minimizing damage."
Kuroda allowed three runs and eight hits in six innings with four walks and seven strikeouts.
Rookie Todd Redmond (4-2) gave up one run and four hits in a career-high seven innings with seven strikeouts and a walk. Sergio Santos pitched the eighth but the Blue Jays needed three relievers to get through the ninth, when Casey Janssen relieved with the bases loaded and one out, then finished for his 32nd save in 34 chances.
Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said Redmond is "doing a tremendous job."
"He's got strikeout ability," Gibbons said. "He competes. He doesn't give in, nothing rattles him."
Jose Reyes put Toronto ahead with an RBI double in the third and scored on Brett Lawrie 's grounder.
Curtis Granderson cut the deficit in the sixth with the Yankees' first home run since Brendan Ryan connected off Boston's John Lackey last Friday, but Toronto made it 3-1 in the bottom half on a home run by Gose, who had three hits.
Chamberlain, a free agent to be, allowed his eighth home run - his career high as a reliever. He relieved to start the seventh, walked Munenori Kawasaki , gave up a single to Lawrie singled and then allowed Lind's drive into the second deck.
"I let my team down and that's the frustrating part, especially at this time of year," Chamberlain said.
New York had the bases loaded with one out in the ninth when Janssen relieved. Vernon Wells hit an RBI grounder and Lyle Overbay grounded out.
Rodriguez went 0 for 3 with a walk. He has just one hit in his past 22 at-bats.
"I think you just keep running him out there," Girardi said.
NOTES: A letter filed with the U.S. District Court in Brooklyn on Thursday said Yankees LHP Andy Pettitte 's deposition is scheduled for Tuesday in New York in Brian McNamee's lawsuit against Roger Clemens . Clemens has asked that Pettitte's deposition be postponed because one of Clemens' lawyers is not available. ... Lind's home run was his 22nd. He has six homers and 14 RBIs in 15 games this month. ... Toronto slugger Edwin Encarnacion underwent successful surgery on his left wrist Thursday. ... The Blue Jays honored Rivera with a traditional Inuit carving and made a $10,000 donation to Rivera's charitable foundation. ... Comedian Sarah Silverman threw out the ceremonial first pitch.