Yanks can't bail out Kuroda in Toronto, lose ground

Yanks can't bail out Kuroda in Toronto, lose ground

Yanks can't bail out Kuroda in Toronto, lose ground

TORONTO -- They aren't making it easy on themselves.

Hiroki Kuroda lost his fifth consecutive decision, while the Yankees' bats were non-existent in a 6-2 loss to the Blue Jays in front of 32,003 at Rogers Centre on Thursday night. The Yankees squandered a prime opportunity to gain ground in the American League Wild Card race by dropping two of three games to the last-place Blue Jays, and New York has now lost five of its last six games entering the club's final homestand of the season.

"It's not time to reflect, it's time to win games," said Alex Rodriguez, who went 0-for-3 with a walk and a run scored. "It's frustrating, no doubt. We are spinning our wheels a little bit, and we need to be more productive."

With just nine games remaining in the regular season, New York has its work cut out. The club sits 3 1/2 games behind the AL Wild Card-leading Rays and Rangers, while Cleveland, Baltimore and Kansas City are also ahead of the Yankees in the standings.

After taking three of four from the Orioles to start their 10-game road trip, the Yankees were swept by the Red Sox before coming up short against the Blue Jays. The Yanks, who were outscored, 11-6, in the series, managed runs in just two innings over the three-game set. It took New York 16 innings to score before plating four runs to cap a come-from-behind win Wednesday.

"It's tough," manager Joe Girardi said. "They're all tough at this point. We haven't swung the bats that well for the last week."

On Thursday, the Yankees were out-hit, out-pitched, and save for a ninth-inning rally, showed little signs of life throughout the contest.

"We ran into the Red Sox wave and we haven't recovered," Rodriguez said, while insisting the Yankees are "still in the mix."

Kuroda was in trouble from the beginning, and despite recording a quality start, was not his sharpest. After threatening to strike in the first and second innings, the Blue Jays got to Kuroda in the third, starting with Anthony Gose, who led off the frame with a base hit to left field.

Jose Reyes cashed in the speedster from first on an RBI double to left-center field to give the Blue Jays a 1-0 lead. Toronto then took a 2-0 advantage on a run-scoring groundout off the bat of Brett Lawrie.

It could have been much worse, as Kuroda followed by loading the bases with two outs for Ryan Goins, but retired the rookie on strikes to end the threat. Kuroda worked out of another jam the following inning, leaving runners stranded at second and third by punching out Lawrie.

The right-hander retired five straight after that, including four by way of the strikeout, before the Blue Jays got to him again. Gose launched a solo homer, his second of the year and third hit of the game, to give Toronto a 3-1 lead in the sixth.

Kuroda, who has not won since Aug. 12, lasted six innings, allowing three runs on eight hits while matching a season high with four walks and striking out seven.

"It was gutsy; he was in trouble every inning," Girardi said of Kuroda's performance. "He did a really good job of minimizing the damage."

Toronto put the game out of reach in the seventh on a three-run homer from Adam Lind, his 22nd of the year, off a Joba Chamberlain slider to take a commanding 6-1 advantage.

"I didn't do my job," Chamberlain said.

The Yankees were unable to solve Blue Jays starter Todd Redmond until Curtis Granderson put New York on the board in the sixth inning by crushing his seventh homer of the season.

Redmond threw a career-high seven innings of one-run ball, walking one and striking out seven. The right-hander limited the Yankees to just four hits.

New York made things interesting in the ninth -- adding a run on a Vernon Wells groundout -- but stranded runners at second and third with the potential tying run on deck when Blue Jays closer Casey Janssen retired Lyle Overbay for his 32nd save of the season.

"The way the year has gone, we're looking for some satisfaction," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "We like to inflict our own version of pain somehow."

The Yankees, who finished their season series vs. the Blue Jays with a 14-5 mark, will host the Giants for a pivotal three-game set starting Friday.

"We'll see what we're made of," said Mark Reynolds, who was 1-for-10 in the series. "We have nine games left. We've got to run the table, there's no way around it."

Chris Toman is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.