So far, so good on Jeter’s last stand
Derek Jeter’s final homestand is off to a promising start for the Yankees, who beat the Blue Jays for the second straight night and capitalized on their usual spanking of Mark Buehrle. The Yanks’ dominance over the workhorse lefthander has covered a decade and shows no sign of letting up.
The Yankees stung Buehrle for five runs and eight hits and two walks in six innings to post their 12th consecutive winning decision against him. Buehrle has not defeated the Yankees since April 10, 2004 with the White Sox. His overall record against the Bombers is 1-14 with a 6.21 ERA in 120 1/3 innings, including 1-8 with a 5.94 ERA at Yankee Stadium.
This has been a see-saw season for Buehrle. Remember, his record was 10-1 in early June. Friday night’s loss dropped his record for the season to 12-10. Four of those losses have been to the Yankees. Hiroki Kuroda continued his strong second half with 6 2/3 sturdy innings and ran his record to 11-9.
Jeter delighted the Stadium crowd of 40,059 with two singles and had fans on their feet with a flyout to the warning track in left field in the seventh inning.
There was a downside to the game, however, as Jacoby Ellsbury was forced out of the game and may be sidelined for an indefinite period because of a strained right hamstring.
The Blue Jays had given Buehrle a 2-0 lead by the time he took the mound, thanks to Edwin Encarnacion’s two-run home run off the left field foul pole in the top of the first inning. The Yanks cut the margin in half in the bottom half on a double by Ellsbury and singles by Jeter and Brian McCann, but a bigger rally was snuffed when Mark Teixeira grounded into a double play.
Ellsbury thrust Kuroda and the Yankees into the lead in the third inning by following a leadoff single by Ichiro Suzuki with his 16th home run. Ellsbury got his third RBI of the game in the Yankees’ two-run fourth. Batting with the bases loaded and one out, the center fielder beat the play at first base to avoid being doubled up as a run scored. A second run immediately followed on an errant throw to first base by Jose Reyes.
Ellsbury remained on the bases the rest of the inning but did not come onto the field for the fifth inning. He was to undergo a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) exam later in the evening.
Kuroda overcame the first-inning homer by Encarnacion and pitched well for the most part into the seventh. The Blue Jays got an unearned run in the fifth. Reyes singled, stole second and continued to third on a throwing error by McCann. Jose Bautista notched his 100th RBI of the season on a grounder to third base.
Bautista had another RBI situation in the seventh when he came up with two out and runners on second and third. Kuroda, who gave up a single to Anthony Gose and a double by Reyes with two down, was replaced by lefthander Josh Outman, who got ahead 0-2 in the count against Bautista before walking him to fill the bases.
Esmil Rogers then came in against the dangerous Encarnacion and retired him on a grounder to shortstop. The Yanks’ bullpen came through again in the eighth. Adam Lind led off with a single and was balked to second.
Dioner Navarro put a scare into the crowd with a fly ball to right field that Suzuki caught on the warning track. Lind crossed to third but was stranded as Adam Warren took over and struck out Danny Valencia and Munenori Kawasaki. Warren followed that with a 1-2-3 ninth for his third save.
Meanwhile, the Royals were losing, which meant the Yankees might have cut the deficit in the wild-card standings to four games with nine to play.