Ain’t that a shame

The Yankees’ 3-1 loss to the Blue Jays Monday night falls into the “damn shame” category.

It was a damn shame that Chase Whitley, who pitched seven shutout innings, could not register a winning decision.

It was a damn shame that third baseman Chase Headley, who made a remarkable play just to stop Russell Martin’s grounder behind third base in the eighth inning, had to be charged with an error on his subsequent, hurried throw to first base that bounced in front of Garrett Jones, who failed to scoop it for what would have been the final out.

The bullpen, which has been a major strength for the Yankees, came up short this time in trying to protect a 1-0 lead that the Yankees were able to scratch off R.A. Dickey, the knuckleballer who gives them fits, especially at Rogers Centre.  Carlos Beltran, who is showing signs of breaking out of his season-long slump, led off the seventh inning against Dickey with a double to right, crossed to third on an infield out and scored on a hot-shot grounder off first baseman Edwin Encarnacion’s glove by Jones.

That single run loomed large for the Yankees, considering the way Whitley was pitching. He tacked on another zero in the seventh before turning matters over to the pen, which has been good as gold much of the season.

Whitley scattered six hits, did not walk a batter ands struck out six in lowering his ERA to 0.75. He worked out of trouble efficiently the few times he got into trouble. One time was of his own making, in the third when he got a poor grip on the ball fielding a grounder and threw wildly past first base, which put Ezequiel Carrera on third base with one out. Whitley came back to strike out Devon Travis and get Josh Donaldson on a ground ball.

Travis led off the sixth with a single, and Donaldson followed with a double. Whitley held firm again. He kept Jose Bautista in the infield with a grounder to third, struck out Encarnacion and got Kevin Pillar on an infield pop.

The Yankees managed only three hits plus three walks off Dickey, who ended up the winning pitcher for the first time this season, thanks to his teammates’ upsetting the Yankees’ bullpen plan. Manager Joe Girardi did not want to use closer Andrew Miller, who had a lengthy outing Sunday night at Boston, and intended to use Dellin Betances for a four- or five-out save, if ncessary.

It proved necessary when Chris Martin gave up one-out singles to Donaldson and Bautista in the eighth. Betances  came on and gave up a double down the left field line by Encarnacion that tied the score. Pillar made the second out on an infield fly before Russell Martin came up as a pinch hitter. Martin, the Yankees’ regular catcher in 2012 and ’13, hit a hard grounder ticketed for left field before Headley made one of his patented, back-handed stops. That he even had a chance to make a play at first base was miraculous.

It was a damn shame that Jones could not handle the throw as two runs scored on the play.

Dickey improved his career record against the Yankees to 7-3 with a 2.43 ERA. Even more impressive, the former National League Cy Young Award winner (2013 with the Mets) is 4-0 with a 0.64 ERA against the Yankees at Rogers Centre. To have to face him in Toronto is always a damn shame for the Yankees.

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