If the New York Yankees plan on reaching the postseason for the 14th straight year, they’re going to have to play better away from home.
The Yankees try to put an end to their road woes on Wednesday when they continue a three-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays.
New York (66-59) plays 21 of its 37 remaining contests on the road, including a 10-game trip to start September that features series with division leaders Tampa Bay and Los Angeles. The Yankees also end the regular season with three-game series at Toronto (65-60) and wild card-leading Boston.
They went 3-7 on their last trip from Aug. 4-13 before taking two of three from Kansas City at home last weekend. New York went right back out on the road following that series and opened this trip with a mistake-filled 2-1 loss on Tuesday.
The Yankees led 1-0 before Adam Lind tied it in the bottom of the seventh inning with a homer, and Toronto went ahead in the eighth on Marco Scutaro’s two-out RBI double that glanced off center fielder Johnny Damon’s glove.
Damon also dropped a fly ball in the first inning for an error.
“I missed two balls tonight and that’s unacceptable,” said Damon, who was playing in center for just the 10th time this season. “I know that stuff happens sometimes, but catching routine fly balls should not be that much of a problem.”
Blue Jays first baseman Lyle Overbay helped preserve the lead in the top of the ninth when he chased down Alex Rodriguez’s leadoff flair down the right-field line that bounced off the turf and into foul territory.
Overbay slid on a knee to grab the ball before it went off the wall, and made a strong throw to second as he popped off the ground to nab Rodriguez.
“I really had no idea that he would throw me out,” Rodriguez said. “He made an unbelievable play. I saw it on the replay. He slid on his knees, barehanded it and threw a strike. The way we’re swinging the bats right now, I thought being aggressive was the best option.”
The loss dropped the Yankees a season-high 11 games back of the Rays in the AL East. They are 6 1/2 games behind the Red Sox for the wild card.
“We’re still fighting for our division,” manager Joe Girardi said. “Every night that you lose, it makes it more difficult.”
Toronto remained 7 1/2 games back of Boston with its sixth win in seven games after being swept at home by Cleveland in a three-game series Aug. 8-10.
Andy Pettitte (12-9, 4.30 ERA) takes the mound for the Yankees on Wednesday as he tries to avoid going a fifth straight start without a win. The left-hander didn’t receive a decision in New York’s 4-3 loss to the Royals on Friday, leaving him 0-2 with a 7.40 ERA in his last four outings - all losses for the Yankees.
He will be opposed by rookie David Purcey (2-3, 5.93). The left-hander, Toronto’s first-round pick in 2004, made two spot starts earlier in the season before being recalled on July 25.
Purcey is 2-2 with a 4.30 ERA since his recall, including a 4-3 win at Detroit last Wednesday in which he allowed two hits and three walks over six scoreless innings.
“It’s really comforting to know they’re giving me a couple of games to see how it goes,” the 26-year-old said. “That’s the best part for me because I’ve already started my routine for the next five days and it’s nice knowing I’m going to be here.”
New York and Toronto have split 10 games this season, with the Blue Jays winning three of four meetings at Rogers Centre.