Yankees’ push for a playoff spot stalls with 4-1 loss to Toronto
NEW YORK (AP)—The New York Yankees took a day off Monday. At least, that’s how it looked.
“It definitely felt like a makeup game,” Pettitte said.
Rescheduled from an April 25 rainout, there was hardly any energy in the ballpark. That is, until it was over.
Then, in their version of rookie hazing, the Yankees made their newcomers dress up in Wizard of Oz costumes for the bus ride to the airport and flight to Tampa Bay. There was plenty of hooting and hollering, and the rooks all posed for pictures.
“I think I got the short end,” Kennedy said, stepping into his sparkly, ruby red slippers.
Had things clicked right, the Yankees could have clinched a postseason berth — they needed a win, coupled with a Detroit loss later against Minnesota. They did get the latter, a 2-0 Twins’ victory.
Instead, the Yankees never quite woke up in their final home game of the regular season and fell two games behind idle Boston in the AL East.
Alex Rodriguez drove in the Yankees’ lone run for his 147th RBI, albeit on a dribbler that barely rolled halfway down the first-base line. Many hitters swung at the first pitch as New York lost for just the fourth time in the last 18 games.
“We weren’t anything offensively today,” manager Joe Torre said.
There were only about 12,000 people in the seats when the game started. Officially, there were 23,567 fans at the park.
Because all 53,281 tickets were sold, this counted as the Yankees’ 50th sellout of the year. That brought their season attendance to a record 4,271,356, breaking last year’s mark of 4,243,780.
Still, it was a sleepy afternoon for most everyone on the New York side. Derek Jeter misplayed an easy grounder for an error, Rodriguez let a bouncer roll underneath his glove and Pettitte (14-9) struggled.
Kennedy had a tough start, too, and he didn’t even pitch. The 22-year-old was briefly stopped at the players’ entrance by a guard who didn’t recognize him.
Litsch (7-9) also looked a little different, at least to the Yankees. They’d tagged him twice this season, but this time he pitched five-hit ball for 7 2-3 innings without a walk.
“You want to keep people out as much as you want to win yourself,” Litsch said.
Casey Janssen finished for his sixth save.
Litsch started in place of A.J. Burnett, who left the Blue Jays for a day on what they described as “personal business.”
Burnett’s absence appeared to be a break for the Yankees. He was 1-0 with an 0.60 ERA in two starts against them this season.
Instead, Litsch and the Blue Jays did fine on their own.
“We’re going after our own pride,” manager John Gibbons said. “I’ve never seen them tank it.”
The Blue Jays also had a not-so-alert moment. With two outs and runners at the corners in the eighth, left fielder Reed Johnson caught a fly ball and fired home, forgetting the inning was over.
Pitching for the first time since posting his 200th career victory, Pettitte fell behind 3-0 in the second inning.
After Aaron Hill singled and Gregg Zaun walked, Curtis Thigpen hit a grounder down the third-base line. Rodriguez took a couple of quick steps, tapped his glove and then saw the ball scoot past him for an RBI double.
Alex Rios doubled in the third, giving him a hit in all 18 games against the Yankees this season. He moved up on a fly ball and scored an unearned run when Jeter bobbled Hill’s routine grounder to shortstop with two outs.
Jeter doubled in the sixth and later scored on the tapper by Rodriguez.
Yankees 2B Robinson Cano ran a long way to snag Thigpen’s foul pop in the fourth. Cano ran into the tarp and appeared to twist his ankle. He was checked by a trainer and stayed in. … Toronto DH Frank Thomas returned to the lineup after missing Sunday’s game with a sore right knee. He went 0-for-4.