Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Yankees Can't Get on Track

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Yankees Can't Get on Track

Article excerpt

TORONTO - Brett Gardner had been due to lead off Monday night's ninth inning, but manager Joe Girardi chose to send up a pinch- hitter instead.

At the time, the Yankees trailed by four runs and Toronto lefty reliever Aaron Loup was on the mound. But the lefty-hitting Gardner - hitless in his last 20 at-bats - was just part of the latest, team- wide offensive stall.

"When you have two-thirds of your lineup not swinging the bats, it's difficult to score runs," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said after the Blue Jays' 4-2 win before 32,921 fans at Rogers Centre.

Jays right-hander Marco Estrada pitched brilliantly, blanking the Yankees (24-26) on three hits over his eight innings.

Brian McCann's two-run homer in the ninth off Loup prevented a shutout, and Drew Storen recorded the final two outs to seal it for the Blue Jays (27-26), winners of eight of their past 11 games.

Just recalled from the minors Monday, Rob Refsnyder struck out pinch-hitting for Gardner, who took a detached view of the circumstance.

"I haven't been swinging the bat well and they're bringing in a tough lefty," Gardner said. "[It] felt like Ref gave us a better chance of getting on base so I don't have a problem with that [move]. I've always said, 'If you don't like getting pinch-hit for, play better.' I completely understand it."

Girardi had benched Alex Rodriguez on Monday and there's a chance the slumping A-Rod might be on the bench again for tonight's game against Toronto lefty starter J.A. Happ; Rodriguez is 0-for-15 in his career against Happ.

"I just haven't made [the lineup for tonight]," said Girardi, who remained noncommittal about playing A-Rod against Happ. Rodriguez is just 1-for-17 - with a home run -- since returning from the 15-day disabled list due to a strained right groin.

Carlos Beltran started at designated hitter and had one of the three hits against Estrada (3-2). …

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