Cano the Yankees’ ‘Silver’ lining

Robinson Cano received his 2010 Silver Slugger Award Friday night in pre-game ceremonies. The award goes annually to the top offensive player at his position. The second baseman then went out and showed why he will be a strong candidate to repeat in 2011.

Cano hit two home runs to take over the club lead with eight and keep heat on Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista, who also homered to push his American League leading total to nine. The only time Toronto retired Cano was the last out of the game, a fly ball to center. He also walked twice and scored all of the Yankees’ runs in a 5-3 loss to Toronto.

With the weather heating up, expect Cano to do the same, particularly at Yankee Stadium. Cano has homered in five of the past six games at the Stadium and had knocked in runs in eight of the past 10 games overall. His consistency has been remarkable. Cano has hit in 20 of the Yankees’ 23 games and 17 of the past 18.

Cano seemed to have to do everything for the Yankees last night because the rest of the offense failed repeatedly in the clutch. They had excellent chances to break the game open with bases-loaded situations in the fifth and eighth innings and came away empty each time. The Blue Jays almost seemed to be giving the game away with shoddy fielding and seven walks. The Yankees were hitless in eight at-bats with runners in scoring position and left 11 runners on base. Toronto also stranded 11 base runners and was only 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position.

Part of the problem was that Cano never came up with anybody on base. He led off four innings and batted with two outs and the bases empty in the ninth. That is the best way for an opponent to keep Cano from doing major damage.

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