Jays go bombs away on Kuroda

The Blue Jays beat the Yankees at their own game Wednesday night, that is, with the long ball. The Jays cranked four home runs – three off Yankees starter Hiroki Kuroda – that accounted for all but one of Toronto’s runs in its 8-1 victory.

That is usually the way the Yankees win games, by going deep against opposing pitchers. They have not homered in eight games this year and have lost each of them. It is getting to the point that if the Yankees don’t homer they don’t score. Over the past four games, three of them losses, the Yankees have had only three hits in 33 at-bats with runners in scoring position. They are .240 hitters in clutch situations over the whole season.

With Derek Jeter out of a lineup that is already without disabled catalyst Brett Gardner, the Yankees are in a station-to-station rut. They are stranding runners at a regular rate. Wednesday night’s game might not have been the best example of what has affected them lately because the way Kuroda was giving up bombs there was very little chance of the Yankees coming back.

The Japanese righthander, who seems to follow good efforts with bad ones, gave up a two-run homer to J.P. Arencibia, a three-run shot to Edwin Encarnacion and a lazar of a solo shot to Jose Bautista in a five-plus inning stint in which Kuroda yielded seven earned runs and eight hits and watched his ERA bloat to 4.50.

Kelly Johnson added a fourth home run with a solo drive off reliever Clay Rapada in the seventh. The Blue Jays ended a three-game losing streak and at 20-18 are only a half-game behind the 20-17 Yankees. Jays starter Kyle Drabek also put an end to a personal four-game losing streak and beat the Yankees for the first time. The son of 1990 National League Cy Young Award winner Doug Drabek allowed more walks (4) than hits (3) in a strong seven innings.

Two of the Yankees’ hits were milestones. Robinson Cano got his 300th career double in the sixth and scored the Yankees’ lone run on a single by Mark Teixeira, which was his 1,500th career hit. Cano had an up-and-down game in the field. He turned a stylish double play in the eighth but botched a potential double play in the second and made an error in the seventh.

The American League East is bound to be a real dogfight this year. It is time for the Yankees to start growling.

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