Yankee Stadium has not been kind to the Toronto Blue Jays in recent years and the bad news just keeps piling up.
Brett Lawrie, for one, just might want to consider sitting these games out every time the Blue Jays come to town to play the New York Yankees.
The star Toronto third baseman was struck on the back of the left hand in the fourth inning of Toronto’s game on Wednesday night by a pitch delivered by Yankee starter Chase Whitley.
Lawrie seemed to shake off the incident and made his way to first base and later took up his position in the field for the bottom of the fourth.
But in next inning, the Blue Jays substituted Steve Tolleson at third base in place of Lawrie, his hand obviously causing him grief.
Later, the Blue Jays said that X-rays of Lawrie’s hand did not reveal any broken bones and his status is considered day-to-day. He was later seen in the Toronto dugout, chatting amiably, with a large white bandage wrapped around his injured hand.
And that was about the only good news – if you can call it that – that the Blue Jays received on this night as the Yankees would go on and inflict a 7-3 licking on Toronto (41-32) for their second-straight win over their American League East rival.
Toronto’s lead atop the AL East standings is now a nervous 2 1/2 games over the Yankees (37-33), who will try for the sweep on Thursday night.
Lawrie has not had much luck playing in New York.
Two years ago, he went tumbling head over heels into a camera bay situated in the stands down the third-base line trying to flag down a foul ball during one contest in July.
Lawrie fell about five feet and was fortunate to escape with a minor leg injury that only kept him out of the lineup for a couple of games.
With Toronto involved in a tight pennant race for the first time in years this season, the baseball club can ill afford to lose Lawrie for any extended period of time.
He is considered one of the top defensive third basemen in the game with a bat that has plenty of pop that the opposition has to respect.
The power shortage the Blue Jays have experienced during this current 10-game road trip would continue on Wednesday night.
The Blue Jays could not manage a home run in the contest and have now homered just twice over their past eight games and just four times over their past 11.
The Blue Jays have struggled to win just three games over that span.
“Geeze, what do we have to do to get a win in this place?” Toronto manager John Gibbons groused a couple of hours before his Blue Jays took the field.
The Blue Jays continued a disturbing trend of not playing well at Yankee Stadium, having now lost 15-straight contests here dating back to 2012.
Gibbons was hoping that the return of Colby Rasmus from a five-week layoff recovering from a strained right hamstring could help revive the sagging Blue Jays offence on this night.
And it did early on.
With New York holding a 1-0 lead, the Blue Jays got things rolling in the top of the fourth, when Edwin Encarnacion reached on a fielder’s choice and Lawrie on the hit-by-pitch.
Dioner Navarro then singled home Encarnacion before Rasmus did the same, his solid shot to centre bringing Lawrie around to provide Toronto with a 2-1 lead.
But Mark Buehrle, the Toronto starting pitcher, could not make it stick.
In the bottom of the fourth, Buehrle allowed a leadoff single to Carlos Beltran.
Brian McCann then stroked a two-run home run to right field, his eighth of the season, to restore New York’s lead to 3-2.
In another troubling scenario for Toronto, Buehrle took the loss, his third in a row, to see his record tumble to 10-4 on the year.
Buehrle was only able to log six innings in the sweltering heat at Yankee Stadium, where the game-time temperature was 30 Celsius, allowing three of the New York runs (two earned) off six hits.
McCann broke the game open in the seventh when he came to the plate with the bases loaded and cleared the bases with a drive that just snuck under the glove of a diving Rasmus in centre field.
The ball rolled to the fence and McCann had himself a triple along with a whale of a game, driving in five runs for the fifth time in his fine career.
Brett Gardiner also continued to swing a hot bat for New York against the Blue Jays, going 4-for-4 at the plate and scoring two Yankee runs.
Gardiner came into the game as a career .335 hitter against Toronto.