Yankees manager Joe Girardi likes to play by the numbers. It backfired Monday night.
Girardi chose to issue two intentional walks to get to the bottom of the Toronto Blue Jays' lineup in the sixth, but No. 8 hitter J.P. Arencibia capped a five-run inning with a three-run double that helped Toronto beat New York 7-3.
"I went out there and told him what I wanted to do, and he said whatever you want to do is all right with me," Girardi said of his conversation with starter Bartolo Colon. "We've got a groundball pitcher on the mound. The next three guys are 0 for 6 with four strikeouts. We took a shot and it didn't work."
Colon first intentionally walked Jose Bautista after Corey Patterson led off the sixth with a double. After cleanup hitter Yunel Escobar sacrificed to put runners on second and third, Colon intentionally walked Juan Rivera to load the bases.
To that point, the only run Colon had given up was a homer to Bautista in the first inning. But the walks appeared to take the burly right-hander out of this rhythm.
Aaron Hill followed Rivera's walk with an RBI single. Eric Thames walked on four pitches for another run and Arencibia, who struck out in his first two at-bats, cleared the bases with a double.
"With Juan Rivera, I told the manager I'd do whatever the manager wanted to do," Colon said.
Starting in place of injured Jesse Litsch, Carlos Villanueva (2-0) limited the Yankees to two hits and a run in five innings. With a looping curveball, he struck out the side to open his first start since Oct. 3, 2009, for Milwaukee.
"He was very poised," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said. "Even in a starting role it didn't change his demeanor."
Villanueva, who had a 1.48 ERA in 13 relief appearances coming in, breezed through the New York lineup the first time through, retiring eight of nine.
He walked Granderson leading off the fourth and paid for it. Mark Teixeira singled to right-center, advancing the runner to third base. After Alex Rodriguez struck out, Cano hit a sacrifice fly to tie it at 1.
Villanueva struck out five and walked one. He threw a season-high 75 pitches, six more than his next best effort.
"Just making his pitches really well," Yankees catcher Russell Martin said. "He was throwing his off-speed both sides of the plate, threw some good changeups, and he got even counts without probably showing his changeup, then he would throw it 3-2."
Arencibia added an RBI single in the eighth, and Bautista didn't disappoint in his matchup with Curtis Granderson as the top two home run hitters in baseball. Bautista crushed a pitch from Colon (2-3) in his first at-bat, sending a line drive over the 399-foot marker in left-center for his 19th of the season.
Colon gave up three hits in the first, matching his total from his start Wednesday, an eight-inning appearance against Baltimore. On the eve of his 38th birthday, Colon then allowed just an infield single until Patterson led off the sixth with a double.
"Is it like shell shock being in a 1-1 game and then you're behind 6-1? Yeah, because Bartolo has been so good for us, too," Girardi said. "He gave up a couple of hits and walked a guy. We don't usually see that from Bartolo, walking guys."
Jason Frasor walked Granderson leading off the sixth and he scored from third on Cano's grounder to shortstop Escobar, who flubbed the toss to second trying for a force.
Arencibia had an RBI single in the eighth off Hector Noesi. Cano had a run-scoring hit in the bottom half to close to 7-3.
NOTES: Yankees RHP Rafael Soriano (elbow) might throw Wednesday, Girardi said. ... A-Rod was 2 for 4 and is 15 for 31 (.484) in his last seven games. ... Yankees slumping RF Nick Swisher was given a second straight day off to "clear his head," Girardi said. ... Yankees RHP Phil Hughes (weakness in his pitching arm) said he will play catch Tuesday, throwing 60 to 70 times on flat ground.