The start of a seven-game homestand didn't go so well for the Toronto Blue Jays and it could get worse with the New York Yankees coming to town for two games at Rogers Centre.
The Blue Jays will try to stop a three-game slide tonight against the Yankees, but will have to do so with struggling right-hander Kyle Drabek on the mound. The Jays have lost each of his last four starts and Drabek is winless in his previous five outings since opening the 2012 season with back- to-back wins. Drabek has given up at least two runs in each of his past five trips to the mound and us coming off Friday's 7-6 loss at Minnesota.
Drabek allowed three runs and four hits, struck out five and walked four batters over 4 1/3 innings, falling to 2-4 in seven starts with a 3.66 earned run average. The young right-hander, who is 2-1 in three starts at home, is winless (0-2) in four career games, three of which have been starts, against the American League East-rival Yankees.
Toronto just lost two in a row to another division rival, the Tampa Bay Rays, to kick off its homestand. The Blue Jays were hammered by a 7-1 score in the series opener, then suffered a 4-3 setback on Tuesday. Edwin Encarnacion hit a two-run homer during a three-run third inning and Jose Bautista added an RBI single, but the Jays would not get on the board after that.
Henderson Alvarez was saddled with the loss and allowed four runs -- two earned -- and 10 hits in 6 2/3 innings.
Things got chippy in the ninth inning for Blue Jays third baseman Brett Lawrie. Lawrie was ejected for arguing a called strike and slammed his helmet to the ground before vehemently expressing his displeasure of the called third strike. The helmet appeared to hit home plate umpire Bill Miller in the leg and a suspension could be looming for Lawrie.
"That was not my intention at all," Lawrie said of hitting the umpire with his batting helmet. "I've never, ever, done anything to go at an umpire before in my life, and I didn't mean to tonight. I apologize for that. It just kind of took an unlucky bounce and I think it got him, so my apologies for that."
The Jays, losers of seven of their last 10 games, will also host the New York Mets for three games on the homestand.
Meanwhile, the Yankees are coming off a 5-2 loss against the Baltimore Orioles in the finale of a two-game series from Camden Yards. CC Sabathia was aiming for a 6-0 start, but was reached for four runs and eight hits in six innings to absorb his first loss of the 2012 campaign.
"He couldn't throw breaking balls for strikes early like we're used to getting," Yankees catcher Chris Stewart said of the lefty. "It just wasn't there tonight, but he battled, he gave us everything he had. He kept the game close for us but we couldn't pull through."
Curtis Granderson provided the offense with his 13th home run of the season, a two-run shot in the top of the seventh inning.
New York entered the game with four wins in five tries. Already without future Hall of Fame closer Mariano Rivera because of a knee injury, the Yankees placed fill-in closer David Robertson on the DL Tuesday because of a strained left oblique. Rafael Soriano is expected to take over closing duties.
"We don't think it's too severe, but it's hard to tell," New York manager Joe Girardi said on the club's website. "Obliques can be tricky."
The Yankees will send newcomer Hiroki Kuroda to the mound Wednesday in Toronto and he is 3-4 with a 3.56 ERA in seven starts. Kuroda has won two of his previous three outings and earned the win in Friday's 6-2 triumph over Seattle with seven innings of two-run ball.
Kuroda, a right-hander, is aiming for his first win on the road this season as evidenced by his 0-3 record and 4.32 ERA away from the Bronx. Kuroda will face the Blue Jays for the first time in his career tonight.
New York went 11-7 against Toronto a year ago and has won six of the past eight matchups between the clubs.