Yankees bats need to come alive against Blue Jays

TORONTO — As the New York Yankees' run production dwindles, so do their faint chances of earning an American League wild-card spot.

They were shut out for the second game in a row Friday, this time 9-0 by the Toronto Blue Jays, who tightened their grip on one of the wild-card spot. It followed a 2-0 loss by the Yankees to the Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday.

The Yankees have been blanked 12 times this season, with five coming in September.

“It's not what you want,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “It's frustrating. We just weren't able to get anything going. We haven't swung the bats particularly well the last couple of nights.”

The Blue Jays have been the team that was having trouble hitting and the second game of the four-game series with the Yankees on Saturday could provide further indication if the bats are back.

The Blue Jays have had 10 or more hits in five of their past eight games. In their previous 12 games, they had reached 10 or more hits only twice.

Despite the win Friday, they are still only 8-12 in September and have a slim one-game advantage over the Detroit Tigers for the first wild-card spot. The Yankees slipped to four games behind the Tigers, who occupy the second wild-card spot.

“Things are kind of slipping away at this point,” Yankees left fielder Brett Gardner said. “We're not out of it but we're definitely not in a good position. It's frustrating.”

It was a different story in the Toronto clubhouse.

“That was fun,” said Blue Jays second baseman Devon Travis, who doubled and singled to improve his batting average to .308. “If we could score nine every game, that's definitely ideal. I think it's what this offense is capable of doing.”

The Blue Jays were 5-for-11 with runners in scoring position Friday after going a combined 5-for-44 with runners in scoring position in the five previous games.

“We just did some really good things offensively tonight,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said.

Travis has been one of the few Blue Jays who has been hitting. He ended his 17-game hitting streak in the 2-1, 12-inning loss to the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday. He did walk in that game and after the game Friday, he has reached base in 19 straight games. He is batting .360 (31-for-86) during September.

The Blue Jays will start right-hander Marcus Stroman (9-9, 4.50 ERA) Saturday against Yankees left-hander CC Sabathia (8-12, 4.19 ERA).

Stroman will be trying for his first win since Aug. 14. He completed August with two no-decisions before losing all four starts in September, despite an ERA of 3.91.

He is 1-1 with a 2.77 ERA in two starts this season against the Yankees and is 5-2 with a 2.53 ERA against them in seven career starts.

Sabathia will be going for his eighth career win at Rogers Centre Saturday. He is 7-3 with a 3.19 ERA in 11 career starts at Rogers Centre.

In 25 career starts against the Blue Jays, he is 15-9 with a 3.45 ERA. As a Yankee, he is 8-6 with a 3.45 ERA in 15 starts against Toronto.

The Yankees have lost six games in a row at Rogers Centre, their longest losing streak there since they lost seven in a row in 1992-93.