Yankees, Colon baffle Jays

New York Yankees' Mark Teixeira comes into score on a sacrifice fly by Robinson Cano past Toronto...

New York Yankees' Mark Teixeira comes into score on a sacrifice fly by Robinson Cano past Toronto Blue Jays catcher J.P. Arencibia. (REUTERS/Mark Blinch)

BILL LANKHOF, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:41 PM ET

A spectre from the past returned to haunt the Blue Jays Wednesday night.

That, and some bewitched base-running that looked like something out of a Three Stooges flick, added up to a 6-2 loss to the Yankees.

Bartolo Colon is writing a comeback story to give hope to all pudgy, middle-aged guys who look like they spend too much time around George Foreman's barbecue.

In his first major league start in almost two years, the 37-year-old Colon proved a mystery to a young Blue Jays' lineup, limiting them to two runs through 6 2/3 innings.

Sporting a Root-Bear physique, Colon looks like he'd be more comfortable behind a Bay St. accountant's desk than on a pitcher's mound. But he is once again baffling major league hitters, much like the guy who in 2005 won the Cy Young with the Angels.

In his first start since June 2009, he struck out seven, exhibiting a low to mid-90s fastball with a nasty slider-sinker that had Blue Jays swinging over and through pitches. He got Jose Bautista looking at a 93 mph heater, leaving the slugger gesturing in exasperation at umpire Jim Wolf.

When it looked like he might crack, Toronto committed baseball hiri-kiri. With one out in the seventh, Edwin Encarnacion singled and J.P. Arencibia walked. Then it got goofy. Travis Snider singled to right with Encarnacion slamming the brakes around third. Arencibia, though, hadn't spotted coach Brian Butterfield's stop sign and kept peddling. Both ended up at third base. All Mark Teixeira had to do with the cutoff was walk over and tag out Arencibia for the easiest out he'll see this year.

Instead of bases loaded with one out; Toronto had runners at the corners, two out and the rally fizzled after one run.

ROUGH START

For the second consecutive night, Toronto got off to a rough start, Toronto starter and loser, Brett Cecil, falling behind 5-1 after six innings. Two walks in the first inning hurt when Robinson Cano drove home a run with a groundout. Cecil wasn't scaring anyone -- except maybe some Blue Jays management seamheads -- with his velocity. Curtis Granderson crushed an 88 mph fastball for a triple to score Russell Martin's single. Another groundout gave New York a 3-0 lead.

It could've been worse. With his fastball sauntering leisurely along in the upper 80s, Cecil went mostly to his off-speed repertoire and working a slider and high-70s curveball kept the Yankees guessing. For a while, anyway.

Arencibia touched Colon for a leadoff homer in the second. Missed opportunity cost the Yanks in Tuesday's 6-5 Toronto comeback; against Cecil they cashed two more runs in the fifth to go up 5-1. John McDonald, playing third base on this night, made the diving stop but couldn't get Nick Swisher's grounder to first; then uncharacteristically had Mark Texeira's liner glance off his glove for a double as he dove towards the line. Both scored on sacrifice flies. Cecil's night was done, not reappearing to open the sixth.

After leading the club with 15 wins last year, he has one win in four starts. Perhaps of more concern is that his ERA has ballooned to 6.86 and on three occassions he hasn't gotten through the fifth. Velocity isn't everything -- but you've got to wonder ... and, putting 35 men aboard in 21 innings is probably asking for trouble.

EDWIN'S A HIT

Officially the Blue Jays designated hitter remains: By Committee.

Unofficially, the spot belongs to Encarnacion. He has found an early-season home after a difficult start at third base. OK, that's an understatement. Somebody was gonna get hurt out there -- like the Jays' chances of success, for one.

But ever since taking exclusive residence in the batter's box, Encarnacion has been a terror to the opposition. He was batting .474 (9 for 19) in his previous five games when he scored the winning run Tuesday against New York.

"Edwin seems to have adapted ... he's been very productive," said manager John Farrell. "More than anything I think Edwin is more comfortable with it. It's a small sample, but in 30-plus at-bats he's a .400 hitter as a DH versus mid-.200s."

Even his outs have been loud, like the line drive that sent Andruw Jones to the wall in left Wednesday night in the first inning. Farrell says Encarnacion will still get some starts defensively. But there's little argument that he handles the bat better than a glove.

"He feels very good in that role," said Farrell. "In many cases it's not any easy slot to fill for any position player because they want both sides of the game to stay in the flow."

MERRY GO ROUND

Farrell has been juggling his lineup since opening day, mostly due to injuries. Wednesday was one of the more unique combinations with Jayson Nix filling in at second base for the injured Aaron Hill.

McDonald was at third base, batting ninth. Which is a rather curious place to put your top hitter. McDonald might be known for his glove more than his bat but he came into the game with the highest average of anyone in Toronto's starting lineup. A career .244 hitter, McDonald was hitting at a .364 clip ... Doin' the hustle. Snider tracked Martin's carom off the left field wall in the second holding him to a single.


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