Bullpen fails Jays again

Blue Jays first baseman Juan Rivera heads for the dugout as Yankees batter Mark Teixeira celebrates...

Blue Jays first baseman Juan Rivera heads for the dugout as Yankees batter Mark Teixeira celebrates after his infield single drove in the winning run on Wednesday. (REUTERS/Ray Stubblebine)

KED FIDLIN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:28 PM ET

NEW YORK -- It's about the back end of the Toronto bullpen. You know, the one with multiple veteran, reliable options to close out games, the one that looked so good on paper back in March?

Well, it doesn't look so hot in the clear light of May.

The Blue Jays blew their seventh save in 18 opportunities as the Yankees roared back from a three-run deficit against the Toronto pen in the last two innings, sealing the deal with Mark Teixeira's walk-off single that scored Curtis Granderson for a 5-4 victory.

The late-inning collapse ruined a strong seven-inning outing by Ricky Romero, who gave up a solo home run to Russell Martin in the second inning and nothing more but failed to get his fifth win of the season.

At one time, the Jays had three or four potential closers in Frank Francisco, Jon Rauch, Octavio Dotel and Jason Frasor. Frasor has been effective, but has not been called upon to close. Rauch held the hot hand for awhile but has struggled recently. And now Francisco has had a pair of meltdowns in the past five days. Dotel has not shown enough to be used in that role.

"He missed with his location," said manager John Farrell, referring to Francisco. "It's not like he's wild, but the consistent command inside the strike zone has eluded him the past two outings. He's forcing them to swing the bat and make contact however the outcome is what it is."

Romero had handed off a 4-1 lead to the Blue Jays bullpen after but the Yankees scored a pair in the eighth off Casey Janssen and Marc Rzepczynski and then finished things off against Francisco in the ninth.

The late rally made a winner out of CC Sabathia, who gave up four early runs then mowed down the final 16 Blue Jay batters for his fifth consecutive victory over Toronto, levelling this three-game series at a win apiece.

Romero subdued the Yankees on seven hits over seven innings and appeared headed for his for his fifth win of the season, lowering his earned run average to 2.91 in the process.

Jose Bautista came into the game hitting .353 on the season but 0-for-11 lifetime versus Sabathia. He went 0-for-4 and now is hitless in 15 at-bats versus the Yankee ace.

Juan Rivera picked up some of the slack with a single and a double, igniting a three-run rally in the fourth inning. Rajai Davis also had a pair of hits, scored a run and drove in another for Toronto.

After Martin touched Romero for a long solo home run in the second, Corey Patterson's single delivered Davis with Toronto's first run in the top of the third.

The Jays then took advantage of some timely base hits and some Yankee indecision for three more in the fourth.

Rivera led off with a double and was quickly plated by Arencibia's single. One out later, Encarnacion singled Arencibia to third base and he then scored on Davis' single. With runners at first and third, John McDonald attempted a safety squeeze. First baseman Teixeira fielded the bunt and had time to get Encarnacion at the plate, but froze, then made a bad toss to third, allowing Encarnacion to score and McDonald to reach base.

The Jays went on to reload the bases with home run king Bautista at the plate but he grounded out weakly to short.

That's the way things remained until the eighth inning. Janssen gave up a leadoff double to Granderson, then got two quick outs and handed the ball to lefty Rzepczynski to face Robinson Cano. Cano doubled home a run and then Martin cut the lead to just one with an RBI single before Rzepczynski got out of the jam.

In the ninth, Francisco got Brett Gardner on a groundout, then surrendered a first-pitch double to pinch-hitter Jorge Posada.

"I wanted to get ahead with my fastball and he was looking for it," Francisco said.

After Derek Jeter grounded out, Granderson singled home pinch-runner Chris Dickerson to tie the game.

With Teixeira at the plate, Granderson stole second then came home when Teixeira leaked a groundball single past a diving Juan Rivera at first.

"Nothing was wrong with my control," said Francisco. "I tried to make my pitches. Granderson is a good hitter but I didn't give in. He hit my pitch.

"I went with my A-game. I made (Teixeira) hit the ball and he hit it in the hole. You've got to trust it and make them hit the ball. I didn't walk anybody but I didn't give in. It's gonna happen. It's part of the game."


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