Jays sink sloppy Yankees; Bautista injured

Toronto Blue Jays Adam Lind, left , celebrates during the big eight run first inning against the...

Toronto Blue Jays Adam Lind, left , celebrates during the big eight run first inning against the New York Yankees at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, July 14, 2011. (Craig Robertson/QMI Agency)

BILL LANKHOF, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:21 AM ET

TORONTO - As last stands go, Custer had the Little Big Horn. Davey Crockett had the Alamo and Montcalm had the Plains of Abraham.

Toronto manager John Farrell is hoping for a slightly happier outcome as his Blue Jays opened the second half, and the final 70 games of a ragged up-and-down season.

But on a night that should've been happiness unrestrained, he lost the biggest gun in his arsenal.

The Jays beat the Yankees 16-7 Thursday, but lost all-star Jose Bautista for an undetermined time when he left the game with what was called a "sprained" right ankle.

While Bautista has been the catalyst of the offence all season, the supporting cast did it largely without him for one night. Everyone in the lineup had at least one hit and one run scored.

Aaron Hill had a key two-out single in the first when he bounced a 3-2 pitch over the mound, scoring two runs to spark an eight-run first inning. Every Jay except Adam Lind reached base in the inning. Everything worked. Rajai Davis miss-swung and dribbled a ball into the Bermuda Triangle between the mound and third to score Edwin Encarnacion and make it 4-0. Yunel Escobar squibbed a single toward the pitcher.

"It was crazy. How many times do you get hits on (unintentional) swinging bunts two times in a row," said catcher J.P. Arencibia, who's RBI single in the seventh helped restore Toronto's cushion to 13-7 after starter Jo Jo Reyes almost surrendered a 9-0 lead.

As has happened too often for the Jays, they found the cloud inside the silver lining. Bautista led off the fourth with a single, landing awkwardly at first base with his foot. He moved to second base with one out. Encarnacion hit a ball to Eduardo Nunez at third.

He stepped on the bag for the force and threw to first on what seemed like a routine double play. Except Bautista slid and stayed on the ground. "He caught a spike in the dirt and his foot got caught under him ... twisted his ankle," Farrell said. The crowd stilled its celebration as he lay.

After several minutes, Bautista was helped from the field. X-rays showed no fractures but he is destined for an MRI Friday morning. "What he means to us speaks volumes," Farrell said.

"I was just hoping it wasn't serious, like a knee or something," said Reyes, who was having his own problems.

While the Jays had a season-high 20 hits, New York cut the lead to 9-7 in the sixth on Andruw Jones second homer of the night.

Fortunately on this night the Yankees looked like they were having an extended all-star break. Devastated by injuries that have hit everyone from Jeter and Rodriguez to Joba Chamberlain, they remain in contention for another title. Last night they were in contention for slapstick comedy of the year. Rodriguez' replacement, Nunez, misplayed a grounder in the first that led to five unearned runs. Left fielder Brett Gardner turned a single into a double, Jeter made an error, and a balk from reliever Luis Ayala scored a run.

"We had some key two-out hits ... and took advantage of a couple fielding miscues," said Farrell, who prior to the game was non-committal about the importance of his young club finishing above .500. "I think the win total," he said, "will be a positive one."

If this game is some indication it's also likely to be a tumultuous one.

Still, not bad for second-half starters. Hill had a couple of hits and is showing signs of shaking a prolonged slumber. He also shone in the field, as did Escobar.

"It's been a tell-tale sign of this team that in the face of adversity we have bounced back on occasions. It will be important to not give in and say we're playing for next year," Farrell said. "We have faced a stretch of very good teams and gone toe to toe. Maybe those experiences harden this group not to panic."

NO BIG WHOOP

Jeter got a short standing ovation in recognition of his 3,000th hit when he led off the game. Very respectable. But reserved. Very Canadian ... When Reyes fanned Mark Teixeira in the first inning it was his first strikeout in three starts ... Farrell's to-do list in the second half includes getting prospect Brett Lawrie (broken hand bone) into uniform. The third baseman was 1-for-3 with an RBI in his first rehab start with Dunedin. "It feels good to be out there," said Lawrie, who played six innings Thursday. "I felt like I didn't miss a beat." Considering Bautista's situation, Lawrie's return can't come soon enough ... Escobar has reached base in 19 consecutive games ... Reyes is 1-1 with a 12.97 ERA in two starts this year against N.Y.

RENAISSANCE MAN

When they acquired him the Jays thought Carlos Villanueva would be a nice fit in the bullpen. Instead he is a remarkable 4-1 with a 4.14 ERA since joining the rotation. The only thing that could get him bumped from the rotation is workload. He has thrown 781/3 innings this year and the most he's ever logged in a season is 1141/3 in 2007. That could mean he gets shut down in September at about 150 innings to protect his arm. "We don't have a hard and fast drop dead threshold about the total number of innings," Farrell said.


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