Day-dreaming costs Blue Jays again

New York Yankees Nick Swisher, left, and Robinson Cano celebrate after winning their game against...

New York Yankees Nick Swisher, left, and Robinson Cano celebrate after winning their game against the Blue Jays in Toronto on July 17, 2011. (Jack Boland/QMI Agency)

MIKE RUTSEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:23 PM ET

TORONTO - Night and day, it's as simple as that.

Not so simple really. More ridiculous than anything else.

For whatever the reason, the Blue Jays this season roll craps -- and play the same -- when the sun shines bright.

In night games this season, they have forged a 34-24 record, a winning percentage of .586.

In the day, though, they have as much bite as sleeping vampires. Sunday's 7-2 loss to the New York Yankees drops their record during the day to 13-25, a lousy .342 win percentage.

Oh yeah, they lost Saturday's matinee, too, as the Yankees came back to split the four-game series.

"We continue to look for ways to prepare as best we can to combat the daytime," manager John Farrell said. "If the exact answer was present, we'd certainly be doing it. We've got to continually find ways to shake things up in daytime. Whether that's a revamping of the lineup, I'm not here to say that it is. But the daytime record speaks for itself and it's been an Achilles heel to this point."

Yes, the Jays played without the services of Jose Bautista the past three games but even with him, their record in day games has been terrible. Replacing him in the lineup, though, is impossible.

"Whether it's daytime, nighttime or early morning, his absence in the lineup is a hole to fill," Farrell said. "He's our leader, he's our most productive offensive player. That's a substantial loss when he's not in there day in and day out."

In this game, you could tell early that Jays starter Carlos Villanueva didn't have his good stuff, that the Jays would need to pound away at Yankees right-hander Phil Hughes just to keep pace.

Villanueva would need all the expertise and luck he could muster to keep the Yankees to a run in the first but that luck ran out in the fourth when New York shoved four runs across, the big blow a two-out, two-run double by Curtis Granderson.

"He pitched out of a tough first inning and threw a lot of pitches early on," Farrell said of his right-hander, who took just his second loss. "He didn't have the late life, the late action (to his pitches) that we've seen. The elusive third out in the fourth inning proved to be the difference today. Overall, the strikes were there but the late action to his changeup, which has been a weapon, didn't have that bottoming-out action it typically does."

It marked the first time in his brief history against the New Yorkers that the Yankees have managed any success against him.

In two relief appearances and one start against them prior to Sunday, Villanueva had allowed just one run on three hits over seven innings.

But whatever magic he could conjure in the past disappeared after the opening inning.

"In the fourth inning they got aggressive on me and I kept the ball up," Villanueva said. "My location was the trouble. I should have done a better job in the fourth inning but it just got away."

Villanueva did an excellent job of shutting down what looked like to be a big Yankees inning in the first frame -- they had a run in, the bases loaded and just one out. Villanueva, though, proceeded to strike out Jorge Posada on a 2-2 pitch and then retired Russell Martin for the third out when he lined to shortstop Yunel Escobar to leave the Yankees with just the one run.

In the second inning, Jays third base coach Brian Butterfield aggressively waved Edwin Encarnacion home from second on a single to left by Travis Snider. Encarnacion isn't the swiftest runner and Brett Gardner has a good arm but this time Butterfield and the Jays won as the throw was well off line.

In the same inning, Snider took off for second on a 2-2 pitch to J.P. Arencibia more than a tad early as Hughes was still in his set position. Hughes, though, didn't react and Snider jogged into second with the stolen base.

Snider stayed there, however, as Arencibia struck out and Corey Patterson popped out to end the inning.

The third out for the Jays in the third was unique as Escobar hit a grounder into the hole at short. Eduardo Nunez made a good play to get the ball then threw across his body to first. The throw drew Jorge Posada off the bag but Escobar missed it with his foot in avoiding a collision with Posada. Umpire Angel Hernandez made no call and Posada then tagged Escobar for the out.


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