Yankees no match for Cecil in defeat
New York's win streak snapped; Burnett roughed up by Jays
TORONTO -- Prior to Friday's series opener at Rogers Centre, Curtis Granderson talked about the Blue Jays only vaguely. Having not played Toronto this season, the Yankees' insight into their division foes was merely cursory.
Granderson knew Toronto hit a lot of home runs -- the most in the American League by a fair margin, in fact. He didn't know as much about its rotation.
"One of the things that's going to be surprising -- good or bad -- is going to be how well or not so well they pitch," Granderson said before the game. "We'll find out here in the next three days."
Consider the Yankees a bit more knowledgeable now.
Brett Cecil carved up New York's lineup over eight innings in Toronto's 6-1 victory, snapping the Yankees' five-game winning streak. Cecil flummoxed the visitors all night with a nasty, late-moving changeup mixed in with a sinking fastball and hard slider. Hard-hit balls were few and far between, and the Yankees swung and missed at 17 Cecil pitches -- a career-high for the 23-year-old.
"He was really good," manager Joe Girardi said. "He did what he had to do. He expanded when he had the opportunity to expand. He threw the ball well."
Cecil became the first starting pitcher to complete eight innings against the Yankees in 2010 en route to his sixth win of the season. He finished the night having allowed one run on five hits to go along with a single walk and five strikeouts.
What little the Yankees did know about Cecil was centered on the left-hander's fondness for his changeup. On Friday night, they found out why.
"You look at how much he throws it against right-handers and left-handers, you know that's one of his pitches that's really effective. He had a great one tonight," said Girardi.
"Even if you know what the guy has, if he executes his pitches, it's execution over selection," Granderson said. "When you start throwing pitches that look like they're in the zone and they go out of the zone, you get a lot of chasing. It's very hard to go ahead and be disciplined enough to lay off that."
The Yankees' five knocks were scattered across the game; they put two together only once, in the sixth. Chad Moeller led off with a bloop double to center, followed by a Derek Jeter single. However, Nick Swisher, who had seen 17 pitches from Cecil in his first two at-bats, grounded into a textbook 6-4-3 double play that plated one run but quelled the rally.
Cecil was even good enough to quiet Robinson Cano, who saw his 17-game hitting streak come to an end when he flied out to left field for the final out. Cecil made the AL's leading hitter look silly his first two times up with back-to-back strikeouts. Cano put up more of a fight in the seventh before fouling out to third.
Cano was hardly affected by the end of his streak.
"I'll start another one tomorrow," he said.
A.J. Burnett became the latest victim of the Blue Jays' known quantity -- the home run. Burnett only surrendered six hits in six innings, but three of them left the yard. Jose Bautista belted nearly identical shots off the facing of the third deck in left field in the second and fourth innings to give him a league-leading 18 long balls on the season. Edwin Encarnacion added a homer leading off the fifth.
All three homers came after Burnett had fallen behind 2-0 in the count and on pitches that ran back to the middle of the plate.
"They were almost all the same, absolutely. Middle and up," Girardi said. "He's trying to go down. He didn't get them down."
Burnett had more side-to-side than top-to-bottom action on the three pitches, and it cost him.
"Pitches that ran back over the middle -- that's the bottom line," Burnett said. "When balls leak over into the happy spot, they're going to crush them."
Toronto tacked on two in the sixth off Burnett, aided by his fourth walk of the night and a wild pitch that scored a run. Burnett tied a season-high with those four free passes and he ended up with a devilish final line: six runs on six hits in six innings.
Bautista added a double off the wall -- a bit too low to be his third homer of the night -- in the ninth to close the game with three hits, three runs and three RBIs.
"You make mistakes, and he's not missing them right now," Girardi said. "And it didn't change tonight."
Indeed, the Blue Jays didn't miss any of the Yankees' mistakes and they seemed to make none of their own. But if Toronto considers the victory a message, it's not one that has the Bombers concerned.
"I don't think too much of it," said Girardi. "We're going to play them 18 times; one series is not going to make a huge deal. You look at how you do against teams over the long haul."
Tim Britton is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.