Yankees Postgame Notebook: 'Today just wasn't our day'
The game-winner was set up by Jose Bautista, who stole second after reaching on a fielder's choice, and David Robertson then allowed a bloop single to Navarro that gave the Jays their fourth and final lead of the game.
"To be honest I didn't think (Bautista) would be going, but I gave him an easy time to run because I didn't see him," Robertson said of the final sequence. "(On Navarro's hit) I thought the location was okay, it was up and in a little bit and I wanted to jam him, but he's a strong guy and just muscled it out there and hit it right in the gap."
"Headley makes a great play on Batista's ball, but you can't let a guy get a walking lead," added manage Joe Girardi. "And then Navarro hits a jam shot that splits the outfielders, and that's the frustrating part."
The Yankees had battled back from down 2-0, 3-2, and 4-3 in previous innings to tie the score three times, but they didn't have a fourth in them.
"It's tough. We did such a good job to come back, but it stinks that I didn't do a better job," Robertson said in summation of the ending. "I just didn't have my strong stuff today."
"It's a frustrating loss. This is a team we're fighting with obviously, and it's frustrating because we fought back a number of times but weren't able to get a lead," Girardi added. "We're used to these (close games) it, and I've said all along that for us to have success, we're going to have to win some close ones. We didn't today."
In stride with the tone of the game, it seemed like almost every Yankee who contributed had good and bad moments. That began with starter Shane Greene, who escaped a two-on, no-out jam in the first by only allowing one run, but lasted just 5 1/3 innings and ended up allowing runs all three times he allowed consecutive hits to the Jays - including his final pitch in the sixth that Colby Rasmus struck for a double to give the Jays back a 3-2 lead moments after the Yankees had tied the game at 2-2.
"I felt pretty good and made some good pitches, I just have to be better later in the game," Greene said of his outing, "and I didn't get away with as many mistakes, so I have to make less of them. I have to have a short memory, too, but that last pitch hurt."
Zelous Wheeler also fell into that category, the bad coming first when he doubled off first base on a bloop pop-up into short right field in the third.
"(Munenori Kawasaki) made a good play there; I kind of got greedy and thought that if he dropped the ball maybe I could get to third base and give us first and third with no outs, but he made a good play and doubled me off," Wheeler said of the double play.
Added Girardi: "He thought it was going to drop. It's a tough read, because if it does drop there's a chance he gets forced at second, but it's a great play by Kawasaki."
Wheeler quickly made up for it, though, making a great throw in the fourth to nail Dan Johnson at the plate and end a Jays rally, one that Greene called "huge" and said "definitely bailed me out."
"First and second with two out, it was a base hit play, so I just charged the ball as quick as I could and tried to throw a strike to home plate," Wheeler said. "I have to do my job at third base or wherever they put me, so I have to have confidence that you can make any play out there."
Even Dellin Betances, the All-Star, got into the Jekyll-and-Hyde act; the righty escaped an inherited two-on, no-out jam in the seventh, but in the eighth, he walked Colby Rasmus and then caught his spike on a throw over to first base, allowing Rasmus to go to third and eventually score on Kawasaki's sac fly.
Girardi said. "I've said that we have to guard about how much we use him, but I felt pretty good about sending him out there in the eighth," Girardi said. "He's not going to be perfect; he's going to walk people, and when you have a home run hitter up in a tight game, you're not going to throw one down the middle - but the throwing error is what killed him. Our miscues are what cost us in the series, so we have to do better than that."
Add in Robertson's struggles, and in a stat that might not necessarily shock you, today marked the first time that both he and Betances had allowed a run in the same game.
"I think it tells you how good they've been and how important they've been to our success," Girardi said in regards to that, but as Robertson summed up: "We've been doing a pretty good job, today just wasn't our day."
All said and done, though, the Yankees, who were 18-21 at home before the All-Star break, finish this homestand 7-3, setting a positive tone for a second half where they have the most home games in MLB.
"I've said all along we have to play better at home, and if we can go 7-3 every homestand, that's going to give us a much better chance, and we need to continue that," Girardi said.
And, as they now head to Texas - who they beat in three of four meetings in the Bronx earlier - Girardi knows that they need to quickly put Sunday behind them and set a new tone on Monday in Arlington.
"People say when you're playing teams that are struggling, is it a chance for you to move up, but you don't know how well they're going to be playing when you get there. You want to try to take advantage of certain situations, but it really comes down to you having to outplay the other team; if you're not playing well, it doesn't matter who you're playing, you're not going to win. We need to win series, that's the bottom line, and it's always a lot easier when you win the first game."
A few more notes and quotes from the end of the homestand:
-Girardi again said after the game that Mark Teixeira felt good after going through some drills today, and in regards to his status for the Rangers' series, the skipper said simply that "we'll see how he feels tomorrow and go from there."
-Despite Teixeira's situation, a bullpen that has seen a lot of work and, quite frankly, the age of the roster, Girardi doesn't think he'll have to change his approach much as they head to the sauna that is the Plains in July: "I'll look to see how our guys are doing physically when we get there; some of them have been pushed pretty hard out of the break, but last time I looked it looked like we might get a little break from the heat Tuesday and Wednesday. You just have to watch guys. … We've played short a number of times the last two seasons; you just figure it out, but sometimes you have to be careful with the moves you make or you end up with Vernon Wells at third base in the ninth inning."
-Greene, who is not one to let emotions get the best of him, had this to say when asked about his animated nature in the dugout after allowing Rasmus' double and coming out: "It was frustration with myself. I try to give the team a chance to win every time I go out, but I have to make that last pitch; I was trying to go up and in but it stayed over the plate, and I paid for it."
-Chase Headley's first week as a Yankee began with a game-winning hit and ended with his first homer in pinstripes, and it's been a whirlwind in between: "It's been a blast. I couldn't be happier to be here and be in a pennant race, and it's been fun, and I think if we keep playing the way we have, we'll be in pretty good shape."
-Last word goes to the skipper, reminiscing about Greg Maddux and Joe Torre after being told both specifically thanked him in their Hall of Fame induction speeches earlier in the day: "They both taught me a lot. One taught me a lot about calling games and was there for me as a young player, and one taught me a lot about managing; I got to watch him do it first-hand for a year as a bench coach, but I also got to see him do it personally as a player. I can't think of two more deserving guys, and I'm extremely happy for them. They're both great people."