TORONTO (AP) - Wondering why Toronto's once powerful offense has fallen into an extended slump? Their injury-depleted batting order is now stacked with rookies who could clearly use a little more minor league seasoning.
Ivan Nova snapped a five-start winless streak, Casey McGehee hit a three-run home run and the Yankees won their fourth straight game Saturday, beating the Blue Jays 5-2.
With sluggers Jose Bautista, Adam Lind, J.P. Arencibia, Brett Lawrie and Colby Rasmus all nursing injuries, Toronto started five rookies with a combined 329 major league at bats. The callow quintet went 0 for 18 with eight strikeouts. Outfielder Anthony Gose struggled worst of all, striking out four times.
``Gose had a hard time handling the breaking ball of Nova, who had a very good one today,' Blue Jays manager John Farrell said.
Outfielder Moises Sierra fanned twice and infielder Adeiny Hechevarria came up empty despite two hard hit balls to the outfield, one of which was run down by Curtis Granderson in deep center.
``I thought Adeiny put a couple of good swings on some balls, drove a ball to center field,' Farrell said. ``He looks balanced at the plate, he shows good bat speed. Not much to show for it today, but I thought he squared up a couple of balls.'
David Cooper went 0 for 4 with one strikeout and Yan Gomes was 0 for 3, fanning once.
The Blue Jays boasted the AL's highest scoring offense in late July, but a rash of injuries has seen their production slide. They've scored just nine runs in their past five games, all losses, and have dropped 11 of 13 overall.
``Runs are at a premium to come by,' Farrell said.
For New York, Nova's strong showing eased the sting of news that left-hander CC Sabathia is headed to the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to Aug. 9, with pain and inflammation in his elbow. Sabathia was sidelined after experiencing pain in back-to-back starts.
Derek Jeter had two hits, boosting his AL-leading total to 150 and joining Hank Aaron as the only players to record 17 straight seasons with at least 150 hits.
Nova (11-6) allowed two runs and five hits in 7 1-3 innings. He walked one and struck out 10.
``I was proud of what he did today,' Yankees manager Joe Girardi said of Nova. ``He got after it.'
Nova came in 0-3 with an 8.36 ERA in five starts since winning at Boston on July 8, but was sharp against the inexperienced Blue Jays, setting down the first nine batters in order before Davis singled to open the fourth.
Davis took second on a balk and scored on a one-out single by Edwin Encarnacion. A hit batter put Blue Jays at first and second, but Nova escaped further damage by fanning David Cooper and getting Moises Sierra to ground out.
David Robertson replaced Nova after Edwin Encarnacion's RBI single in the eighth and got pinch hitter Omar Vizquel to ground into an inning-ending double play.
Rafael Soriano closed it out in the ninth for his 28th save in 30 chances.
New York managed just Jeter's infield single in the first three innings against Blue Jays left-hander Aaron Laffey, but broke through with a four-run fourth, highlighted by McGehee's first home run as a Yankee.
Mark Teixeira scored from second on Jayson Nix's single to left and McGehee followed with a drive into the second deck in left-center. McGehee hit eight home runs with Pittsburgh before being traded to New York last month.
The Yankees tacked on one more in the sixth when McGehee hit a one-out double and scored on Jeter's ground-rule double to right-center.
Laffey (3-3) had won three of his previous five starts but gave up five runs and seven hits in 5 2-3 innings. He walked a season-high four and struck out two.
``It's one of those games where you kind of beat your head against the wall,' Laffey said. ``You pitched real well pretty much the entire game and have one inning wreck the whole outing.'
Plate umpire and crew chief Jim Joyce warned Nova and both benches after Escobar was hit on the left elbow by a pitch in the sixth, the second straight at-bat he was hit. New York's Curtis Granderson was hit by a pitch from Laffey in the second.
Escobar, who suffered a sore left elbow, remained in the game defensively for the next two innings but was replaced by Vizquel when his spot came up again in the eighth. X-rays were negative.
NOTES: Encarnacion matched his career high with 76 RBIs. ... Rasmus was held out of the starting lineup after leaving Friday's game with a mild right groin sprain and is expected to miss Sunday's series finale. ... New York OF Ichiro Suzuki was held out of the starting lineup but came on defensively in the ninth. ... Attendance was 45,582, Toronto's third sellout of the season.
The Associated Press News Service
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