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With Ellsbury out, Yankees lose 2-0 to Blue Jays

TORONTO (AP) — With their hottest hitter hobbled by a bad ankle, the New York Yankees turned in an ice cold offensive performance Saturday.

Even worse for the Yankees, it could be a while before Jacoby Ellsbury is ready to return.

Drew Hutchison pitched seven sparkling innings, combining with Aaron Sanchez on a one-hitter, and Jose Bautista homered for the fourth straight game to lead the Toronto Blue Jays over the Yankees 2-0 on Saturday.

Yankees’ Martin Prado is backed off by a close pitch from Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Drew Hutchison during the seventh inning of a baseball game in Toronto on Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Fred Thornhill)

“We’ve scored some runs on this trip, we just weren’t able to today,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.

Ellsbury sat out with a sore left ankle, suffered when he slid into Blue Jays catcher Dioner Navarro in the ninth inning Friday. X-rays following the game were negative.

The star center fielder had hit .500 (11 for 22) with four homers and nine RBIs in the first five games of New York’s road trip.

“It’s obviously sore but I got a lot of treatment today, pretty much all game,” Ellsbury said of his ankle. “I’m still holding out for tomorrow.”

Girardi didn’t share Ellsbury’s optimism.

“I’d be really shocked if he played tomorrow,” Girardi said, adding that he’s worried about a lengthy absence. With rosters set to expand on Sept. 1, the Yankees won’t have to worry about putting Ellsbury on the disabled list.

Girardi refused to use Ellsbury’s injury as an excuse for the lack of offense.

“You can’t just rely on one guy,” Girardi said. “A lot of guys have to contribute.”

Mark Teixeira’s fourth-inning double was the only hit allowed by Hutchison (9-11), who walked two and struck out nine.

“It’s tough to get better than he was today,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said of Hutchison.

In four previous starts against New York this season, Hutchison had posted a 7.08 ERA, allowing 24 hits, including three homers, in 20 1-3 innings.

Yankees catcher Brian McCann said Hutchison’s location Saturday was vastly better than in those previous meetings.

“He put the ball wherever he wanted,” McCann said.

Sanchez retired all six batters he faced for his first major league save as the Blue Jays improved to 8-17 in August and, at 68-67, avoided falling below .500 for the first time since May 14, when they were 20-21.

Bautista hit a two-out, two-run homer off Michael Pineda (3-3) in the first. It’s the second time in his career Bautista has connected in four consecutive games. He also did it from Sept. 28 to Oct. 2, 2009.

Hutchison retired the first 11 batters before hitting Carlos Beltran with a pitch in the fourth. Teixeira doubled before McCann was also hit by a pitch to load the bases for Martin Prado, who flied out.

“Good swing by Prado,” Girardi said. “He just missed it.”

Pineda allowed two runs and a season-high seven hits in six innings to lose for the first time since April 23 at Boston. He walked none and struck out three.

CATCH OF THE DAY

Blue Jays OF Kevin Pillar, who made a sensational diving catch in center to retire McCann in the fourth inning Friday, opened up Saturday’s game with an almost identical play on Brett Gardner’s sinking liner.

CABRERA COMES THROUGH

Batting third for just the 10th time this season, former Yankee Melky Cabrera snapped an 0 for 13 slump with a single in the sixth. Cabrera came in having failed to record a hit in back-to-back games for just the third time this season. HE also went hitless June 14 and 15, and June 28 and 29.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Yankees: RH Masahiro Tanaka returned to New York Saturday and was scheduled to work out and play catch at Yankee Stadium. “He?ll play catch for the next five or six days,” Girardi said. “Our hope is to get him on a mound Thursday.”

Blue Jays: RH Brandon Morrow’s rehab appearance at Triple-A Buffalo Saturday night will make him the 73rd player used by the Bisons this season, two shy of the International League record set by Norfolk in 2012.

UP NEXT

Yankees RHP Brandon McCarthy (5-3) faces Blue Jays LH J.A. Happ (8-8) in Sunday’s series finale. McCarthy has a 1.88 ERA in seven daytime starts this season, compared to a 5.03 ERA in 20 night starts. Happ is 0-3 with a 4.04 ERA in his past six starts.

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