It all started out so promisingly: A lead-off walk, then two batters later, a two-run Mark Teixeira home run and an early Yankees lead. Perhaps it wouldn’t be Ricky Romero’s night. And then, after those first three batters … nothing. Or, more accurately, nothing except a slow-rolling Marcus Thames infield hit. Romero retired 26 of the final 27 batters he faced, so needless to say, Alex Rodriguez did not hit a home run last night. The A-Rod hit-of-any-kind watch has officially supplanted the A-Rod 600th-homer watch.
Dustin Moseley kept the Yankees within two through seven, but things got out of hand from there: a Vernon Wells home run to lead off the eighth, then an Aaron Hill home run off Kerry Wood, and in the ninth, a Jose Bautista home run to cap the scoring at 8-2. Romero’s performance over the last eight innings may not have been expected, but the Jays adding to their league-leading home-run total should have been.
The loss makes three straight for the Yankees — the first time since June 16-18 that they’ve dropped that many in a row. More important, Tampa Bay’s win over Minnesota last night means that when Phil Hughes takes the ball this afternoon, he’ll do so for the second-place Yankees. Their wild-card lead is five and a half games.