What it means: That every time you think this race is over, the Yankees pull the Orioles back into it. Their lifeless performance against the Toronto Blue Jays, who have nothing to play for, and their starting pitcher, Brandon Morrow, who always seems to handle them, means their lead in the AL East is whittled back down to one game with six to go for each team. The 6-0 loss was the sixth time the Yankees have been shut out this season, but the first since King Felix Hernandez throttled them, 1-0, on Aug. 4 at the Stadium.
Not again, Nova: Ivan Nova got twice as many outs tonight, 14, than he did five days ago (seven), but did no better, leaving his team in a four-run hole without making it through the fifth inning. After a triumphant return from the DL on Sept. 15 (a W over the Rays), Nova has had back-to-back poor outings, which is not helping make his case for a spot in the postseason rotation.
In the record books: Nova wrote his name into Yankees history by allowing a pair of extra-base hits tonight, which gave him a team-record 87 XBH's allowed this season, eclipsing the record of Andy Hawkins (86 in 1989). But Hawkins needed 208 1/3 innings to accomplish his feat. Nova? 170 1/3.
My kingdom for a hit: The Yankees got a runner to second (Russell Martin, double) in the second inning but couldn't score him because Raul Ibanez struck out; got a one-out single from Robbie Cano that went nowhere because of a double play in the fourth; hit into another double play (Ibanez) in the fifth, and in the worst instance of all, had runners on first and second with none out in the seventh (Cano double, Nick Swisher walk) and came up empty when Curtis Granderson (K), Martin (flyout) and Ibanez (pop out) all failed in the clutch.
And the final indignity: The Yankees got runners on first and second with none out in the ninth but Swisher, Granderson and Martin flied out to end the game. The Yankees finished 0-for-7 w/RISP.
His name comes before Hank Aaron's in baseball history: Alphabetically, anyway. That would be David Aardsma, who returned to the mound for the first time in more than two years. The second batter he faced, J.P. Arencibia, crushed a 92 mph fastball into the second deck in left to account for the Jays' sixth run.
Twin killing: Jays LF Anthony Gose not only robbed Swisher of an extra-base hit with a fine running catch in the alley, he also was able to fire the ball in to double off Cano, who was halfway between second and third when the ball was caught.
And so it Gose: The Jays' young left-fielder also started the fifth-inning rally that chased Nova, leading off with a hard single to right and scoring on Edwin Encarnacion's two-run double to right. The last time Gose faced Nova, on Aug. 11, Gose wore the golden sombrero, striking out four times.
Sent on a ride: That's what Brett Lawrie did with Nova's third-inning fastball, airmailing it into the Yankees' bullpen with a man on base to give the Blue Jays a 2-0 lead.