TORONTO -- After an uplifting win on Sunday in Tampa, the Yankees suffered a soul-crushing defeat in Canada on Monday, losing 5-2, to the Blue Jays, thanks to the pitching of Phil Hughes and the muffing of Ichiro Suzuki.
It is the kind of defeat teams fighting for their playoff lives cannot afford to suffer, but there was one bit of encouraging news for the Yankees:
Derek Jeter made it through all nine innings, batted four times, handled three chances in the field and seemed well enough upon leaving the clubhouse tonight to do it all over again tomorrow.
"He looked fine," Joe Girardi said after Jeter went 0-for-3 (groundout, DP, strikeout) with a walk. "I'm curious to see how he feels tomorrow, but he looked OK to me."
Jeter, of course, insisted he was as good as new, or at least as good as he was in 2012. "I'm fine," he said. "I always feel like I can play. My job here is to play, so I want to be in there."
-- Ichiro Suzuki, on the other hand, was not fine after allowing a catchable ball to glance off the heel of his glove in right field, leading to two unearned runs in the fifth inning. "If I could've just gone straight home from right field, I would have," he said. "I was that embarrassed."
Other than that, Ichiro, a 10-time Gold Glove outfielder, offered no explanation for what went wrong on the play.
"It just looked like he jumped for it when maybe he didn't have to," Girardi said. "Maybe he thought it was closer to the wall than he thought. It looked like it hit off the heel a little bit. He missed it. Obviously something you're not going to see very often."
And obviously, not what you want.
-- Alex Rodriguez cracked an R.A. Dickey knuckleball off the facade of the second deck in right in the fifth inning, his third HR of the season and the 650th of his career, which leaves him 10 away from Willie Mays on the all-time list, and 10 away from the $6 million bonus that goes with it. It was also his 35th HR at the Rogers Centre, the most by any Blue Jays opponent and the most by A-Rod in any opposing stadium.
But Alex did not stick around to expound on any of those accomplishments; he slipped out a side door of the clubhouse without speaking to reporters.
-- In case you're wondering why Girardi chose to hit for Brett Gardner, who was 2-for-3 with a run scored, and replace him with Vernon Wells against lefty reliever Aaron Loup, here is the manager's explanation: "Just looking to get a home run there, that's all."
He got a three-pitch strikeout from Wells.