TORONTO - Joe Girardi wasn't overly concerned about rookie Chase Whitley facing the powerful Blue Jays for the second time in a week.
"The biggest thing is not to overthink it," Girardi said before Monday night's game. "Don't think you have to make a lot of changes because they know what you have. The bottom line is you have to make quality pitches. If you make those pitches, you're going to be successful."
Whitley did not make those pitches and he was not anywhere near successful, outclassed by the Blue Jays' offense and outperformed by former Patchogue-Medford High School star Marcus Stroman in an 8-3 loss in front of 31,554 at Rogers Centre.
The Blue Jays (43-35), losers of 11 of their previous 15 and without injured Brett Lawrie and Jose Bautista, extended their lead over the Yankees (39-36) in the AL East to 2 1/2 games.
The Yankees, who did not put a runner in scoring position until the ninth inning, have dropped three straight, totaling four runs in those games.
"It's been up and down during the course of the year," Girardi said of his underperforming offense. "We have to become more consistent."
The 23-year-old Stroman made sure that consistency didn't begin Monday night.
Last Tuesday in the Bronx, the rookie saw his pitch count balloon, 98 in 3 2/3 innings in a 3-1 loss.
Through 3 2/3 innings Monday night, Stroman (4-2, 4.25) allowed one hit and his pitch count was in the mid-40s. He was on his way to allowing one run, on a Teixeira homer, and three hits in eight innings. The righthander, who acknowledged he might have been "over-amped" for his start at the Stadium, walked one and struck out seven in his fifth career start. He threw 114 pitches, 73 for strikes.
"Just better command," said Stroman, taken by the Blue Jays out of Duke with the 22nd overall pick of the 2012 draft. "I felt like I was in the strike zone more, making better quality pitches."
Teixeira said he hardly recognized Stroman. "He was a completely different pitcher than we faced last week," Teixeira said. "Pinpoint with his fastball [which was] 94, 95. His slider was really good tonight. He had good stuff tonight."
Whitley (3-1) was as bad as Stroman was good.
The 25-year-old, who allowed two runs and five hits in five innings Wednesday in a 7-3 win over Toronto, had his worst outing since being inserted into the rotation May 15, giving up eight runs and 11 hits in 3 1/3 innings, his ERA shooting to 4.07 from 2.56.
"It was frustrating because I took the team out of a chance to win," he said. "That's just a poor performance . . . I couldn't command the ball at all like I had been in the past."
The Blue Jays hit Whitley hard from the first inning.
Leadoff man Jose Reyes struck out, but Melky Cabrera extended his hitting streak against the Yankees to 20 games with a double to right-center. Adam Lind sent a single to right that brought in Cabrera to make it 1-0. It marked just the second first-inning run allowed by Whitley since joining the rotation.
The Blue Jays sent 10 to the plate in a 32-pitch, six-run second that blew it open, with Lind's three-run homer highlighting the inning that ended with the Blue Jays ahead 7-0. The way the Yankees have been swinging the bats, the chance of a comeback was about nil.
"If I knew, I'd be coach, player, I'd be it all," Teixeira said, assessing the offense's woes. "I can't put a finger on it. I think if we could put a finger on it, we'd fix it. Baseball is an individual game in a team atmosphere. Individually, we just have to figure out a way to get the jobs done."