TORONTO — The New York Yankees are hoping home is where a division will be won and baseball history will be made.
Mariano Rivera was denied a chance to go for the career saves record Sunday when Adam Lind homered twice to back Brandon Morrow and lead the Toronto Blue Jays to a 3-0 victory.
New York went 4-6 on a trip that started with a makeup game at Baltimore and took the team to Anaheim and Seattle before wrapping up in Canada.
“It’s been a tough road trip,” manager Joe Girardi said. “This has been a really, really tough stretch. I know our guys are pretty worn down. Hopefully, they get to sleep in their own beds and catch up a little bit.”
Alex Rodriguez, who played for the second straight day after missing six games because a sore left thumb, was happy to have the travel over for now.
“I feel like we’ll be energized getting home, without a question,” Rodriguez said. “It feels like we’ve been gone for about a month.”
Although they’ll be back in the Bronx, the schedule doesn’t get much easier — and doesn’t include any off-days. The Yankees host Minnesota in an afternoon makeup game Monday, then play four against hard-charging Tampa Bay, including a day-night doubleheader Wednesday.
“We’ve got to go home and play better, there’s no doubt at about it,” Girardi said.
New York, which remained a season-high 4 1-2 games ahead of second-place Boston in the AL East, has lost three of four and seven of 11.
What had been a five-game homestand is now eight because of makeups, and it ends with three games against Boston. While at home, the Yankees hope to clinch their 15th playoff berth in 16 seasons.
“We have to have a good homestand,” Yankees captain Derek Jeter said. “We’re all looking forward to getting back there because we haven’t been there in a while.”
Rivera, who matched Trevor Hoffman with his 601st save in Saturday’s 7-6 win, will try to set the record at Yankee Stadium.
“I’m hoping that he has an opportunity to do it at home, but we have to put him in a position to do it,” Jeter said.
Morrow (10-11) allowed four hits in eight innings, struck out eight and walked one. The right-hander, who retired 12 in a row during one stretch, had been 0-4 in six starts since beating Seattle on Aug. 17.
“I needed that one just to get my confidence back,” Morrow said. “I’m still trying to finish strong and that’s a good place to start.”
All four hits off him were singles, and three didn’t get out of the infield.
“He had some of the best stuff I’ve seen all year,” New York’s Eric Chavez said. “He was throwing the ball well in New York when we faced him last time but today it just seemed to have a little bit more life on it. His slider was down and hard and his fastball away was just taking off.”
Morrow said the “slider” actually was a cut fastball, a pitch he’d been working on for weeks and added to his repertoire during his previous start, Sept. 13 at Boston.
“He’s taken his slider and tightened it up some,” Blue Jays manager John Farrell said. “A lot of the pitches where he was in fastball counts, he would go to the cutter.”
Frank Francisco pitched around an Eduardo Nunez double in the ninth for his 16th save in 20 chances. Francisco has converted 11 of his past 12 opportunities.
Lind hit solo homers in the second and fourth off Freddy Garcia (11-8), his third multihomer game this season and the seventh of his career. Lind has 26 homers this season but had not hit once since Sept. 3 at Yankee Stadium.
Garcia (11-8) allowed three runs, five hits and three walks in 4 2-3 innings. He is 1-1 with a 6.56 ERA in his last five starts and has allowed at least two homers in each of his past three outings.
“They made me work,” Garcia said. “I was at 80 pitches starting the fifth inning.”
New York helped Morrow by getting thrown out twice on the bases. Robinson Cano was caught stealing by catcher J.P. Arencibia on the back end of an attempted double steal in the first, and Nunez was thrown out by right fielder Jose Bautista trying to stretch his sixth-inning single.
Eric Thames drove in Toronto’s final run with a fifth-inning sacrifice fly. Thames left during his at bat in the seventh after a foul tip struck him over the left eye, knocking his batting helmet off. Thames suffered a cut over his eye but was not seriously injured.
NOTES: Besides Jeter, CF Curtis Granderson and 1B Mark Teixeira got the day off, while Cano started at DH. … A.J. Burnett starts for the Yankees against Minnesota, and Scott Diamond starts for the Twins. New York will start Ivan Nova against Tampa Bay on Tuesday, with CC Sabathia and Phil Hughes getting the starts in Wednesday’s day-night doubleheader. Bartolo Colon will start Thursday ‘s series finale. … New York was shutout for the eighth time this season.