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Pineda labors without 'best stuff' in Toronto

MLB.com @BryanHoch

TORONTO -- It was an off night for Michael Pineda, best evidenced by the fact that his only strikeout came in his final showdown of the evening, snapping off a slider that backup catcher Luke Maile swung through to end the fifth inning.

Otherwise, Pineda was forced to make do without his best weapons as Toronto snapped his string of nine starts permitting three earned runs or fewer, thumping the right-hander for five runs and 10 hits in the Yankees' 7-5 loss at Rogers Centre on Friday.

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TORONTO -- It was an off night for Michael Pineda, best evidenced by the fact that his only strikeout came in his final showdown of the evening, snapping off a slider that backup catcher Luke Maile swung through to end the fifth inning.

Otherwise, Pineda was forced to make do without his best weapons as Toronto snapped his string of nine starts permitting three earned runs or fewer, thumping the right-hander for five runs and 10 hits in the Yankees' 7-5 loss at Rogers Centre on Friday.

View Full Game Coverage

"It's a little tough, because this is a good lineup," Pineda said. "You want to compete with your best stuff on the mound. For me today, I don't have my best stuff. I tried to grind on the mound and give the opportunity to my team. It happens sometimes."

Josh Donaldson and Justin Smoak homered in a three-run first inning, and the Yankees never led in the contest. Smoak added a third-inning sacrifice fly and Maile scored on a fourth-inning wild pitch that prompted pitching coach Larry Rothschild to make the second of his two slow trudges to the mound.

"[Pineda's] stuff wasn't sharp," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "His location wasn't good. You look at the slider that Donaldson hit, he doesn't throw many sliders like that. He gave up the three in the first and kind of battled through the next four innings, but he just wasn't very sharp."

Video: NYY@TOR: Donaldson smashes solo homer to left-center

Pineda said that he was trying to throw a fastball away to Smoak, but the pitch cut toward the middle of the plate. Smoak didn't miss it, slugging a 410-foot drive into the second deck in right field.

"I feel like everything he throws is hard," Smoak said. "Hard slider, hard changeup, split-finger. Honestly, my approach was really to get on the fastball and try to stay in the middle of the field. If I was going to get a breaking ball up and over the plate, I was going to be able to do something with it. I felt like [I had to] be ready for the hard stuff."

Video: NYY@TOR: Smoak hammers two-run homer to right field

Pineda issued three walks for the second consecutive start after permitting just nine in his first 53 2/3 innings this season. The home runs have been more prevalent; Pineda has served up six in the first innings of contests, tying for the big league lead, and 13 overall.

"My command today is not like it used to be," Pineda said. "It happens sometimes, you know? When you don't have your best command, you get in trouble."

Every player in Toronto's lineup had a hit by the end of the fifth. Girardi had the bullpen stirring in the fourth, but elected to stick with Pineda.

"He got through the first, he gave up the three, he got through the second," Girardi said. "We had guys up in the fourth, we had guys up in the fifth, but he seemed to get out of the innings. That's why we didn't lift him earlier."

Pineda said that he would not read much into registering only one strikeout, his lowest total since fanning none in a June 22, 2015, outing against the Phillies (3 1/3 innings pitched).

"It's a really good, aggressive lineup. They swing at everything," Pineda said of the Blue Jays. "They're swinging early. This lineup, they're swinging, so I don't focus on getting strikeouts. I'm focusing on making a good start and giving an opportunity to my team to win."

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch, on Facebook and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat.

New York Yankees, Michael Pineda