TORONTO – Mark Teixeira hit a two-run homer and Hiroki Kuroda was effective over 6 1/3 innings as the New York Yankees defeated the Toronto Blue Jays 5-3 on Wednesday to salvage the finale of a three-game series at Rogers Centre.
David Robertson got the last five outs for his 18th save as New York (40-37) ended a four-game losing skid and moved 2 1/2 games behind first-place Toronto (44-36) in the American League East.
Jacoby Ellsbury had three of New York’s nine hits. Jose Reyes had three hits for the Blue Jays and Melky Cabrera drove in a pair of runs.
Toronto entered play 2 1/2 games ahead of Baltimore in the division standings. The Orioles played the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday night.
Reyes took the first pitch from Kuroda (5-5) over the wall for his sixth homer of the season. It was his third leadoff home run of the year and 21st of his career.
In the second inning, Juan Francisco took advantage of the defensive shift and sliced a single to the open left side. He moved to second base when Munenori Kawasaki reached on an infield single with one out.
Anthony Gose lined out to second baseman Brian Roberts, who doubled off Francisco with a quick throw to Derek Jeter.
The Yankees used a hit-and-run play to get on the board in the third inning against Toronto starter Drew Hutchison (5-6).
Former Blue Jay Kelly Johnson reached on a walk and took off for second as Francisco Cervelli drove a ball into the right-centre field gap. Johnson scored easily on the Cervelli double.
Hutchison got the next two outs before giving up a single to Ellsbury that brought Cervelli across with the go-ahead run. Teixeira padded the lead by turning on an 0-1 pitch for his 14th homer of the year.
The Yankees loaded the bases with two outs in the fifth but a nice defensive play by first baseman Adam Lind prevented further damage. He ran to his right to grab Ichiro Suzuki’s slow chopper and quickly tossed the ball to the covering Hutchison, who beat the runner to the bag by half a step.
Toronto cut into the lead with a pair of runs in the fifth.
Kawasaki drew a walk and moved to third when Reyes hit a ground-rule double. Cabrera brought them both home with a sharp single to left field.
Hutchison struck out the side in the sixth inning and was replaced in the seventh by left-hander Rob Rasmussen. Hutchison allowed seven hits, four earned runs and two walks while striking out six.
Rasmussen faced three batters and did not record an out. He walked Brett Gardner, hit Jeter with a pitch, threw a wild pitch to the backstop and walked Ellsbury to load the bases.
Sergio Santos came on in relief and gave up a sacrifice fly to Teixeira that brought Gardner home with an insurance run. Santos struck out Carlos Beltran and walked Suzuki to load the bases before getting Roberts to fly out.
Kawasaki opened the bottom half of the seventh with a single but was forced out on a Gose grounder. Kuroda was replaced by Shawn Kelley, who gave up a single to Reyes and got Cabrera to fly out.
Left-hander Matt Thornton came on and the Blue Jays pulled off a double steal to put the potential tying run at second base. Lind couldn’t take advantage though as he hit a weak comebacker that ended the inning.
Kuroda allowed eight hits, three earned runs and two walks. He had four strikeouts.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi continued to work his bullpen in the eighth inning. Adam Warren got an out but was pulled after giving up a single to Dioner Navarro.
Robertson relieved Warren and struck out Francisco and Colby Rasmus before working a 1-2-3 ninth.
Announced attendance was 34,710 and the game took three hours two minutes to play.
© The Canadian Press, 2014