Blue Jays 5 Yankees 4
NEW YORK — The Blue Jays parted ways with popular teammate Alex Rios in the visitor’s clubhouse just before the first pitch Monday night, their task of slowing down the streaking New York Yankees made that much more difficult.
The Yankees had won seven straight, and were fresh off their first four-game home sweep of bitter rival Boston in 24 years. Their pitching had been dominant, their offence explosive.
Leave it to the Toronto bullpen, of all things, to turn the game upside down.
Lyle Overbay and Aaron Hill hit solo homers, and the Blue Jays’ relief corps made a meagre lead stand up in a 5-4 victory that gave Toronto its first three-game winning streak since the last week of June.
“We did a good job, got their starter out of there, but their bullpen came in and did a real solid job,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “They shut us down.”
And they did it without Rios, a two-time all-star who was claimed off waivers by the Chicago White Sox just before the first pitch.
It was cost-saving moving on the part of the Blue Jays, who shed the outfielder’s hefty salary and now have some financial flexibility for the off-season.
“As I told him, it’s not like someone didn’t want him,” Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston said. “There was a team over there that really wanted him and I’m sure that he will do well.”
Shawn Camp (1-5) picked up the win in relief of ineffective starter Marc Rzepczynski, who allowed three homers and didn’t make it out of the fourth inning. The Blue Jays bullpen allowed four hits over 5 2-3 innings, helping Toronto win for just the third time in 10 tries against the Yankees this season.
Jason Frasor worked around a single in the ninth by Hideki Matsui for his fifth save.
“Pitching did a great job,” Hill said. “Frasor’s doing his thing. It’s always nice to come out with a win, now we have to come out here and do it again tomorrow.”
The Yankees, who had their lead in the AL East trimmed to 5 1/2 games over Boston, looked for a while as if they would keep rolling.
Derek Jeter hit a leadoff homer on the third pitch he saw, and Robinson Cano and Jerry Hairston added back-to-back homers in the fourth, before the bats finally went quiet.
Yankees starter Sergio Mitre (1-1), who could be fighting for his spot in the rotation, committed a costly error that led to two runs and wound up allowing five total in five innings.
He got into trouble in the third, when Hill homered off the top of the wall in left field for the first run allowed by a New York starter in more than 24 innings.
Before the Blue Jays took the field again, plate umpire Paul Schrieber quietly ejected Gaston — keeping him from watching the fireworks in person.
The Yankees regained the lead on a sacrifice fly by Nick Swisher, before Toronto scored three times in the fourth inning. Overbay walked and Vernon Wells singled before Jose Bautista hit a hot shot at Mitre, who made a nice backhanded snare but threw wide to second. Cano could not gather it in, the ball trickled away and Overbay scored easily.
“I made three mistakes, two home runs and the bad throw to second base,” Mitre said. “The ball was hit hard, so it got to me quick, so I double-pumped trying to get a grip. If we make that double play, the game is 4-2.”
Instead, Edwin Encarnacion added a sacrifice fly and Joe Inglett an RBI triple.
“A miscue cost us the game,” Girardi said flatly.