Blue Jays hammer Yankees again

The Toronto Blue Jays continued to get production from the third spot in their batting order — even if it was from Yunel Escobar instead of all-star Jose Bautista.

Toronto Blue Jays Eric Thames is congratuluated by teammate Adam Lind after scoring against the New York Yankees during the Blue Jays’ 7-1 win in Toronto on Friday.

Toronto Blue Jays Eric Thames is congratuluated by teammate Adam Lind after scoring against the New York Yankees during the Blue Jays’ 7-1 win in Toronto on Friday.

Blue Jays 7 Yankees 1

TORONTO — The Toronto Blue Jays continued to get production from the third spot in their batting order — even if it was from Yunel Escobar instead of all-star Jose Bautista.

Escobar drove in two runs with three hits and the Blue Jays defeated the New York Yankees 7-1 on Friday for their fifth victory in a row.

“He’s one of our better hitters,” manager John Farrell said. “We put him in that three-spot and he didn’t try to do anything different with his overall approach at the plate.”

It was the second win in a row for the Blue Jays (47-47) over the Yankees (53-37) since the all-star break and they were playing without Bautista who leads the major leagues with 31 homers.

He left Thursday’s game in the fourth inning after twisting his right ankle sliding into third.

“To see the numbers of runs we were able to put up tonight in Jose’s absence was very good to see,” Farrell said.

Bautista continues to be day-to-day with the ankle injury. The Blue Jays hope the third baseman will return on Sunday but Tuesday against Seattle is more likely.

Brandon Morrow (6-4) allowed four hits and one run while striking out six in 6 2-3 innings and left to a standing ovation with two out in the seventh after a strong 112-pitch outing.

“I commanded the inside of the plate very well tonight,” said Morrow, who has won four consecutive decisions.

Reliever Jason Frasor pitched the ninth, making his 452nd appearance as a Blue Jay to tie Duane Ward for the franchise record for games by a pitcher. Frasor allowed three hits in the inning but no runs.

Toronto scored six runs, five earned, against New York starter Freddy Garcia (7-7) who allowed seven hits in five innings.

The Blue Jays opened the scoring in the first inning. Eric Thames doubled with one out and scored on a single by Escobar.

“I think he relished the opportunity to hit in the three hole tonight,” said Farrell.

“It doesn’t matter where I hit in the lineup,” said Escobar who was 3-for-4 with a walk. “I have my own plan, I’m not going to change my approach to the plate. I’m not going to try and hit homers because I’m hitting third or fourth.

“I’m going to be the same guy and that’s why I feel comfortable hitting in any situation because I won’t change my approach.”

Thames was able to keep going around third when left-fielder Brett Gardner threw to second.

The Yankees tied it in the second when Eduardo Nunez hit a run-scoring single.

Morrow, who walked two batters in the first two innings, retired the next 13 batters after Nunez’s hit before Nick Swisher singled in the sixth.

“It was just more consistent command within the strike zone,” Farrell said. “I don’t think he was ever wild.”

“I was falling behind a little bit,” Morrow said. “I lost a couple of guys and then I started commanding the fastball a lot better.”