TORONTO — A solid start from Mark Buehrle against a team that’s dominated him his entire career, and Jose Bautista’s third home run in three games were gone to waste in one sloppy inning on Friday as the New York Yankees downed the Toronto Blue Jays 6-3.
Jacoby Ellsbury hit a two-run homer as part of a five-run seventh inning for the Yankees (69-63), while Brett Gardner and Chase Headley also picked up RBIs.
Despite being 1-12 with a 6.15 ERA in his career against New York, Buehrle was on his game early — retiring the first eight Yankees he faced before second baseman Stephen Drew lined a ball over Kevin Pillar’s head in centre for a double in the top of the third.
The first three innings Buehrle needed only 36 pitches — including 24 for strikes — and in the second he used just six pitches to put out Mark Teixeira, Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran. The Missouri native sat down 13 of the 15 batters he faced through five.
Everything fell apart, however, in the seventh.
With Toronto (67-66) leading 1-0, McCann opened the inning with a double to right field and Buehrle gave up his only walk of the night to the next hitter, Beltran, to put two on with nobody out.
Gardner then doubled home McCann and a throwing error by second baseman Steve Tolleson on the same play allowed Beltran to come home and make it 2-1 New York while Gardner was able to end up on third.
Ichiro Suzuki singled next, which led to Aaron Loup taking over on the mound for Buehrle. Loup struck out Headley, who was pinch hitting for Drew, but another throwing error by catcher Dioner Navarro to third base in an attempt to pick off Gardner led to the Yankee left fielder coming home. Ellsbury then hit a two-run shot to make it 5-1.
Buehrle went six innings, allowing seven hits and four earned runs to go along with four strikeouts. He dropped to 11-9 on the season and remains with just one victory since June 1st.
Toronto earned back two runs in the bottom of the inning, cutting New York’s lead to 5-3. Pillar doubled home Colby Rasmus, which ended the night for Yankee starter Chris Capuano, and a sacrifice fly to left by Cabrera brought in Pillar.
Edwin Encarnacion had a great chance to bring Toronto closer, and end a personal slump, with Jose Reyes and Bautista on base, but middle reliever Adam Warren got him to fly out to right to end the inning.
Encarnacion is now just 3 for 26 in 12 games since returning from injury.
Headley made it 6-3 New York in the ninth inning when he took reliever Dustin McGowan’s first pitch deep over the right field wall. Two batters later Jeter looked to have brought home Ellsbury, but a 1:37 video review led to the umpire overruling his original safe call at home plate.
Bautista hit his 27th home run of the season in the bottom of the fourth inning to make it 1-0 for Toronto. His blast over the left field wall moved him into a tie with Encarnacion for the team lead in long balls.
Two batters after Bautista, Navarro laced a double down the left field line, but Capuano was able to avoid anymore trouble by striking out Danny Valencia to end the inning.
In the fifth Rasmus doubled to right and was moved to third on a single by Pillar. With runners on the corners and just one out, Toronto had an opportunity to extend its lead. A Reyes pop up and Cabrera ground out, though, ended any threat.
Rasmus opened the bottom of the third with a broken-bat single that saw the barrel of the bat nearly take out Capuano on the mound, but any chance for momentum was negated when Pillar hit into a 5-4-3 double play.
Capuano went 6 1/3 innings, giving up eight hits and two earned runs with four strikeouts to pick up his first win in four starts with New York since being acquired from the Boston Red Sox.
NOTES: Drew Hutchison (8-11) is expected to start for Toronto on Saturday while Michael Pineda (3-2) goes for New York…Derek Jeter will be honoured prior to Sunday’s series finale…Toronto has dropped six of its past eight series (1-6-1)…Tonight’s game was the fourth of a nine-game homestand…Melky Cabrera entered the game hitting .340 (17 for 50) against New York this season…San Antonio Spur and Pickering, Ont. native Corey Joseph tossed out the first pitch with the Larry O’Brien Trophy (NBA Championship) on display… Attendance at Rogers Centre was 43,318…The Yankees are now 8-5 vs Jays this season…Toronto is 7-17 in August.