Yankees 7 Blue Jays 6 (10ings)
NEW YORK — One inside-the-park-home run. Two blown leads. Three runners thrown out at the plate. And on the Fourth of July, a pinch-hit single to win it in the 10th inning.
George Steinbrenner got one wild 80th birthday present from his New York Yankees.
“He probably would have been in and out of his seat a few times,” Derek Jeter said.
The Boss, who followed the game from Florida, would have had a happy birthday in the end, though. Pinch-hitter Marcus Thames hit a game-ending single in the bottom of the 10th for a 7-6 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday.
Activated off the DL earlier in the day, Thames blooped a hit against David Purcey (0-1) over the infield and Robinson Cano scored from second after walking and advancing on a sacrifice.
Mariano Rivera gave up DeWayne Wise’s tying single in the ninth. Earlier, Wise lost a ball in the sun, allowing the Yankees to tie it in the sixth on Brett Gardner’s inside-the-park homer.
“I did everything I could to catch that ball. It just never came out of the sun,” Wise said. “At that point of the game, the sun was directly over my head, and the last 15 feet or so, I lost it.”
Wise also hit a go-ahead three-run homer in the fifth.
“If Wise catches that ball, we could be landing in Toronto right now,” Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston said.
The Jays had a chance in 10th, too. Edwin Encarnacion popped a bunt up in the air that looked to be going foul, but Alex Rodriguez picked it up and threw to second.
Because he wasn’t running from the start, Encarnacion was out at first by about a step. After the double play, David Robertson (1-3) struck out Jose Molina to end the top of the inning with a runner on third.
Yankees catcher Jorge Posada left after spraining his left ring finger on a foul tip. Manager Joe Girardi said he would not catch at Oakland on Monday.
Mark Teixeira hit a go-ahead double in the seventh, an inning after two runs scored on Gardner’s two-out drive to deep centre when Wise appeared to lose the ball in the sun, falling down as the ball glanced off the top of his glove.
The Blue Jays took a 4-3 lead in the fifth on Wise’s three-run shot off the pole in right field.
Yankees starter Phil Hughes, voted by players as an all-star, allowed five runs in six innings.
Brandon Morrow struck out seven in six innings and allowed five runs.
“He should have gotten the win against a tough ballclub,” Gaston said. “This kid keeps you in the game and sometimes he dominates the game. He’s only going to get better.”
Wise, nearly a year removed from the juggling, home-run robbing catch he made against the wall to preserve a perfect game in the ninth inning for the White Sox’s Mark Buehrle, put the Blue Jays up 4-3 before he let New York back in the game.
Damaso Marte pitched a perfect seventh inning and Joba Chamberlain handed a one-run lead to Rivera, who hadn’t allowed a run since May 25. The Yankees made sure his second blown save wasn’t marred by a loss, too.
“It was a crazy game and we had a lot of opportunities,” Rodriguez said.
Shawn Camp, Gaston’s most trusted middle reliever this season, allowed singles to Jeter and Nick Swisher before Teixeira’s double down the right-field line put the Yankees ahead in the seventh. Swisher was thrown out at home for the second time in the game on Francisco Cervelli’s foul pop to right to end the inning.
The Blue Jays ran their home run total to 120, best in the big leagues. Lyle Overbay hit a solo shot in the third and Adam Lind added his 10th of the year on a solo homer in the sixth.
The Yankees looked as if they’d get some runs back in the bottom of the fifth, but Swisher was thrown out at home on Teixeira’s deep double to centre. Texieira was also out at the plate by Wise when he tried to come home on Rodriguez’s pop-up to shallow centre.
Teixeira hit a tying sacrifice fly in the third before Rodriguez singled home another run. Ramiro Pena singled home a run in the fourth.
NOTES: The Blue Jays’ white hats had a red maple leaf inside the logo, while the other 29 teams had stars and stripes inside theirs