Red-hot Yankees beat the Blue Jays in 11
Toronto - The New York Yankees have been hitting home runs at an impressive rate. They earned their latest win though using some small ball.
Blue Jays reliever Aaron Loup made a two-run throwing error in the 11th inning and the Yankees beat Toronto 5-3 on Saturday for their ninth win in 11 games.
"Our guys are seizing opportunities and you have to do that," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "These games are hard to win but our guys have been resilient."
Shawn Kelley (1-0) got two outs in the 10th for the win and Mariano Rivera finished for his fifth save.
Vernon Wells hit New York's AL-leading 26th homer and finished with three hits, including a single to start the winning rally.
"Big day for Vernon to get us on the board and then in that 11th inning, to lead off with a single," Girardi said. "Just a big day."
New York has hit at least one homer in each of its first seven road games, their longest such streak since going deep in eight straight road games to start the 2002 season. But they didn't win this one with the longball.
"That's a sign of a good team, when you can take advantage of mistakes," Wells said. "Even though we have been hitting home runs, it's not something we're just going to rely on."
Wells and Francisco Cervelli singled off Loup (1-1) to open the 11th, and Ichiro Suzuki followed with a bunt to the third base side of the mound that Loup and third basemen Brett Lawrie both charged. Loup fielded it and wheeled to throw to third. But with Lawrie out of position as he retreated back to the bag, the ball sailed into foul territory and down the left field line, allowing both runners to score.
"I thought we had an easy play at third base," a downcast Loup said. "I didn't have enough awareness to realize Lawrie was crashing in on the play. By the time I realized he was backpedalling to the bag and wasn't there, it was too late and I'd already let go of the ball."
Wells said he was "shocked" to see Loup throw to third.
"You know what, you get in the moment and you make an aggressive play like that and sometimes it works out," Wells said. "You look great when it works out and bad when it doesn't."
The Blue Jays used a single and a sacrifice to put the winning run in scoring position with one out in the 10th but Kelley came on and got Rajai Davis to pop out, then got Melky Cabrera to ground out.
Toronto lost for the fifth time in seven games and fell a season-high four games below .500.
"You screw up the fundamentals, you're not supposed to win," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said.
New York infielder Kevin Youkilis left after five innings with a sore lower back and was replaced by Lyle Overbay.
"His back locked up a little bit on the right side," Girardi said. "My guess is he's not a player for me (Sunday). I don't think it's anything serious but it's the tough part about playing indoors sometimes. The good part is it's warm today but sometimes that turf grabs at you a little bit."
Wells opened the scoring with a homer against Mark Buehrle in the second that hit the left field foul screen, his fifth of the season and second in two days. Wells has five homers in 15 career games against his former team.
Wells improved to 23 for 47 (.489) against Buehrle.
"He's a guy who throws strikes and I'm usually a guy who's swinging often," Wells said. "I've gotten a few to fall in."
New York made it 3-0 in the fifth. Jayson Nix led off with a single and went to third on Brett Gardner's double. One out later, Robinson Cano was walked to load the bases for Youkilis, who ripped a liner to third that bounced off Lawrie's glove and rolled into shallow left for a two-run single.
Wells singled to load the bases but Cervelli grounded into a double play.
Yankees starter Hiroki Kuroda, who beat Baltimore with a five-hit shutout in his previous start, allowed just two hits through the first seven innings, but was replaced by David Robertson after Colby Rasmus' one-out single under Overbay's glove in the eighth.
Maicer Izturis struck out and pinch hitter Adam Lind walked before Rajai Davis grounded an RBI single up the middle. The run snapped Kuroda's streak of shutout innings at 20 2-3 dating to his April 8 start at Cleveland.
Cabrera followed with a two-run single to center that bounced away from Gardner, tying it at 3-all. Jose Bautista walked but Robertson fanned Edwin Encarnacion to end the inning.
The two hits with runners in scoring position in the eighth were one more than the Blue Jays had in their previous six games combined, when they went 1 for 29.
Kuroda allowed one run and three hits in 7 1-3 innings. He walked one and struck out a season-high seven.
"His slider was really good today," Girardi said. "He used it really effectively against the right-handers. He used his split pretty effectively, threw some early curveballs. He just mixed his pitches. He gave us a great outing again."
Making the 400th start of his career, Buehrle allowed three runs and eight hits in a season-high seven innings. His only walk was intentional and his seven strikeouts were a season-high.
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