It was a sloppy game, not something exactly worthy of two of the top teams who are battling it out for supremacy in the American League East at the moment.
But all that mattered at the end for the Toronto Blue Jays was the final result.
In a wacky contest that featured four errors, three on behalf of the Blue Jays, it was somehow fitting that a bunt laid down by Toronto’s Melky Cabrera in the bottom of the ninth inning would score Jose Reyes from second base with the winning run in a 7-6 victory for the home side at rollicking Rogers Centre on Tuesday night.
“We don’t win that one last year, I know that,” Toronto manager John Gibbons was moved to comment after the victory.
With the win, Toronto’s second in as many nights over the Yankees, the Blue Jays can now do to the Yankees what the Yankees did to them last week in New York – sweep them out of town with a win in Wednesday night’s series finale.
With the Baltimore Orioles losing 4-2 to the Chicago White Sox, the Blue Jays lead is now 2.5 games over the Orioles in the standing and 3.5 over the Yankees.
The Blue Jays appeared to have this one well in hand early on, as the Blue Jays scored three runs in the fourth inning on the strength of a three-run home run by Dioner Navarro and three more in the fifth for a 6-0 lead.
It was a discombobulated Derek Jeter who paved the way for Toronto second outburst as the Yankee shortstop double-pumped after collecting a ground ball off the bat of Edwin Encarnacion. That allowed Encarnacion to safely make it to first that loaded the bases with one out.
Colby Rasmus then came to the plate and his long single off the wall in right field scored the first two Toronto runs with Rasmus getting stranded in between first and second when the ball was relayed back to the infield.
Jeter had the ball and, after glancing over toward third at Encarnacion he made the decision to try to run Rasmus down and tag him out. But the younger outfielder was too quick for the veteran and he slid back into first base safely.
As all this was unfolding, Encarnacion was able to sprint home from third base to provide Toronto with its 6-0 lead.
But the Yankees clawed their way back, beginning in the sixth where Jeter knocked a solo home run shot off Mark Buehrle, the Toronto starting pitcher.
In the seventh, the Yankees sent 10 batters to the plate and scored five runs, highlighted by a two-run home run by Brian Roberts that tied things up.
Two of the runs were unearned after Reyes, the Toronto shortstop, committed the second of his two throwing errors in the contest.
“I think some of the times he’s trying to guide it over instead of just letting it loose,” Buehrle said afterwards, adding there is little doubt that Reyes remains a great shortstop.
Reyes would atone for his mistakes in the bottom of the ninth when he led off with a sharp double and would then score the winning run after Cabrera laid down a perfect bunt down the third base line.
Approaching the ball as if were a hand grenade, Yankee third baseman Yangervis Solarte picked it up but his throw was wide of first base and the ball sailed into right field for the error that allowed Reyes to prance all the way home for the win.
It was another hard luck outcome for Buehrle, the Toronto starter who came into the contest having lost nine straight decisions to the Yankees. He pitched well enough to win, allowing four of the New York wins off eight hits through 6.2 innings, his record stuck at 10-4.
The win was collected by closer Casey Janssen, who entered the game in the top of the ninth with the score tied and retired the side.
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