TORONTO – The Yankees aren’t going away that easily.
Carlos Beltran’s pinch-hit, three-run home run off Aaron Sanchez in the eighth inning washed away what had been another frustrating night for the Bombers, lifting them to a 4-3 win Friday over the red-hot Blue Jays, whose 11-game winning streak was snapped.
“It’s huge for us,” Beltran said. “We knew that coming here isn’t going to be easy, but they know also that it’s not going to be easy. We’re not going to give up.”
The win boosted the Yankees back into first place in the American League East, putting them a half-game ahead of the Blue Jays after Toronto had moved past them earlier this week.
Carlos Beltran is congratulated by Brian McCann after his three-run blast.
“Hopefully, it gives us confidence,” Joe Girardi said.
Andrew Miller made things interesting in the ninth, allowing a walk and a single with one out, then unleashing a wild pitch to move the runners to second and third. A strikeout of Ben Revere brought him one out from closing the game, but Troy Tulowitzki still stood in his way.
Tulowitzki battled Miller for 11 pitches, including six foul balls with two strikes, keeping the sellout crowd on its feet.
“Just put it in play already, because I knew the only place he was going to hit it was to me,” third baseman Chase Headley said when asked what ran through his mind during the at-bat. “It was either going to be foul or it was going to be right to me. You just keep sitting there, and the anticipation keeps building with every foul ball.”
Miller finally won the battle on the 12th pitch, getting Tulowitzki to swing through a slider to end the game. “The whole inning was such a grind,” Miller said. “I feel like I was making pitches and I feel like I had good stuff, but it was just a tightly fought game. I’m glad we came out on top. The at-bat to Tulowitzki, that’s all I’ve got. I was running out of gas there. That’s everything I’ve got for an inning.”
David Price was five outs away from leading the Blue Jays to their third straight shutout win over the Yankees, holding what appeared to be a commanding 3-0 lead. But Mark Teixeira and Brian McCann started the winning rally with a pair of singles, then Headley hit a ground-rule double that bounced over the wall in left-center field, bringing in Teixeira to cut the lead to two runs.
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That ended Price’s night, bringing Sanchez in from the bullpen and Beltran out from the dugout to hit for Chris Young.
“I felt good with the exception of the double to Headley,” Price said. “I felt like that inning I really made good pitches. But that’s baseball; that’s part of it, and if you don’t like it, pitch better.”
Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista hits a double in the third inning.
Sanchez blew a pair of 97-mph fastballs by Beltran, but the Yank veteran turned on a 1-2 heater – also clocked at 97 mph – and crushed it into the right-center field seats to silence the stunned sellout Rogers Centre crowd.
“In my mind, I was thinking, ‘I’m late (on the fastballs), so he might try to throw me another one,'” Beltran said. “I choked up a little bit and got a better pitch to hit, right down the middle, and I put a good barrel on it. As soon as I hit it, I knew it was going to leave the ballpark.”
Three of the four runs were charged to Price, who allowed 11 hits over 7 1 ⁄ 3 innings, striking out six without walking a batter.
“This is a huge win,” McCann said. “For ‘Los to hit that bomb, we had 11 hits off Price, which was good to see, and we were able to break through in the eighth.”
Ivan Nova (5-4) allowed all three of his runs in the third, but he kept the Blue Jays off the board during the rest of his season-high seven innings, getting a measure of revenge against Price and the Blue Jays, who beat him last weekend in the Bronx.
Yankees center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury makes a running catch on a fly ball in the second inning.
“You’ve got to stay focused and keep on believing that you can get the guys out,” Nova said. “Good thing it was only three runs, it didn’t get that big.”
The win, on the other hand? That was very big.
“That was a playoff atmosphere,” Miller said. “These fans are insane right now and rightfully so. I think they got a great performance out of their team; fortunately we were able to scratch right back and Carlos got that big hit.
“The stadium rocking like that, obviously the implications aren’t the same, but that’s a playoff feeling.”
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