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Blue Jays lose 6-4 to Yankees on 10th-inning homer; AL East lead shrinks to 2 1/2 games


TORONTO — When his team is playing at home, Blue Jays manager understands long balls can hurt just as much as they help.

Yankees rookie launched a three-run shot in the 10th inning and New York beat Toronto 6-4 Tuesday night to move closer in the AL East race.

"We play in the homer dome," Gibbons said. "You're always on your toes. You never feel safe."

(3-2) pitched two innings for the win and the Yankees closed within 2 1/2 games of first-place Toronto. The teams meet for the final time this season Wednesday night.

Bird connected off reliever (1-3) for his 10th home run in 34 games and third in the past three nights.

The runs were the first Lowe had allowed in 10 September appearances.

"It was a good pitch, down and away, bottom of the zone," Lowe said. "He just leaned out and got it. Great piece of hitting."

There have been 186 home runs at Rogers Centre this season. Among AL parks, only Yankee Stadium (199) and Baltimore's Camden Yards (204) have yielded more.

Yankees manager didn't want to contemplate his team's chances of catching the Blue Jays without Bird's timely homer.

"We would have dug ourselves a pretty deep hole," Girardi said.

led off the 10th with a bunt single and was replaced by pinch-runner . reached on catcher's interference before Bird drove a 2-2 pitch into the right-field bullpen. Six of his 10 homers have given the Yankees a lead.

"It seems like they've always been important, they've always been big homers," Miller said. "They're nothing to sneeze at. He's got them in big situations and he's been a huge part of this team."

Bird ripped his helmet off and slammed it to the floor in delight as he returned to the dugout following his homer.

"I was pretty pumped up," he said. "It's a big win for us, a big team win. Good feeling."

gave the Yankees a 3-2 advantage when he homered off in the eighth.

Toronto used a single and two walks to load the bases against with two outs in the eighth, but Betances struck out to preserve the one-run lead.

Blue Jays outfielder prevented a New York insurance run in the ninth by throwing out at home plate on 's fly ball. It was Bautista's second outfield assist of the game — he also threw out at third base in the seventh.

Bautista's play proved vital when hit a tying homer on the first pitch he saw from Miller in the ninth. The blown save was Miller's second with the Yankees.

hit a two-out double, pinch-hitter was intentionally walked and pinch-hitter walked to load the bases before Miller struck out to send it to extra innings.

Encarnacion hit a solo homer in the bottom of the 10th but Toronto lost for the third time in four games.

The Yankees jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first on McCann's RBI single and Beltran's sacrifice fly.

Pillar halved the deficit with a one-out homer into the second deck in left in the third, his 11th. Toronto tied it in the fourth on a two-out RBI single by .

After his shaky first inning, Blue Jays starter gave up a two-out double to Ellsbury in the second and a two-out single by Beltran in the third, then set down 11 straight before issuing a four-pitch walk to Ackley with one out in the seventh.

Ackley tried to go to third when followed with a single to right, but was thrown out by Bautista, with Donaldson leaping to catch Bautista's high throw, spinning as he landed and tagging Ackley's foot. Umpire Greg Gibson initially ruled Ackley safe, but the call was overturned upon replay review.

Estrada left after intentionally walking Ellsbury and was replaced by , who gave up an infield single to that loaded the bases. Hendriks came on and escaped the jam by striking out on three pitches.


Gibbons said scuffling reliever will share eighth-inning duties with Lowe and LHP for the foreseeable future. Sanchez has struggled in four of his past five outings.


Blue Jays: SS played catch and fielded grounders for the first time since breaking his left shoulder blade in a Sept. 12 game at Yankee Stadium. There is no timetable for his return.


Yankees: RHP (6-8, 5.11 ERA) pitches in place of injured RHP (right hamstring) in the series finale Wednesday night. Nova will start for the first time since allowing six runs in 1 2-3 innings of a Sept. 12 loss to Toronto.

Blue Jays: RHP (2-0, 3.00) makes his third start since returning from a torn ligament in his left knee. It will be Stroman's second outing against New York. He pitched five innings to beat the Yankees on Sept. 12.

PHOTO: New York Yankees' starting pitcher Luis Severino works against the Toronto Blue Jays during the first inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2015, in Toronto. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
New York Yankees' starting pitcher Luis Severino works against the Toronto Blue Jays during the first inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2015, in Toronto. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT

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