NEW YORK (AP) — Brett Gardner hit his first career grand slam and Alex Rodriguez drove in four more runs during the Yankees' biggest offensive inning in five years, carrying New York to an 11-3 rout of the Toronto Blue Jays on Saturday.
The high-powered Yankees scored 11 times during their 37-minute third inning, sending 15 batters to the plate. It was their most prolific outburst since scoring 13 times in the eighth against Tampa Bay on June 21, 2005.
Gardner's slam knocked Blue Jays ace Ricky Romero from the game after 2 2-3 innings, the shortest start of his career. He allowed eight of the 11 runs, the most given up by Toronto in an inning since Kansas City also scored 11 times in the seventh on Aug. 6, 1979.
Andy Pettitte (10-2) limited the Blue Jays to Jose Bautista's two-run homer in the first and Alex Gonzalez's solo shot in the sixth. The 38-year-old left-hander went six innings on a steamy afternoon to match CC Sabathia and Phil Hughes with 10 wins, marking the fourth time in the past 50 years that a trio of Yankees have reached double-digits before the All-Star break.
This one was all about the offense, though.
The Yankees had been scuffling at the plate while losing three of their last four, managing just nine runs while A-Rod, Robinson Cano and Derek Jeter went a combined 7 for 45.
Gardner provided the spark for the scoring merry go-round in the third with a seemingly innocent single to left field. Jeter drew his second straight walk and Nick Swisher singled to load the bases before Mark Teixeira hit a tying, two-run double down the left-field line.
The boys in pinstripes were just getting started.
Rodriguez followed with an RBI fielder's choice, a grounder that Romero (6-5) misplayed, and Cano hit a run-scoring single into the right-field corner.
The Blue Jays looked as though they might escape any more damage when Jorge Posada flied out and Curtis Granderson nubbed a grounder, but he hustled down the line to beat the throw to first base. Then everything unraveled for Toronto: Romero plunked Chad Huffman to load the bases again and Gardner hit a full-count pitch into the stands in right field to make it 8-2.
Romero trudged off the field and Brian Tallet ran in from the bullpen, only to walk the bases loaded. A-Rod followed with a high pop fly that left fielder Josh McDonald lost in the sun. When the ball landed softly on the outfield grass, Rodriguez was standing on second base with a double, New York led 11-3 and the crowd of 46,364 was on its feet in a roar.
The big inning was even more surprising considering Romero and Pettitte waged an impressive pitchers' duel when they met June 5. Both lasted into the eighth inning while allowing just two runs, before Aaron Hill won the game for Toronto with a single in the 14th inning.
The win was the first for Pettitte at home over the Blue Jays since Aug. 2, 1999, a span of nine starts during which he lost five times and had a 6.58 ERA.
It should also give Yankees manager Joe Girardi a lasting impression as he helps finalize selections for the AL All-Star roster, which will be announced Sunday. Pettitte hasn't been an All-Star since 2001.
Notes: Yankees OF Marcus Thames (right hamstring) was expected to play nine innings Saturday for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He could be activated Sunday. ... Yankees general manager Brian Cashman turned 43 on Saturday. ... Bautista has 21 homers this season. He came into the game tied with Miguel Cabrera and Paul Konerko for the major league lead.