Toronto, ON – Vernon Wells homered against his former team for the second straight day and started the winning two-run rally in the 11th inning with a single, as the New York Yankees notched a 5-3 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.
Wells led off the 11th against Aaron Loup (1-1) with his third hit of the day and Francisco Cervelli followed with a single. Ichiro Suzuki dropped down a bunt and Loup tried for the force out at third, but threw the ball past a scrambling Brett Lawrie and down the left field line to allow both runners to cross the plate for a 5-3 lead.
"(Loup's) trying to throw when Lawrie's on the run, backward, and it's a big play for us," said Yankees manager Joe Girardi.
Mariano Rivera allowed a leadoff double to Jose Bautista in the bottom of the 11th and Edwin Encarnacion followed with a hard line drive to right field for the first out. Rivera then struck out both J.P. Arencibia and Lawrie to nail down his fifth save.
Kevin Youkilis drove in two runs for the Yankees, who have won the first two of this three-game set and nine of their last 11. Youkilis, though, left the contest with a back issue.
Melky Cabrera tied the game with a two-run single in a three-run Toronto eighth, as the Blue Jays rallied against Yankee reliever David Robertson after New York starter Hiroki Kuroda was brilliant for 7 1/3 innings.
Kuroda, coming off a shutout against Baltimore last Sunday, was charged with one run on three hits with a walk and seven strikeouts.
"He gave us a great outing again," noted Girardi.
Toronto starter Mark Buehrle, who entered with a 1-8 lifetime mark against the Yankees, gave up three runs on eight hits with a walk and seven strikeouts in seven solid innings.
Kuroda was in control until the eighth inning when Colby Rasmus singled under the outstretched glove of first baseman Lyle Overbay with one out. Robertson took over with Kuroda at 108 pitches and the Blue Jays took advantage.
Robertson struck out Maicer Izturis, but pinch-hitter Adam Lind walked and Rajai Davis singled home Rasmus. Pinch-runner Emilio Bonifacio took third on the base hit and Davis stole second, setting the stage for Cabrera. The former Yankee stung a single to center, plating both runners to tie the game.
Cabrera had a chance to win the game for the Jays in the 10th with a runner on second and two outs, but Overbay made a nice play on his grounder in the hole between first and second and threw to Shawn Kelley covering first.
"It's been tough, especially today with the team battling back to tie the ball game," Loup said. "It's just a bad way to lose the game."
Kelley (1-0) picked up the win by retiring the only two batters he faced. He first got Davis on a pop up with Izturis on second after a single and a sacrifice.
Wells, who homered in New York's 9-4 win on Friday, gave the Yankees a 1-0 lead in the second inning with a blast off the screen on the left field foul pole.
The Yankees threatened in the fourth, loading the bases with two outs on a pair of singles and an error, but Eduardo Nunez popped out to strand all three runners. They filled the bags again in the fifth and were given two runs.
Jayson Nix led off the fifth with a single and raced to third on a double to left-center by Brett Gardner. After Robinson Cano was intentionally walked with one out, Youkilis ripped a line drive toward Lawrie at third, but he failed to catch it. Two runs scored on the gift single and the Yankees went on to load the bases again before Cervelli grounded into a double play.
Gardner was 2-for-6 and extended his hitting streak to seven games ... Buehrle made his 400th career start .... Toronto fell to 3-10 when the opponent scores first ... Arencibia entered the contest 6-for-9 lifetime against Kuroda, but fanned three times against the Yankee right-hander and was 0-for-5 overall with four Ks ... Cabrera went 2-for-5 and his double in the first inning was his first extra-base hit since April 5.