Toronto, ON – Vernon Wells' two-run double in the top of the eighth inning capped a late rally that propelled the New York Yankees to a much-needed 4-3 win over the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.
The Yankees averted a fifth straight loss by putting up four runs in the eighth, with Robinson Cano and Alfonso Soriano each coming through with RBI hits in front of Wells' go-ahead double. The victory also closed New York within 2 1/2 games of Texas for the AL's second wild card spot.
David Huff (3-1) contributed to the comeback by tossing 3 2/3 innings of one- run ball in relief of starter Phil Hughes, while Mariano Rivera shut the door with a four-out save in which he worked out of a mild jam in the ninth.
Toronto received a two-run homer from Colby Rasmus, his fourth in as many games, and a solo shot from Ryan Goins, but had just six other hits and fell to 2-6 on its current nine-game homestand.
J.A. Happ threw seven-plus strong innings for the Blue Jays in a no-decision, permitting just one run on four hits while striking out a season-high seven. Steve Delabar (5-5) was tagged with the loss after surrendering two runs on three hits and registering only one out in the eighth.
"I've just happened to hit a rough bump lately, but it's not going to change my mindset from day to day," said Delbar. "I'm going to come back tomorrow and get right back at it."
Following up R.A. Dickey's seven-inning gem in the Blue Jays' 2-0 verdict in Tuesday's opener of this three-game set, Happ held the Yankees down for seven full frames as Toronto carried a 3-0 lead into the eighth. His evening ended when Brendan Ryan led off the inning with a double, right before New York's bats caught fire against the Jays' bullpen.
Curtis Granderson singled off Aaron Loup to place runners at the corners, and Cano followed a strikeout by Alex Rodriguez with a sharp single up the middle to get the Yankees on the board. Soriano then doubled to the base of the wall in right to bring home Granderson, and Wells drilled a liner into the left- field corner to plate both runners for a 4-3 edge.
"This team never quits," said manager Joe Girardi. "We have a pretty mature group. They know what they have to do."
Toronto threatened against Rivera in its final at-bat, with Adam Lind and Rasmus lacing back-to-back singles to put two on with none out. Munenori Kawasaki failed to advance pinch-runner Kevin Pillar on a bunt attempt, however, and the Yankee closer retired Goins and J.P. Arencibia in succession to nail down his 44th save of the season.
One night after breaking a scoreless tie with a home run into the right-field second deck during the fourth inning, Rasmus did the same by launching Hughes' final pitch of the night into the seats. The blast came two batters after Brett Lawrie began Toronto's half of the frame with a double.
Huff came on in relief and recorded a quick out, but then had a changeup drilled by Goins over the wall in right that staked the Blue Jays to a 3-0 advantage. He set down 10 consecutive hitters after the rookie's first major league homer, however, to help set the stage for the comeback.
Hughes lasted just 3 1/3 innings, allowing the two runs on four hits.
The retiring Rivera's 44 saves is the most in MLB history by a player in his final season, breaking a tie he shared with Robb Nen (San Francisco, 2002) and Jeff Shaw (Dodgers, 2001) ... Toronto has lost the last seven of Happ's starts at home this year ... Hughes is now winless in 12 starts since besting Minnesota on July 2 ... Rasmus entered the game 0-for-12 lifetime against Hughes ... Toronto's Moises Sierra's double in the second inning was his 12th in September, the most in the majors this month.