Bronx, NY (Sports Network) – Derek Jeter hit a three-run homer and tied a career high with five RBI, while CC Sabathia pitched into the eighth inning, as the New York Yankees dropped Toronto, 9-3, in the finale of a three-game set from Yankee Stadium.
Nick Swisher added a two-run shot and Alex Rodriguez hit a solo blast for the Yankees, who swept the series and have won seven of eight overall. New York moved 1 1/2 games ahead of Boston in the AL East after the Red Sox lost to Texas later Sunday.
“You always aim to win the division, and that was our goal at the beginning of the season, even before thinking about the World Series,” Sabathia admitted.
Sabathia (19-7) won his third straight decision by allowing six hits and two runs over 7 1/3 innings, fanning 10 with one walk.
“You don’t when he’s like that,” said acting Jays manager Don Wakamatsu when asked if any team can win when Sabathia pitches well. “He takes you so deep into ballgames that you have to say the hitters need to do a better job, but I don’t know how you do that.”
Mark Teahen finished with a pair of hits and drove in a run and Jose Bautista posted a solo homer for the Blue Jays, who have lost eight of 11.
Brett Cecil (4-8) was charged in defeat for five hits and five runs — four earned — over six full frames.
Toronto picked up two in the fourth on Teahen’s RBI double and a ground out by Jose Molina, but Rodriguez added a solo homer to right in the sixth for a 5-2 New York advantage.
Bautista deposited a Rafael Soriano pitch deep into the left-field bleachers for his 40th homer of the year with one down in the eighth to cut the Jays’ deficit to 5-3, but Robinson Cano singled with one out in the home half and Swisher hit the second deck in right for a 7-3 contest.
Jeter added a two-run single later in the frame and Cory Wade turned in a scoreless ninth to lock up the victory.
The Yanks picked up a run in the first when Brett Gardner led off with a walk, stole second and scored on Mark Teixeira’s infield single to third when Mike McCoy threw wild to first.
In the third, Miguel Montero’s leadoff hit was followed by Gardner’s plunking, and Jeter followed with a three-run shot to left and a 4-0 lead.
“This is the fun part of the season,” Jeter said. “It can get long, but it’s September now people spend a lot more time paying attention to the races, who’s in first and second.”