Sep 12, 2015 12:43 AM
Martin homers twice, Blue Jays hit 5 in 11-5 rout of Yankees
The Associated Press
NEW YORK (AP) David Price sauntered through the clubhouse in that plush new robe several Toronto players were wearing sharp blue with the team logo and his name and number on the back.
Manager John Gibbons had his feet propped up on his desk as he carved into a juicy rib-eye steak that sat in his lap.
No doubt about it, after blowing out their closest challengers in the AL East on Friday night, the Blue Jays are beginning to look pretty comfortable.
Russell Martin homered twice and drove in four runs against his former team, and Toronto went deep five times to beat the New York Yankees 11-5 in the opener of their weekend showdown for first place.
"We definitely feed off one another, for sure. It's just our lineup, it just has a lot of depth," Martin said. "I don't think the opposing pitchers feel like they have any breathing room out there. It's just one after the other."
Josh Donaldson and Justin Smoak hit two-run shots in a five-run first inning to build a big lead for Price. Edwin Encarnacion added a titanic drive after the Blue Jays chased rookie starter Luis Severino in the third.
Seeking its first playoff appearance in 22 years, Toronto increased its division lead to 2 1-2 games over New York. The teams play a rare single-admission double-header at Yankee Stadium on Saturday to make up Thursday night's rainout. The four-game series concludes Sunday.
"Any win from here on out is the biggest win of the year," Price said.
A vocal contingent of Toronto fans made themselves heard all night, with Yankees supporters attempting to drown out chants of "Let's go Blue Jays!" after the crowd of 40,220 had dwindled by the eighth inning.
Didi Gregorius hit a three-run homer and knocked in four for the Yankees, who can fall back on their lead in the wild-card race. But they want to win the AL East and avoid the win-or-go-home scenario of a wild-card game.
Handed an 8-1 lead, Price (15-5) lasted only five innings because he needed 96 pitches to get that far.
"We figured, you know what? If we can't protect a seven-run lead, we don't deserve to win," Gibbons said. "And our bullpen was rested."
The ace left-hander struck out seven and improved to 6-1 with a 2.28 ERA since the Blue Jays acquired him in a July 30 trade with Detroit. He has defeated the Yankees twice in three starts with Toronto.
Price is 6-0 with a 2.01 ERA in his last eight starts at Yankee Stadium.
Severino (3-3) gave up a double to his first batter and stumbled to his knees on his fifth pitch. He flexed his left leg as manager Joe Girardi and a trainer came out to check on him, but Severino threw one warmup pitch and remained in the game.
"I just think he caught his spike. It scared me probably more than it probably scared him," Girardi said. "You can have some pretty bad thoughts go through your mind in a situation like that, but he's OK."
Then the 21-year-old right-hander really took a tumble.
Donaldson hit a mammoth drive into the elevated concrete bleachers in left field for his 38th homer. Encarnacion doubled and scored on Troy Tulowitzki's single before Smoak homered to right.
Martin, who had three of Toronto's 16 hits, added an RBI single in the third.
"My location with my fastball wasn't there," said Severino, who had a wrap on his lower right leg. "Not cut, just hurt a little bit."
Encarnacion, who has reached base safely in a club-record 40 consecutive games, took a long look at his two-run clout in the fourth off Chris Martin that landed in the rarely reached second deck in left.
Alex Rodriguez struck out all four times up for the Yankees, drawing boos.
RIGHT AT HOME
Toronto won its fifth straight at Yankee Stadium for the first time since 2003 and improved to 9-4 against New York this year. ... Each of the top seven batters in Toronto's lineup had at least two hits.
Donaldson has hit 13 homers in the first inning, a team record. All but 12 of his long balls this season have tied the game or given Toronto the lead.
MIGHTY IN THE 'PEN
Toronto lefty Brett Cecil struck out three in 1 1-3 innings, extending his scoreless streak to a career-high 23 2-3 innings the longest current run in the AL and the best by an AL reliever all season.
Blue Jays: Rookie 2B Devon Travis (left shoulder) was transferred to the 60-day DL when Toronto activated RHP Marcus Stroman (knee) from the 60-day DL and recalled RHP Chad Jenkins from Triple-A Buffalo. Eligible to return on Sept. 27, Travis has been taking dry swings and making some progress, a Blue Jays spokesman said. But the team isn't sure Travis will make it back this season.
Yankees: 1B Mark Teixeira will miss the rest of the season after a third round of tests finally revealed a broken right leg.
Blue Jays: RHP Marco Estrada (12-8) starts the opener Saturday, with Stroman making his season debut in the second game. The 24-year-old Stroman, who had surgery in March to repair a torn ACL in his left knee, went 11-6 with a 3.65 ERA as a rookie last season. He grew up on Long Island, about 55 miles from Yankee Stadium, and said he's leaving around 20 passes for friends and family Saturday. Stroman completed his sociology degree this year while rehabbing his knee at Duke, where he played college ball.
Yankees: RHP Michael Pineda (10-8) gets the ball in the first game Saturday. RHP Ivan Nova (6-7) makes his 1
00th major league start in the nightcap.