Here’s Ian Harrison for The Associated Press…
TORONTO (AP) — The Blue Jays finished off a forgettable August with their biggest power display of the month.
Jose Bautista homered for the fifth straight game and Toronto erased a three-run deficit to beat the New York Yankees 4-3 on Sunday.
Edwin Encarnacion and Melky Cabrera also connected for the Blue Jays, who had their most home runs since hitting four in Houston on July 31.
“They win. It’s guaranteed runs,” manager John Gibbons said of the power surge. “We’ve kind of been missing that.”
Derek Jeter had a chance to tie it for the Yankees in the ninth inning. With the sellout crowd of 45,678 on its feet, Jeter popped up against closer Casey Janssen with a runner on third for the final out in his last regular-season at-bat in Toronto.
“I don’t think I have had much success against (Janssen),” Jeter said. “He was better than me this time.”
J.A. Happ won for the first time in seven starts as Toronto closed August with a 9-17 record. Munenori Kawasaki singled home the go-ahead run in the seventh to help the Blue Jays take two of three in a series between AL East teams trying to stay close in the playoff chase.
New York’s loss was its fourth in six games.
“It’s tough. We only have so many series left,” Jeter said.
Brett Gardner finished a single shy of the cycle, but couldn’t deliver on a big opportunity in the ninth, grounding out with a runner on second to bring up Jeter.
Gardner gave the Yankees a quick lead when he connected on Happ’s second pitch for his sixth career leadoff homer and fifth this year.
Francisco Cervelli hit an RBI single in the fourth and the Yankees made it 3-0 in the fifth when Gardner tripled and scored on an errant relay throw by shortstop Jose Reyes.
New York right-hander Brandon McCarthy allowed just two singles and a walk through the first five innings, but ran into trouble in the sixth. Cabrera ended a streak of nine straight outs with a homer to right and, four pitches later, Bautista went deep.
“Everything happened so fast,” Cervelli said.
Jose Cruz Jr. holds the Blue Jays record for consecutive games with a home run, connecting in six straight from Sept. 29 to Oct. 5, 2001.
Encarnacion tied it at 3 with a leadoff drive in the seventh, and McCarthy left after walking Dioner Navarro. Dellin Betances got two outs before pinch-runner Steve Tolleson stole second and scored on Kawasaki’s single, sliding in under Cervelli’s tag at home plate.
Happ (9-8) allowed three runs and nine hits in seven innings to win for the first time since July 22 against Boston.
“His breaking ball today was as good as we’ve seen it,” Gibbons said.
Brett Cecil worked the eighth and Janssen finished for his 20th save in 24 chances.
McCarthy (5-4) allowed four runs and five hits in six innings, losing for the fourth time in five starts.
Starting as the designated hitter, Jeter went 1 for 5 with a single in the first.
A GIFT FOR 2
Before the game, the Blue Jays honored Jeter with a video tribute and a $10,000 donation to his Turn 2 charity. Bautista and Mark Buehrle joined Jeter on the field to present him with a gift, a three-night luxury trip to Banff, Alberta, complete with a helicopter tour of the Rocky Mountains as well as Jeter’s choice of golf or ski lessons. “I will definitely use that one,” Jeter said.
Pressed again on Masahiro Tanaka’s return to New York for further treatment on his sore right arm, Yankees manager Joe Girardi cited the superiority of the facilities at Yankee Stadium compared to those at 25-year-old Rogers Centre. “Has anyone seen the weight room?” Girardi asked a crowd of media in the visitor’s dugout before the game. “It’s about as big as this area we’re in right now, this little room.”
Jacoby Ellsbury (sore left ankle) was held out of the starting lineup but delivered a pinch-hit double in the ninth. He was replaced by pinch-runner Ichiro Suzuki. Ellsbury was scheduled to have an MRI on Sunday night when the team returned home to New York.
Associated Press photos