TORONTO — Veteran outfielder Brett Gardner knocked in five runs with two homers and a double to help Canadian lefty James Paxton win his ninth start in a row as the New York Yankees blew out the Toronto Blue Jays 13-3 on Saturday.
Gardner reached base six times in the Yankees’ 19-hit attack against the Blue Jays (58-91). He followed up a solo blast in the fourth inning with a three-run shot in the fifth inning. His second homer, his 25th of the season, propelled New York (98-52) to a 6-0 advantage.
The centre fielder also doubled home Luke Voit in the second inning and reached base for a fourth time on a Vladimir Guerrero Jr. error.
After Gio Ursula singled in the eighth inning, Gardner drove a hard smash at Blue Jays reliever Jordan Romano. The Toronto pitcher knocked the ball down and recovered in time to throw out Urshela at second. But with Gardner standing on first Romano left the game after rolling his right ankle to make the play.
Gardner also made a sharp catch in left-centre in the fifth inning, banging into the wall to take a hit away from Blue Jays catcher Danny Jansen.
Paxton (14-6) exited after 102 pitches and three hits in five innings. He was solid through four innings, allowing only a one-out double to left field from Toronto’s Lourdes Gurriel Jr. in the first inning.
But the Yankees starter ran up his pitch count in a troublesome fifth inning. Paxton yielded an infield hit to Brandon Drury, who advanced to second base after a throwing error from shortstop Gleyber Torres.
Drury then reached third on Jansen’s hit that Gardner snagged, and scored on Bo Bichette’s sacrifice fly to right field.
Gurriel, in the designated-hitter role, returned to the lineup after a 30-game absence because of a left quad strain he suffered on Aug. 8. He also checked in with a single in the eighth inning.
With Paxton out of the game, the Yankees put their foot to the floor in the sixth inning with three more home runs. Torres clubbed his 37th with D.J. LeMahieu aboard and Voit crushed a homer to the third deck in straightaway centre field at Rogers Centre.
All three homers came off Blue Jays reliever Brock Stewart.
Toronto starter Jacob Waguespack (4-5) left after 3 2/3 innings. He surrendered seven hits and three runs but managed four strikeouts.
Yankees pinch-hitter Mike Ford added two-run homer in a four-run ninth inning, while Toronto shortstop Richard Urena knocked in two runs with a one-out double in the bottom half of the final frame.
Notes: Toronto manager Charlie Montoyo confirmed southpaw reliever Tim Mayza tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow after a pitch in the 10th inning on Friday. Mayza, 27, will undergo Tommy John surgery and is expected to miss most of next season … Blue Jays third-string catcher Luke Maile (oblique) was activated before the game.
Tim Wharnsby, The Canadian Press