Hafner homers, triples as Yankees beat Blue Jays
BEN WALKER,AP Baseball Writer
NEW YORK (AP) — Travis Hafner hit a three-run homer, then lumbered around the bases for a go-ahead triple in the seventh inning that sent CC Sabathia and the New York Yankees over the Toronto Blue Jays 5-4 Saturday.
Vernon Wells delivered another key hit against his former team as the Yankees beat Toronto for the third straight day. With Mariano Rivera getting a day off to rest, Joba Chamberlain worked around a pair of one-out singles in the ninth for his first save since 2010.
Jose Bautista and Brett Lawrie homered for the Blue Jays, who dropped to 1-5 on their seven-game road trip.
Hafner wiped out a 3-0 deficit with his sixth home run, a long drive to center field in the fourth off J.A. Happ. A few innings later, the slugging designated hitter broke a 4-all tie.
A double by Robinson Cano and an RBI single by Wells evened it in the seventh against Esmil Rogers (1-2). Toronto brought in lefty reliever Brett Cecil to face the lefty-swinging Hafner with two outs and Wells on third.
Hafner hit a high drive that ticked off center fielder Rajai Davis' glove as he approached the padded wall. The 35-year-old Hafner kept running and pulled into the third with a standup triple.
Hafner exhaled as he stood on the bag. Captain Derek Jeter, one of several injured Yankees, laughed along with Hafner and his teammates from the dugout.
Hafner has hit three triples in the last six seasons — the other two came last year with Cleveland.
Sabathia (4-2) allowed three earned runs and nine hits in eight innings. He walked none, struck out four and improved to 14-4 overall against Toronto.
Bautista hit his seventh home run, a leadoff drive in the fourth. He had been 1 for 20 lifetime against Sabathia with eight strikeouts before connecting.
The Blue Jays scored another run in the fourth. Edwin Encarnacion tagged up at third on Lawrie's fly ball to right fielder Ichiro Suzuki, and was safe at the plate when catcher Chris Stewart dropped the ball while making the tag for an error.
Bautista nearly homered again in the eighth, but center fielder Brett Gardner caught his fly at the top of the wall.
A day after Toronto pitchers walked a majors-high 10 this season, Happ's control doomed him. He walked Wells and Kevin Youkilis to open the fourth and Hafner followed with his home run.
Lawrie put Toronto ahead when he homered to begin the sixth. Lawrie started the season on the disabled list and hit his first homer of the season Thursday night at Yankee Stadium.
NOTES: Rivera had pitched the previous two days and manager Joe Girardi wanted to rest baseball's career saves leader. ... Youkilis returned to the lineup after missing six games because of tightness in his lower back. ... Hafner had managed just a single in eight at-bats against lefties this year before homering off Happ. ... Sabathia threw more than 100 pitches for the 12th straight start dating to last year. ... Blue Jays RHP R.A. Dickey (2-3, 4.66 ERA) was set to pitch Sunday vs. RHP Phil Hughes (0-2, 5.14). Dickey won the NL Cy Young Award last year with the Mets, and might draw some crosstown fans for his start at Yankee Stadium. ... Blue Jays DH-1B Adam Lind is expected to come off the paternity list Sunday. ... Bautista has three hits over the last four games, all home runs.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.