Bautista's homer in 10th shrinks AL East gap

Bautista's homer in 10th shrinks AL East gap

TORONTO -- Jose Bautista hit a solo home run in the 10th inning to help pull the Blue Jays within 3 1/2 games of New York for first place in the American League East with a 2-1 victory over the Yankees on Friday night at Yankee Stadium.

Bautista's 25th home run of the season came on a 1-2 pitch from right-hander Branden Pinder. That was enough to give Toronto its sixth consecutive win, and the club also improved to 5-5 in extra-inning games this season. New York dropped to 4-5 since July 29.

Toronto knuckleballer R.A. Dickey and Yankees right-hander Nathan Eovaldi each pitched well, but neither factored into the decision. Dickey allowed one run over seven strong innings to lower his ERA to 3.93, while Eovaldi also surrendered one run over 6 1/3 innings.

Dickey 'enjoying' sustained run of success

"It's like hitting a butterfly," said Yankees manager Joe Girardi of facing a knuckleballer. "I thought we had better swings tonight than we did the other night, we just weren't able to score any runs."

Girardi on Eovaldi, Yanks' loss

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Bautista Bomb: Bautista rose to the occasion for the Blue Jays as they continue to gain ground in the AL East. According to Statcast™, his blast was projected to travel 397 feet from home plate, and it left his bat at 103 mph. Bautista has four home runs in his last seven games to go along with a pair of doubles and nine RBIs over that same span.

"The home run is not really what I'm too concerned about," Bautista said. "Winning the game, coming here in the first game of the series, on the road, when we're chasing them from second place to first place, making a statement, that's the most important thing." More >

Solid start: Eovaldi kept the Yanks in the game after a laborious first inning, during which he allowed a home run to Josh Donaldson. Eovaldi settled in, however, finishing with five hits allowed while striking out three and walking two. He threw 70 of his 112 pitches for strikes.

"He threw the ball extremely well tonight. He gave us a great chance to win that game and held down a very potent offense," Girardi said. "Giving up the one run in the first and getting late in the game for us, I thought he did a great job."

Eovaldi's one-run outing

Bringer of Rain: Donaldson got the Blue Jays started on a high note with his shot to right field. It was No. 30 for Donaldson, who set a career high after he hit 29 last season for Oakland. According to Statcast™, Donaldson's latest was projected to travel 364 feet from home plate, and it left his bat at 101 mph. Donaldson has four homers in his last five games and seven in his last 12.

Donaldson's 30th homer

Loss pinned on Pinder: The Yanks rookie reliever had earned Girardi's confidence, despite his lack of experience, and the manager didn't hesitate to call his name in a big moment. The righty simply missed his location when facing Bautista.

"He's been throwing the ball extremely well. Good slider against the right-handed hitters," Girardi said. "You look at the success that that part of the order has had against left-handers, I felt I'd go right-hander there." More >

QUOTABLE
"It was a hell of a game, it really was. 2-1 games, although they had one last night, that's very rare in Yankee Stadium. I tip my hat to our guys, both sides played very well. Eovaldi was great, you can't say anything bad. R.A. bounced back on short rest from his last start and gave us a tremendous effort." -- Blue Jays manager John Gibbons

Dickey's strong outing

IN REVIEW
In the Yankees' second inning, Mark Teixeira blasted a deep ball to left field that was initially ruled a double off the top of the wall. After a crew chief review was initiated, it was determined that the ball made contact with a fan and would have left the playing field had no spectator interference occurred. The call was overturned, and Teixeira had his 30th home run after three minutes and 56 seconds of review.

"It was hard to see. We don't get a ton of angles, but I thought it was a home run," Girardi said. "You're never sure because it wasn't called a home run on the field."

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
• Teixeira now has nine seasons with at least 30 home runs, which is tied with Mickey Mantle for the most by a switch-hitter in Major League history.

• Blue Jays starters have allowed three runs or fewer in 11 straight games and have posted a 2.72 ERA (23 ER/76 IP) over that same span. It's the longest such streak since Toronto starters achieved the feat for 13 straight games from Sept. 21-Oct. 3, 2010.

WHAT'S NEXT
Blue Jays: Left-hander David Price will take the mound when the Blue Jays continue their three-game series against the Yankees on Saturday afternoon, with first pitch scheduled for 1:05 pm. ET. This will mark Price's second start for Toronto, and he was nearly flawless in his Blue Jays debut by allowing one run over eight innings in a win over the Twins. More >

Yankees: Right-hander Ivan Nova (4-3, 3.10 ERA) starts the second game of the three-game set. In his last start, Nova got the win over the White Sox after allowing one run and registering seven strikeouts in six innings.

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Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. Grace Raynor is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.