Tanaka's complete game helps Yanks expand lead over Jays

Tanaka's complete game helps Yanks expand lead over Jays

TORONTO -- Masahiro Tanaka fired his first complete game of the season and Carlos Beltran and Mark Teixeira swatted solo shots, as the Yankees topped the Blue Jays, 4-1, at Rogers Centre on Saturday.

Beltran, who belted the decisive three-run shot in Friday's win, wasted no time getting the Yankees on the board, as he launched a first-inning homer over the wall in right field to give the visitors an early one-run lead. Teixeira went deep in the sixth to snap a 1-1 tie, and later delivered an RBI single in the eighth to put the Yankees up by a pair.

Beltran's solo homer

"Right now, the most important thing is winning," Beltran said. "It doesn't matter how we win, we just have to go out there with the mentality of not being able to think of our personal numbers, what we're doing. We have to think about how we can win this ballgame. Right now, we're doing good."

Jacoby Ellsbury's RBI single in the ninth capped N.Y.'s offensive effort, as the Bombers extended their lead over the Blue Jays in the American League East to 1 1/2 games.

Ellsbury's RBI single

Tanaka was impressive, limiting the Blue Jays to five hits and an earned run, while walking three and striking out eight. The right-hander was at his best when he squirmed out of a bases-loaded situation with no outs in the fifth, going through the heart of the potent Blue Jays batting order. He limited the damage to one run and went on to pitch four nearly seamless innings to record his first victory over Toronto in three tries this season.

"Up to this point, I think today was one of the most important games that I've pitched in," Tanaka said. "My mindset was, I wanted to go as deep into the game as possible. I was really satisfied that I was able to do that."

Marco Estrada took the loss for the Blue Jays after allowing three hits and two earned runs, while walking three and striking out three over six innings.

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED

Tanaka wriggles free: The Blue Jays appeared to have Tanaka on the ropes in the fifth inning, loading the bases with nobody out for their big bats. Josh Donaldson lifted a game-tying sacrifice fly, but Tanaka recovered to strike out Jose Bautista and got Edwin Encarnacion to pop out, an outcome the Yanks gladly settled for. Tanaka settled in, retiring 11 straight before Encarnacion's two-out single in the eighth.

Donaldson's sac fly

"That's a big inning. They had bases loaded, nobody out and Donaldson up," catcher John Ryan Murphy said. "That's not exactly a situation we were looking forward to in any part of the game. He got out of that, got a sac fly and then got out of the inning. He continued to make pitches, limited his pitch count. I think I started thinking about [a complete game] maybe in the seventh or eighth inning." More >

Estrada exits after 6: Estrada allowed only three hits, but two of them were the solo home runs to Beltran and Teixeira. Once prone to giving up home runs -- he was the Major League leader in homers allowed in 2014 with 29 -- Estrada had done a good job in '15, surrendering only one over his last seven starts prior to Saturday's matinee.

"I missed a lot of spots today. I wasn't my usual self," Estrada said. "... For the most part, I thought I was all over the place. Didn't really get too many first-pitch strikes today."

Tex rested and ready: A night off earlier this week in Cleveland, as well as a stint as Saturday's designated hitter, seems to have agreed with Teixeira. The slugger was mired in an 8-for-45 (.178) skid coming into the middle game with Toronto, but he delivered two of the Yanks' biggest knocks of the day -- homer No. 31 in the sixth inning and a run-scoring single in the eighth.

Teixeira's solo home run

"They were really hot," Teixeira said of the Blue Jays. "They've been playing good baseball and they continue to play good baseball; we've just been a little better the last two nights. We don't want them to get on too long of a stretch there, because we don't want to get down in the standings."

Encarnacion streaking: The Blue Jays slugger extended his hitting streak to a season-high 13 games with his double in the fourth. After missing four games in a row with a jammed left middle single, Encarnacion has swatted two-baggers in back-to-back games. He's reached base safely in 18 straight contests. More >

Encarnacion extends hit streak

QUOTABLE

"He's a great hitter. He's been doing it for a long time. He's got a game plan and he executed." -- Blue Jays catcher Dioner Navarro on Beltran, who has homered twice in two games for the Yankees in Toronto

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS

Blue Jays starters have now allowed three earned runs or fewer in 19 consecutive games, setting a new club record.

LIFE ON THE FLIP SIDE

The Blue Jays swept their way to a series victory at Yankee Stadium last week, posting victories of 2-1, 6-0 and 2-0. But through a pair of games this weekend, New York has given Toronto a taste of its own medicine. More >

REPLAY REVIEW

The umpires reviewed Greg Bird's drive to right field off Estrada in the sixth inning, after manager Joe Girardi said he believed it might have been a home run. A review of one minute, 30 seconds upheld the call on the field, a foul ball. It would have been Bird's first Major League hit.

Bird's foul ball confirmed

The 22-year-old later singled off LaTroy Hawkins in the eighth inning. More >

Bird's first career hit

WHAT'S NEXT

Yankees: Luis Severino will make his third Major League start on Sunday, as the Yankees try to complete a three-game sweep of the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. Severino, the Yanks' No. 1 prospect according to MLBPipeline.com, is seeking his first big league win despite allowing two runs or fewer and hurling at least five innings in his two starts vs. the Red Sox and Indians.

Blue Jays: Drew Hutchison takes the mound for the series finale. He has been much better at home than on the road this season, so his making this start at Rogers Centre should be considered good fortune for his team. The right-hander boasts a 2.68 ERA at home, compared to a 9.00 mark on the road.

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Jamie Ross is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch, on Facebook and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.