Blue Jays top Yanks to build on AL East lead

Blue Jays top Yanks to build on AL East lead

NEW YORK -- The Blue Jays scored an early advantage in a crucial series against the Yankees by homering early and often en route to an 11-5 victory on Friday night at Yankee Stadium.

With the win, Toronto increased its lead over New York to 2 1/2 games for first place in the American League East. It's the largest lead the Blue Jays have enjoyed this season and their largest lead in the division this late into the season since 1993.

"I said before the series: This is a big series," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "We have to come out, pitch better tomorrow and keep them in the ballpark if we want to win."

Russell Martin led the way with a pair of home runs, while Josh Donaldson, Edwin Encarnacion and Justin Smoak also went deep as Toronto took control early and never looked back. Left-hander David Price picked up the victory after he allowed a pair of runs over five innings before departing with a 9-2 lead.

Blue Jays' five home runs

"We definitely feed off one another, but our lineup definitely has a lot of depth," Martin said of his team, which has reached double digits in scoring 23 times this year. "I don't think the opposing pitchers feel like they have any breathing room out there. It's just one after the other, good, quality at-bats, one hitter at a time and we capitalize on mistakes."

Right-hander Luis Severino was charged with the loss after he couldn't find a way to make it out of the third inning. In 2 1/3 innings, he allowed six runs on six hits and three walks while striking out four and surrendering a pair of first-inning homers to Donaldson and Smoak.

New York attempted to get back into the game with a three-run shot by Didi Gregorius in the sixth, but that was as close as it would get. Martin followed in the next inning with a two-run shot as the Blue Jays regained control and hit five home runs on the road for the first time since May 12, 2013, at Fenway Park.

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Donaldson does it again: Donaldson put the Blue Jays in front in the first inning with a two-run shot to left. According to Statcast™, Donaldson's 38th homer of the year was projected to travel 435 feet and it left his bat at 109 mph. Donaldson has 13 first-inning homers this year, which is a franchise record, and 26 of his home runs this season have either tied the game or given the Blue Jays the lead. Toronto went on to score five runs in the inning, including a two-run shot by Smoak.

"Our offense jumped on the young kid early, Donaldson doing his thing, his MVP-self doing his thing," Martin said. "Got the party started and then we just kept adding some runs, had some good ABs in that first inning and we kept tacking on."

Blue Jays' five-run inning

Down and out: Severino has only made seven career starts, but each time he seems to prove to Girardi that he's poised and ready for Major League competition. Friday, however, was Severino's worst outing of the year by far. The six runs he gave up were two shy of his total number in the entire month of August. Only once before Friday had he pitched fewer than six innings, a five-inning stint in his first career start. In his 2 1/3 innings, Severino labored, throwing 71 pitches and 41 strikes. The bullpen struggled mightily as well, giving up a combined five runs and three homers. More >

"It's going to happen. It's baseball and you face good teams and [if] you're not on that night, that can happen," catcher Brian McCann said. "Again, it just goes back to, you get ready for your next start. And that's what he's going to do, his preparation is there and everything's there.

"He'll be back on the horse in four days, he'll be ready to go and we want him taking the ball."

Severino rings up Bautista

Doubling down: Martin enjoyed his second multi-homer game of the season with a solo shot in the fifth and a two-run shot in the seventh. The veteran catcher snapped an 0-for-13 skid in the third inning with a single to left and then brought the power. It was the 10th multi-homer game of his career and the first time he had three hits in a game since July 22 at Oakland. According to Statcast™, Martin's first homer of the night was projected to travel 416 feet. More >

"You just want to join the party, you just want to go out there and have a good at-bat and just keep the line moving," Martin said.

Martin's two-homer game

Didi does his part: In the sixth inning, Gregorius gave the Yankees a glimmer of hope when he blasted his ninth homer of the year, a shot over the right-field fence to bring in three runs. It cut Toronto's lead to 9-5. Gregorius also brought in a run in the fourth. Gregorius has been known for his reliable glove on defense, but he has been heating up offensively as well. Since July 23, he has 31 of his 50 RBIs on the season. The Yanks couldn't stay in it though, as right after Gregorius' homer, former Yankee Martin hit a two-run shot in the seventh.

Gregorius' RBI single

QUOTABLE
"It's got to be No. 1. Being traded from Detroit to anywhere else, it's hard to fathom that you're going to an offense that's better, and that's what happened with being traded to Toronto. This is the No. 1 offense in baseball, so it's fun to watch." -- Price, when asked if this was the best offense he has pitched for in the big leagues

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Encarnacion extended his on-base streak to 40 games with a double to right-center field in the top of the first. It's the third-longest streak by any player in the Major Leagues this season behind Matt Holliday (44) and Troy Tulowitzki (41). Encarnacion added a two-run homer in the fourth and is three RBIs shy of reaching 100 for the third time in his career.

Encarnacion's two-run homer

Toronto's streak of 28 consecutive scoreless innings pitched at Yankee Stadium was snapped in the third inning when Brett Gardner hit a sacrifice fly. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that's the longest scoreless streak by any opponent at Yankee Stadium in a single season.

Gardner's sacrifice fly

WHAT'S NEXT
Blue Jays: The Blue Jays will continue their four-game series against the Yankees with a doubleheader on Saturday afternoon. Right-hander Marco Estrada will get the start in Game 1, with first pitch scheduled for 1:05 p.m. ET, while Marcus Stroman is set to make his season debut in Game 2.

Yankees: The Yanks will send Michael Pineda to the mound for Game 1 of the doubleheader and Ivan Nova for Game 2. In his career against the Jays, Pineda is 2-2 with a 3.22 ERA. Nova is 5-3 in 11 career starts against them.

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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.