TORONTO -- Right-hander Marco Estrada rose to the occasion when the Blue Jays needed him the most, tossing eight scoreless innings in a 4-2 victory over the Yankees on Monday night at Rogers Centre.
Estrada scattered three hits and three walks while striking out six in his seventh quality start of the year. He has gone at least seven innings during each of his last three starts and has now picked up a victory against New York in back-to-back outings.
The veteran starter could not have picked a better time to go deep into a game. The Blue Jays had four relievers unavailable, and manager John Gibbons lamented the health of his bullpen prior to the game. Almost everybody needed a day of rest, and Estrada provided it.
"He was great again," Gibbons said of Estrada, who became the second pitcher in Toronto history to defeat the Yankees in back-to-back outings. "It was really the exact outing we had to have.
"To be honest, I've seen him do that many times, so I can't say he had one of his best outings, because he does that a lot. But he stepped up, and he just faced these guys the other day. That makes it even tougher on a pitcher, when everybody is familiar with you. He has been a great pitcher for us."
The Yankees struggled to do much of anything offensively off Estrada but they did threaten in the ninth once he left the game. Brian McCann hit a two-run homer off left-hander Aaron Loup, and Mark Teixeira followed with a double off Drew Storen to bring the potential tying run to the plate. Storen then retired Starlin Castro and Chase Headley to end the game.
"You give yourself a chance there in the ninth," McCann said. "Estrada had it working today. He keeps you between speeds. He's got something figured out. He keeps you guessing."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Goins, Goins, Gone: Goins led off the bottom off the fifth inning by sending a high fly ball over the wall in left field for a home run. According to Statcast™, Goins' third of the season traveled an estimated 363 feet and left his bat at 99 mph. Goins, who also hit a key double to lead off the third, has five extra-base hits against the Yankees this season, compared with three against the rest of the league.
"Nova's got a really good sinker, and I just found ways to get ahead in the count," Goins said about his at-bats. "When he gets ahead in the count, he's pretty dangerous with the big curveball and the good sinker, and he gets a lot of ground balls, so it just worked out in my favor to get ahead in the count." More >
Silent night: The Yankees notched just one hit and managed to win on Sunday against Tampa Bay, but there was no late rescue in the cards this time. New York's bats were cold for most of the night; Jacoby Ellsbury's leadoff single, Carlos Beltran's hit to open the fourth and Aaron Hicks' double were all the Yanks could manage against Estrada. New York only had one runner in scoring position through the first seven innings. McCann's homer off Loup snapped a personal 0-for-21 skid.
"It's difficult when you have two-thirds of your lineup not swinging the bat well," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "It's difficult to score runs. We've got to turn that around." More >
Starting early: Toronto got off to a hot start in the bottom of the first inning, when Josh Donaldson hit a one-out single and Encarnacion followed with an RBI double to the gap in left-center. Encarnacion drove in another run in the third, bringing his season total to a team-high 40 RBIs. Since the start of 2014, Encarnacion is batting .318 with 18 extra-base hits against the Yankees.
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A win in either of the next two games would give the Blue Jays their fifth consecutive series victory over the Yankees. That's something they have not accomplished since 1992-93. Toronto has won 11 of its last 15 and 18 of its last 27 games vs. New York.
"He got the job done, baby. Name of the game, right?" -- Gibbons, when asked for his thoughts on Storen and the Blue Jays struggling to close this one out
WHAT'S NEXT Yankees: Left-hander CC Sabathia will try to continue a string of sharp outings as he takes the ball for the middle game of the three-game set in Toronto. Sabathia permitted two unearned runs on just two hits over seven innings in his most recent outing, also against the Blue Jays, taking the loss in a 3-1 decision at Yankee Stadium.
Blue Jays: Left-hander J.A. Happ will take the mound when the Blue Jays continue their series against the Yankees. Happ has recorded a quality start in all but one of his 10 outings this year. In his previous start, he faced the Yankees and allowed one run over seven strong frames.