|N.Y. Yankees (12-9) «||0||1||3||1||0||0||0||0||x||5||9||1|
NEW YORK -- Nothing was working for Hiroki Kuroda in the first two innings. By the time the right-hander was lifted after the sixth, he really had impressed his manager.
With Derek Jeter making his first visit to the Bronx this season, Kuroda gave a gutsy performance, Robinson Cano hit a three-run homer and the New York Yankees used a flurry of early long balls to outslug the Toronto Blue Jays 5-3 Thursday night.
"This might be his best performance of the year," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "It says a lot because he didn't have a whole lot."
Vernon Wells homered again against Mark Buehrle, and Francisco Cervelli also connected for New York, which overcame a 3-0 deficit to beat the Blue Jays for the third time within a week. The Yankees took two of three in a weekend series in Toronto.
Kuroda (3-1) settled after giving up homers to Edwin Encarnacion and Brett Lawrie in the first two innings, yielding six hits and three runs before getting the third out of the second. With a little help from Cervelli, his catcher, Kuroda didn't allow a hit after Munenori Kawasaki doubled with two outs in the second.
"All I thought about was, `Just hang in there,"' Kuroda said through a translator.
Cervelli knew Kuroda was struggling, yet he would never let on. His job was to figure out a way to guide his pitcher through the struggles.
"I think he started to take a little more time and throw his pitches down," Cervelli said. "I started to call more breaking balls."
Jeter, out until probably mid-July because of a broken ankle, watched a no-frills New York lineup improve to 12-9. The Yankees captain said he was meeting some of his teammates for the first time.
The game drew 31,445, the fourth time this month a record low has been set at new Yankee Stadium, which opened in 2009.
Toronto manager John Gibbons was ejected in the seventh inning after umpires overturned a call at first, giving Ben Francisco an infield hit.
With a runner on first, Francisco hit a soft grounder to third base. Lawrie made a low throw that first base umpire Chad Fairchild initially said Encarncion made a clean scoop and Francisco was out.
But crew chief Jeff Kellogg, who was the second base umpire, felt he had a better view of the play than Fairchild. He called the group together and overturned the call. TV replays showed Encarnacion trapped the ball and didn't have possession.
"My sense was that the ball was resting on the ground and his glove was around the top of the ball," Kellogg said.
Gibbons argued with Kellogg, tossed his hat and was ejected for the 22nd time in his career.
"I asked him how could they overturn it if there is no appeal by the other side? I thought the rule was that there had to be an appeal by the other side for them to get together," Gibbons said. "That was my interpretation of the rule. They are a good umpiring crew, they're trying to get it right."
Gibbons added: "You kind of wish they had done that when Galarraga was pitching the perfect game."
He was referring to Detroit's Armando Galarraga, who lost a perfect game in 2010 on a blown call at first base with two outs in the ninth inning.
It was Gibbons' second ejection in two games for the disappointing Blue Jays, off to a 9-14 start after bulking up their roster during the offseason.
The left-handed Buehrle, pitching against Kuroda for the second time within a week, struggled against a team that came in hitting .199 against lefties, yielding five runs and seven hits in 5 1-3 innings. Buehrle (1-1) has lost seven straight decisions against the Yankees dating to 2004 with the Chicago White Sox and is 1-9 in 14 starts against New York.
Encarnacion hit a two-run drive in the first, and Lawrie led off the second with a fly that landed in the second row of the short porch in right field for his first home run this season.
Wells, a former Toronto star who was among the players New York acquired in March, homered leading off the second with a drive just beyond the 408-ft mark in center field. Wells is 24 for 50 (.480) against Buehrle.
"He's got new life going over there," Gibbons said of Wells. "He's a very intelligent guy and you know he's motivated."
"He's fun to watch," Wells said of Cano.
Cervelli homered to deep left in the fourth.
|Robinson Cano hits a three-run homer and the New York Yankees use a flurry of early long balls to outslug the Blue Jays. (USATSI)|
|Players of the Game|
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|Toronto Blue Jays|
|Rajai Davis, DH||4||0||1||0||0||0||2||.260|
|Munenori Kawasaki, SS||4||0||1||0||0||0||2||.235|
|Jose Bautista, RF||3||1||0||0||1||1||1||.180|
|Edwin Encarnacion, 1B||4||1||1||2||0||0||0||.212|
|Melky Cabrera, LF||4||0||1||0||0||1||0||.253|
|J.P. Arencibia, C||4||0||1||0||0||2||0||.267|
|Colby Rasmus, CF||4||0||0||0||0||1||2||.225|
|Brett Lawrie, 3B||4||1||2||1||0||1||0||.167|
|Maicer Izturis, 2B||3||0||0||0||0||0||1||.162|
|2B - Munenori Kawasaki (1, Kuroda)|
|HR - Edwin Encarnacion (5, Kuroda), Brett Lawrie (1, Kuroda)|
|RBI - Edwin Encarnacion 2 (14), Brett Lawrie (4)|
|2-OUT RBI - Edwin Encarnacion 2 (9)|
|Team LOB - 5|
|DP - Izturis-Kawasaki-Encarnacion|
|Toronto Blue Jays|
|Mark Buehrle (L,1-1)||5.1||7||5||5||0||3||3||6.35|
|HBP - Cervelli (by Mark Buehrle)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Mark Buehrle 99-67, Brad Lincoln 13-9, Brett Cecil 14-8|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Mark Buehrle 4-9, Brad Lincoln 1-2, Brett Cecil 2-1|
|Batters Faced - Mark Buehrle 24, Brad Lincoln 5, Brett Cecil 6|
|New York Yankees|
|Brett Gardner, CF||3||1||1||0||1||1||1||.253|
|Ben Francisco, DH||4||0||1||0||0||1||3||.103|
|Robinson Cano, 2B||4||1||1||3||0||0||3||.322|
|Vernon Wells, LF||4||1||1||1||0||1||2||.293|
|Francisco Cervelli, C||3||1||1||1||0||0||0||.269|
|Ichiro Suzuki, RF||4||0||2||0||0||0||0||.239|
|Eduardo Nunez, SS||3||0||0||0||1||0||2||.173|
|Lyle Overbay, 1B||4||0||0||0||0||1||3||.221|
|Jayson Nix, 3B||3||1||2||0||0||0||0||.261|
|HR - Robinson Cano (7, Buehrle), Vernon Wells (6, Buehrle), Francisco Cervelli (3, Buehrle)|
|RBI - Robinson Cano 3 (17), Vernon Wells (10), Francisco Cervelli (8)|
|2-OUT RBI - Robinson Cano 3 (9)|
|SB - Ichiro Suzuki (1, 2nd base off Cecil/Arencibia)|
|Team LOB - 6|
|DP - Cano-Overbay|
|E - Lyle Overbay (1, Misplayed grounder)|
|New York Yankees|
|Hiroki Kuroda (W,3-1)||6||6||3||3||1||3||2||2.79|
|Joba Chamberlain (H,2)||1||1||0||0||0||0||0||4.91|
|David Robertson (H,2)||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||2.35|
|Mariano Rivera (S,7)||1||0||0||0||0||2||0||2.25|
|Pitches-Strikes - Hiroki Kuroda 103-65, Joba Chamberlain 10-8, David Robertson 14-9, Mariano Rivera 13-9|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Hiroki Kuroda 6-9, Joba Chamberlain 1-2, David Robertson 1-1|
|Batters Faced - Hiroki Kuroda 25, Joba Chamberlain 4, David Robertson 3, Mariano Rivera 3|
|Attendance - 31445|
|Game Time - 2:46|
|Temperature - 65|
|Umpires - Home - Paul Schrieber, First Base - Chad Fairchild, Second Base - Jeff Kellogg, Third Base - Chris Conroy|