TORONTO -- It was a matchup of one starter (Chris Capuano) who had never won for the Yankees and another (Mark Buehrle) who hadn't won against the Yankees in more than a decade, and somebody's 0 had to go.
Luckily for the Yankees, it was Capuano's. The veteran lefty acquired in July from the Colorado Rockies won his first game as a Yankee after two losses and four no-decisions, and it was an important one, given that the Yankees can't afford to give away any more games to non-contending teams such as the Blue Jays.
Capuano went 6 1/3 and allowed three runs -- two earned -- on eight hits in the Yankees' 6-3 victory, a win that kept them seven games behind the Baltimore Orioles and 3 1/2 behind the Detroit Tigers, both of whom won tonight. (The Seattle Mariners were playing a late game against the Washington Nationals).
A five-run seventh inning provided the margin of victory, and a tack-on run in the ninth made it a little easier to watch, as David Robertson retired all four batters he faced to earn his 35th save of the season.
Chase that!: The Yankees got a crucial insurance run when Chase Headley, inserted in the seventh as a pinch hitter for Stephen Drew, belted the first pitch he saw from reliever Dustin McGowan into the right-field seats leading off the ninth to make it a 6-3 game. It was Headley's second HR as a Yankee and 10th overall. Later in the inning, the Yankees saw a run come off the board when John Gibbons challenged a safe call at home after Jacoby Ellsbury (triple) broke on contact on Derek Jeter's bouncer to third. The call was overturned on review, and it remained a 6-3 game.
Lucky seventh: The Yankees bats, largely quiet since their eight-run outburst against David Price on Wednesday, stirred for five seventh-inning runs -- helped immensely by some shoddy Blue Jays fielding. Brian McCann led off the inning with a double to right, followed by a walk to Carlos Beltran. Brett Gardner then doubled over RF Jose Bautista's head, which scored McCann, and when 2B Steve Tolleson's throw to third sailed to the photographer's well, Beltran scored, too, to give the Yankees a 2-1 lead. Ichiro Suzuki then beat out a dribbler, chased Buehrle and brought on lefty Aaron Loup. After Loup struck out pinch hitter Chase Headley, Jays catcher Dioner Navarro fired the ball into left trying to pick off Gardner, who jogged home with the third run. On the next pitch, Ellsbury lined a home run, his 13th, over the right-field fence to complete the scoring. It was the first home run Loup had allowed to a left-handed hitter in his career, a span of 233 at-bats.
He who hesitates ... almost blows the game, as Joe Girardi almost did in the seventh when he tried to get through the inning with a tiring Chris Capuano, who gave up an RBI double to Kevin Pillar and cut the Yankees lead to 5-2. The manager finally stirred after Jose Reyes reached on Jeter's throwing error, but with Dellin Betances apparently unavailable, having pitched two nights in a row, went to Adam Warren, who has struggled recently. Warren gave up a sacrifice fly to Melky Cabrera that made it a 5-3 game and hit Jose Bautista with a pitch before he retired the dangerous Edwin Encarnacion on a lineout to right.
Going bats: In the fourth inning, Bautista did what hitters such as him do to sinkers that don't sink: He crushed Capuano's 1-2 pitch deep into the second deck in left to give the Blue Jays a 1-0 lead. It was Joey Bats' 27th home run of the season.
Pillar of strength: Jays CF Pillar made a sensational diving catch and robbed the Yankees of a run on McCann's pop fly into no-man's land with a runner on first to end the Yankees' fourth. Martin Prado, who had singled with one out, would no doubt have scored from first had the ball gotten past Pillar, who laid out full-length to snag it just before it hit the rug. Pillar made a similar, though slightly less spectacular, sliding catch on Mark Teixeira in the eighth.
Great escape: Capuano got himself into -- and out of -- a heap of trouble in the fifth after he allowed a double to Colby Rasmus and a single to Pillar, which gave the Rays first and third with one out. But Cap got Reyes to pop out to the infield and induced Melky Cabrera to ground into an inning-ending forceout, which held the Jays to their slim 1-0 lead.
Yer out, man: Girardi went to lefty Josh Outman, the newest Yankee, to face lefty pinch hitter Munenori Kawasaki with two out and none on in the eighth. But Outman's first Yankee appearance lasted just one batter, as Kawasaki lashed a 2-2 pitch up the middle for a single, which prompted Girardi to bring David Robertson in for a four-out save.