TORONTO - There are far too many games left to call Friday night a season-saver.
It only felt that way to a great many Yankees fans -- and maybe a few Yankees, too.
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Pinch hitter Carlos Beltran's go-ahead three-run homer with one out in the eighth inning gave the Yankees a 4-3 victory over David Price and the Blue Jays in front of a stunned sellout crowd of 46,689 that had given Rogers Centre an October sound.
"Today was fun, no doubt about it," Beltran said. "It's been a long time since I've heard a field sound like today."
As a smiling Alex Rodriguez left the clubhouse, he was overheard saying, "As good as it gets."
The Yankees (63-51) moved back into first place in the AL East, a half-game ahead of the Blue Jays (64-53), whose winning streak ended at 11 games.
The drama didn't end with Beltran's blast. Andrew Miller, who has been shaky of late, walked pinch hitter Chris Colabello with one out in the ninth and allowed a single by Kevin Pillar. A wild pitch allowed both runners to move up, but Miller struck out Ben Revere and fanned Troy Tulowitzki, after a world-class 12-pitch at-bat, for his 26th save.
"That at-bat to Tulo, that's all I got, that's everything I got that inning," said Miller, who threw nine sliders to the shortstop, including one at 86 mph to finally get him. "That was a playoff atmosphere. Their fans are insane right now, and rightfully so."
Ivan Nova (5-4, 3.57), who pitched the first seven innings, earned the victory. Three of the five hits off him came in a three-run third inning.
"One thing I said was 'that's enough' once I got out of that inning. Just keep pitching," said Nova, who said he had a sore right hand -- one that required an X-ray -- after taking a comebacker off it during the third.
The Yankees had led the Blue Jays by eight games on July 28. Since then, entering Friday night, the Jays had gone 14-1 to the Yankees' 5-9. "Hopefully it gives us confidence," Joe Girardi said. "We went through a tough streak there offensively."
In the last two games, the Yankees have scored 12 runs and gone 23-for-76 (.303) with three homers and five doubles. In the previous seven, they scored nine runs and went 37-for-236 (.157).
The Yankees, who hit .151 during the Blue Jays' sweep of last weekend's three-game series, entered the eighth trailing 3-0 against David Price and showing little indication that a comeback was in the offing. Dating to last weekend, they hadn't scored in 33 straight innings against Toronto.
But after A-Rod flied out to start the inning, the Yankees followed with four straight hits. Mark Teixeira, in a 7-for-43 skid, and Brian McCann each singled and Chase Headley lined a ground-rule double to make it 3-1. It was his third hit of the night and second double.
Blue Jays manager John Gibbons brought in hard-throwing righthander Aaron Sanchez to face Chris Young and Girardi countered by sending up the switch-hitting Beltran.
He swung through two high fastballs, took another for a ball and then slammed a fourth straight 97-mph pitch to right-center for his 11th homer. The blast gave the Yankees a 4-3 lead and sucked the air right out of the stadium, which seemed poised to celebrate what would have been a franchise-record 12th straight win.
"He threw me two fastballs up in the strike zone, I was late and he threw me another one up and in for a ball, and in my mind, I was thinking, 'I'm late, so he might try to throw another one,' " Beltran said. "So I choke up a little bit and I got a better pitch to hit. It was right down the middle and I put the barrel on it."
Dellin Betances struck out Jose Bautista to start the bottom of the eighth and retired Edwin Encarnacion and Justin Smoak -- on a long drive to center that initially appeared to have a chance to clear the fence -- to end the inning. That set up Miller's erratic ninth and titanic struggle with Tulowitzki.
"This," McCann said, "is a huge win."