Bautista homers twice as Blue Jays beat Yankees, 6-1
TORONTO - The Blue Jays' better-than-expected start was met with mostly skepticism, with the common refrain being they hadn't yet played the division's top teams.
The Jays helped reinforce that argument earlier in the week by losing two of three to the Rays, but they put on an impressive display Friday night in beating the Yankees, 6-1, in front of 30,089 at the Rogers Centre.
Lefthander Brett Cecil frustrated the Yankees (34-21) for eight innings and the bashing Blue Jays (32-24) lifted their home run total to a major league-leading 94 in 56 games by hitting three off A.J. Burnett.
"Balls ran over the plate today, that's the bottom line," Burnett said.
"You look at the score, 6-1, he didn't pitch that poorly," manager Joe Girardi said. "But the mistakes he made, they hit them."
Two of the homers came off the bat of Jose Bautista, who increased his MLB-best total to 18 with a solo shot and two-run blast. He added a double off Sergio Mitre.
"He's a good hitter, you take nothing away from him, but when balls leak over into the happy spot, they're going to crush them," Burnett said. "Those balls stay in their spots, no telling what he does with them. But the way he's hitting, the way they're hitting, balls come over the plate, they're going to hit them."
Cecil (6-2, 3.43) went eight innings, allowing one run and five hits, and helped end Robinson Cano's hitting streak at 17.
"It feels weird because we lost the game, not because I went 0-for-4," Cano said. "You just start another one [streak] tomorrow."
Burnett (6-3, 3.72), who gave up six runs, six hits and four walks in six innings, entered the game having allowed four homers in 11 starts. But he lacked the command he's had most of the season and fell behind hitters, not ideal against a team on pace to hit 272 home runs. The MLB record is 264 by the 1997 Mariners.
The Red Sox are second in the majors with 77 homers, 17 behind Toronto.
"We talked about it before the game; they're hitting a lot of home runs," Girardi said. "They did it against us tonight. When you make mistakes, they're hitting the ball out of the ballpark."
The Yankees didn't come close to doing that against Cecil, who shut them out for five innings before they finally got on the board in the sixth - on a double-play ball. The Jays already had hit three homers and scored four runs by then.
"He was throwing a pretty good changeup, he was mixing his fastball in and out," said Derek Jeter (1-for-4). "And he wasn't falling behind too many guys, so when you're pitching ahead all the time, you're going to have a lot of success."
Burnett worked a scoreless first that was notable only because of a spectacular catch by Curtis Granderson. With one on and one out, Adam Lind sent a drive to deep center. Granderson, who recently came off the DL after a groin injury, raced back, jumped and caught the ball while crashing into the wall.
Bautista gave the Jays a 1-0 lead in the second, hammering Burnett's full-count pitch off the facing of the suite level, or third deck, in leftfield. He roughed up Burnett again in the fourth, jumping on his 2-and-0 delivery and hitting it to virtually the same spot in left. No. 9 hitter Edwin Encarnacion also homered.
"It was frustrating, but I'm not going to let this stand in my way," Burnett said. "I've felt good where I've been going, and balls just ran over the plate today; that's just basically the bottom line."