TORONTO - Through six innings, Mark Buehrle appeared destined to get a victory over the Yankees, something that has eluded him for a decade.
But things changed dramatically in the seventh Friday night when the Yankees -- aided by two errors and Jacoby Ellsbury's two-run homer -- rallied for five runs on their way to a 6-3 win over the Blue Jays in front of 43,318 at Rogers Centre.
But it didn't take long for a dark cloud to move in.
After the game, Joe Girardi said Ellsbury, who went 2-for-5 to improve to 20-for-44 with four homers in his last 11 games, might be unavailable Saturday because of a left ankle injury.
It occurred in the ninth inning after Chase Headley homered to make it 6-3 and Ellsbury tripled. When he tried to score on Derek Jeter's grounder, he slid into Dioner Navarro's shinguard, was declared safe, then was ruled out after a Toronto challenge, keeping the lead at three runs.
"I can't tell you that he's going to play," Girardi said. "It's frustrating because he's playing so well."
The Yankees sent Ellsbury's ankle into the Rogers Centre's primitive X-ray fluoroscope machine, with the test coming back negative.
"I haven't ruled [playing] out and hopefully -- it's not going to feel great, but hopefully it's good enough for me to play [Saturday],'' said Ellsbury, who appeared hobbled as he walked through the clubhouse. "I'm optimistic hopefully I can be in there. I'll let Skipper know through a text or phone call first thing in the morning."
Regardless, it was a solid bounce-back win for the Yankees after a brutal 3-2 loss Thursday in Detroit. They remained seven games behind the AL East-leading Orioles and three games behind the Tigers for the second AL wild-card spot but moved within two games of the Mariners in the wild-card race.
"We took a tough loss yesterday and we came to the ballpark today ready to play," said David Robertson, who pitched a perfect 11/3 innings for his 35th save and fourth four-out save of the year. "Started off slow but once things got going, guys started putting good swings on pitches."
Chris Capuano, who picked up his first win in seven starts since joining the Yankees July 24, allowed three runs (two earned) and eight hits in 61/3 innings. But Jose Bautista's fourth-inning blast, his 27th homer of the season, left the Yankees trailing 1-0 going into the seventh.
Brian McCann then doubled off the wall in right-center and Carlos Beltran walked before Brett Gardner, in a 7-for-51 skid, doubled off the base of the wall in right-center. "It felt good," he said. "I've been watching other guys contribute so it was nice to pick guys up."
McCann scored on the play and second baseman Steve Tolleson's relay throw to third sailed and hit a fan in the stands. The error allowed Beltran to score and put Gardner at third.
After Ichiro Suzuki reached on an infield single, Buehrle was done, but the Yankees weren't.
With Ellsbury at the plate against lefthander Aaron Loup, Navarro tried to pick Gardner off third and threw the ball into leftfield to make it 3-1. Ellsbury then laid into a 1-and-1 fastball and lined a low shot over the rightfield wall for his 14th homer and a 5-1 lead.
Buehrle, who allowed four runs and seven hits in six innings-plus, fell to 1-13 with a 6.14 ERA in 20 starts against the Yankees. He is 0-11 against them since 2004.
"Our team's going to continue to fight," Girardi said. "They've bounced back. We had a tough loss yesterday, and we weren't doing much off of Buehrle. And then we got to him."
Notes& quotes: The Yankees acquired lefty specialist Josh Outman from the Indians Thursday night in exchange for a player to be named or cash considerations and added the reliever to the roster before Friday night's game, designating lefthanded reliever Rich Hill for assignment. Outman, 29, was 4-0 with a 3.28 ERA in 31 games for the Indians, holding lefties to a .180/.293/.380 slash line.
After going 12-for-17 through two innings-plus against former Cy Young Award winner David Price on Wednesday night -- including nine straight hits to begin an eight-run third -- the Yankees went 9-for-70 and scored two runs in the next 202/3 innings. But they produced six hits in their next eight at-bats, including four in Friday night's five-run seventh.