TORONTO -- It was against a depleted, dispirited team, not to mention one that at times was outright inept, so those things have to be properly factored in.
Still, the way things have gone the last month for the win-some-lose-some Yankees, Friday night was encouraging.
They got a good outing from Freddy Garcia, solid work from the bullpen, five RBIs from Ichiro Suzuki and plenty of late tack-on runs to make things comfortable in a 10-4 victory over the Blue Jays in front of 41,610 at Rogers Centre.
"It seems like we're starting to pick it up a little bit,'' Russell Martin said.
The Yankees (66-46) won their third straight, maintaining the 51/2-game lead over the Orioles they brought north of the border. The Jays (53-59), who committed two errors and easily could have been charged with four, have lost nine of 11.
"They had some miscues that helped us out. We swung the bats pretty well tonight,'' Joe Girardi said. "We were kind of up and down and we weren't winning series. It's a better feeling, there's no doubt about it, but I don't worry a whole lot about our guys because I think they really know what it takes and how to bounce back.''
Mark Teixeira hit his 22nd homer in the eighth on Steve Delabar's first pitch of the game. Ichiro had a two-out, two-run single in the eighth and a two-out, two-run double in the ninth as the Yankees scored seven runs in the final two innings.
"I play with a bunch of great guys,'' said Ichiro, who is batting .353 with nine RBIs in his last four games and has hit safely in 16 of his 17 games with the Yankees. "It's been great.''
One batter before Ichiro's first hit, Martin's flare to center conked second baseman Kelly Johnson in the head instead of the glove and ricocheted into the outfield for what was ruled a hit. "That was strange,'' Martin said. "But I'll take it.''
Garcia (6-5), who was 3-5 with a 6.89 ERA in nine previous starts here, provided the kind of start any team gladly would take from its fifth starter, allowing two runs and five hits in six innings. "I hate this ballpark,'' he said with a smile, though he was quite serious. "Two runs in six innings, I'm pretty happy with that.''
Garcia was lifted after only 78 pitches with the Yankees ahead 3-2 because the one player in Toronto's depleted lineup who had hurt Garcia all night -- the lefthanded-hitting Johnson, who had homered, doubled and driven in two runs -- was due up to start the seventh. "That's the manager's decision,'' Garcia said. "I want to be out there, but when they tell you you're finished, you're finished.''
Anthony Gose led off the bottom of the eighth with a single off Chamberlain and David Robertson came in to face leadoff man Rajai Davis. Gose stole second and third and, after Davis walked, Colby Rasmus grounded into a 6-3 double play to make it 6-3.
Nick Swisher's second hit, a double that drove in Derek Jeter (two hits), gave the Yankees a 7-3 lead in the ninth. Pinch hitter Raul Ibañez singled to make it 8-3. The Yankees got two more runs when Ichiro sent a bases-loaded drive to left-center and leftfielder Davis misjudged it.
The Toronto lineup, without the injured Jose Bautista, Brett Lawrie, Adam Lind and J.P. Arencibia, unsurprisingly was mostly punchless against Garcia, who retired the last eight he faced. His most efficient inning was his last one, the sixth, when he needed four pitches to set down the Blue Jays in order.
Ricky Romero (8-9, 5.32), the first lefty starter the Yankees have seen since Aug. 1, settled down after a rough start, allowing three runs (two earned) and four hits in seven innings. He retired the last 10 he faced. "It's good,'' Girardi said of facing a lefthander, the first of three straight the Yankees will see this series. "Because you get everyone involved, and I think that's important.''