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Yankees beat Blue Jays in 11, 5-3

Vernon Wells celebrates a second inning home run

Vernon Wells celebrates a second inning home run during a game against the Toronto Blue Jays. (April 20, 2013) Credit: Getty Images

TORONTO -- After taking a season's worth of abuse from the Rogers Centre fans in leftfield Friday night, Vernon Wells smiled.

"If we can come in here and win ballgames, they can get on me all they want,'' said Wells, who homered that night.

The fans were at it again Saturday. But so was the leftfielder.

Wells, a Blue Jay from 1999-2010, hit his fifth home run and kick-started the winning rally in the 11th with his third hit, helping the Yankees to a 5-3 victory over Toronto in front of a sellout crowd of 46,095.

Serenaded with derisive "Ver-non! Ver-non!'' chants -- and those were the clean ones -- from the first inning on, Wells tied Travis Hafner and Robinson Cano for the team lead in home runs and improved to 23-for-46 against Blue Jays starter Mark Buehrle, who hasn't beaten the Yankees since 2004.

"They keep calling me by my old nickname,'' Wells said of the fans before delivering the punch line. " 'Boo.' It's been eventful.''

That's a good description of this game, which the Yankees (10-6) -- who have won nine of 11 -- controlled behind Hiroki Kuroda before David Robertson flushed a 3-0 lead in the eighth.

But the Yankees took advantage of more shoddy fielding by the struggling Blue Jays (7-11), scoring two runs on lefthander Aaron Loup's throwing error in the 11th to pull it out.

Wells, who is 5-for-10 in the series, singled to right-center to start the inning and Francisco Cervelli followed with a single to left.

Ichiro Suzuki then laid down a sacrifice bunt to the third- base side of the mound. Loup pounced on it, and his intent to nail the lead runner was clear. But third baseman Brett Lawrie stumbled slightly as he retreated toward the bag and never quite got in position for Loup's wild throw. The ball rolled deep into foul ground and two runs scored for a 5-3 lead.

Wells said he was "shocked'' to see Loup throw to third. "But you get in the moment, you make an aggressive play like that, sometimes it works out,'' he said. "You look great when it works out and bad when you don't. That's the nature of this game.''

Mariano Rivera allowed a leadoff double to Jose Bautista in the bottom of the inning but retired three straight, striking out J.P. Arencibia and Lawrie, to earn his fifth save in five tries.

For most of the afternoon, extra innings were far from anyone's mind as the Yankees led 3-0 going into the eighth. At that point, Kuroda had allowed two hits and a walk.

"He gave us a great outing,'' Girardi said. "Again.''

The righthander, who lowered his ERA from 2.87 to 2.35, started the eighth at 99 pitches and struck out Lawrie for the first out. Colby Rasmus followed with a hard grounder that made its way under Lyle Overbay's glove at first for a single.

Robertson then struck out Maicer Izturis for the second out but walked Adam Lind. An RBI single by Rajai Davis and a two-run single by Melky Cabrera tied the score at 3-3.

Joba Chamberlain, Boone Logan and Shawn Kelley each pitched two-thirds of an inning to get the game into the 11th. Their work, and the offense's, allowed Robertson to sleep a bit better Saturday night.

"Hiro threw a gem today and I wasn't able to pick him up, and it's tough when you do that as a reliever,'' Robertson said. "I didn't have much control today . . . Thank goodness we came back and won. I can smile about it now, but I was pretty angry with myself earlier.''

New York Sports