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Jeter homers, drives in five as Yankees sweep Blue Jays

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Associated Press
9/4/2011 4:42:52 PM
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NEW YORK -- Jose Bautista came up empty against CC Sabathia again, and so did the Toronto Blue Jays.

Sabathia earned his 19th win, Derek Jeter tied a career high with five RBIs and the New York Yankees polished off a three-game sweep of Toronto with a 9-3 victory Sunday.

Jeter, Alex Rodriguez and Nick Swisher all homered for the Yankees, who increased their AL East lead to 1 1/2 games over Boston. Sabathia struck out 10 in 7 1-3 innings to win his seventh consecutive start against the Blue Jays.

"He takes you so deep in the ballgame," Toronto acting manager Don Wakamatsu said. "I thought they battled him. Again, we got a few runs off him and kept the pressure on him, but he's so tough."

One big reason for Sabathia's success is that he's dominated the matchups with Bautista. The major league home run leader is 0-for-18 with eight strikeouts against the big lefty after going hitless in three tries Sunday.

Bautista did hit a colossal homer off Rafael Soriano in the eighth, cutting it to 5-3 and joining Carlos Delgado (1999, 2000) as the only Blue Jays to sock 40 home runs in successive seasons.

"He's one of the best hitters in the league," Sabathia said. "Hopefully I can keep it up."

Soriano avoided further damage and New York tacked on four runs in the eighth against Toronto's bullpen. Swisher hit a two-run shot and Jeter had a two-run single to go with his three-run homer in the third.

Prized prospect Jesus Montero had two hits for the Yankees, who boosted their record in day games to a big league-best 37-9. They have won four straight and seven of eight overall.

It was New York's eighth sweep this season and first of at least three games against Toronto since August 2006 at the old Yankee Stadium.

"We battled most of the game. Until the very end we had a two-run ballgame," Wakamatsu said. "We just cannot give up home runs, especially multirun home runs, in this ballpark."

Brett Cecil (4-8) went six innings for the Blue Jays, who have lost 8-of-11. He is 0-4 in seven starts since winning consecutive outings against Texas in late July.

"I had a good changeup. I had a good curveball," Cecil said. "The pitch to Jeter just needed to be a little more in."

Sabathia (19-7) threw 128 pitches, two shy of his career high, over six innings Tuesday night at Fenway Park to improve to 1-4 in five starts against Boston this season. He was much more efficient against Toronto, which was no surprise.

The 2007 AL Cy Young Award winner is 12-3 in 15 career starts against the Blue Jays, including 3-0 this year and 7-0 since the beginning of the 2007 season. He ranks second in the majors in wins behind Detroit ace Justin Verlander (21-5).

"He's just a horse," said Mark Teixeira, who returned to the New York lineup after missing two games with a sore right knee.

Sabathia yielded six hits, walked one and threw 111 pitches. He retired 10 in a row after Mark Teahen's RBI double made it 4-2 in the fourth and needs two strikeouts to join Javier Vazquez and Tim Wakefield as the only active pitchers with 2,000.

Rodriguez, who returned to the lineup Saturday after missing six games with a sprained left thumb, hit a leadoff homer in the sixth to the short porch in right.

"I'm not blaming the park, but it's unbelievable what you have to deal with here," Cecil said. "I got it in on his hands. He was fighting to get his hands through."

It was A-Rod's 628th career homer and 15th this season. He tied Carl Yastrzemski for 15th place on the career list with 1,816 runs.

"It was a flyball to right. I got very lucky that ball sailed over the fence. Couldn't believe it," Rodriguez said.

NOTES: Toronto played its 10th straight game without manager John Farrell. He is recovering from pneumonia and could rejoin the club Monday for the opener of a four-game series at home against Boston. Wakamatsu, the bench coach, has been running the team in Farrell's absence. ... RHP Henderson Alvarez, coming off his first major league win, starts Monday afternoon against Red Sox RHP Josh Beckett. ... OF Rajai Davis (torn left hamstring) began a rehab assignment Saturday with Class-A Dunedin. ... Seeking insurance up the middle, the Blue Jays recalled veteran INF Chris Woodward from Triple-A Las Vegas. SS Yunel Escobar sat out with a jammed left wrist and is day to day. Mike McCoy made his fourth start of the season at SS and committed a costly throwing error in the first inning that allowed an unearned run to score. ... Rookie OF Eric Thames said he was feeling better, and he struck out as a pinch-hitter in the ninth. Thames left Saturday's game early because of dizziness. ... Wakamatsu said he still wants to get Bautista a game at DH soon. The slugger has been sore after fouling a ball off his left calf Friday night. ... DH Adam Lind, who hit his 24th homer Saturday, was given a planned day off. Sabathia began the day holding left-handed batters to a .198 average. ... The Blue Jays were expecting a clubhouse visit from Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper before the game but he had to cancel, a team spokesman said.

Derek Jeter (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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