Francisco Cervelli singled home Brett Gardner in the bottom of the ninth as the New York Yankees walked off with a 5-4 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday night in the Bronx.
The Yankee catcher, brought in as a defensive replacement in the eighth inning, found a gap beside a diving Edwin Encarnacion and brought the Yankee Stadium crowd to their feet as their team earned a series split with the Jays.
Mariano Rivera (3-2) got the win for the Yankees (94-53) after pitching a shutout ninth inning.
Jason Frasor (6-2) took the loss for Toronto (66-80), going 2/3 of an inning and giving up the winning run.
After leading off the ninth inning with a single, Gardner stole second base to advance into scoring position. He moved to third on Derek Jeter’s groundout.
Hideki Matsui hit a two-run home run off Scott Downs in the eighth inning to tie the game at four. The deep shot to right-centre field was his 25th home run of the season and was the first homer given up by Downs since July 25.
The rough night continued for Downs, as he left the game with an undisclosed injury shortly after and was replaced by Frasor.
Hitting with runners in scoring position was what eventually did the Blue Jays in, as they went 1-for-16 on the night with runners in scoring position.
After going 0-for-13 with RISP through six innings, Aaron Hill’s single in the top of the seventh gave them their lone hit in that situation, moving Marco Scutaro to third.
He would later score on an Adam Lind sacrifice fly to give Toronto a 4-2 lead.
Chad Gaudin would be knocked from the game in the sixth inning after he gave up consecutive hits to Vernon Wells and Lyle Overbay. A Rod Barajas groundout gave Toronto a 3-2 lead.
A steady third inning tied the Jays at two. Jose Bautista opened the inning with his seventh home run of the season, when he took a Gaudin fastball over the centre field fence to bring the score to 2-1.
After a pair of singles by Travis Snider and Marco Scutaro, Gaudin threw a wild pitch that moved both runners into scoring position. Adam Lind later brought Snider around on a ground out to even the score at 2-2.
Brian Tallet gave up two runs in just two innings before being hit on the right leg by a Robinson Cano comebacker. Tallet would finish the second, but was replaced by Shawn Camp after throwing warm-up pitches before the bottom of the third.
Camp picked up the slack for Tallet, giving up just one hit and striking out four over three innings.
Gaudin went 5 2-3 innings for New York, allowing three runs off of seven hits. He also threw two wild pitches.
Mark Teixeira’s 40th double of the season in the second to deep left field would score Jeter from first base and give the Yankees an early 1-0 lead. Matsui would later drive the first baseman in on a single to give New York a 2-0 advantage after one inning.
Alex Rodriguez robbed Aaron Hill of a hit in the first inning when he dove to his left and snagged the ball out of mid-air.
Hill would get his retribution, making a great diving stab to grab a one-hopper out of the air and robbed Nick Swisher out of the air in first.