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What pressure? Yankees rout Jays

The SportsXchange

TORONTO -- If the New York Yankees were feeling any pressure with a miniscule lead atop the AL East Division, they certainly weren't showing it.

Yankees catcher Russell Martin led the way with his 20th homer of the season, a three-run shot in the sixth and scored twice as New York (91-66) took care of the Toronto Blue Jays 11-4 before a crowd of 25,785 at Rogers Centre on Friday.

"Just trying to make a bad season a bit better," said Martin, who has hit 12 of his homers since the All-Star break. "We're playing to win at this point so anything I can do to help the team win that's my main focus. This is the type of baseball that I enjoy. It's high intensity and this is the way I play the game."

Designated hitter Eric Chavez also hit a two-run homer in the ninth.

Adam Lind salvaged a little pride for the Blue Jays (69-88) in the seventh with a two-run homer to left off Yankees reliever David Phelps.

The Yankees maintain their one-game advantage over the Baltimore Orioles in the race for top spot in the division with the win. The Orioles beat the Boston Red Sox 9-1 on Friday.

Toronto starter Chad Jenkins (0-3) gave up three runs on four hits and three walks in 3 2/3 innings to take the loss while Hiroki Kuroda (15-11) gave up two runs and 10 hits in 5 1/3 to get the win.

"I didn't throw a lot of strikes," admitted Jenkins, who is still looking for his first with in the Majors.

"I was kind of all over the place."

Toronto got 12 hits and left 11 runners on base but only managed to turn those scoring chances into four runs.

"We took ourselves out of a couple of those run-scoring situations with some anticipation that didn't work out well," said Jays' manager John Farrell.

Martin blew the game open in the sixth with his homer to left that brought in Nick Swisher and Robinson Cano. The Yankees later added fourth run in an inning in which they batted around.

"He's been kind of a bad-luck guy this year too when you look at the balls he's hit," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said of Martin's inability to not let frustrations at the plate he's gone through most of the season affect his performance on the defensive side of things.

"Those are the ones that you tend to show the most frustration on when you hit a ball hard and you don't get a hit. But he would just put his gear on and go back and catch and focus on what you need to do back there."

Toronto got one back in their half of the sixth when second baseman Kelly Johnson scored on an Anthony Gose groundout but the Yankees got that run back on their next at-bats on a fielder's choice of their own.

Johnson fielded a grounder by Raul Ibanez and tried to get Swisher at the plate but the throw was off-line.

Jenkins retired the first two batters he faced to start the game but then he gave up back-to-back singles to Alex Rodriguez and Cano before Swisher drove them in with his 34th double of the season to right center field.

Curtis Granderson followed and laced a line drive back at Jenkins. Jenkins threw his gloved hand into the air and caught the ball but the ball was hit hard enough to send the glove flying off his hand. Fortunately for Jenkins, he turned and caught the glove with the ball still inside.

In their next at-bat, the Yankees loaded the bases with nobody out but only managed one run when Ibanez scored when shortstop Derek Jeter grounded into a double play. Ichiro Suzuki grounded out to third base to end the inning.

The Blue Jays had no trouble getting on base but were their own worst enemies with runners in scoring position. Had it not been for mistakes on the basepaths in the first and second innings by Brett Lawrie and Yunel Escobar, they could easily have had some more runs.

Colby Rasmus finally got Toronto their first run, leading off the home fifth by taking a 1-1 pitch out to right field for his 23rd homer of the season.

Notes: Jays catcher J.P. Arencibia singled to left in his first at-bat in the first inning to extend his current hitting streak to six games. ... Rodriguez got the start at third base for the first time since fouling a ball off his foot in the Yankees' loss to Minnesota on Tuesday. ... Andy Pettitte (5-3, 2.71 ERA) is scheduled to start for New York on Saturday afternoon in the third of four games with the Blue Jays while Toronto will counter with Ricky Romero (9-14, 5.76).
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