TORONTO -- Though they don't stand to benefit in any way, the Toronto Blue Jays are certainly doing all they can to make sure the battle for the AL East title goes down to the wire.
The Blue Jays (70-88) gave up two runs in the first inning but nothing the rest of the way and clawed back to pick up a 3-2 win over the division-leading New York Yankees (91-67) on Saturday afternoon at Rogers Centre. It's their second win in three games with the series finale going on Sunday.
Shawn Hill (1-0) went three innings in relief of the injured Ricky Romero to pick up his first win of the season in his first appearance with the Blue Jays this season.
"It was fun, it was the first time ever I've thrown in relief, minor-leagues, big-leagues, anything," said Hill, who admitted being more nervous last week pitching for Canada in Germany in the qualifying tournament for next year's World Baseball Classic
"So I didn't know what to expect out of myself, whether I'd be too amped up, whether I'd be able to get ready that kind of thing."
Toronto took the lead for good in the sixth inning after Yunel Escobar started the inning by drawing a walk off Yankees starter Andy Pettitte (5-4), which was followed Yan Gomes' single.
Pettitte then got the next two Toronto hitters to fly out before being replaced by Joba Chamberlain. The first hitter he saw was rookie second baseman Adeiny Hechavarria, who doubled off the right field wall. That brought home Escobar but Gomes took too big of a turn rounding third and was thrown out diving back into the bag to end the inning.
"It didn't feel like I was in a really good rhythm," admitted Pettitte, who gave up five hits and struck out four Blue Jays in 5 2/3 innings.
"I felt like I was getting there. I think maybe in the third or fourth inning I was finding a little something but then I didn't have good command of my fastball."
The Yankees got to Romero right away as Derek Jeter and Ichiro Suzuki led off with singles. Alex Rodriguez then came up and drew a walk to load the bases.
Robinson Cano drove in the first run with a sacrifice fly to left before Nick Swisher loaded the bases again with a single of his own and Curtis Granderson brought home the second run with a sacrifice fly to center.
Toronto got one back in the home half of the first as Rajai Davis continued some solid hitting with his eighth homer of the season to left.
New York loaded up the bases again in the third with nobody out as Rodriguez walked again, then Cano and Swisher each singled but Romero got out of the jam by retiring the next three batters.
That was it for Romero, however, as he landed awkwardly while pitching to Andruw Jones. He struck Jones out and finished the inning but was pulled afterward with discomfort in his left knee.
"He didn't want to come out of the ball game. Even after the inning as over, he still wanted to stay in," Jays manager John Farrell said of Romero.
Already with two hits in the game, Rajai Davis' single in the fifth brought home the tying run. Jeff Mathis had led off the inning with a double and advanced to third on Adeiny Hechavarria's groundout. Two batters later, Brett Lawrie drew a walk before Davis beat out an infield single on a bouncing ball to third that may have been heading foul but Yankees' third baseman Rodriguez opted to field but Davis legged it out to beat the throw.
"I haven't seen the replay of that. It's just a judgment call," said Rodriguez. "(Davis) runs really well so I don't have a lot of time to think about that play so I picked the most aggressive choice."
For Davis, it was his seventh straight hit after going 4-for-4 in Friday night's game. He struck out on his next at-bat in the seventh to finish just one shy of the team record for consecutive at-bats with a hit.
Notes: Attendance on Saturday was 36,139, which puts the total attendance for the season in Toronto above two million. ... The Yankees are unbeaten in their past six series (5-0-1). That streak would be snapped with a loss on Sunday afternoon. ... Hechavarria's double in the sixth inning extended his current hitting streak to 10 games. ... Right-handed pitcher Phil Hughes (16-13, 4.10 ERA) will get the start on Sunday in the final meeting between the teams while right-hander Henderson Alvarez (9-14, 4.91) will start for Toronto.