TORONTO - First place in the AL East nearly slipped away from the New York Yankees.
New York scored seven times in the last three innings to beat the Toronto Blue Jays 9-6 on Sunday to salvage a split of their four-game series. More importantly, the Yankees maintained their tie with the Baltimore Orioles atop the division standings.
Eduardo Nunez's sacrifice fly to right-center field with one out in the eighth brought home Curtis Granderson with the go-ahead run.
Nunez had earlier pinch-hit for Eric Chavez, who homered in the third inning off Toronto starter Henderson Alvarez for New York's first run.
Also in the eighth, pinch-runner Brett Gardner came around to score on a Derek Jeter base hit to right. The Yankees added two more in the ninth off reliever Jason Frasor.
The Jays loaded the bases in the ninth with nobody out against Rafael Soriano, but the Yankees' closer got Yunel Escobar to ground into a double play that scored one run and got first baseman Adam Lind to ground out to second.
Reliever Boone Logan (7-2), who recorded the last two outs in the seventh inning, picked up the win while Darren Oliver took the loss (3-4).
The Blue Jays took a two-run lead in the home half off the first off Yankees pitcher Phil Hughes. With one out, left fielder Rajai Davis singled and Edwin Encarnacion drew a walk. Escobar hit a double to right that brought home Davis, and Encarnacion scored on Adam Lind's sacrifice fly to center.
The Yankees got on the board in the third when Chavez took the first pitch he saw from Alvarez out to right for his 16th homer of the season.
After a scoreless fourth, Toronto tacked on two more runs in the home half of the fifth when Brett Lawrie crushed a 1-1 pitch from Hughes into the second deck in left center. Anthony Gose also scored as he was on first with a leadoff single.
The inning wasn't over as the Jays continued to hit Hughes. Escobar, Lind and Moises Sierra all singled, with Sierra's scoring Escobar for Toronto's third run of the inning. That brought an end to Hughes' day as he was replaced by Derek Lowe.
Trailing by three in the sixth, the Yankees started to fight back. Pinch-hitting Nunez led off with a single and Jeter hit a ground-rule double down the right field line. Nunez came in on an Ichiro Suzuki sacrifice fly to center, and, after Alex Rodriguez walked, Robinson Cano brought in Jeter with a double to right.
Rodriguez scored to tie it on a wild pitch by Jays reliever Aaron Loup, but further damage was avoided when Escobar went to his right to grab Nick Swisher's line drive and then threw out Cano, who was caught off third.
Notes: The attendance at Rogers Centre on Sunday was 31,418. ... Encarnacion left the game in the seventh inning for precautionary reasons with tightness in his left upper trapezius muscle. ... New York returns home for its final series of the season when it hosts Boston for three games that starts on Monday. Toronto will host the Minnesota Twins to conclude its season.