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Blue Jays win 8th in a row to sweep Yanks; now 1.5 back

NEW YORK -- Josh Donaldson and Jose Bautista each homered, while Marco Estrada tossed 6 1/3 scoreless innings, as the Blue Jays put the finishing touches on a three-game sweep over the Yankees with a 2-0 victory on Sunday afternoon at Yankee Stadium.

Toronto has won eight consecutive games to pull within 1 1/2 games of the Yankees for first place in the American League East. It was the first time the Blue Jays swept New York on the road since May 22-25, 2003, and Toronto is now 7-2 against its division rival this season.

Estrada came through with yet another quality start, as he scattered three hits and three walks. He has now allowed two earned runs or fewer in eight of his last nine starts. Right-hander Masahiro Tanaka took the loss, after surrendering a pair of solo homers to Donaldson and Bautista over six innings of work.

Video: [email protected]: Donaldson opens scoring with his 31st homer


Digging the long ball: Donaldson gave his team another early lead with a solo shot in the first inning off Tanaka. It was the ninth time this season Donaldson has homered in the first inning, which is tied with Mike Trout for the most in the Majors. Bautista followed three innings later with a solo shot of his own to increase Toronto's lead to 2-0. It was the 25th home run that Bautista has hit against New York, dating back to 2010, which is five more than second-place Evan Longoria.

Video: [email protected]: Bautista belts solo shot off second deck

"I think what it says is I'm getting ready for the first at-bat and [beyond]," Donaldson said of his first-inning homers. "It helps when you have great hitters around you, not only behind you, but I have Tulo in front. Right away, those guys have to be on top of their game, and I just kind of have been fortunate enough to get some pretty good pitches and put good swings on them." More >

Streak snapped: Heading into Sunday, Tanaka had won his previous four starts at Yankee Stadium. That streak came to a halt, after Donaldson and Bautista both homered off of him in the first and fourth. Tanaka threw just 80 pitches, 51 for strikes. His last three starts have all been six-inning outings, after having three in a row before that which had all been at least seven. More >

Video: [email protected]: Tanaka fields grounder to end the inning

Estrada escapes his own mess: Estrada cruised through most of the afternoon, but he did create a tricky situation for himself in the fourth inning. With one out, Estrada threw eight consecutive balls to walk a pair of batters and put runners on first and second. Estrada needed just one pitch to get out of the jam, though, as he induced an inning-ending double play off the bat of Carlos Beltran.

"Pitching won out," said Blue Jays manager John Gibbons. "I think everyone was expecting a slugfest all three games, based on the offenses. But it didn't turn out that way." More >

Minimizing the damage: After he relieved Tanaka in the seventh inning, Adam Warren ran into some rare trouble out of the bullpen. Warren has been consistent all season long, but he opened by giving up a single and a walk. He then hit Chris Colabello in the elbow with a pitch that immediately knocked him off his feet. At the point, the bases were loaded and Warren was pulled for Justin Wilson. Wilson came in and struck out Justin Smoak and Cliff Pennington immediately. He then induced a flyout to right field by Kevin Pillar to end the inning and get the Yankees out a huge jam. It kept the Yanks within two runs.

Video: [email protected]: Wilson escapes bases-loaded jam in the 7th


"They were in the race to begin with. This is going to be a hard-fought division. We knew that going into it, and we didn't think anyone was just going to give us the division. We know we have a lot more games against these guys -- and inside the division as a whole. We need to play a lot better." -- Mark Teixeira, on the AL East

"You've got to be comfortable being uncomfortable, and that's kind of an uncomfortable situation. One thing, it ain't like it's my first time there, I've been there before." -- 42-year-old LaTroy Hawkins, on escaping a two runners-on situation in the seventh


After Bautista's homer in the fourth inning, one of the fans at Yankee Stadium retrieved the ball and threw it back on the field. It's been a tradition of sorts for Yankees fans to throw balls from other teams' homers back on the field. Unfortunately, the throw nailed Brett Gardner in the head. Gardner said his head was fine and that he does have a little bump, but no headache or any soreness.

"I don't know how far the ball got thrown back in, but it wasn't like it was coming from the second row," said Gardner. "So whoever threw it and hit me, I probably couldn't have heard them if they had tried to say anything anyway -- because it was a long ways away. It is what it is." More >

Video: [email protected]: Fan throws home run ball back, hits Gardner


• Toronto's starters have allowed three earned runs or fewer in 14 consecutive games. That's the longest streak for the Blue Jays since their starters went 15 straight from Sept. 1-17, 2006.

Toronto also recorded back-to-back shutouts of New York in the same series for the first time in franchise history.

• The Yankees were shut out in consecutive games for the first time since May 12-13, 1999, vs. Anaheim.

Video: [email protected]: Girardi on Tanaka and offensive struggles

The Yankees played 2,665 games between the consecutive shutout streaks (from May 14, 1999-Aug. 7, 2015), the longest streak of not being shut out in consecutive games in Major League history, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

The second-longest streak belongs to St. Louis (2,367 games between Sept. 24-25, 1995 and July 22-23, 2010). More >


Blue Jays: The Blue Jays will enjoy an off-day on Monday before opening a three-game series against the A's on Tuesday night at 7:07 ET at Rogers Centre. Right-hander Drew Hutchison, who is scheduled to take the mound, has been much better at home this year -- posting a 2.69 ERA in 11 starts, compared to a 9.00 ERA in 11 road starts.

Yankees: The Yanks have the day off on Monday and will begin a three-game set in Cleveland with the Indians on Tuesday at 7:10 p.m. ET at Progressive Field. Luis Severino gets the ball for his second Major League start. In his first start, he impressed the Yanks with five innings of two-hit, two-run ball. Only one of the runs was earned and he struck out seven, while walking none.

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Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for Read his blog, North of the Border, follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. Grace Raynor is an associate reporter for
Read More: Marco Estrada, Jose Bautista, Masahiro Tanaka, Josh Donaldson