TORONTO -- Marco Estrada befuddled the Yankees over seven scoreless innings to pick up his first win since May 27, and Jose Bautista crushed his third homer in four games as the Blue Jays secured the rubber game of the three-game series with a 4-0 victory at Rogers Centre on Thursday night.
Ryan Goins, Josh Donaldson and Kevin Pillar drove in runs against Yankees starter Sonny Gray, who received no support and lost his second consecutive start since being acquired from the Athletics in advance of the non-waiver Trade Deadline.
The loss completed a 3-4 road trip for the Yankees (60-53), who sit 4 1/2 games behind the Red Sox in the American League East. The rivals will open a weekend series on Friday, with New York holding a two-game lead for the first AL Wild Card.
Toronto picked up a game on New York and also moved within 4 1/2 games of the second AL Wild Card spot.
"I think it's only a matter of time before this team goes on a nice winning streak," Pillar said. "We've got about a month and a half left and we're finally getting everyone healthy. You're starting to see some signs of guys swinging the bat good. Some of our pitchers who were struggling earlier in the year are starting to figure it out."
Estrada pitched out of trouble several times as he continued to find his groove, scattering five hits while walking three and striking out six in a 110-pitch gem. Estrada has given up three or fewer runs in four straight outings, completing seven innings in each of his last three starts.
Gray was charged with three runs (two earned) and four hits over six innings, walking four and striking out six, before Bautista launched a 365-foot blast in the seventh inning off Chasen Shreve.
"They had runners on base every inning except for one," Gray said. "I thought I made some decent pitches in some big situations, but overall I just gave them too many free passes. I just didn't throw enough strikes, and definitely not enough quality strikes."
The Yankees have not won a series in Toronto since August 2015.
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Just Joshin': Donaldson has now tallied 13 RBIs in his last 12 games, reaching base yet again in the third inning with a two-out single to left field off Gray that sent Russell Martin trotting home. In all, Donaldson reached base in nine of 13 plate appearances in the series against the Yankees, including two homers.
"Sonny's tough, you're not going to knock him around a lot, so you have to take advantage of every situation," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said.
Feel the breeze:Estrada's resurgent stuff held the Yankees in check throughout the evening, but the bottom of the order started to make noise in the fifth as Garrett Cooper singled and Ronald Torreyes walked. Estrada buckled down to retire the next three hitters, including Aaron Judge, who looked at strike three. Judge has now struck out in 27 consecutive games, extending his Yankees franchise record.
"To be honest with you, I've seen him do that over and over and over," Gibbons said of Estrada escaping jams. "He's one of the best I've ever seen doing that. He's got that knack, whatever it is, he can pull out a big pitch. He gets a lot of popups. He gets a lot of lazy fly balls … He has that knack a lot of guys don't."
"It's kind of been a disaster of a season up until this point, as far as our record is concerned, as far as keeping guys on the field. … It never seemed like we could get on a roll. Despite everything that has gone on, we're still (4 1/2) games back of the Wild Card. I know there's a lot of teams ahead of us, but a lot of those teams are in our division and we're going to be playing them a lot." -- Pillar
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Bautista's blast marked career homer No. 36 against the Yankees, giving him sole possession of the most hit against New York by any active player in the big leagues. He had been previously tied with Tampa Bay's Evan Longoria.
Gray's final start for the Athletics came at Rogers Centre on July 25, when he permitted four runs (none earned) in a 4-1 loss. Because of his July 31 trade to New York, Thursday's loss marked just Gray's second start in 17 days, and the right-hander acknowledged that his circuitous route back to Toronto may have affected his command.
"It's been kind of a little bit odd," Gray said. "It has been a while just for me being out there, the moving around and everything. At the same time, I feel more than ready every time I get on the mound. It is going to be nice to get into a routine and try to create some rhythm and take the ball four days later."
Yankees: Left-hander Jaime Garcia (1-1, 6.35 ERA) will make his second start as a Yankee on Friday, opening a three-game series against the first-place Red Sox at Yankee Stadium. Garcia took the loss in his debut at Cleveland, allowing six runs (five earned) over 4 2/3 innings. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. ET.
Blue Jays: Right-hander Marcus Stroman (10-5, 3.17) will take the mound when the Blue Jays open a three-game Interleague series vs. the Pirates on Friday night at Rogers Centre, with first pitch scheduled for 7:07 p.m. ET.
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