NEW YORK (AP) — Ichiro Suzuki homered for the first time since last August, prolonging extended slumps against the New York Yankees for Mark Buehrle and the Toronto Blue Jays.
Suzuki hit a go-ahead, three-run shot in the third inning, and the Yankees overcame an early deficit to beat the Blue Jays 6-4 Friday night for their 17th straight home win against Toronto.
Jose Bautista hit two homers to reach 20 for the fifth straight season. He also doubled and drove in four runs, but Buehrle couldn’t hold leads of 3-0 and 4-2. The All-Star left-hander dropped to 1-12 against the Yankees, including 10 straight losses over the past decade.
New York won for the seventh time in eight games since the All-Star break and moved one game in front of the third-place Blue Jays in the AL East. The Yankees are 26-10 against Toronto since September 2012.
Hiroki Kuroda (7-6) shrugged off a shaky start and allowed four runs and eight hits in 5 2-3 innings. David Robertson pitched the ninth for his 26th save in 28 chances.
Buehrle (10-7) started the season 10-1 but dropped to 0-6 with a 4.83 ERA in nine starts since beating Kansas City on June 1. He gave up six runs and nine hits in three innings, his shortest outing since June 6, 2010, for the Chicago White Sox against Cleveland.
Toronto manager John Gibbons called off pregame batting practice, hoping to change his team’s luck in the Bronx. And it seemed to work at first when Bautista hit a three-run homer over the left-field scoreboard on a 3-0 pitch in the first.
But New York closed in the second on Brian Robert’s bases-loaded infield hit on a bouncer to third and Brett Gardner’s sacrifice fly. Bautista hit a solo drive in the third – he’s 4 for 16 against Kuroda with four home runs.
Carlos Beltran’s solo drive and Suzuki’s first home run since Aug. 30 off Baltimore’s Miguel Gonzalez put the Yankees ahead. The homerless streak of 294 at-bats was the third-longest of Suzuki’s major league career. The 40-year-old entered in a 6-for-41 (.146) slide overall but is hitting .431 in his career against Buehrle (25 for 58).
Toronto’s Yankee Stadium skid, which started in September 2012, is the longest for a team at one opponent since Tampa Bay lost 18 in a row in Cleveland from September 2005 to July 2010, according to STATS.
NOTES: New York has come from behind in its last five wins. … LHP Chris Capuano, acquired from Colorado on Thursday, starts for New York on Saturday against RHP Drew Hutchinson. … Yankees 1B Mark Teixeira, who hasn’t played since Sunday because of a strained back, hopes to play within a few days and avoid the DL. … Toronto RHP Brandon Morrow, on the DL since May 3 because of a torn tendon in his right index finger, threw off a mound Thursday for the first time since getting hurt and is to head to the team’s complex in Dunedin, Florida, after this weekend. INF Brett Lawrie (broken right index finger) also figures to head to Dunedin within a few days.