Drabek gave up five earned runs on seven hits and four walks before he was relieved by Jason Frasor with one out in the third inning.
"He struggled to establish any rhythm, any command and when you look at the difference in the ballgame, it was the bases on balls," said manager John Farrell. "Just the added baserunners were the difference today.
"I think there was some frustration out there, probably with his own command; possibly with the strike zone, at times. Still, that's part of being at this level: controlling emotions and still executing pitch to pitch."
Frasor, Shawn Camp, Marc Rzepczynski and Frank Francisco combined for 5 2/3 innings of no-hit relief, allowing just one walk and one hit-batsman. Both those runners were erased on double plays.
"That's been somewhat of a theme here," said Farrell. "Every guy who walks to the mound out of the bullpen is prepared. They've executed extremely well. We're looking at 5 2/3 innings of shutout relief and they gave us a chance to get back in the game."
But the Yanks wouldn't let this early lead get away. When Drabek made his exit, New York led 5-2. The Jays scored single runs in the fifth and sixth innings off starter and winner A.J. Burnett, one of them on Mike McCoy's first major-league home run and the other on a sacrifice fly by David Cooper.
The Jays twice had the potential tying run at second base. With one out in the sixth, Juan Rivera was thrown out trying to steal third on a strike-out, throw-out double play with Edwin Encarnacion at the plate.
"We were getting some good leads and some good break times to our advantage," explained Farrell of the play that backfired.
"Juan is a heady baserunner, particularly at second base. He can get a good walking lead and got into it. Unfortunately, we gambled on getting a breaking ball. A.J. had been fairly predictable with two strikes, going to a breaking ball in the dirt. This time it turned out to be a fastball and Juan got thrown out."
In the ninth inning, Jose Molina doubled to the wall in left-centre with two out off closer Mariano Rivera but McCoy flied out to to end the game, giving Rivera his ninth save of the season and 568th of his career.
After a season of Kevin Gregg's nerve-wracking ninth innings, Jon Rauch's no-nonsense, strike-throwing approach has brought a breath of fresh air to the Blue Jays' closer role.
Though Gregg had 37 saves, he kept his fans and teammates on the edge of their seats more often than not. To this point, Rauch is five-for-five in save opportunities, without the drama.
"When he walks to the mound," observes manager John Farrell, "there's a very comfortable feeling; he's going to force the opposition to beat him and he doesn't beat himself, because of the ability to throw strikes."
Though he's a huge man, at nearly seven feet tall, Rauch is not a hard thrower. His fastball is typically around 90 m.p.h. but he has three other pitches at various speeds to keep hitters off balance.
Friday night, Rauch needed just eight pitches to get a four-out save against the Yankees.
"He doesn't throw with above-average power but it goes to good location and disrupting timing," said Farrell. "When he gets into a hitter's count, he's still comfortable throwing any one of three or four pitches to combat their aggressiveness."
For Rauch, the approach is direct and simple.
"I learned early on this is a lot easier game when you throw strikes," said Rauch. "I'm more than happy make my opponent put the ball in play."
Now that Frank Francisco is in form, Farrell says he will use both without hesitation.
"We have dual closers, though all things being equal, we would go to Jon because of what he's done. But if there was a lineup where we thought Frank was a better match, we have no hesitation having Frank close the game."