Gardner, Yankees edge Jays in New York

New York Yankees first baseman Nick Swisher misses a close tag as Toronto Blue Jays batter Mike...

New York Yankees first baseman Nick Swisher misses a close tag as Toronto Blue Jays batter Mike McCoy dives safely into first base. (REUTERS/Ray Stubblebine)

Bob Elliott, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:28 PM ET

Unbeaten in his previous 11 starts with a 10-0 record, it appeared for a time that the Blue Jays had right-hander Ivan Nova on the ropes.

For a very short time.

Then Brett Gardner got involved.

Very involved.

With Nova and the Yanks down 2-0 after four hitters in the top of the first, the left fielder made two web gem catches, hit a two-run homer and the Yanks broke the tie on a Robinson Cano bloop to edge the Blue Jays 3-2 before 47,240 in the Bronx. Each team managed four hits.

Mariano Rivera gained his 37th save of the season and the 596th of his 17-year career in a quiet 1-2-3 ninth.

After a lead-off walk, the next four Jays hit rockets off Nova. Gardner then took over, making a diving catch in left to steal extra bases from Adam Lind. The drive went for a run-scoring fly ball, putting the Jays up 2-0.

A third rounder in 2005, Gardner made a better play on an Edwin Encarnacion liner doubling Jose Bautista off first.

The Jays managed two hits the rest of the way -- an Eric Thames double and a Mike McCoy single.

Gardner homered on a 3-1 pitch in the third into the first row of seats in right as a man wearing a Derek Jeter No. 2 jersey caught the ball. Russell Martin, who had walked earlier, scored on the homer, evening the score 2-2.

The Yanks broke the tie in the fifth when with two out Jeter singled, Curtis Granderson walked and Robinson Cano blooped a single into centre.

“We must have made six or seven solid defensive plays,” said manager Joe Girardi. “That’s Ivan. He went out in the second and made adjustments.”

Besides Gardner, second baseman Eduardo Nunez stole a base hit from Lind, Andruw Jones went over the fence to rob Jose Bautista of a homer Granderson robbed Lind of extras.

Yu who: Right-hander Yu Darvish is going one of two places ... “I don’t see him going to either Boston Red Sox or the New York Yankees,” said one major league executive. “They both have had, how shall I say, their own ‘experiences’ with players from Japan. My guess? He’s going to the Texas Rangers or the Blue Jays. Noticed the way those teams have been writing those large cheques to drafted players? For me, it’s either Texas or Toronto.” ... The Yanks signed right-hander Hideki Irabu, which didn’t work out, and Hideki Matsui, who did ... The Red Sox bid $51,111,111.11, to talk to Daisuke Matsuzaka of the Seibu Lions, signing him to a six-year, $52 million contract. A bad one ... While the executive said the Yanks and Red Sox did not figure to be major players, both teams had their top scouts in Japan ... Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos and assistant GM Tony LaCava saw Darvish pitch this week, LaCava for a second time ... “It would be awful if his name came up this winter and we did not have a reference point on his ability, how much to pay, how much he would cost,” Anthopoulos told reporters in the third base dugout at Yankee Stadium after returning from Japan. “I wish I’d seen Matsuzaka, so I could compare the two.”

Yu II: In the sealed bid process, the Nippon Ham Fighters can post Darvish’s contract with the commissioner’s office in New York ... “Take emotions out of it, take relationships out of it, his rights will go to the team who types in the highest dollar amount in the e-mail and sends it off.” ... The 6-foot-5, Darvish. 25, is 16-4 record with a 1.54 ERA walking 27 and striking out 206 in 175 innings this season ... “Just because we scouted him, doesn’t mean we’re going to get him,” Anthopoulos said. “We scouted 100s of players before the draft, we didn’t get them all. We were doing our homework.” ... The difference between the draft and this process is high-bid wins. It’s an old-fashioned pre-draft, free-for-all ... Anthopoulos never confirms interest in players or where he is leading into the draft ... “What am I going to say, I went to experience the culture?” he asked ... Anthopoulos scouted Japanese amateurs for the Montreal Expos nine years ago when international scouting director Fred Ferriera didn’t want to make the post 9/11 trip due to travel worries ... Anthopoulos was in Japan for “three days give or take, not long enough to get jet lag.” ... Former Jay GM Gord Ash and international scout Wayne Morgan were to Japan on a scouting mission 10 years ago when the planes struck the World Trade Towers and were stuck for six days extra.

In Game: Second baseman Kelly Johnson failed to back hand Jeter’s grounder in the seventh for his seventh error ... Morrow worked six innings allowing three runs on four hits and three walks which was a better outing than his previous two outings. The two-run homer was one run into the seats, as he fanned six ... Morrow fell to 9-10 with the loss ... The throw from shortstop Yunel Escobar pulled Adam Lind off the base in the third, Lind applied the tag to Derek Jeter and Phil Cuzzi called him out. However, plate ump James Hoye adjuged Lind missed the tagging Jeter. Escobar handled the decision and his 14th error by throwing a tantrum ... Andruw Jones stole a homer from Jose Buatista in the fourth ... Bautista jumped against the wall in foul ground to make a difficult catch of a ball off the bat of Curtis Granderson ending the first ... Shortstop Escobar roamed to the foul line in short left -- the spot only great shortstops go as Tony Kubek used to say -- to catch a pop from Gardner for the first out of the game.


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