SPORTS

Molina drives in winning run in ninth as Blue Jays defeat Yankees 5-4

09/16/2011 10:35 EDT | Updated 11/16/2011 05:12 EST
TORONTO - Blue Jays manager John Farrell has noticed that first baseman Adam Lind is having fun on the field again.

It's hard not to enjoy yourself when you get results against the best team in the American League.

Lind hit a three-run double off Yankees ace CC Sabathia and later sparked a ninth-inning rally as Toronto defeated New York 5-4. Jose Molina drove in the winning run to give the Blue Jays their 11th walk-off win of the season.

Lind has struggled over the last few weeks but he had three hits on Friday night to help Toronto improve to 76-74.

"It's been a rough stretch over the last month or so," Lind said. "But today was one of those days that was well worth the wait. I couldn't do it against a better team or a better pitcher."

Sabathia, who was looking for his 20th win, gave up the bases-clearing hit to Lind in the fifth inning. The 290-pound left-hander was not his usual dominant self, allowing four earned runs and 10 hits over five-plus innings.

Casey Janssen (5-0) pitched two innings of shutout relief for the victory while Boone Logan (5-3) was tagged with the loss. Jays starter Dustin McGowan, who was making his third appearance of the season, gave up three hits and three earned runs over five innings.

Lind opened the bottom of the ninth with a line drive that nearly cleared the fence in right field. Adam Loewen came on as a pinch-runner and the Yankees intentionally walked fellow Canadian Brett Lawrie.

Colby Rasmus tried to move Loewen over to third but his bunt went back to the pitcher and Loewen was thrown out. Cory Wade relieved Logan and Molina drove a 1-1 pitch to right-centre field that easily scored Lawrie from second base.

"That one was a little bit up in the zone so I just took advantage of it," Molina said. "I put a good swing on it and I found a hole."

Toronto had several opportunities throughout the game but couldn't break things open. The Blue Jays outhit the Yankees 13-5 but also left a whopping 14 runners on base.

Kelly Johnson had three singles and a walk for the Blue Jays, who have won four of their last five games. Eric Chavez hit a two-run homer for the Yankees, who lead the American League with a 90-59 record.

Lind has solid power numbers with 24 home runs and 83 RBI's. His batting average hovered near the .300 mark earlier this season but his recent slump sent his average down to just .252 entering the series opener.

"He was executing in some critical points in the game," Farrell said. "It's good to see him do what he's capable of doing. ... For him, I think it was a chance to take a little bit of a sigh of relief and know that he had a hell of a game tonight."

Lind said his teammates have confidence in each other — no matter who the opposition might be.

"It just shows how good of a team we are, that we can beat the best teams in baseball," Lind said. "It's just a matter of doing it on a more consistent basis. But it's a good starting point and it just shows that we have the talent in this room to compete with anyone."

McGowan's start was moved up a couple days after scheduled starter Brett Cecil cut his finger while cleaning a blender on Wednesday.

"Tonight was the sharpest of the three outings he's had, I thought," Farrell said. "Three and four (different) pitches for strikes at times and he threw some good change-ups."

The game took three hours 15 minutes to play and announced attendance at Rogers Centre was 29,323.

Toronto opened the scoring in the first inning. Mike McCoy led off with a single and Jose Bautista later stroked a single to right field that moved him to third. Edwin Encarnacion followed with a grounder to short but Robinson Cano couldn't complete the double play as his throw pulled Mark Teixeira well off first base, allowing McCoy to score.

In the second, Cano lashed a ball down the first-base line but Bautista threw a one-bounce rocket to second and McCoy dived to tag Cano's foot just before he reached the bag.

The Jays let a great opportunity slip away in the third inning. Encarnacion was up with the bases loaded but his comebacker started a 1-2-3 double play.

Sabathia managed to escape without giving up a run again in the fourth. With Lind on after a single, J.P. Arencibia hit a rainbow shot to deep left field but outfielder Brett Gardner made a nice catch against the wall to end the frame.

New York tied the game at four in the top of the sixth inning. Cano doubled off reliever Jesse Litsch and Nick Swisher drove him in with an RBI single.

Toronto put two runners in scoring position in the bottom half of the frame but reliever Luis Ayala came on with two outs and got Encarnacion to line out to centre field.

Encarnacion stranded three more runners in the eighth inning. After Yankees reliever David Robertson intentionally walked Bautista to load the bases, Encarnacion flied out to deep right field.

Notes: It was a chilly 15 degrees Celsius when McGowan threw the first pitch at 7:08 p.m. Eastern Time. The Rogers Centre roof started to close a few minutes before the start of the game. ... Jays rookie Henderson Alvarez (1-2, 3.09 ERA) will pitch against New York for the first time on Saturday. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Yankees have won 10 straight games and are 15-4 overall this year against pitchers who were facing them for the first time. Veteran Bartolo Colon (8-9, 3.55) will start for New York. ... On Sunday, Brandon Morrow (9-11, 5.23) will get the start against Freddy Garcia (11-7, 3.71). ... The Blue Jays announced the 2011 Webster Award winners Friday, recognizing the most valuable players at each of the club's minor-league teams. First baseman David Cooper won at triple-A Las Vegas and catcher Travis d'Arnaud took the honour at double-A New Hampshire. Other winners included catcher A.J. Jimenez (single-A Dunedin), outfielder Jake Marisnick (single-A Lansing), pitcher Justin Nicolino (Vancouver — Northwest League), outfielder Chris Hawkins (Bluefield — Appalachian League), shortstop Joge Vega-Rosado (Gulf Coast Blue Jays — Gulf Coast League) and pitcher Jairo Labourt (DSL Blue Jays — Dominican Summer League).

MORE:cpSports