Players like Ryan Goins, Anthony Gose and Moises Sierra showed what they could do in Wednesday's 7-2 victory over the New York Yankees.
Goins scored twice and made a key defensive play, Sierra had two of Toronto's 10 hits and Gose made a highlight-reel catch in shallow centre field.
"This is their opportunity," said Jays manager John Gibbons. "They bring a lot of energy to the field, a lot of intensity. It's fun to watch them play."
Toronto (60-74) jumped out to an early four-run lead and Edwin Encarnacion made it a 6-0 game in the second inning with a two-run homer. Starter Todd Redmond (2-2) was effective over 5 2-3 innings as the Blue Jays won the rubber match of the three-game series in front of 36,565 fans at Rogers Centre.
New York (70-63) fell 5 1/2 games back in the wild-card race and 8 1/2 games behind first-place Boston in the American League East.
"Any loss at this point in the season is rough on us," said Yankees catcher Chris Stewart. "Time is ticking away and we don't really have much room for error."
It was Toronto's first series win of the season against the Yankees. Redmond said team defence was a big factor.
"You have to give it up to those guys," he said. "The ball is smoked down the line and Edwin made a diving play, Gose running in and making a diving play and Brett (Lawrie) with that (catch off a) line drive.
"Great plays all around. I have to take my hat off to those guys."
Goins has hit safely in his first six major-league games and boasts an impressive .455 batting average. He showed off his arm in the fourth inning with a perfect throw from shallow right field to catch Alex Rodriguez at the plate.
Gibbons likes what he has seen from the rookie, who spent most of the season at triple-A Buffalo.
"You name it — defence, offence, and he's in tune with things," Gibbons said. "He doesn't look in awe, you know."
Gose showed his range in the fifth inning by sprinting into shallow centre field to make a tremendous diving catch that robbed Stewart of a base hit.
"He can flat out play centre field with anybody," Gibbons said. "He's like anybody else, he was here last year but he's still feeling his way around, trying to establish himself. He's doing some nice jobs for us."
The Blue Jays batted around in the first inning against New York starter Hiroki Kuroda (11-10). Goins got things started with a double and Adam Lind reached on a walk.
Lawrie, from Langley, B.C., drove them both in with a two-out double to the left-centre field gap.
After Rajai Davis was hit by a pitch, J.P. Arencibia struck out but ran to first base when Stewart gave up a passed ball. Stewart's throw to first was wide and ended up rolling into foul territory, allowing Lawrie and Davis to score on the error.
Goins singled in the second inning and Encarnacion followed with his 34th home run of the season, a rainbow shot that left him one RBI short of the 100 plateau. Arencibia made it 7-0 an inning later when he scored on a sacrifice fly by Jose Reyes.
Redmond rolled through the first three innings but gave up a pair of runs in the fourth.
After walking Curtis Granderson and Alfonso Soriano, Rodriguez hit an RBI single to left field that put the Yankees on the board. Soriano moved to third and scored when Mark Reynolds doubled off the wall in right-centre field.
Sierra made a valiant effort by jumping against the wall but couldn't make the catch. Gose backed him up nicely, gathered the ball and threw it to Goins, who fired a strike to Arencibia to get Rodriguez at the plate as the crowd roared its approval.
Redmond gave up three hits, two earned runs, four walks and struck out seven. Kuroda allowed five earned runs and nine hits over five innings of work. He walked a batter and had four strikeouts.
New York had only five hits in the game.
Notes: New York second baseman Robinson Cano took the night off after being hit in the left hand by a pitch on Tuesday. He's listed as day-to-day. ... The Rogers Centre roof was closed at the start of the game but was opened in the second inning. ... The Blue Jays will get a day off Thursday. They will close out their six-game homestand with a three-game series against the Kansas City Royals beginning Friday night. Toronto left-hander Mark Buehrle (10-7) is scheduled to start against right-hander Ervin Santana (8-7). ... The Yankees are also off Thursday. They will begin a 10-game homestand against the Baltimore Orioles on Friday.Suggest a correction