TORONTO - Toronto Blue Jays catcher J.P. Arencibia had a good day at the plate, but it was what he did behind it that satisfied him the most.
Arencibia had three hits, including a two-run homer, in the Blue Jays' 8-1 victory over the New York Yankees on Wednesday.
Kelly Johnson, Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista also homered for the Blue Jays, who ended a three-game losing string.
Arencibia's offensive contribution was key, but the catcher was happier with the way he worked with right-hander Kyle Drabek, who pitched seven strong innings to end his four-start losing streak.
"The biggest thing for me was Kyle, how he controlled his pitches," said Arencibia, who was a triple short of hitting for the cycle. "To me that was the best thing."
Drabek (3-4) held the Yankees to three hits and one run. He did walk four but he struck out five. It was his first win since April 15 against Baltimore.
"For me the most part me and J.P. were able to get ahead (in the count)," Drabek said. "That's what helped me out. I got behind in the count some but today I was just able to keep throwing strikes and getting the out."
He appreciated the offensive support. Johnson's homer in the seventh was the 100th of his career and Encarnacion's team-leading 13th homer of the season drove in three runs in the third.
"It was great," Drabek said. "Not only did they score all those runs but they were placed perfectly in the infield and outfield for me which saved some hits too. It was nice."
Yankees starter Hiroki Kuroda (3-5) gave up seven runs and eight hits, including three home runs, in five innings plus one batter.
In the first meeting of the season between the American League East rivals, the Blue Jays (20-18) snapped a three-game string of losses while the Yankees (20-17) lost their second in a row.
"(Drabek) has good stuff and when his sinker's that good it's going to be hard not to hit the ball into the ground," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.
"And you have to make him get the ball up and we just weren't able to do it."
The Yankees' run came on first baseman Mark Teixeira’s 1,500th career hit in the sixth, a single that scored Robinson Cano.
Drabek said he worked at throwing his sinker higher.
"Really it was just trying to throw it higher and allow it to sink back down," he said. "I think my last two starts I've been trying to throw it more on the black and not as high and that’s when it tends to bounce."
Arencibia put the Blue Jays into a 2-0 lead with his fourth homer of the season on a 3-2 pitch with two out in the second inning, scoring Brett Lawrie.
Lawrie played after appealing a four-game suspended handed down Wednesday for his actions after he was called out on strikes in the ninth inning of Tuesday’s 4-3 loss to Tampa Bay. Lawrie threw his helmet to the ground and it hit umpire Bill Miller on the bounce. Miller was the umpire at third base on Wednesday.
Encarnacion hit a three-run home run in the third to put the Blue Jays into a 5-0 lead. It scored Eric Thames who doubled down the right-field line with two out and Bautista who walked.
Arencibia, after hitting a double to right with one out in the fourth, slid home with Toronto’s sixth run on Johnson’s single to left.
Bautista led off the home fifth with his ninth homer of the season.
"I thought (Kuroda) left his slider a little bit up to Arencibia and he got a fastball up to Encarnacion and those were the two problems," Girardi said. "At times he threw the ball really well but when he got a ball up they didn't miss it."
Johnson hit his eighth homer of the season against Clay Rapada in the seventh with his eighth homer of the season to bump the lead to 8-1.
"Seven strong innings by Kyle and very good offensive night up and down the order," Jays manager John Farrell said. "J.P. had a very good night at the plate and got us ahead with a two-run homer. (Encarnacion) continued to do what he has done all year which is give us some of that middle of the order punch. Kelly continues to swing the bat as he has done for quite a while. I just thought a very consistent approach up and down the lineup."
Notes: Attendance at Rogers Centre was 28,915 ....Vladimir Guerrero who was signed to a minor-league contract by the Blue Jays has been working out in Dunedin, Fla., and could be ready for some game action in extended spring training next week. ... Omar Vizquel started at shortstop for Yunel Escobar as the Blue Jays put as many left-handed hitters as possible against Kuroda. ....Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter was given the night off and Jayson Nix started in his place. ...The two-game series against the Yankees ends Thursday with Drew Hutchison (2-1, 5.53 earned-run average) facing Phil Hughes (3-4, 5.50 ERA).