TORONTO - Canadian Russell Martin homered and Hiroki Kuroda worked five-plus effective innings as the New York Yankees maintained their hold on first place in the American League East with an 11-4 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday.
Martin, from Chelsea, Que., hit a three-run shot off reliever Jason Frasor in New York's four-run sixth inning. It was Martin's 20th home run of the season, setting a new career high.
Nick Swisher scored twice and drove in two runs to help the Yankees (91-66) remain one game up on Baltimore. The Orioles whipped Boston 9-1.
Kuroda (15-11) gave up 10 hits but allowed just two runs. Toronto starter Chad Jenkins (0-3) lasted three-plus innings in his second major-league start as the Blue Jays fell to 69-88.
Jenkins retired the first two batters he faced before giving up singles to Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano. Swisher followed with a two-run double to put the Yankees on the board.
New York loaded the bases in the second inning with nobody out but only managed to push a single run across. Derek Jeter grounded into a double play that scored Raul Ibanez.
The Blue Jays had several early opportunities against Kuroda but couldn't capitalize. Toronto left seven men on base over the first five innings — including six left in scoring position.
Base-running gaffes were also a problem.
Canada's Brett Lawrie doubled in the first inning and started to break for third when Colby Rasmus hit a chopper to the first-base side. Lawrie, from Langley, B.C., turned around and dived back to second but couldn't beat Swisher's throw to Jeter, who applied the tag.
Yunel Escobar was burned an inning later. He doubled, moved to third on a wild pitch and was picked off by Martin after a Kelly Johnson strikeout.
Rasmus finally got to Kuroda with a solo shot in the fifth inning. It was his 23rd home run of the season. Adam Lind hit a two-run homer — his 11th of the year — in the seventh inning.
New York's Eric Chavez added some insurance runs in the ninth with a two-run homer, his 15th of the season.
The Yankees outhit the Blue Jays 13-12. Announced attendance was 25,785 and the game took three hours 43 minutes to play.
Notes: Jenkins made a nifty catch in the first inning. He snagged a Curtis Granderson liner but the momentum lifted his glove right off his hand. The glove flew about five feet into the air and Jenkins caught it — with the ball still inside — for the out. Granderson laughed after the unusual play. ... Jenkins made his first start last Sunday, lasting five innings in a 3-0 loss to Tampa Bay. ...The Rogers Centre's retractable roof was closed in the second inning. ... Toronto left-hander Ricky Romero (9-14) will get the start on Saturday afternoon for the third game in the four-game series. The Yankees will counter with Andy Pettitte (5-3). ... Toronto closes out the regular season next week with a three-game set against the visiting Minnesota Twins.