Marcus Stroman was making dream start, and it sure had a happy ending.
Stroman pitched six gritty innings, Jose Bautista hit his eighth homer of the year against New York and the Toronto Blue Jays ended a season-worst six-game skid to beat the Yankees 6-3 Saturday and keep their faint playoff hopes alive.
"It was an awesome environment," said the rookie right-hander who is from nearby Medford. "It was special, being from here, watching Jeter growing up. I definitely rank it pretty high."
With eight games to play for both teams, Toronto is 5 1/2 games back for an AL wild card and the Yankees are 4 1/2. Seattle and Cleveland all played later Saturday night.
Danny Valencia hit a go-ahead, two-run double in the sixth, helping hand the Yankees their first loss of Jeter's final homestand after two wins over Toronto. New York had won three in a row overall.
With most of the 47,292 fans at Yankee Stadium standing and chanting "Der-ek Je-ter!" his every at-bat, the retiring captain doubled and singled for his third straight multihit game. He also scored his 1,920th run to pass suspended teammate Alex Rodriguez for ninth place on the career list.
Jeter hit an RBI double down the left-field line off Brandon Morrow in the ninth to cut the lead to 6-3 as cameras flashed throughout the packed ballpark. Casey Janssen relieved and hit Brian McCann with a pitch before getting two outs for his 24th save.
"The guy never stops fighting and believing in himself," manager Joe Girardi said of Jeter. "It's an attitude that's infectuous and it's an attitude that you want in your players."
Awaiting word on his appeal of a six-game suspension for throwing over the head of Orioles catcher Caleb Joseph on Monday, Stroman (11-6) gave up two runs and eight hits. He struck out seven without allowing a walk.
Bautista scored four times and reached base all five plate appearances, walking three times to pass 100 for the third time in his career.
The All-Star right-fielder connected leading off the seventh against Chase Whitley, giving him 34 homers and 101 RBIs this year. His eight homers against New York are tied for most against one team this season, according to STATS. The Cubs' Anthony Rizzo has eight against Cincinnati.
"I think it's a good performance that obviously helps in meaningful games in September," Bautista said, reflecting on his day. "It's going to be tough, but mathematically we're still in it."
Edwin Encarnacion had an RBI double in the first off Chris Capuano (2-4) but the Yankees took a lead with runs in the third and fourth.
Jeter singled off the glove of diving second baseman Steve Tolleson and scored on McCann's single after advancing on a wild pitch in the third.
Yankees fans booed Bautista as he left the field at the end of the seventh inning after he caught the last out in right field, turned and faked tossing the ball into the bleachers. Bautista had a ball in his back pocket upon his return for the bottom of the eighth and flipped it into the crowd. A fan feigned giving it to a woman in a Blue Jays jersey and threw it right back onto the field. "At first I thought it was some innocent back and forth," he said. "But after the ball was thrown I decided not to continue to have the interaction because, what was going to happen next?"
Blue Jays: 1B Adam Lind was out of the lineup because his "back locked up a little bit (Friday)," according to manager John Gibbons. Gibbons hopes the injury does not sideline Lind too long.
Yankees: 1B Mark Teixeira was pinch hit for in the fifth inning. He left with a sore right wrist and will consult with the surgeon who operated on the wrist last year. ... CF Jacoby Ellsbury was out of the lineup a day after straining his right hamstring.
Blue Jays: RHP Drew Hutchinson (10-12) takes the mound in the finale of the season series between the teams.
Yankees: Masahiro Tanaka (12-4) is scheduled to make his first start since July 8. He's has been out with a partial tear of an elbow ligament and is trying to avoid Tommy John surgery.
The Blue Jays started a lineup against Capuano with two switch-hitters, Dioner Navarro and Dalton Pompey, and seven righties. That left Toronto with a bench of eight left-handed bats.