THE BRONX – For nearly two years, the Toronto Blue Jays had walked off the field at Yankee Stadium with losses. Every time.
Dan Johnson’s 70-foot infield hit helped the Blue Jays stop their 17-game skid in the Bronx.
Johnson drove in four runs with the seventh-inning single and a three-run homer in the ninth, lifting the Blue Jays over New York 6-4 on Saturday for their first win at Yankee Stadium since Aug. 29, 2012.
“We were trying anything,” Johnson said, “just to kind of change the feeling, the mojo here.”
Toronto didn’t take batting practice before Friday’s 6-3 loss or on Saturday. Manager John Gibbons described the losing streak as feeling “Volkswagen tracks” on his neck.
Brian McCann’s two-run homer off Drew Hutchison (7-9) put New York ahead, but the Blue Jays tied the score in the fifth against Chris Capuano, who was making his Yankees debut, on Melky Cabrera’s RBI double and Steve Tolleson’s sacrifice fly.
Toronto went ahead in the seventh when Shawn Kelley (1-3) walked Cabrera leading off and Jose Bautista doubled him to third.
Dioner Navarro, who had three hits, followed with a grounder to McCann, an All-Star catcher playing first base this week because of Mark Teixeira’s strained back. McCann took a step in, checked the runners, but allowed Navarro to get by him and reach on a fielder’s choice that loaded the bases.
“It was a such a strange play,” Navarro said. “We caught a break right there.”
Kelley struck out Tolleson, and Johnson was jammed by left-hander Matt Thornton as the ball blooped to the right side. Second baseman Brian Roberts reacted slowly, and the ball landed on the grass in front of him, with McCann and Thornton not far away. All runners were safe, and Toronto led 3-2.
“When you lose 17 in a row, you deserve something like that,” Gibbons said.
Johnson at first thought the ball might be caught or even called an infield fly.
“One of the softest hits I’ve ever got,” he said. “There was three guys converging on it, so I couldn’t really figure out what was going on.”
Roberts didn’t think he had a chance to grab it.
“Maybe it’s a play I’m supposed to make, but it didn’t happen,” he said. “Bounces don’t always go your way. One guy does everything right and one guy does everything kind of wrong, and the result goes in favor of the one that does everything wrong.”
Johnson made it 6-2 with a ninth-inning drive off Jeff Francis over the short porch in right, his first homer since hitting three for the Chicago White Sox at Cleveland on Oct. 3, 2012.
Toronto reliever Casey Janssen allowed Carlos Beltran’s two-run homer in the ninth.
Hutchison stopped a three-start skid to win for the first time since July 1. He gave up two runs, five hits and three walks in 6 2-3 innings with seven strikeouts.
Aaron Loup walked a pair of batters with two outs in the eighth before throwing a called third strike past Brett Gardner with on a two-seam fastball with a full count. Casey Janssen allowed Carlos Beltran’s two-run homer in the ninth.
“We needed a win — especially against these guys and especially here,” Loup said. “It seems like everything was bouncing against them today, so it ended up working out for us.”