TORONTO — Solid starting pitching has helped the Blue Jays stop a September swoon, and Francisco Liriano became the latest to provide an impressive performance.
Liriano and three relievers combined on a three-hitter, Troy Tulowitzki had four RBIs and the Blue Jays routed the New York Yankees 9-0 to maintain a one-game lead in the AL wild card standings.
Josh Donaldson hit a two-run homer and Edwin Encarnacion got his 124th RBI, tied with Boston’s David Ortiz for the AL lead, as the Blue Jays won their sixth straight home game over New York.
Toronto has won five of eight after going 3-9 to start September. Their starters have allowed two earned runs or fewer in each of the past eight games.
Liriano gave up three hits, walked two and struck out six in earning his second win with Toronto.
“Liriano was was really, really good,” manager John Gibbons said. “He’s got one of the better arms in baseball.”
Liriano (8-13) escaped a bases-loaded jam by striking out Chase Headley to end a 27-pitch first inning, then left runners at the corners after the first two batters reached in the third. That was the start of a stretch that saw the left-hander retire nine straight.
“He’s got good velocity, he’s got movement to it, and he’s got deception,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said of Liriano. “We just weren’t able to put much together.”
Liriano said reuniting with former Pittsburgh catcher Russell Martin has been a plus since he joined Toronto in an Aug. 1 trade.
“We’re always on the same page, we have great communication,” Liriano said through a translator. “He knows how to mix the pitches and he’s helped me a lot.”
Gary Sanchez had two hits for the Yankees, who were shut out for the second straight night and the fifth time this month. New York has gone 0 for 12 with runners in scoring position in their last two games and stranded 17 runners.
New York lost for the ninth time in 12 games, following a seven-game winning streak, and was eliminated from contention in the AL East.
“Things are kind of slipping away at this point,” outfielder Brett Gardner said. “We’re not out of it but we’re definitely not in a good position.”
Reliever Joaquin Benoit walked Aaron Hicks to begin the seventh but pinch-hitter Brian McCann grounded into a double play. Brett Cecil worked the eighth and Danny Barnes finished.
Tulowitzki opened the scoring with a two-out, bases-loaded single off Bryan Mitchell (1-2) in the first and Encarnacion made it 3-0 with a bases-loaded walk in the second.
Mitchel allowed three runs – one earned – and six hits in six innings.
Jose Bautista hit a two-run double off Blake Parker in the seventh and Tulowitzki added a second two-run single.
Donaldson homered off Ben Heller in the eighth, his 36th.
Tulowitzki has a nine-game hitting streak against New York.
The last time New York didn’t score in consecutive games was Aug. 15 and 16, 2015, against Toronto.
Yankees: 2B Starlin Castro (right hamstring) hit in the cage before the game and plans to run on the field Saturday. Manager Joe Girardi said he does not expect Castro to return during the series against Toronto.
New York LHP CC Sabathia (8-12, 4.19) faces RHP Marcus Stroman (9-9, 4.50) Saturday. Sabathia, who will start on five days’ rest, is 3-8 with a 5.49 ERA in his past 17 starts. Stroman has lost his past four starts and is winless since Aug. 14.