Blue Jays beat Yankees 11-5 ahead of Saturday's doubleheader
Toronto Blue Jays' Justin Smoak, left, and on-deck batter Ryan Goins (17) greet Russell Martin at the plate after Smoak scored on Martin's seventh-inning, two-run, home run off New York Yankees relief pitcher Chasen Shreve in a baseball game at Yankee Stadium in New York, Friday, Sept. 11, 2015. (AP / Kathy Willens)
Mike Fitzpatrick, The Associated Press
Published Friday, September 11, 2015 11:07PM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, September 12, 2015 8:47AM EDT
NEW YORK -- David Price sauntered through the clubhouse in that plush new robe several Toronto players were wearing -- sharp blue with the team logo and his name and number on the back.
Manager John Gibbons had his feet propped up on his desk as he carved into a juicy rib-eye steak that sat in his lap.
No doubt about it, after blowing out their closest challengers in the AL East on Friday night, the Blue Jays are beginning to look pretty comfortable.
Russell Martin homered twice and drove in four runs against his former team, and Toronto went deep five times to beat the New York Yankees 11-5 in the opener of their weekend showdown for first place.
"We definitely feed off one another, for sure. It's just our lineup, it just has a lot of depth," Martin said. "I don't think the opposing pitchers feel like they have any breathing room out there. It's just one after the other."
Josh Donaldson and Justin Smoak hit two-run shots in a five-run first inning to build a big lead for Price. Edwin Encarnacion added a titanic drive after the Blue Jays chased rookie starter Luis Severino in the third.
Seeking its first playoff appearance in 22 years, Toronto increased its division lead to 2 1-2 games over New York. The teams play a rare single-admission double-header at Yankee Stadium on Saturday to make up Thursday night's rainout. The four-game series concludes Sunday.
"Any win from here on out is the biggest win of the year," Price said.
A vocal contingent of Toronto fans made themselves heard all night, with Yankees supporters attempting to drown out chants of "Let's go Blue Jays!" after the crowd of 40,220 had dwindled by the eighth inning.
Didi Gregorius hit a three-run homer and knocked in four for the Yankees, who can fall back on their lead in the wild-card race. But they want to win the AL East and avoid the win-or-go-home scenario of a wild-card game.
Handed an 8-1 lead, Price (15-5) lasted only five innings because he needed 96 pitches to get that far.
"We figured, you know what? If we can't protect a seven-run lead, we don't deserve to win," Gibbons said. "And our bullpen was rested."
The ace left-hander struck out seven and improved to 6-1 with a 2.28 ERA since the Blue Jays acquired him in a July 30 trade with Detroit. He has defeated the Yankees twice in three starts with Toronto.
Price is 6-0 with a 2.01 ERA in his last eight starts at Yankee Stadium.
Severino (3-3) gave up a double to his first batter and stumbled to his knees on his fifth pitch. He flexed his left leg as manager Joe Girardi and a trainer came out to check on him, but Severino threw one warmup pitch and remained in the game.
"I just think he caught his spike. It scared me probably more than it probably scared him," Girardi said. "You can have some pretty bad thoughts go through your mind in a situation like that, but he's OK."
Then the 21-year-old right-hander really took a tumble.
Donaldson hit a mammoth drive into the elevated concrete bleachers in left field for his 38th homer. Encarnacion doubled and scored on Troy Tulowitzki's single before Smoak homered to right.
Martin, who had three of Toronto's 16 hits, added an RBI single in the third.
"My location with my fastball wasn't there," said Severino, who had a wrap on his lower right leg. "Not cut, just hurt a little bit."
Encarnacion, who has reached base safely in a club-record 40 consecutive games, took a long look at his two-run clout in the fourth off Chris Martin that landed in the rarely reached second deck in left.
Alex Rodriguez struck out all four times up for the Yankees, drawing boos.