By MIKE FITZPATRICK AP Sports Writer
NEW YORK (AP) _ David Phelps pitched seven strong innings, Carlos Beltran drove in two runs and the New York Yankees beat Toronto 6-4 Thursday night for their 16th consecutive home win over the Blue Jays.
Jacoby Ellsbury stole two bases, scored twice and hit one of three early sacrifice flies for the Yankees off Drew Hutchison. New York swiped four bags in all and scratched out its fifth run when Brett Gardner was going as Derek Jeter hit an RBI groundout _ preventing an inning-ending double play.
Phelps (3-4) yielded two runs and struck out seven in winning his second straight outing after a four-start skid. The Yankees earned their first three-game sweep at home this season and sliced Toronto’s lead in the AL East to 1 1/2 games.
Citing research by the Elias Sports Bureau, the Yankees said the winning streak against Toronto is their longest at home against one team since a 19-game run vs. Cleveland from June 1960 to April 1962.
Melky Cabrera and Edwin Encarnacion each hit a two-run homer for the Blue Jays, swept for the first time since Sept. 10-12 last season by the Los Angeles Angels. Toronto has dropped 25 of 27 at Yankee Stadium dating to 2011 and hasn’t won in the Bronx since Aug. 29, 2012.
With closer David Robertson receiving a rest, Adam Warren got two outs for his second save _ ending a rhythm-less game that took 3 hours, 47 minutes. Blue Jays manager John Gibbons was on the field five times in the first six innings for four discussions with the umpires, plus a pitching change.
Phelps equaled his career high with 115 pitches and finished strong. He retired pinch-hitter Adam Lind with two on to end the sixth and then struck out two in a perfect seventh.
The right-hander was fired up, too, clenching his fist and yelling after freezing Jose Reyes for strike three with his final delivery.
Phelps also made a key defensive play to protect a one-run lead in the fifth. He got Reyes on a soft grounder with the infield in, pinning a runner at third, and then knocked down Cabrera’s two-out comebacker. Phelps whirled around and scrambled to find the ball near the front of the mound, then zipped a throw to first just in time.
Cabrera tripped awkwardly over the bag and tumbled hard to the turf, but appeared to be fine.
Encarnacion hit his 21st homer in the eighth, a long drive to left off Shawn Kelley that cut it to 6-4.
Yankees hitters ran up Hutchison’s pitch count early, just as they did against fellow youngster Marcus Stroman in the series opener. Kelly Johnson had a sacrifice fly in the second and Beltran added one in the third.
Making his Yankee Stadium debut, Hutchison (5-5) threw 38 pitches in the second inning and needed 76 to get through three. He was pulled in the fifth trailing 3-2.
Beltran hit an RBI double off Aaron Loup, and Brian Roberts stole two bases in the sixth before scoring on Jeter’s groundout. Steve Delabar walked three in the seventh, including Yangervis Solarte with the bases loaded to make it 6-2.
The 23-year-old Hutchison was 3-0 with a 0.31 ERA in his previous four road starts, and 4-1 with a 1.79 ERA away from home this season. But nothing seems to go right for the Blue Jays in the Bronx.
NOTES: Toronto has seven more games scheduled at Yankee Stadium this year. The Blue Jays return on July 25. … Lind had been sidelined since leaving Saturday’s game in Baltimore with a bruised right foot. … Cabrera extended his hitting streak against his former team to 19 games. He has seven homers and 15 RBIs in 21 career games vs. the Yankees. … Blue Jays 3B-2B Brett Lawrie sat out with a swollen left hand after he was hit by a pitch Wednesday night. Juan Francisco played third base, with Steve Tolleson at second. … Lights-out Yankees reliever Dellin Betances was unavailable after pitching three scoreless innings in the first two games of the series, manager Joe Girardi said. … Johnson was shaken up and removed after the ball hit his left hand when he fouled off a bunt in the sixth. Solarte pinch-hit with a full count and struck out. X-rays on Johnson were negative and he is day to day with bruised fingers.
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