By MIKE FITZPATRICK AP Baseball Writer
NEW YORK (AP) _ J.A. Happ won his 11th consecutive decision to become the first 17-game winner in the majors, and Melvin Upton Jr. hit a three-run homer that propelled the Toronto Blue Jays past the New York Yankees 7-4 on Wednesday.
Darwin Barney had an early two-run double for the first-place Blue Jays, who hold a slim lead over Baltimore and Boston in the AL East. Russell Martin added three hits, including an RBI single off CC Sabathia, to help the Blue Jays take two of three in the series, delighting a vocal contingent of Toronto fans at Yankee Stadium.
Happ (17-3) pitched into the eighth inning and extended the longest active winning streak in the big leagues. He struck out nine, walked one and yielded solo homers to Gary Sanchez, Starlin Castro and Chase Headley.
Signed as a free agent in the offseason to a $36 million, three-year contract, Happ has won five straight starts. The 33-year-old lefty, who hasn’t lost since June 6 at Detroit, is 3-0 in four outings against the Yankees this year.
Happ was lifted after Headley’s infield single with one out in the eighth. Joaquin Benoit gave up an RBI single to rookie Aaron Judge that made it 7-4, but Roberto Osuna struck out Didi Gregorius on a 97 mph fastball with two on to end the inning.
Osuna, who hadn’t pitched since Saturday, got four straight outs for his 27th save in 29 attempts.
Martin hit an RBI single in the fifth that put Toronto ahead 4-2 before Upton broke it open with an opposite-field drive to right field, the latest right-handed Toronto hitter to take advantage of the short porch at Yankee Stadium over the past two days.
It was Upton’s first home run for the Blue Jays since they obtained him from San Diego in a trade July 26. He began the day batting .190 with two RBIs in 58 at-bats for Toronto.
Sabathia (7-10) lasted six innings in a bizarre outing. The big lefty struck out seven of the first 13 batters and finished with 12 strikeouts, his most in four years. But he was charged with seven runs and nine hits while losing his fifth straight start against Toronto.
Blue Jays: AL MVP Josh Donaldson was removed after six innings. He jammed his right thumb in his final at-bat, a groundout to second. Donaldson was the DH, with Barney playing third base. … After going through a full pregame workout with the club Friday in Cleveland, there’s a good chance CF Kevin Pillar (sprained left thumb) will head to Florida this weekend to play a couple of minor league rehab games, manager John Gibbons said. The team hopes Pillar will be ready to come off the 15-day DL next Tuesday against the Angels. … RF Jose Bautista (sprained left knee) is feeling better and there’s an “outside shot” he’ll be ready to come off the DL after his 15 days are up on Aug. 25, Gibbons said.
Yankees: LF Brett Gardner (ankle) was back in the lineup after missing four games. Gardner batted leadoff as manager Joe Girardi rested CF Jacoby Ellsbury, C-DH Brian McCann and 1B Mark Teixeira against Happ.
New York optioned LHP Chasen Shreve to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and recalled RHP Kirby Yates. Shreve failed to retire any of the five batters he faced during Toronto’s eight-run eighth inning Tuesday night.
Blue Jays: Following an off day, Toronto begins a three-game series Friday night in Cleveland. LHP Francisco Liriano faces Indians RHP Trevor Bauer (9-5, 3.97 ERA). Liriano is 0-1 with a 5.40 ERA in two starts for the Blue Jays since they acquired him from Pittsburgh at the Aug. 1 trade deadline. He is 6-12 with a 5.46 ERA overall.
Yankees: New York plays 12 of its next 15 games on the road, starting with a six-game West Coast swing. After an off day, RHP Masahiro Tanaka (9-4, 3.40 ERA) pitches Friday night at the Los Angeles Angels against RHP Jered Weaver (8-10, 5.32).
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