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Greg Bird's homer gives Yankees win over Blue Jays

Greg Bird #31 of the New York Yankees

Greg Bird #31 of the New York Yankees is congratulated by third base coach Joe Espada #54 after hitting a three-run home run in the 10th inning during a game against the Toronto Blue Jays on Sept. 22, 2015 at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Tom Szczerbowski

TORONTO - Rookie Greg Bird rescued Andrew Miller.

More significant on this night, Bird kept the Yankees' slim AL East hopes alive.

After Miller, 34-for-35 in save chances coming in, coughed up a one-run lead in the ninth, Bird's three-run homer in the 10th lifted the Yankees to a 6-4 victory over the Blue Jays in front of a stunned sellout crowd of 47,992 at Rogers Centre.

The Yankees (83-67) pulled within 2½ games of the division-leading Blue Jays (86-65) with one game left in the three-game series.

Toronto's Dioner Navarro sent a surge through the crowd in the ninth, homering with one out to tie it at 3. But Miller, after loading the bases with two outs, struck out AL MVP candidate Josh Donaldson to end the inning.

In the 10th, Toronto righthander Mark Lowe allowed a leadoff single to Brian McCann, who beat the shift with a bunt to the left side. Pinch hitter Slade Heathcott then reached on catcher's interference.

Up stepped the 22-year-old Bird, who fell behind 0-and-2 before slamming a 2-and-2 slider into the visitors' bullpen in right-center. Of Bird's 10 homers, six have given the Yankees the lead.

Miller allowed Edwin Encarnacion's 35th homer in the bottom of the 10th to make it 6-4, but ended things there.

Carlos Beltran had given the Yankees a 3-2 lead with a solo home run off Liam Hendriks with one out in the eighth.

Dellin Betances, making his 68th appearance of the season -- second-most on the team -- was called on to protect that lead, but had close to zero command. He allowed a hit and two walks, loading the bases with two outs, but struck out Encarnacion to end the threat.

Hendriks, who struck out Alex Rodriguez with the bases loaded to end the seventh, got McCann to pop out to start the eighth. But he grooved a 1-and-0, 97-mph fastball that Beltran blasted out to right for his 17th homer to snap a 2-2 tie. Beltran also hit a sacrifice fly in a two-run first.

Betances allowed a leadoff single to Kevin Pillar and, after Munenori Kawasaki's sacrifice bunt and Ben Revere's strikeout, walked Donaldson and Jose Bautista to load the bases. Betances fell behind Encarnacion 2-and-0 before striking out the DH.

Bautista kept it 3-2 with his second assist of the night, this one a laser from right to clip Chris Young at the plate on Jacoby Ellsbury's fly out.

Miller came out for the ninth, making his 56th appearance, tying him with Chasen Shreve for third on the club. Miller started the inning by striking out Justin Smoak. Navarro came next and jumped on a first-pitch, 95-mph fastball and sent it to left for his fifth homer, tying it at 3.

Both starters pitched well and neither factored in the decisions. Rookie righthander Luis Severino, handed a 2-0 lead after one inning but unable to hold it, allowed two runs and three hits in six innings.

But it was a far superior outing than his previous one against the Blue Jays, whom he was facing for the third time. On Sept. 11, the 21-year-old allowed six runs in 21/3 innings against the Jays.

Toronto righthander Marco Estrada allowed two runs, both in the first inning, and six hits over 62/3 innings.

Justin Wilson, making his team-high 69th appearance, pitched a perfect seventh to keep it at 2-2.


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