TORONTO (AP) - What should have been a simple bunt play turned into a defensive disaster for the Toronto Blue Jays.
Reliever Aaron Loup made a two-run throwing error in the 11th inning and the New York Yankees beat the Blue Jays 5-3 on Saturday for their ninth win in 11 games.
Former Blue Jay Vernon Wells hit New York's AL-leading 26th homer and finished with three hits, including a single to start the winning rally.
Wells and Francisco Cervelli singled off Loup (1-1) to open the 11th, and Ichiro Suzuki followed with a bunt to the third base side of the mound that Loup and third basemen Brett Lawrie both charged. Loup fielded it and wheeled to throw to third. But with Lawrie out of position as he retreated back to the bag, the ball sailed into foul territory and down the left field line, allowing both runners to score.
Loup said it's a play the Blue Jays practiced regularly at spring training.
``I thought we had an easy play at third base,' a downcast Loup said. ``I didn't have enough awareness to realize Lawrie was crashing in on the play. By the time I realized he was backpedalling to the bag and wasn't there, it was too late and I'd already let go of the ball.'
Lawrie said he was playing in with the speedy Suzuki batting and couldn't recover quickly enough.
``By the time I turned around the ball was already by me,' he said.
Wells said he was ``shocked' to see Loup try and make the throw to third.
``You know what, you get in the moment and you make an aggressive play like that and sometimes it works out,' Wells said. ``You look great when it works out and bad when it doesn't.'
Toronto lost for the fifth time in seven games and fell a season-high four games below .500.
``Let's face it, we haven't played good enough baseball to win,' Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. ``We're where we should be.'
Shawn Kelley (1-0) got two outs in the 10th for the win and Mariano Rivera finished for his fifth save.
The Blue Jays used a single and a sacrifice to put the winning run in scoring position with one out in the 10th but Kelley came on and got Rajai Davis to pop out, then got Melky Cabrera to ground out.
New York infielder Kevin Youkilis left after five innings with a sore lower back and was replaced by Lyle Overbay.
``His back locked up a little bit on the right side,' Girardi said. ``My guess is he's not a player for me (Sunday).'
Wells opened the scoring in the second with a homer against Mark Buehrle that hit the left field foul screen, his fifth of the season and second in two days. Wells has five homers in 15 career games against his former team.
Wells improved to 23 for 47 (.489) against Buehrle.
``He's a guy who throws strikes and I'm usually a guy who's swinging often,' Wells said. ``I've gotten a few to fall in.'
New York made it 3-0 in the fifth. Jayson Nix led off with a single and went to third on Brett Gardner's double. One out later, Robinson Cano was walked to load the bases for Youkilis, who ripped a liner to third that bounced off Lawrie's glove and rolled into shallow left for a two-run single.
Wells singled to load the bases but Cervelli grounded into a double play.
Yankees starter Hiroki Kuroda, who beat Baltimore with a five-hit shutout in his previous start, allowed just two hits through the first seven innings, but was replaced by David Robertson after Colby Rasmus' one-out single under Overbay's glove in the eighth.
Maicer Izturis struck out and pinch hitter Adam Lind walked before Rajai Davis grounded an RBI single up the middle. The run snapped Kuroda's streak of shutout innings at 20 2-3 dating to his April 8 start at Cleveland.
Cabrera followed with a two-run single to center that bounced away from Gardner, tying it at 3-all. Jose Bautista walked but Robertson fanned Edwin Encarnacion to end the inning.
The two hits with runners in scoring position in the eighth were one more than the Blue Jays had in their previous six games combined, when they went 1 for 29.
Kuroda allowed one run and three hits in 7 1-3 innings. He walked one and struck out a season-high seven.
``His slider was really good today,' Girardi said. ``He used it really effectively against the right-handers. He used his split pretty effectively, threw some early curveballs. He just mixed his pitches. He gave us a great outing again.'
Making the 400th start of his career, Buehrle allowed three runs and eight hits in a season-high seven innings. His only walk was intentional and his seven strikeouts were a season-high.
NOTES: Buehrle hasn't beaten the Yankees since 2004. ... Yankees manager Joe Girardi said LH Andy Pettitte had only ``normal soreness' one day after beating Toronto. Pettitte had missed his previous start because of back spasms. ... Attendance was 46,095. ... Blue Jays RH Josh Johnson (0-1) faces New York RP Ivan Nova (1-1) in Sunday's series finale.
The Associated Press News Service
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