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Bobblehead jinx over as Josh Donaldson leads Toronto Blue Jays past New York Yankees

By Larry Millson, The Sports Xchange
Bobblehead jinx over as Josh Donaldson leads Toronto Blue Jays past New York Yankees
Josh Donaldson broke his streak of going hitless on his bobblehead day with a key home run to lead the Blue Jays past the Yankees. Photo courtesy Toronto Blue Jays/Twitter

TORONTO -- Josh Donaldson said he usually has not done well on the bobblehead days he has had before.

This time, after going hitless in his first three at-bats, he made it a memorable occasion.

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The Toronto Blue Jays third baseman led off the bottom of the eighth inning Sunday afternoon by driving a 3-and-2 fastball from New York Yankees reliever Tyler Clippard (0-3) to right-center field for the go-ahead home run in a vital 3-2 victory.

"I don't know if I've even gotten a hit on my bobblehead day," said Donaldson, who had his third such day as a giveaway at the Rogers Centre.

"It wasn't a no-doubter, but he hit it good," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "He's played extremely well. He's a really good player. He's had some big moments and he had a big one today."

The comeback victory enabled the Blue Jays (28-29) to salvage a split in the four-game series with the American East-leading Yankees (32-22).

"It was big, no doubt about it, considering where we're at and the kind of team they've got," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "I think we needed it, I think it would have been a kick in the teeth had we not won that one. When you lose three out of four at home, it's never good, especially where we're sitting right now."

Joe Smith (2-0) pitched a perfect eighth for the win and Roberto Osuna struck out the side in the ninth to pick up his 13th save.

New York starter Luis Severino allowed six hits, one walk and two runs while striking out seven in seven innings.

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Toronto starter Marcus Stroman allowed five hits, one walk and two runs in six innings. He struck out four.

The Yankees scored in the fourth after Aaron Judge extended his hit streak to eight games when he flared a single to right. He stole second, continued to third on the throwing error by catcher Luke Maile and came home on Matt Holliday's double to deep center.

Brett Gardner led off the sixth with a single, took second when Gary Sanchez walked and advanced to third when Judge flied out to center. He scored when Holliday was safe at first after his grounder to shortstop forced Sanchez at second.

"We were able to get a couple of runs across and it looked like it might hold up, but it just didn't," Girardi said.

Justin Smoak hit a first-pitch slider to center for his 14th homer of the season with two outs in the bottom of the sixth to tie the score at 2. It followed a single by Kendrys Morales.

"I was just trying to get ahead in the count and throw a slider for a strike and he hit me," Severino said. "I'm a little disappointed with myself because I had the game in my hand and I lost it. (The Blue Jays lineup) is tough. They've got a lot of power. You have to be careful to not be in the middle."

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Aaron Loup replaced Stroman in the seventh and allowed a leadoff single to Aaron Hicks, who extended his hit streak to eight games. Didi Gregorius grounded to second to start a double play, however, and Chase Headley flied out to right.

Devon Travis was hit by a pitch on the left hand to open the bottom of the seventh, was sacrificed to second by Chris Coghlan and took third when Maile grounded out to shortstop. Kevin Pillar flied out to center to end the inning.

Travis was replaced in the eighth at second base by Ryan Goins when Smith took the mound for Toronto and had two strikeouts. X-rays on Travis' hand were negative.

Donaldson led off the bottom of the eighth with his sixth homer of the season on a fastball Clippard wanted to get down and away.

"I got him to ground out (Saturday) on a good one, located," Clippard said. "I didn't locate it today."

"I felt familiar with what he was going to do and he gave me a pitch I could hit," Donaldson said. "I felt like we won some battles, we lost some battles. At the same time, it was an important series, obviously they're a very good team and we're playing better baseball as of late. It was nice to split the series for us.

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"We had a lot of guys do some very nice things today. Stro kept us in the game, pitched very well, Smoak hit a big home run. It was a complete team win." {b: NOTES:} Toronto C Russell Martin (sore neck) missed his fourth straight game. The neck is improving and the Blue Jays are hoping to avoid putting Martin on the disabled list. ...Blue Jays RHP Aaron Sanchez (right middle finger blister) is scheduled to resume throwing Monday. ... Yankees batters had eight hits Saturday (four homers and four doubles), the most hits in a game without a single in franchise history. ... The Yankees have Monday off before a three-game series against the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium. RHP Masahiro Tanaka (5-5, 6.34 ERA) will face Boston LHP Drew Pomeranz (5-3, 4.24). ... Blue Jays LHP J.A. Happ (0-3, 4.50) will face Athletics LHP Sean Manaea (4-3, 3.91) on Monday in the opener of a three-game series at Oakland.

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