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Yanks hit milestone homer in Tanaka's return

Sep 22, 2014 - 4:52 AM Bronx, NY ( - Brett Gardner hit the 15,000th home run in Yankees franchise history to snap a fifth-inning tie and Brian McCann homered twice, helping New York to a 5-2 victory over Toronto in the return of Masahiro Tanaka on Sunday.

Tanaka had been sidelined since early July with a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. Doctors recommended rehab rather than Tommy John surgery and the rookie began a throwing program before pitching an instructional league game on Monday in Tampa.

In his first start since July 8, Tanaka (13-4) allowed hits to the first two batters, leading to a run. He then surrendered just three more hits with no walks and four strikeouts the rest of the way before being lifted with one out in the sixth.

The right-hander was on a strict pitch count and reached 70 at the time of his exit. If there are no complications, Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Tanaka will make one more start next Saturday in Boston.

"We got through today, so let's get through (Monday)," said Girardi. "Let's keep our fingers crossed and hope he feels good (Monday)."

McCann finished with three runs batted in for the Yankees and Derek Jeter continued to shine in his final homestand with an RBI double. New York, still clinging to very faint playoff hopes heading into the final week of the campaign, took three of four from the Blue Jays this weekend.

Jeter went 2-for-4 with a stolen base and a run scored as the designated hitter Sunday after starting at shortstop for the first three games. He finished the series 8-for-17 with a homer and three runs batted in.

"I'm well aware that it's winding down, I'm always reminded of it," said Jeter. "I'm going to play as hard as I can until we're out of games."

Jose Reyes went 3-for-4 and scored both runs for Toronto, which had snapped a six-game slide with Saturday's 6-3 victory. Drew Hutchison (10-13) took the loss after allowing two runs on five hits in four innings.

"We didn't mount much offense," said Toronto manager John Gibbons.

Reyes started the game with a single to right and raced to third on Jose Bautista's base hit into right field. Tanaka, though, got Edwin Encarnacion to bounce into a double play to score Reyes.

McCann answered for New York with two outs in the home first, blasting a pitch into the right field seats for his 21st home run.

Tanaka settled down after the first. He gave up a double to Munenori Kawasaki in the second and left him at third, then didn't yield another hit until the sixth after Gardner's blast into the right field seats had given the Yankees a 2-1 lead.

Reyes singled to start the next frame and was erased on a Bautista fielder's choice before Encarnacion singled. Adam Warren came on and fanned the next two batters to keep New York in front and retired all three hitters in the seventh.

"Overall, I'm pretty satisfied with how I pitched today," said Tanaka through his interpreter. "I was able to go pretty strong today. I'm relieved."

The Yankees then opened some breathing room in the bottom of the seventh. Gardner led off with a double against Todd Redmond and raced home on Jeter's two-bagger to left. After Jeter stole third, McCann allowed the Yankee captain to trot home with a drive into the right field seats off Daniel Norris to make it 5-1.

Toronto added a run in the eighth against Dellin Betances. Reyes led off with a single, stole second and third, then scored on Encarnacion's base hit.

David Robertson worked around a two-out walk in the ninth for his 38th save.

Game Notes

Jeter broke an 0-for-28 slump Wednesday in the final game of New York's road trip before coming home this weekend ... Yankees outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury sat out his second straight game with a hamstring injury, while first baseman Mark Teixeira was out with a wrist injury that forced his early exit on Saturday ... Toronto's Adam Lind also missed a second consecutive game because of a sore back ... The Yankees continue their final homestand with four games against AL East champion Baltimore, starting Monday ... Toronto finished 37-44 on the road this season and plays its final seven games at home, starting Monday with the first of four against Seattle.