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TORONTO (AP) — With Masahiro Tanaka injured and CC Sabathia struggling, the New York Yankees could use a reliable ace.
Once again, Michael Pineda proved he's up to the task.
Mark Teixeira hit a two-run homer, Pineda matched his career high with eight shutout innings and the Yankees beat the Toronto Blue Jays 6-3 Tuesday night.
"He's been as good as anyone we've got," manager Joe Girardi said of Pineda, who hadn't pitched eight innings since doing it against Kansas City in September 2011.
Pineda (4-0) allowed five hits and struck out six to win his fourth straight road start, a streak that began in Boston last September. The right-hander has road wins over all four division opponents in that span.
"Big Mike, he pitched great tonight," teammate Jacoby Ellsbury said. "He looked tremendous."
Ellsbury looked good, too. He had three hits, stole two bases and scored twice as the AL East leaders improved to 11-4 away from home, the best road record in the league. Alex Rodriguez gave Pineda an early cushion with a two-run double in the first.
New York has gone 14-4 since a 3-6 start.
"I'm proud of pitching eight innings tonight and helping the bullpen a little bit," Pineda said.
Russell Martin's double gave Toronto runners at second and third with two outs in the third, but Pineda got Edwin Encarnacion to fly out. That was the only inning in which Pineda allowed multiple runners.
"He was good. He shut down a hot offense," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said.
David Carpenter allowed three runs in the ninth, including a solo homer by Martin. Andrew Miller got one out for his 11th save, stranding runners at first and second.
"It's not what you want to do, but we had to," Girardi said of bringing in Miller.
Teixeira, held out of the lineup Monday because of a sore muscle in his lower back, homered off Marco Estrada in the fifth. It was the 373rd career home run for Teixeira, tying him with teammate Carlos Beltran for fourth-most by a switch-hitter.
"I've played with Carlos and Chipper Jones and Lance Berkman, three of the best switch-hitters of our generation," Teixeira said. "It's been a lot of fun playing with those guys."
Estrada (1-1) allowed five runs, four earned, and eight hits in 4 2-3 innings in his first start of the season. He took the rotation spot of Daniel Norris, optioned to Triple-A last Friday.
The Yankees jumped on Estrada by scoring twice before he got an out. Ellsbury led off with a single, went to third on Brett Gardner's double, and both runners scored on Rodriguez's double.
DREW ENDS DROUGHT
Stephen Drew's single in the sixth snapped an 0-for-19 slump. Drew singled again in the eighth, his third multihit game of the season.
Pineda issued his third base on balls of the season with a leadoff walk to Ezequiel Carrera in the third. Pineda had gone 20 innings since his previous walk, to Tampa Bay's David DeJesus on April 19.
Yankees: INF-OF Jose Pirela returned from his minor league rehab assignment. Pirela sustained a concussion when he crashed into the outfield wall during a spring training game. He's expected to be activated Wednesday. ... In the eighth, 3B Gregorio Petit struck out on a pitch that hit him in the right hand. Petit stayed in for the bottom half, but Rodriguez replaced him in the ninth. X-rays were negative and Petit will be examined again Wednesday. ... 3B Chase Headley (sore lower back) got the night off.
Blue Jays: OF Michael Saunders is expected to be held out until Friday after getting a cortisone shot and having fluid drained from his left knee Monday. Saunders was unlikely to start against Sabathia on Wednesday, and the Blue Jays are off Thursday. ... INF-OF Danny Valencia was held out of the lineup. Valencia sprained his ankle when he stepped awkwardly while climbing the stairs to the clubhouse following Monday's game. Chris Colabello, called up from Triple-A Buffalo on Tuesday, started in left field.
Blue Jays: LHP Mark Buehrle is 1-14 in 21 career starts against the Yankees, with his lone victory coming in 2004. He has allowed 13 earned runs in his past two outings, both losses.
Yankees: Sabathia is winless in five starts this season but owns a 15-5 record in 21 career outings against Toronto, including a 10-2 mark in his past 13 games.
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