Mark Teixeira made sure the New York Yankees had something to declare at customs on their way home from Canada: a victory over the Toronto Blue Jays.
Teixeira hit a two-run home run, Hiroki Kuroda won for the first time in four starts and the Yankees beat Toronto 5-3 on Wednesday night, snapping their losing streak at four games.
"That was a big win," Teixeira said. "We needed this one to stop the bleeding a little bit."
With his team in the midst of 15 straight games against AL East opponents, Yankees manager Joe Girardi agreed that leaving Toronto with at least one win was meaningful.
"It's not what you want but it sure beats the alternative," Girardi said. "We've played six against Toronto and three against Baltimore and now we're going to go play Boston and Tampa. I though tonight it was really important that we needed to play a good game before the off day."
New York is 6-3 against the Blue Jays this season and 10-10 against the rest of the East.
Kuroda (5-5) won for the first time since May 28, at St. Louis, allowing three runs and eight hits in 6 1-3 innings. He walked two and struck out four.
"He got us into the seventh inning with a lead and I thought he threw the ball pretty good," Girardi said.
David Robertson got the final five outs for his 18th save in 20 chances.
"We hit a little bit of a rough pitch," Robertson said. "We needed to pick up a win. Beating the Jays is pretty tough and we were fortunate to sneak one out here."
Things didn't start well for the Yankees as Jose Reyes homered into the second deck on Kuroda's first pitch, his third leadoff blast this season and the 21st of his career. Melky Cabrera followed with a single, but Kuroda struck out Adam Lind and Edwin Encarnacion, then got Dioner Navarro to foul out.
The Yankees took the lead with a four-run third off Blue Jays right-hander Drew Hutchison. Kelly Johnson drew a leadoff walk and scored on Francisco Cervelli's double. Two-outs later, Jacoby Ellsbury hit an RBI single and scored on Teixeira's homer.
"The whole dugout was pretty excited about the four runs because it had been a while since we'd had a lead," Teixeira said.
Hutchison (5-6) lost for the third time in four starts, allowing four runs and seven hits in six innings. He walked two and struck out six.
"I was disappointed in that big inning, especially allowing three runs with two outs and not being able to make that big pitch," Hutchison said.
Hutchison is 0-3 with a 9.22 ERA in three starts against the Yankees this season.
The Blue Jays cut the deficit to one in the fifth on a two-out, two-run single by Cabrera, but Lind flied out to end the inning.
New York used two walks and a hit batter to load the bases with no outs against reliever Rob Rasmussen in the seventh but only managed to score one run. Teixeira hit a sacrifice fly off Sergio Santos and Carlos Beltran struck out before Ichiro Suzuki walked to load the bases again. Santos escaped by getting Brian Roberts to fly out.
Kuroda left after Anthony Gose grounded into a fielder's choice in the seventh. Shawn Kelley gave up a single to Reyes and got Cabrera to fly out. Matt Thornton came on, Gose and Reyes advanced on a double steal, but Lind ended the inning with a broken-bat grounder to the mound.
NOTES: Toronto has gone 5-13 since a 5-0 start to June. ... The Blue Jays selected OF Brad Glenn from Triple-A Buffalo and optioned OF Kevin Pillar to Triple-A. Pillar threw his bat down the dugout steps after he was replaced by a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning Tuesday. ... Encarnacion started at DH after being hit in the back of the head in a collision with Teixeira at first base Tuesday. ... Derek Jeter celebrates his 40th birthday Thursday. ... The Yankees are off Thursday before beginning a three-game series against Boston on Friday. New York's Vidal Nuno (1-4) faces Red Sox RHP Brandon Workman (1-0) in the opener. ... The Blue Jays begin a four-game series against the Chicago White Sox on Thursday. Toronto LHP J.A. Happ (6-4) faces Chicago RHP Scott Carroll (2-3).