Curtis Granderson helps Yanks to 7th straight win

NEW YORK -- Playing without three of the first four hitters in their regular lineup, the New York Yankees put speed up top and scampered for extra bases on each ball in the gap.

Curtis Granderson drove in three runs with a pair of doubles, Brett Gardner sparked the offense from his leadoff spot and New York beat the Toronto Blue Jays 7-3 on Friday to match a season high with its seventh straight victory.

"Toronto has given us a fit all year," Gardner said. "It was a good overall team effort."

Mark Teixeira had an RBI double and the AL East leaders got excellent work from their bullpen to hold down the Blue Jays, who lead the majors with 203 home runs.

On a blustery day in the Bronx, where wind from Hurricane Earl off shore wreaked havoc with fly balls, New York made sure the last scheduled start of Brandon Morrow's encouraging season was a short one. The Yankees chased the right-hander after three innings, ending his five-game winning streak.

"He didn't have very much out there today. He started the game off with an 84 mph fastball and it didn't get much better than that," Toronto manager Cito Gaston said.

Gardner hit a run-scoring triple and scored three times, pacing a lineup that was missing Derek Jeter, Nick Swisher and Alex Rodriguez. Ramiro Pena added an RBI single for the Yankees, who are 20-3 this season without A-Rod.

"We've got a good enough lineup, a good enough bullpen, a good enough starting five that if a couple guys are down and some other guys have to fill in, we still feel like we can win," Gardner said.

Travis Snider hit a solo homer for Toronto, which fell to 7-6 against New York this season.

Coming off a four-game sweep of Oakland, the Yankees (85-50) improved to 5-0 on their 10-game homestand by winning for the 13th time in 17 games overall. They also won seven in a row from July 3-9, with five of those victories coming against the Blue Jays and Athletics.

Rookie right-hander Ivan Nova, fresh off his first major league win on Sunday, was pulled with two outs in the fifth as left-handed hitter Lyle Overbay stepped to the plate with two on.

Left-hander Boone Logan struck out Overbay to protect a 5-3 lead.

Overbay was back in the lineup after missing five games following a collision with reliever Brian Tallet. The first baseman did not sustain a concussion, the Blue Jays said, but felt post-concussion symptoms.

"The timing's a little bit off," Overbay said.

He got another chance with two on in the seventh but struck out against Kerry Wood (3-4), who retired all five batters he faced for his second win since he was acquired from Cleveland.

Mariano Rivera worked a perfect ninth. Four Yankees relievers combined for 4 1/3 hitless innings.

"I couldn't ask for things to be going better," Wood said.

Handed a first-inning lead on Snider's long homer into the right-field bleachers, Morrow (10-7) walked his first two batters and threw 10 of his initial 11 pitches for balls.

Teixeira hit a run-scoring double for his 99th RBI -- with Granderson nearly catching the speedy Gardner before hitting the skids at third. Robinson Cano drove in another run with a groundout.

Granderson, who homered twice Thursday after coming off the bench to replace an injured Swisher, pulled a two-run double down the right-field line with two outs in the second.

"It seemed like every ball they hit today was in the gap or down the line," Gaston said. "They use their speed, too."

Pena's two-out RBI single made it 5-1 in the third.

Overbay and Aaron Hill hit consecutive doubles off Nova in the fourth. John McDonald's sacrifice fly cut it to 5-3.

Eduardo Nunez singled and scored when Gardner tripled to right-center in the sixth.

"He covers a lot of ground quick. It's fun to watch him go," said Granderson, who followed with another RBI double to right.

Morrow is 8-1 with a 2.74 ERA in 13 home starts, but 2-6 with a 6.72 ERA on the road. The Blue Jays are shutting him down for the rest of the year to protect his arm -- he has thrown a career-high 146 1/3 innings in his first full season as a starter.

"I think I exceeded a lot of expectations and I think I had a great year," Morrow said. "Kind of a transition year and I was looking to establish myself. After May, I think I had a great year and I could compete with anybody in the league. Before that, it was a lot of learning."

Game notes
Blue Jays SS Yunel Escobar (stiff back) missed his fifth straight game but should be able to play Saturday. ... Toronto OF Fred Lewis (right elbow strain) was available off the bench to run but not to hit. ... Toronto C J.P. Arencibia was selected MVP of the Pacific Coast League after hitting .301 with 32 homers and 85 RBIs for Triple-A Las Vegas. Arencibia was called up Wednesday when active rosters expanded. ... Austin Kearns started in RF for Swisher (stiff left knee). Nunez started at SS in place of Jeter, who was rested.