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Hicks hits three-run homer as Yankees avoid sweep with 6-2 win over Blue Jays

TORONTO — Veteran pitcher Edwin Jackson took full ownership Thursday night for his poor performance since joining the Toronto Blue Jays almost a month ago.

TORONTO — Veteran pitcher Edwin Jackson took full ownership Thursday night for his poor performance since joining the Toronto Blue Jays almost a month ago.

The right-hander has lost four of five starts since being acquired from the Oakland Athletics, the latest decision a 6-2 defeat to the New York Yankees.

"Flat out I just haven't been getting it done," Jackson said. "I've never been one to make excuses. I've always been one to man up and tell it how it is and that's just how it is right now. I'm not getting the job done."

Jackson (0-4) lasted 3 1/3 innings, allowing five hits, six runs — two of them earned — and two walks. He has given up 26 earned runs over 20 innings since joining the team and has a bloated earned-run average of 11.90.

"I think things are coming around," he said. "I think the most frustrating part is when you feel like you're so close to getting over the hump and can't get over it. The story has been too repetitive.

"I've had numerous, numerous opportunities to come out and get the job done and I'm not finding a way to make pitches in big situations when I have a chance."

Aaron Hicks hit a three-run homer and J.A. Happ worked seven strong innings as the Yankees ended a three-game losing skid and avoided a three-game sweep.

Gio Urshela also went deep for the Yankees (39-22). Eric Sogard hit a solo homer for the Blue Jays (23-39), who have dropped 11 of their last 14 games. 

With the roof open for the first time this season on a glorious spring evening, Jackson battled some early control issues. He gave up two walks in the first inning but managed to escape unscathed.

Jackson should have got out of the second inning as well but third baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr., made a two-out throwing error to extend the frame.

Guerrero's throw hit Thairo Estrada on the helmet as he ran to first base, but the Yankees shortstop stayed in the game. Estrada moved to third on a Cameron Maybin single, and scored when DJ LeMahieu doubled off the wall. 

Hicks followed with his third homer of the year.

New York tacked on two more runs in the fourth inning. Urshela hit his fourth homer of the season and LeMahieu drove in Maybin with an RBI single.

Happ (6-3), meanwhile, was in form against his former team. 

"I kind of had a lot of emotion tonight so I was trying to be as methodical as I could, just move on to the next pitch," he said.

Sogard, who had a leadoff double in the first inning, was the only Toronto runner to reach scoring position off the veteran southpaw. Sogard went deep in the sixth inning for his fifth homer of the season.

"This was a positive series for our team for sure," he said. "To take two of three from them is big for us. Obviously this last game slipped away from us. But we have to look at the series as a whole and really see the positives.

"How well we battled and how we were able to get two wins out of it."

Thomas Pannone provided 3 2/3 innings of scoreless relief for Toronto.

Happ allowed four hits, one earned run and had four strikeouts. He didn't walk a batter.

The Blue Jays loaded the bases with nobody out in the ninth inning against reliever Chad Green. He was pulled for Aroldis Chapman, who got Lourdes Gurriel to hit into a double-play that brought home Justin Smoak.

Freddy Galvis lined out to end it as Chapman earned his 18th save.

Both teams had eight hits. The game took three hours seven minutes to play.

Notes: Announced attendance was 25,657 for Pride Night at Rogers Centre. Forte - Toronto Gay Men's Chorus sang the national anthems. ... The Blue Jays will continue their six-game homestand with a three-game interleague series against Arizona. Toronto's Marcus Stroman (3-7, 2.84 ERA) is scheduled to start against fellow right-hander Merrill Kelly (5-6, 4.41). It will be the Diamondbacks' first visit to Rogers Centre since 2016. ... The Yankees will continue their six-game road trip with a weekend series against Cleveland.


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Gregory Strong, The Canadian Press