- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 1, 2016

TORONTO (AP) - Another strong start from Aaron Sanchez gave the Toronto Blue Jays their first home sweep of the New York Yankees in nearly 16 years.

Sanchez pitched 6 2-3 innings to win his fourth straight decision, Edwin Encarnacion had two RBIs and Toronto beat the Yankees 7-0 on Wednesday night, completing a three-game sweep.

Toronto’s last home sweep over New York came in September 2000.

Darwin Barney reached base four times and Michael Saunders had two doubles as Toronto improved to 7-2 against the Yankees this season. The Blue Jays have won 10 of 13 following a season-worst five-game losing streak.

“We’re playing good baseball all the way around,” manager John Gibbons said. ” I still don’t think we’ve hit our stride yet.”

Sanchez (5-1) allowed seven hits, walked two and struck out six.

“He just keeps getting better and better,” Gibbons said.

The Yankees had two baserunners in each of the second, third and fifth innings but came up empty each time.

“We weren’t able to do anything off Sanchez,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “We had some opportunities but we weren’t able to score.”

Sanchez said his curveball was a key pitch in escaping those jams.

“Going into the game I knew that was a pitch that was going to neutralize them,” he said.

Sanchez left with two outs and runners at first and second in the seventh. Newly acquired Jason Grilli came on and threw an errant pickoff to second, advancing the runner, but escaped by getting Carlos Beltran to fly out.

Aaron Loup worked the eighth and Ryan Tepera finished for Toronto.

Masahiro Tanaka (3-1) allowed two runs, one earned, and seven hits in six innings to lose for the first time in 11 starts. He came in as one of four undefeated pitchers with at least 10 starts.

“Obviously I didn’t have my best stuff today,” Tanaka said through a translator. “I was in some tough spots but I was able to grind through and keep the damage to a minimum.”

New York has lost three straight and six of eight since winning six straight to reach the .500 mark at 22-22 on May 24.

“When things aren’t going well it seems to really snowball and almost be a little bit contagious,” outfielder Brett Gardner said. “We obviously didn’t do a good job of scoring any runs here in Toronto.”

The Yankees have scored five runs in their past four games.

“I’ve tried to shake the order up, I’ve tried to play different guys, make sure guys are rested,” Girardi said. “The bottom line is, these are our guys and they’re capable of doing it. We’re just not doing it right now.”

The Blue Jays opened the scoring on Josh Donaldson’s RBI single in the fifth. Toronto doubled its lead in the sixth when Saunders doubled, advanced on Jacoby Ellsbury’s fielding error and scored on Russell Martin’s double play groundout.

The Blue Jays scored five runs in a bat-around seventh against Kirby Yates and Nick Goody. Encarnacion and Justin Smoak each had two-run singles and Saunders added an RBI double.

Designated hitter Alex Rodriguez returned to New York’s lineup after sitting out the previous two games. Batting sixth for the third time this season, he went 1 for 4 with a double.

ROSTER SHUFFLE

Toronto optioned LHP Chad Girodo to Triple-A Buffalo to clear a spot for Grilli, acquired Tuesday in a trade with Atlanta. Also Wednesday, the Blue Jays traded INF Jimmy Paredes to Philadelphia for a player to be named later or cash considerations. Paredes was designated for assignment Monday when Toronto recalled Tepera from Triple-A.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Yankees: 2B Starlin Castro got the day off. Castro had played in 50 of New York’s first 51 games.

UP NEXT

Yankees: RHP Michael Pineda (2-6, 6.92 ERA) starts a makeup game at Detroit on Thursday. It’s Pineda’s fourth straight road start. LHP Matt Boyd (0-2, 2.79) starts for the Tigers. The Yankees and Tigers were postponed by rain and snow on April 10.

Blue Jays: Toronto is off Thursday before opening a three-game series at Boston on Friday. RHP R.A. Dickey starts for the Blue Jays against Red Sox LHP David Price (7-1, 5.11). Dickey has won one of his past 10 starts and is 0-2 in three starts against Boston this season. He switches places with RHP Marcus Stroman, who was pushed back to Saturday.

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