Gardner makes leaping catch for last out, Yanks stop Jays

New York Yankees left fielder Brett Gardner, left, celebrates making the game-ending catch with center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016, in New York. The Yankees won 7-6. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
AP

NEW YORK (AP) Brett Gardner made a leaping catch at the top of the left-field wall on Justin Smoak's bases-loaded drive for the final out, and the New York Yankees held on during a nervy ninth inning to beat the AL East-leading Toronto Blue Jays 7-6 on a misty Tuesday night.

A scrambly September game with October implications seesawed to the last swing, and turned at the end in favor of the Yankees. New York won its third in a row and sent Toronto to its fourth loss in five games.

At a season-high seven games over .500, the Yankees closed within 4 1/2 games of first place, their smallest deficit since April, and remained 3 1/2 back for the AL's second wild card.

The Blue Jays had already scored twice in the ninth off Dellin Betances when they loaded the bases with one out. Blake Parker, the eighth New York pitcher, suddenly became an unlikely closer, and he struck out Kevin Pillar.

Smoak was up next, and he hit a drive to deep left. Gardner ran back, jumped and corralled the ball at the top of the padding. He immediately leaped in the air to celebrate as the Yankees rushed out to congratulate him. A few minutes later, a replay of the catch drew another ovation from the fans.