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Cano hits a clutch two-run double in seventh

NEW YORK -- After seeing a total of four pitches in his first three plate appearances -- and going 0-for-3 in the process -- Robinson Cano tried for a more patient approach in at-bat No. 4 in the bottom of the seventh. His change in strategy paid off.

Cano fell behind 0-2 but ripped the sixth pitch he saw from Toronto reliever Casey Janssen into the right-center-field gap. The two-run double erased a one-run deficit and lifted the Yankees to a 6-4 win over the Blue Jays on Saturday at Yankee Stadium. With the win, the Yankees (84-53) maintained their position ahead of the Red Sox in the American League East.

"I talk to my dad all the time," Cano said of his father, Jose, who pitched for the Astros in 1989. "He always says, 'You're chasing pitches. You're swinging at bad pitches. You've got to be more patient because when you swing at strikes, you'll be able to make some damage.'"

Saturday's damage accounted for Cano's 40th double of the season and prevented a loss for Bartolo Colon, who allowed four runs in 6 1/3 innings and is winless since July 30. It also earned Cano his 100th and 101st RBIs this season to put him over the century mark for the second time in his career.

"He just never chased," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "He made Janssen throw strikes. Robbie's dangerous at any point in the count, whether he's down or not, he can get the head [of the bat] to it."

Had Toronto starter Ricky Romero not stumbled with two outs and no one on in the seventh, Cano would not have come up with a chance to give the Yankees the lead. But Curtis Granderson took a fastball in the back and Alex Rodriguez walked on four straight pitches. Romero made way for Janssen and watched from the dugout as the lead evaporated.

"We saw him really step up last year. I thought that was really his breakout year," Girardi said of Cano. "I thought he had as good a chance as anyone to win the MVP, because of what he does offensively and defensively. I don't think it matters where you hit Robbie Cano. He's going to hit, and he doesn't mind the stage."

Nick Swisher, who singled in Cano to extend the Yankees' lead, has hit behind the second baseman for much of the season.

"He's gobbling up all the RBIs, man," Swisher said. "It just seems like every time there's runners on and I come up, Robbie's on first base and nobody else is on. He's stealing all the RBIs."

After starting on a strong note by striking out the side in the first inning, Colon saw his all-too-familiar home run problem return. He gave up two more Saturday -- solo shots to Adam Lind and Dewayne Wise -- and has allowed 19 this season. Eight of those have come since Aug. 5. But after largely abandoning his two-seam fastball in recent starts, Colon has gone back to the pitch that was most responsible for his first-half success.

"I threw a lot today, and the only one they hit good was the first home run," Colon said through an interpreter.

After falling behind, 2-0, the Yankees rallied in the second to give Colon what would be a short-lived lead. Andruw Jones, a much-improved player since the All-Star break, led off with a with a double down the left-field line. Jesus Montero struck out, but Eduardo Nunez hit a line-drive single over shortstop for the first Yankees run. Francisco Cervelli then added a line drive of his own: a two-run homer into the left-field seats.

Playing with Alex Rodriguez for the first time in a week, but without Mark Teixeira (bruised knee) or Derek Jeter (healthy but resting), the Yankees could not manage much more against Romero until he tired in the seventh. When Granderson moved to second on Rodriguez's walk, he was the first Yankee to reach second base since the second inning.

Cano's 100th RBI wasn't the game's only milestone. Montero, a September callup, recorded his first big league hit with a single to left in the sixth, but he was stranded at first.

With Mariano Rivera unavailable after pitching in four of the Yankees' last five games, David Robertson pitched the final two innings for his first save this season and the third of his career. He had not pitched two innings in a game since May 20, 2010, against Tampa Bay, but he worked around a one-out double by Brett Lawrie in the ninth to close the game.

"It's a little different," Robertson said of pitching the ninth inning without Rivera behind him. "I kind of got a little worried after I gave up the double. I figured, 'This is it. You better figure out a way to get out of it.'" Comments