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Jays snap lengthy drought of series wins

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PHILADELPHIA—J.A. Happ always is at his best against his former team.

Devon Travis and Dwight Smith Jr. each hit two-run doubles, and Happ pitched neatly into the seventh inning, as the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Philadelphia Phillies 5-3 yesterday afternoon.

Curtis Granderson added a solo homer to help the Jays take two-of-three in the interleague series.

Happ (7-3) allowed three runs (two earned) and six hits, striking out eight in 6 2/3 innings to improve to 5-0 in five starts against the Phillies.

The lefty began his career in Philadelphia, and was part of the 2008 World Series championship team and 2009 NL champs.

“I'll never forget those times, some of the best memories of my career were here,” Happ said.

Travis lined a double to left-centre to give the Jays a 2-0 lead in the second.

Smith hit one down the third-base line with two outs in the sixth off a 3-2 pitch from reliever Tommy Hunter, extending the lead to 4-0.

“It was awesome,” said Travis, who entered the game batting .157.

“I wanted to feel like when the game is over, I did one thing to help my team win.”

Granderson hit a 0-2 pitch in the ninth to right off closer Hector Neris to provide an insurance run after Toronto's lead was cut to 4-3.

Phillies' starter Nick Pivetta (4-3) gave up two runs and four hits while striking out seven in five innings in his first career start against the team he grew up rooting for in Victoria, B.C.

“He did a nice job despite not having his best command,” said Phillies' manager Gabe Kapler.

Down 4-0, Philadelphia rallied in the sixth and got help from some sloppy defence.

Maikel Franco hit a single with one out and Carlos Santana reached on an infield hit. The runners went to second and third on third baseman Josh Donaldson's throwing error.

Aaron Altherr followed with an RBI single. Santana scored and Altherr advanced to second when centre-fielder Kevin Pillar slipped and booted the ball for an error.

Nick Williams added an RBI single to right.

Seunghwan Oh retired the four batters he faced before Ryan Tepera finished for his second save in five tries.

Happ was 14-5 in parts of four seasons with the Phillies from 2007-10, including 12-4 in 2009.

He was traded to Houston in a deal that brought Roy Oswalt to Philadelphia.

Each of Toronto's starters pitched at least six innings, and allowed three runs or fewer, to help the Jays win a series for the first time since April 30-May 2 at Minnesota.

“We try to feed off each other," Happ said. "Three quality starts is a good step.”

After moving into first place in the NL East this late in a season for the first time since finishing 2011 with 102 wins, the Phillies (29-21) fell a half-game behind Atlanta with the loss.

The Blue Jays (25-28) are 14-4 vs. Philadelphia since 2012 and 36-24 overall, including the 1993 World Series.

Elsewhere in interleague play, Atlanta dumped Boston 7-1 and Oakland edged Arizona 2-1.

In AL action yesterday, Seattle beat Minnesota 3-1, New York downed L.A. 3-1, Tampa Bay dumped Baltimore 8-3, Detroit nipped Chicago 3-2, Cleveland topped Houston 10-9 (14 innings), and Kansas City upended Texas 5-3.

Over in the NL, Washington beat Miami 5-2, St. Louis downed Pittsburgh 6-4, Milwaukee topped New York 8-7, Colorado dumped Cincinnati 8-2, L.A. pounded San Diego 6-1, and Chicago upended San Francisco 8-3.

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