Sabathia (1-1) allowed four runs and seven hits, walked none and struck out six.
Sabathia was hit hard in Tuesday's opening day loss at Houston, allowing six runs and eight hits, including two home runs, in six innings.
The left-hander was taken deep again Sunday when Melky Cabrera connected in the first inning. The homer was Cabrera's third of the season and third this series.
Maicer Izturis followed with an infield single but was erased on a fielder's choice. Sabathia retired 16 of the next 17 hitters before running into trouble in the sixth.
Jose Bautista started Toronto's two-out rally with a single, Edwin Encarnacion singled and Bautista scored when Dioner Navarro doubled past Yangervis Solarte at third. Erik Kratz followed with a two-run single to center, with Navarro scoring easily when Jacoby Ellsbury's throw to the plate was off target.
Kratz took second on the throw, but was left stranded when Brett Lawrie flied out.
The Yankees jumped out to a 3-0 lead against Toronto's Drew Hutchison in the first with just one hit, taking advantage of two walks and a hit batter. Ellsbury collected his first RBI with a groundout and Kelly Johnson drove in two runs with an double.
Gardner ended New York's longest homeless drought to begin a season since 1975 when he drilled a two-run shot off Hutchison in the fourth.
Hutchison (1-1) pitched 5 1-3 shutout innings to beat Tampa Bay on Tuesday but couldn't duplicate that success against the Yankees. He allowed six runs and six hits in 3 1-3 innings, walked three and struck out six.
Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter had two hits, moving into sole possession of eighth place on baseball's career list. Jeter's single to right in the fourth was the 3,320th hit of his career, breaking a tie with Paul Molitor. Next on the list is Carl Yastrzemski, with 3,419.
New York's Alfonso Soriano got his first hit of the season and snapped an 0 for 17 slump with a leadoff single in the fifth.
NOTES: New York starting pitchers did not issue a walk in 19 innings against Toronto. ... Yankees C Francisco Cervelli took grounders at first base before the game in case he's needed to fill in for injured 1B Mark Teixeira (right hamstring). ... New York OF Carlos Beltran got the day off. ... Toronto Raptors All-Star DeMar DeRozan threw out the first pitch. ... Toronto is off Monday, while the New York faces Baltimore in its home opener. RH Hiroki Kuroda (0-1) will face RH Ubaldo Jimenez (0-1).