Ron Guidry pitched seven strong innings and Rickey Henderson hit a leadoff home run in the first inning last night in New York, leading the Yankees over the Milwaukee Brewers, 3-0, and keeping New York in the American League East race.

New York pulled within three games of division-leading Toronto, which lost to Detroit, 2-0, and had its magic number for clinching the AL East remain at two. The Yankees begin a three-game series in Toronto tonight and need to sweep the Blue Jays to avoid elimination.

Guidry, the leading winner in the league at 22-6, allowed six hits, struck out a season-high 10 -- all swinging -- and walked only one.

Guidry won for the ninth time in his last 11 decisions, and his victory total represents the second-highest of his career after a 25-3 mark in 1978.

Brian Fisher pitched two hitless innings for his 14th save.

Don Mattingly, who leads the major leagues with 144 RBI, drove in the final two runs with an eighth-inning single. Mattingly's RBI are the most by a Yankee since Joe DiMaggio drove in 155 in 1948 and the most in baseball since George Foster's 149 in 1977.

Only once did Milwaukee advance a runner to third base. With two outs in the third, Paul Molitor singled and took third on a single by Randy Ready. But Guidry retired Cecil Cooper on a grounder to end the inning.

Ted Simmons doubled for the Brewers in the second and again in the sixth, but was left stranded each time.

Henderson hit the third pitch of the game from Tim Leary over the right-center field fence for his 24th home run.

Leary (1-4) held the Yankees in check until giving way to Ray Searage, who allowed Mattingly's run-scoring hit, with two outs in the eighth. Leary pitched 7 2/3 innings, gave up seven hits, struck out nine and walked one.