Monday, April 7, 2014

New York Yankees topple Toronto Blue Jays for series win

The New York Yankees used a balanced hitting attack, a better performance from CC Sabathia and stingy bullpen work to earn a 6-4 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays Sunday afternoon at Rogers Centre.

Each player in the Yankees' lineup except Brian Roberts recorded a hit, knocking out Blue Jays starter Drew Hutchison in the fourth inning. Derek Jeter had two hits including number 3,320 pushing him into eighth place on the all-time list ahead of Hall of Famer Paul Molitor.

The Bombers finally received a home run, albeit from an unlikely source when Brett Gardner took Hutchison deep in the fourth. Yankees manager Joe Girardi suggested everyone is going to need to pitch in this season for the team to succeed.

"It's going to take everybody, and we know that," manager Joe Girardi said via "Even though we have some younger guys, we still have some age on our team, and it's going to take a combination of some players if we want to get to where we need to get."

Sabathia was much better Sunday than he was in his Opening Day start. After getting staked to a three-run lead to start the game, Sabathia allowed a leadoff homer to Melky Cabrera, who went deep in all three games. From the second inning through the fifth Sabathia allowed just one single and was looking very good.

With a 6-1 lead to start the sixth, Sabathia set down the first two batters of the inning. Then a bloop single by Jose Bautista began a string of four hits, the last three well hit, as the Blue Jays closed the gap to 6-4 before Sabathia recorded the final out of the inning.

Sabathia had been cruising, but then seemed like he hit a wall after Bautista's hit. The Yankees did not have anyone warm to start the inning, but they may want to consider it going forward when Sabathia approaches the 80-pitch mark no matter how good he looks.

The Yankees bullpen, which has been stellar besides David Phelps’ issues, combined for three scoreless innings. Adam Warren and Shawn Kelley brought the game to closer David Robertson who gave us our first Houdini act of the season by putting the tying runs on base via a single and walk with one out in the ninth. He slipped out of the final inning by getting Colby Rasmus to pop out and Cabrera on a hard line drive to right field.

After a disappointing opening series against the Houston Astros the Yankees bounced back in Toronto and find themselves just one-half game back of the Tampa Bay Rays in the American League East standings. They received predominantly strong work from their starters in the series and wrapped two good offensive performances around Saturday’s shutout.

Gardner and the Yankees will be happy to be in the home clubhouse Monday as it is Opening Day in the Bronx.

"To be able to go home 3-3 after starting off 0-2, we'll be excited to get back home," Gardner said. "I know our fans will be excited to see us. We're excited to get back to New York and hopefully have a good homestand."

  • Jeter is 100 hits away from claiming seventh place on the all-time hits list currently held by former Boston Red Sox great Carl Yastrzemski.
  • Alfonso Soriano recorded his first hit of the season.
  • Kelly Johnson knocked in his first two runs of the season with a double in the first inning.
  • Yangervis Solarte ripped his fourth double of the year and now has five RBIs.
  • Sabathia sat in the high 80’s with his fastball, but topped out at 92, including his final one of the day.
Today’s Game:

Hiroki Kuroda (0-1, 3.00 ERA) toes the rubber for the Yankees' home opener. He’ll face Baltimore Orioles right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez (0-1, 6.00 ERA). Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte are set to throw out the first pitches to Jeter and Jorge Posada, bringing the Core Four on the field together one more time.

Christopher Carelli is a freelance sports writer/editor and the Director of Content Strategy for Sportsideo.