Jays shake off losing road trip
TORONTO—With their lead atop the AL East on shaky ground after a disappointing road trip, the Toronto Blue Jays wanted to set the tone early for a nine-game homestand with a strong effort against New York last night.
Adam Lind provided the power while rookie starter Marcus Stroman had the best start of his young career as the Jays dumped the Yankees 8-3 at Rogers Centre.
“Shoot, it was a fantastic job,” said Jays’ manager John Gibbons.
“We needed that,” he stressed. “We needed shutdown innings early on to give us a chance to get on the board.
Toronto (43-35) opened the scoring with a run in the first inning before Lind belted a three-run shot off Yankees’ starter Chase Whitley in the Jays’ six-run second.
That was more than enough offence for Stroman (4-2), who tied a career high with seven strikeouts.
“I felt my change-up was a big pitch today,” he said. “Even though I didn’t use it much, when I did use it, it was pretty crucial.
“I was just down in the zone today,” Stroman added. “Me and [catcher Dioner Navarro] got on a pretty good roll.”
Stroman’s lone blemish was a solo homer by Mark Teixeira in the fourth inning to put New York (39-36) on the board.
The Yankees fell into third place with the loss—2.5 games behind Toronto.
The Baltimore Orioles remained in second place (1.5 games back) after a 6-4 win over the Chicago White Sox last night.
Toronto’s offensive outburst was most welcome for a team coming off a disappointing 3-7 road trip and that had been held to three runs or less in 11 of its last 16 games.
The Jays also had to make lineup adjustments with Jose Bautista out for at least a few days with a left hamstring strain and Brett Lawrie on the disabled list with a broken finger.
Lind, who has been nursing a sore foot of late, helped fill the void by driving in four runs and scoring twice in the opener of the three-game set.
“Lind is a big part of this offence,” Gibbons noted.
“He kills right-handers.”
Edwin Encarnacion added three hits and Melky Cabrera had two hits and scored twice as Toronto outhit New York 13-6.
Anthony Gose chipped in with a pair of hits and made an excellent running catch against the wall in right-field in the sixth inning.
“The defence behind me was unbelievable,” Stroman said.
“Eddie made two great plays, Gose with an unbelievable play.
“Stuff like that kind of picks you up and gives you much more confidence going into the next couple innings,” he reasoned.
Whitley (3-1), meanwhile, allowed eight earned runs, 11 hits, and three walks while striking out a pair.
“It seemed like when he made a mistake, they hit it hard, and when he made a good pitch, they seemed to find a hole with it,” noted Yankees’ manager Joe Girardi.
“It was the combination of that. It was a tough start for him.”
Toronto reliever Chad Jenkins relieved Stroman and gave up two runs over two-thirds of an inning.
With two runners in scoring position, Aaron Loup then got Brian Roberts to fly out to end the game.
Elsewhere in the AL, Seattle bombed Boston 12-3.
Over in the NL, Washington beat Milwaukee 3-0, Miami downed Phildelphia 4-0, Cincinnati beat Chicago 6-1, St. Louis dumped Colorado 8-0, and San Diego blanked San Francisco 6-0.
Pittsburgh dumped Tampa Bay 8-1 and Kansas City beat the L.A. Dodgers 5-3 in interleague play.