Jays rally to earn series split

The Canadian Press
Neil Davidson

TORONTO–The Toronto Blue Jays left for the West Coast feeling a lot better about themselves after securing a series split yesterday afternoon with the American League East-leading N.Y. Yankees.
“I love the way we’re playing right now, to be honest with you,” Jays’ manager John Gibbons said after a 3-2 comeback win over the visiting Yankees.
“Pitching for the most part’s been really really good,” he noted. “We’re starting to hit home runs.
“We did that again today. They accounted for all three runs there.
“So that’s a good sign,” Gibbons added.
Justin Smoak tied the game at 2-2 with a two-run shot in the sixth inning.
Then Josh Donaldson celebrated his bobblehead day with a solo blast off reliever Tyler Clippard to open the eighth.
Matt Holliday drove in runs for the Yankees in the fourth and sixth.
Toronto (28-29) wrapped up its 10-game homestand at 7-3.
Next stop is Oakland, followed by Seattle.
Yesterday marked the 10th win in 13 outings for the Jays, who slowly are digging themselves out of a 2-11 hole to start the season.
“I think we needed it,” Gibbons said of the victory. “I think it would have been a kick in the teeth had we not won that one.
“You lose three out of four at home, that’s never good–primarily because of where we’re sitting right now,” he remarked.
“I think that was a huge huge win for us for the guys.”
There were other reasons to celebrate.
It was another strong showing by starter Marcus Stroman, who came into the game on a five-game win streak.
The right-hander retired the first seven batters he faced until Chase Headley singled with one out in the third.
He gave up two runs on five hits in six innings, striking out four and walking one in a 105-pitch outing.
Yankees’ starter Luis Severino was equally impressive, Smoak homer aside.
He walked Kevin Pillar to open the game but then dispatched the next eight batters he faced, with his fastball reaching 99.7 m.p.h.
He lasted seven innings, giving up two runs on six hits with one walk and seven strikeouts.
Smoak matched his home run total of last season with his 14th of the year.
The 429-foot blast, which brought Kendrys Morales home, ended a 15-inning scoring drought at the hands of the Yankees.
“It’s amazing,” Donaldson said of Smoak’s season.
The Jays’ third baseman, meanwhile, snapped out of a bobbleday day funk with his sixth homer of the season.
“A good fastball down and away,” noted Clippard. “I got him to ground out [Saturday] on a good one, located.
“I didn’t locate it today.”
It was Donaldson’s third bobblehead day–“and I’ve been terrible for two of them,” he noted.
There was more good news for Toronto in the fact X-rays showed nothing was broken after second baseman Devon Tavis was hit on the hand by a 95 m.p.h. Severino delivery in the seventh.
The impact caused him to run towards the dugout as if trying to outrun the pain.
He couldn’t. Travis finished the inning but gave way to Ryan Goins for the eighth.
“I thought I had broke it. It was really scary,” admitted Travis, who had ice on his hand after the game.
New York (33-22) finished its seven-game road trip at 3-4.
The Yankees now return to the Bronx to host Boston and Baltimore.
“I think you could have said it would have been a good road trip if we had won today,” said manager Joe Girardi.
“It’s an OK road trip,” he noted. “You don’t want to have a losing road trip.”