AL East

New York Yankees Outlast Toronto Blue Jays with Strong Bullpen Performance

New York Yankees' Chase Headley squeezes the glove as he catches a line drive by Toronto Blue Jays' Kevin Pillar during the seventh inning of a baseball game Tuesday, April 12, 2016, in Toronto. The Yankees won 3-2. (Fred Thornhill/The Canadian Press via AP)

The New York Yankees and the Toronto Blue Jays met in Toronto last night to kick off a three game series. New York’s number one starter, Masahiro Tanaka was on the mound for his second start of the season, and Aaron Sanchez pitched for Toronto.

Toronto’s lineup is scary good, and gave the Yankees a ton of trouble last year. The Blue Jays won 13 of their 19 meetings last season on their road to the ALCS. Luckily for the Yankees, it’s a new season and the team had no issues putting last season’s woes behind them.

Tanaka struggled with his control in the first inning, but eventually settled in and gave New York a decent start. He ended up pitching five innings, gave up two runs on three hits, with four walks and six strikeouts. A high pitch count in the first inning, forced manager, Joe Girardi, to pull Tanaka after he reached 92 pitches through five innings.

Girardi commented on his ace’s outing following the game, “He had a hard time finding a rhythm early on. For him to get us through five was big”.

While there were a few question marks surrounding the Yankees’ starting rotation coming into the season, their bullpen was expected to be one of, if not the best in Major League Baseball. They lived up to the hype last night, giving Girardi four innings of relief, while maintaining their one run lead over one of the most dangerous lineups in baseball.

Johnny Barbato earned his first career victory by posting a scoreless sixth inning. Dellin Betances proved his worth by freezing Jose Bautista with a disgusting breaking ball that ended the 7th inning and left the tying run on second. Andrew Miller struck out two in the bottom of the 9th on his way to his second save on the season.

Offense was scarce in this game, but veterans Brian McCann and Jacoby Ellsbury proved to be the deciding factors. McCann hit a solo shot in the 6th inning to tie the game at two, but was forced to leave the game with a bruised toe nail. He was hit with a foul ball, and needed to get the blood drained from his nail.

Ellsbury drove in the game-deciding run in the top of the 7th inning with a bloop single. Chase Headley scored from third on the play.

Girardi was happy with his center fielder’s at-bat saying, “I thought Jake did a tremendous job battling there, just putting the ball in play and a good thing happened”.

Toronto has struggled of late, dropping five of their last six games. The two teams will meet again tonight, with Michael Pineda on the bump for New York and J.A. Happ pitching for Toronto.

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