Drew Hutchison focuses on one thing when pitching: command.
Hutchison struck out nine over seven innings and gave up a double to hold New York scoreless as the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Yankees 2-0 on Saturday.
"Everything comes off fastball command," said the 24-year-old right-hander. "You can have the best stuff there is and not command the ball. I think that's what it's about."
Reliever Aaron Sanchez kept Hutchison's momentum into the eighth and ninth innings, striking out three to preserve the one-hitter and earn the save for Toronto (68-67).
"Every time I go out there I expect to go deep into the game and to be successful," said Hutchison. "I thought I showed that today and I was able to have good command and my fastball was really good.
"Everything comes off fastball command for me and then I had a real good slider too so I was just able to make pitches."
Yankees manager Joe Girardi also pointed to Hutchison's exceptional command of the strike zone.
"He was beating us with his fastball," said Girardi. "He threw the ball really well. He's got some pretty good stuff and today we weren't able to figure him out."
Right-fielder Jose Bautista had a two-run home run in the first inning, providing all the offence the Blue Jays would need for the win.
It's the fourth game in a row that Bautista has homered in. The blast was also his 100th homer at Rogers Centre, making him only the fourth Blue Jay to reach that benchmark, joining Carlos Delgado (175), Vernon Wells (124) and Joe Carter (121).
"I'll enjoy that in the off-season, all those personal things," said Bautista. "You go home and maybe think about it a little bit and enjoy it but we're trying to win games here and that's the most important thing. We haven't done enough lately so we need to get on a hot streak here to finish the season to strong.
"We could climb back up easily with all the games we have left against the Orioles and the Yankees."
Jays 5 ½ back of wild-card berth
Toronto's win coupled with the Detroit Tigers' 6-3 loss to the Chicago White Sox on Saturday afternoon puts the Blue Jays 5 ½ games back of the final wild-card berth in the American League. Seattle, New York and Cleveland all have better records than Toronto in the wild card chase.
Bautista praised both Hutchison and Sanchez after the game.
"It was unbelievable. Hutchison did a tremendous job. Obviously he gave us a chance to win," said Bautista. "Aaron also did great. They both held them to just one hit, three or four baserunners and scoreless. Any time the pitching's going to do that our chances of winning are pretty high."
Michael Pineda (3-3) pitched six-plus innings, giving up seven hits and two earned runs with three strikeouts for the Yankees (70-64).
New York captain Derek Jeter, who is playing the last season of his 19-year career, went 0-for-4 on the day with two strikeouts. Still, the sold-out crowd cheered for the sure-fire Hall of Famer for all of his at bats, chanting his name between pitches.
Toronto's Kevin Pillar got the first out of the game with a highlight-reel diving catch on Brett Gardner in centre field. Hutchison quickly retired the next two batters for a three up, three down half inning.
Bautista put Toronto on the scoreboard with a two-run home run over the left-field fence that cashed in Jose Reyes in the bottom of the first. Reyes was on third after a single, a stolen base and advancing on Cabrera's ground out to shortstop.
Hutchison was dialled in for the Blue Jays, not allowing any base runners until the top of the fourth.
He struggled to get out of that inning after back-to-back strikeouts, hitting Carlos Beltran with a pitch and giving up a double to Mark Teixeira. Hutchison then loaded the bases by hitting Brian McCann with a pitch, but Martin Prado popped out to end the inning.
"I put a few guys on and those are situations where you just need to bear down and make a pitch," said Hutchison. "I was able to do that and get out of the jam."
Hutchison re-gained his form in the fifth, inducing a fly out and fanning two more for a quick inning.
Both teams went scoreless in the fifth and sixth innings, with Hutchison retiring the Yankees in four at bats in the seventh.
Edwin Encarnacion hit a single for the Blue Jays to start the seventh, with Dioner Navarro pushing him to third with a double. Yankees manager Joe Girardi pulled Pineda after those hits with right-hander Shawn Kelley coming in as relief.
Kelley struck out Danny Valencia, induced a ground out by Pillar and a pop out by Reyes to end the threat.
Sanchez started the eighth for Toronto, dismissing three batters, including strikeouts of Gardner and Jeter. Left-hander David Huff took the mound for New York in the bottom of the inning, giving up a walk before ending the eighth.
Sanchez completed the victory with two groundouts, ending the game with a called strike out of McCann.