Blue Jays youth was well served Thursday.
Drew Hutchinson, 21, showed composure well beyond his years in scattering five hits over six innings to help Toronto defeat the New York Yankees 4-1.
In just his sixth career start, Hutchison (3-1) dug himself out of a few holes as Toronto (21-18) recorded its 11th come-from-behind victory this season. The young right-hander, who skipped triple-A ball completely, has allowed just two runs in his last 12 innings.
"He's wired in such a way that he keeps things in its proper context and perspective, and goes out and continues to execute pitches," said Jays manager John Farrell.
Jose Bautista and J.P. Arencibia contributed two-run homers and 24-year-old Yan Gomes, starting at third base for the Jays in place of the suspended Brett Lawrie, made major league history by becoming the first Brazilian-born player to see action.
The Jays swept the two-game series thanks to the long ball. They homered four times in an 8-1 win Wednesday night, snapping a seven-game losing streak against AL East opposition.
Thursday's loss, before 31,266, was the fourth in five games for the Yankees (20-18) Hutchison walked four and struck out three.
"I think I've thrown the ball pretty well, I battled, definitely like tonight. Got in some situations, battled through it," he said by way of self-assessment this season.
"But four walks for the type of pitcher I am is kind of unacceptable for the kind of pitcher I am and something I need to address and fix," he added.
He seemed to be in trouble in the fourth, walking the first two batters. But a double play and strikeout of Andruw Jones erased the problem.
"When he needed to make pitches, he made pitches," said Arencibia.
Bautista helps cause
Hutchison also dug a hole in the fifth, but the Yankees could not take advantage of men on first and second after back-to-back singles with one out. Bautista helped the cause with a acrobatic diving lunge to snare a sharp line drive from Derek Jeter on the first bounce and restrict the Yankees star to a single.
"The kid's aggressive," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said of Hutchison. "He's got some deception to his fastball. He's got some movement. He's a young kid that's not afraid to throw strikes.
"He got out of some jams. We haven't swung the bats particularly well but he got out of some jams and that's why he got the win."
Jason Frasor, Darren Oliver and Casey Janssen, with his third save in as many tries, finished it out for Toronto.
Bautista's third-inning homer was his fifth homer in his last seven games and 10th overall this season.
The recent run has allowed the slugger "to just take a little bit of a deep breath and relax a little bit and let his true abilities come out," according to Farrell.
Gomes, who moved to the U.S. with his family when he was 12, struck out swinging in his first at-bat but singled to centre in the fourth to open his major league account. He also singled in the sixth before giving way to Omar Vizquel in the eighth.
"It's been an amazing day," said Gomes.
"It's been an absolute honour to represent Brazil in being the first one. I know it's a big thing. I'm very proud."
After entering the game, the 45-year-old Vizquel promptly showed off his skills with an acrobatic grab in the air of a sharp Robinson Cano shot.
Vizquel steals show
After the game, Vizquel stole the show again in the locker-room when he presented Gomes with the balls from his first at-bat and first hit.
The pitching matchup was one of young right-handers in Hutchinson and 25-year-old Phil Hughes for the Yankees.
Hughes (3-5) gave up seven hits, striking out five and walking two before exiting in the sixth with one out and two men, trailing 2-1.
The Yankees opened the scoring when Cano doubled home Curtis Granderson in the first. Granderson walked with one out.
Bautista put the Jays ahead 2-1 in the third when he sent a 3-2 pitch over the left fence, driving in Yunel Escobar who had singled to open the inning.
Arencibia increased the lead to 4-1 in the seventh with his fifth homer of the season, knocking in Bautista who got on base with a broken bat single.
Hughes has now given up at least one home run in each of his eight starts this season.
"It's something I've got to cut back on," said the Yankee starter. "I've got to keep the ball down, I think a lot of it has to do with cutters or fastballs up out over the plate.
"It's something that needs to change."