Drew Hutchison shuts down Yankees in Blue Jays' Opening Day win
Pitcher allows 1 run in 6 innings; Encarnacion, Travis homer
New, young and older Toronto Blue Jays contributed in a 6-1 season-opening win over the Yankees in New York on Monday afternoon. Drew Hutchison pitched a sterling six innings while Edwin Encarnacion and rookie Devon Travis hit home runs.
Hutchison, the youngest Toronto pitcher to start on opening day, limited the Yankees to three hits, including a Brett Gardner solo home run before 48,469 at Yankee Stadium.
"I was extremely excited," Hutchison said. "It was a big day, overall."
The right-hander was in command for much of the afternoon after posting a 1.50 earned-run average in five spring training games (four starts).
Hutchison, who threw 56 of his 92 pitches for strikes, was 2-4 with a 5.17 ERA in six starts against the Yankees last season.
A-Rod draws cheers in Bronx
Alex Rodriguez received a loud ovation and a rare shout-out from the Bleacher Creatures at Yankee Stadium Monday afternoon before walking and singling in the first plate appearances of his return to the major leagues after a season-long drug suspension.
Rodriguez was New York's designated hitter and batted seventh against Toronto, his first time that low in the order at the start of a regular-season game since May 7, 1996. He went 1-for-2 with a walk in the Yankees' 6-1 loss.
New York trailed 5-0 when he came to the plate leading off the third inning. Rodriguez worked the count full against Drew Hutchison, who was 3 when A-Rod made his big league debut in 1994. On the eighth pitch of the plate appearance, Rodriguez took a 91-mile-per-hour fastball and became New York's first baserunner.
He singled to right-centre on another full-count fastball leading off the fifth and flied out in the seventh against reliever Aaron Loup.
— The Associated Press
Last July, Hutchison helped the Blue Jays snap another skid against New York: a 17-game losing streak in the Bronx.
New York starter Masahiro Tanaka lasted only four innings, allowing five hits and five runs (four earned) while striking out six. It was the shortest opening day start by a Yankees pitcher since Phil Niekro in 1985, when he went four innings against the Red Sox, according to STATS.
He was 3-0 with a 1.97 ERA versus the Blue Jays in 2014 but has seen his fastball velocity drop this spring. Tanaka decided to pitch through a partially torn elbow ligament last season, sitting out for nearly three months, rather than have Tommy John surgery.
After Tanaka made Toronto look silly with a heavy mix of sliders and splitter for the first two innings on Monday, striking out three, the Blue Jays solved him.
"We got to him a couple of times because he made mistakes," Dalton Pompey said.
Russell Martin, a former Yankees catcher who signed a five-year, $82-million US free-agent contract with Toronto in the off-season, singled home two runs while Kevin Pillar added two hits.
"Martin got it started," manager John Gibbons said. "A lot of good things happened."
Aaron Loup and Miguel Castro, one of six rookies on the Jays' roster, combined for three shutout innings of relief.
Toronto is 1-0 at Yankee Stadium after a 3-7 performance there last season and 0-10 showing in 2013.
Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez started at designated hitter Monday, his first regular-season game following a one-season drug suspension, and went 1-for-2 with a single and walk. Rodriguez batted seventh, his first time that low in the order at the start of a regular-season game since May 7, 1996.
The remainder of the three-game series will be played in the evening, with Toronto knuckleballer R.A. Dickey matched up against fellow right-hander Michael Pineda on Wednesday and lefties Daniel Norris and CC Sabathia hooking up Thursday. Both games are slated for 7:05 p.m. ET.
Blue Jays: Outfielder Michael Saunders (left knee meniscus) is running on a treadmill and taking swings in Florida. Manager John Gibbons said it would be a couple of more weeks before he joined the Blue Jays.
Yankees: Manager Joe Girardi said he will have to be careful to pick A-Rod's days off to keep him fresh and healthy throughout the season.