Tanaka strikes out eight in stellar season debut, Yankees top Blue Jays 4-2 - InfoNews

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Tanaka strikes out eight in stellar season debut, Yankees top Blue Jays 4-2

New York Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka throws during the first inning of their American League MLB baseball game against the Toronto Blue Jays, in Toronto on Friday, March 30, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Thornhill
March 30, 2018 - 7:59 PM

TORONTO - Aaron Sanchez managed to shut down New York's power duo of Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton Friday night.

But the Blue Jays right-hander took little comfort in that.

Sanchez (0-1), in his first start since last July, allowed four runs on eight hits over 5 2/3 innings as Toronto fell 4-2 to the Yankees, starting the season with back-to-back losses against its division rival.

Stanton, the NL MVP acquired by New York in an off-season trade, had two ground outs and a strikeout against Sanchez while Judge, the AL rookie of the year in 2017, grounded into two double plays and flied out. Stanton had two homers in his Yankees debut Thursday.

"(It means) nothing really when you don't win," Sanchez said of his ability to keep those power hitters in check. "The name of the game is to try to get outs. To keep them off the basepaths, off the board with the power they got, it's a good sign.

"But when I don't win I'm not happy."

Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka (1-0) struck out eight over six stellar innings and allowed one run on three hits. The right-hander threw 79 pitches, 61 for strikes.

Tanaka has recorded six or more strikeouts in 10 of his 16 starts against the Blue Jays.

"He's good," Toronto manager John Gibbons said. "Early on in the game we saw more fastballs from him than we normally do and then he started going back to what he always does. He throws his off-speed stuff at any time, he's got great command of it.

"And we've seen it plenty of times. ... he's been pretty good against us."

Randal Grichuk went deep off Tanaka for his first hit as a Blue Jay and Yangervis Solarte drove in a run with a double off Aroldis Chapman in the ninth.

Tyler Wade and Brandon Drury each drove in a pair to pace the Yankees (2-0).

Drury hit a two-out double to right field in the second inning to score Gary Sanchez for a 1-0 New York lead.

But Grichuk replied in the bottom of the inning, sending the first pitch he saw into the centre-field seats to tie the game. It was Grichuk's second home run at Rogers Centre — he hit his first career homer here off Mark Buehrle in 2014 with St. Louis.

"The ball flies pretty well here," said Grichuk, who was acquired from the Cardinals in an off-season trade. "It's a good hitter's park, you can see the ball pretty well. I enjoy hitting here so hopefully that continues."

Drury gave New York a 2-1 lead with a run-scoring single in the fourth inning, and Wade ended Sanchez's night in the sixth with a two-out, two-run double to make it 4-1. Sanchez had walked two batters in the inning.

Solarte, starting at third base in place of all-star Josh Donaldson, made an impressive defensive play in his Blue Jays debut, firing a grounder to Russell Martin in the second inning to prevent a run. Solarte also started a double play in the fifth on a ground ball from Judge, erasing a lead-off walk.

General manager Ross Atkins said before the game that Donaldson would DH until his "dead arm phase" subsides. The all-star third baseman was affected by weak throws across the diamond in the season opener Thursday.

"I thought (Solarte) had a nice day," Gibbons said. "Solo's a high-energy guy, he brings a lot of that and that's big for our team. He knows he can play, he knows he can hit. He's going to help us."

Donaldson was 0 for 4 with three strikeouts Friday, but Gibbons said he wasn't worried about the 2015 AL MVP's slow start.

"Do you think he's not going to hit? I know he's going to hit," Gibbons said.

NOTES: Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki will have surgery to remove bone spurs in both his heels on Monday. ... Right-hander Marcus Stroman was presented with his Gold Glove Award before the game. ... Members of Canada's women's hockey team, who won silver at the Pyeongchang Olympics last month, threw out the ceremonial first pitch. ... Attendance was 33,716.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2018
The Canadian Press

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