Blue Jays' bats back strong Sanchez outing, rock Yankees bullpen in 7-0 win | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Blue Jays' bats back strong Sanchez outing, rock Yankees bullpen in 7-0 win

Toronto Blue Jays' Justin Smoak, left to right, Darwin Barney and Josh Donaldson celebrate after defeating the New York Yankees 7-0 in MLB baseball action in Toronto, Wednesday, June 1, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
June 01, 2016 - 8:30 PM

TORONTO - It didn't take Aaron Sanchez long to realize his curveball was working for him on Wednesday night.

He knew after just three batters.

Sanchez threw four curveballs in the first inning, including a 79 mile-per-hour one to get Carlos Beltran swinging, and stuck with it the rest of the night en route to a 7-0 Blue Jays victory over the New York Yankees.

"Early on I was spiking it a lot, I was pretty amped up there, but I think once I struck out the first guy to end the first I got a good feel of it then and kind of just ran with it after that," Sanchez said.

"Numbers show that my splits against lefties aren't good and going into the game I knew that was a pitch that was going to neutralize them and I did a really good job of that all night I felt like."

Sanchez, Jason Grilli, Aaron Loup and Ryan Tepera combined to keep the Yankees off the scoreboard and the Blue Jays offence rocked New York's bullpen to complete a three-game sweep over their AL East rivals at home for the first time since Sept. 2000.

Edwin Encarnacion and Justin Smoak drove in two runs and Michael Saunders plated another over Toronto's (29-26) five-run seventh inning.

Josh Donaldson broke a scoreless tie with an RBI single in the fifth, Saunders scored on a double play, and Darwin Barney was 3 for 3 with a walk and two runs scored.

Sanchez (5-1) allowed seven hits and two walks while striking out six through 6 2/3 innings.

The 23-year-old right-hander has held opponents to two earned runs or less in seven of his 11 starts, and has gone at least six innings in all but one outing this season.

"Sanchy's on a nice little roll," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "I can't think of any games where he's struggled much. He just keeps getting better and better. His curveball is a big pitch for him. ... And he's strong. He's a strong kid and he's doing a hell of a job here, he really is."

A tight pitching duel dominated the first half of the game with Sanchez and New York's Masahiro Tanaka trading zeros over the first four innings until Donaldson's RBI base hit in the fifth.

Tanaka (3-1) allowed two runs, one earned, and seven hits over six innings. He struck out two batters and walked one. Relievers Kirby Yates (four runs) and Nick Goody (one run) worked the frightful seventh for New York (24-28).

Encarnacion cashed in Kevin Pillar and Barney with a bases-loaded single off Yates and Saunders followed with a double off Goody to plate Donaldson for a 5-0 lead. Smoak kept the barrage going with a two-run single.

Grilli, acquired in a trade with Atlanta on Tuesday, made his Blue Jays debut with two on and two out in the top of the seventh inning. He made an error on a pick-off attempt that sailed wide of second base before throwing his first pitch, but got a fly ball from Beltran to end the frame.

As Grilli approached the media for his post-game scrum, Barney walked by and told Grilli that the error was his mistake too.

"You hadn't even thrown a pitch yet," Barney said.

"It's OK, it's OK," the 39-year-old Grilli replied with a smile.

"Obviously even with the experience the adrenaline was definitely flowing," Grilli told reporters. "Luckily (the error) didn't hurt us in the end."

Barney, who extended his batting average at home to .431 with his third multi-hit game, led off the bottom of the fifth with a single and came around to score the game's first run on Donaldson's base hit to right field.

The Blue Jays added to their lead in the sixth thanks to an error on Yankees centre-fielder Jacoby Ellsbury. Saunders hit a lead-off double, moved to third when Ellsbury dropped a Justin Smoak fly ball, and scored when Russell Martin grounded into a double play.

Toronto, which has won four straight series, has an off-day Thursday before beginning a road trip in Boston on Friday night.

"It's still so early in the season but we're playing better baseball," Gibbons said. "I still don't think we've hit our stride yet."

NOTES: Alex Rodriguez, who was booed loudly by the crowd of 39,512 each time he stepped into the batter's box, hit his 545th career double off Sanchez in the fourth inning, passing Derek Jeter on the Yankees all-time list. Jeter and Rodriguez entered the night tied for 30th. ... Jason Grilli and father Steve, who pitched 2 1/3 innings in a game for Toronto in 1979, became the second father-son duo to appear in a Blue Jays uniform in club history. John Mayberry and John Mayberry Jr., also both played for Toronto.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2016
The Canadian Press

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