Jays Hurlers Stymie Yankees in Victory

Jenn Connor
BarnBurner Sports Writer


Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Santiago Espinal’s two-run homer in the top of the ninth broke a 2-2 tie, giving the Toronto Blue Jays a 4-2 victory over the New York Yankees in Grapefruit League action on Tuesday. 

Jays starting pitcher Tanner Roark was impressive, giving up just one run on one hit over four innings of work. He struck out four and walked none. Overall, Jays pitchers kept the Yankee bats in check, scattering five hits with eight strikeouts. Shun Yamaguchi, battered in a recent outing against the Philadelphia Phillies, looked better in this one, tossing three innings and allowing just one run. Vying for a possible fifth starter role, Yamaguchi continues to be plagued by the long ball, however, surrendering a solo shot to Yankees’ catcher Kyle Higashioka in the seventh inning. It was the fifth homer Yamaguchi has served up this spring. Sam Gaviglio worked a scoreless eighth to earn the victory. 

Jays hitters faced the Yankees prized off-season acquisition, former Houston Astros pitcher Gerrit Cole. The Jays got to Cole early, Vladimir Guerrero Jr.’s single to right sneaking through the infield and driving in Randal Grichuk for a 1-0 lead. That was all Toronto could muster against Cole, who struck out six in just three and a third innings of work. 

Toronto grabbed a 2-0 lead in the fourth, second baseman Joe Panik greeting reliever Dan Otero with a triple to left and scoring on an rbi single by catcher Reese McGuire. Panik continues to wield a hot bat, hitting .368 this spring. 

The Yankees got one back in the bottom of the inning, D.J. LeMahieu doubling to left off Roark and later scoring on a sacrifice fly by Gleyber Torres. Higashioka’s homer off Yamaguchi tied the score in the seventh. 

In the ninth, Jays Luis De Los Santos drew a lead-off walk off losing pitcher Ben Heller, setting the stage for Espinal’s eventual game-winning blast. Jays reliever Ty Tice gave up one-out, back-to-back singles in the ninth but managed to escape and earn the save. 

The Jays, now 10-6 in the spring, host the Baltimore Orioles in Dunedin tomorrow.