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Bautista crushes second homer of spring

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Eduardo Nunez and Carlos Beltran hit back-to-back homers in the top of the third inning to lead the Yankees to an 8-2 victory over the Blue Jays on Sunday afternoon at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium.

"That's why we're here, to try to get our swings and to try to get our timing back," Beltran said. "It always feels good every time you square a ball and hit it good."

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Both homers came off Toronto right-hander Todd Redmond and started what would turn into a very productive day at the plate for New York. Catcher JR Murphy added a three-run shot to left off right-hander Neil Wagner in the eighth.

Right fielder Adonis Garcia was the other standout on offense for New York, going 3-for-4 with a double and two runs scored. Center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury went 0-for-3 but walked and scored in the third inning.

Left-hander Vidal Nuno got the start for the Yankees and allowed just two hits while striking out three. One of those hits was a big one, though, as Jose Bautista crushed a towering fly ball over the wall in left field for his second homer of the spring.

"He just takes hacks," Nuno said of Bautista. "I've got to do a better job with him next time; even other guys who are power hitters, I can't be leaving the ball up in the zone."

Melky Cabrera had another productive day for Toronto, going 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI. Jose Reyes and Adam Lind also doubled, but it wasn't enough to overcome the deficit, and the Blue Jays lost for the first time this spring.

The battle for the Blue Jays' final spot in the rotation was on full display early. Right-hander Esmil Rogers allowed one run in the second on a Dean Anna single before Redmond surrendered the two homers in the third inning. Neither pitcher looked all that impressive but will have plenty of other chances this spring in a competition that also includes Drew Hutchison and Marcus Stroman.

"I just left a couple of pitches up," said Redmond, who allowed three runs on three hits over two innings. "I got underneath my slider to Nunez and just left the fastball over the plate to [Beltran]. Just a couple of pitches that I got underneath, and the second inning I got more on top of it and was able to finish my pitches better."

Up next: Left-hander J.A. Happ will make his second start of the spring when the Blue Jays travel to Fort Myers, Fla., for a game against the Twins. Dustin McGowan, Kyle Drabek, Sean Nolin and Mickey Storey also are scheduled to pitch. Brett Lawrie and Edwin Encarnacion are expected to make the trip, but Colby Rasmus is expected to be scratched and skip the long bus ride because of a sore neck.

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB.

Toronto Blue Jays