DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Aaron Hicks, Starlin Castro, Rob Refsnyder and Clint Frazier went yard, and Yankees top pitching prospect James Kaprielian turned in two scoreless innings, paving the way for New York's 11-5 Grapefruit League win over the Blue Jays on Thursday afternoon at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium.
With the Yankees down by 1 in the seventh, Yankees No. 2 prospect Frazier led off the inning with his first homer of spring to pull the score even, and Kaprielian kept the Blue Jays scoreless and hitless for the next two innings, striking out three.
The Yanks went ahead in the eighth with a pair of runs off Dominic Leone, and they batted around in the ninth, adding four more runs (two earned) off Blue Jays righty Lucas Harrell.
Yankees starter Luis Cessa, staked to a quick 1-0 lead, retired the first two batters he faced in the bottom of the first. Then the next five Blue Jays batters reached, resulting in three runs crossing the plate. Troy Tulowitzki singled, Kendrys Morales doubled and Jarrod Saltalamacchia drove them both in with a base hit up the middle. Justin Smoak walked and Melvin Upton Jr. singled to score Saltalamacchia.
Kevin Pillar tripled with one out in the second and came home on a single by Ezequiel Carrera.
"I missed a couple of pitches, but I think it was more what pitches I threw," said Cessa, who gave up four runs on six hits and one walk in 1 2/3 innings. "I tried to surprise the hitters with fastballs, and they looked really bad with sliders and changeups. They said, 'Why did you throw the fastball?'"
The Yankees came back to tie the score on homers by Hicks and Castro off starter Aaron Sanchez in the third and by Refsnyder off Jason Grilli in the fourth.
"There at the end, I worked myself into some fastball counts (2-0, 3-1), and I paid the price for that," said Sanchez, who was charged with three runs on four hits and one walk in 2 1/3 innings. "But overall, I felt like it was a good day for me."
Sanchez has been working on a changeup this spring and is happy with the way it's coming along.
"I threw a couple good ones in the first," he said. "I'm trying to get a feel for it, get used to throwing it in games. Building confidence is the biggest thing with that pitch. I'd rather miss down than not be getting the ball back."
"It can really do wonders for him," said manager John Gibbons. "They've got to gear up for his fastball, so they've got to swing early, and a little offspeed pitch right there can really get them out front. He can get a lot of swings and misses with it or little ground balls. So it's a good weapon, and it's showing good signs.
"So this is a perfect time to use it. You don't want to break it out in the season, and you don't have confidence and get burned by it. So that's why he's going to use it a lot down here. If it turns out the way he wants it, it could be a big pitch in important situations."
The Blue Jays took the lead in the bottom of the sixth when Ryan Goins tripled and scored against Bryan Mitchell, who was otherwise sharp, striking out five and giving up just that one run in three innings.
"What I liked best about the game was Tulowitzki [going 2-for-3]," said Gibbons. "It was the first day he's looked like he's really been on time at the plate, and that was good to see."
Yankees Up Next: The Yanks are on the road Friday, traveling to Lakeland, Fla., to visit the Tigers. Masahiro Tanaka (1-0, 0.00) will make his fourth spring start, with reigning AL Rookie of the Year Award winner Michael Fulmer (0-0, 0.38) set to start for Detroit. First pitch is set for 1:05 p.m. ET. Watch the game live on MLB.TV.
Blue Jays Up Next: The Blue Jays will travel to Clearwater, Fla., on Friday to play the Phillies in a St. Patrick's Day Grapefruit League game at Spectrum Field. First pitch is set for 1:05 p.m. ET. Right-hander Marco Estrada (0-1, 4.15 despite an 0.92 WHIP) will start for Toronto, with Aaron Loup, Dennis Tepera, Bo Schultz, Brett Oberholtzer, Matt Dermody and Leonel Campos also available to pitch. Watch the game live on MLB.TV or listen live on an exclusive webcast.
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