NEW YORK -- Carlos Beltran and Nathan Eovaldi continued their recent hot streaks, while the Yankees' bullpen was stingy as usual on Tuesday night, as the Yanks beat the Blue Jays, 6-0, for their sixth straight win and pulled back to .500 for the first time since April 14.Eovaldi shut
NEW YORK -- Carlos Beltran and Nathan Eovaldi continued their recent hot streaks, while the Yankees' bullpen was stingy as usual on Tuesday night, as the Yanks beat the Blue Jays, 6-0, for their sixth straight win and pulled back to .500 for the first time since April 14.
Eovaldi shut down the Blue Jays' lineup for six-plus shutout frames, striking out five and at one point setting down 11 consecutive Toronto batters. The Jays only mustered two hits off him, the last of which led off the third inning. The Yankees' offense didn't do too much to back Eovaldi up, notching just three hits while he was in the game, but Beltran had two RBIs, one of which came on a fourth-inning home run, and New York broke it open with a pair of runs in both the seventh and eighth.
"The good thing is, we're playing better," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "We're getting contributions from everyone up and down the lineup. It seems to come from different spots. That's been important too. You're getting contributions from everyone in the pitching staff. That's important. And that's how you win series. That has to be the focus."
Knuckleballer R.A. Dickey had an impressive outing of his own, too, but well-timed Yankees hits chased him from the game after 6 2/3 innings. He surrendered just five hits and struck out seven in the loss.
"We're searching for a spark," Dickey said. "Some kind of spark to get us going to generate a little bit more energy, I think. The good news is, this is not uncharted territory for us. This is not doom and gloom in here. We have the experience in here to arrest what's going on and return to the brand of baseball that we know best. We just need a little spark."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Back to square one: After a less-than-stellar April that left the Yankees as many as eight games below .500 on May 5, they clawed their way back to an even record at 22-22. A lot of that success has been aided by Beltran's hot streak. Since the Yankees' May 6 win over Boston, Beltran is 20-for-64 with six home runs and 19 RBIs.
Another solid six: Eovaldi, just one start removed from a dazzling six-inning, one-hit win in Arizona, one-upped himself vs. Toronto, coming in for one batter in the seventh before handing the game over to Dellin Betances and the Yankees' bullpen. Eovaldi now has a 2.16 ERA over his last four starts in 25 innings, and he has a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 19-to-5 over that same span.
"Just bearing down and trying not to do too much," Eovaldi said. "I need to be aggressive and work ahead in the counts. The first two innings, like I said, I didn't feel too great. I feel like I fell behind on a lot of the batters. After that, I was able to make the adjustment."
Small ball backfires: Toronto was threatening in the top of the third inning when Josh Donaldson stepped to the plate with two runners on and nobody out. The reigning American League MVP then made the curious decision to lay down a sacrifice bunt. That put runners on second and third, but Edwin Encarnacion struck out and then Michael Saunders popped out to shallow center field as the inning came to an abrupt end.
"He was bunting for a base hit; a little softer and he might have had it," said Blue Jays manager John Gibbons, who later responded to a followup question by confirming that Donaldson was bunting on his own.
Tulo hurts quad: Blue Jays shortstop Troy Tulowitzki opened the seventh with a leadoff walk and then stole second base. He was later stranded as Toronto's issues with runners in scoring position continued, but more importantly, Tulowitzki did not return for the bottom of the inning. He was removed with tightness in his right quad muscle, but the shortstop said after the game that he does not believe the injury is serious and that he might play Wednesday if he feels OK.
"We just can't get anything going," Tulowitzki said of his team's struggles at the plate. "Obviously we ran into a good pitcher tonight. Tried to do some things, saw J.D. try to drop down a bunt to get us going. But offensively, we just couldn't get anything going." More >
"You don't feel good. Nobody's invincible, but they're probably as close to it as you can be." -- Gibbons, on trailing after six innings and the imposing trio of Betances, Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman looming in the Yankees' bullpen
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Donaldson's sacrifice bunt in the top of the third inning was just the fourth of his career and first since Sept. 1, 2015, vs. Cleveland.
Eovaldi looked like he worked his way out of the second inning, forcing a double-play grounder off Kevin Pillar's bat and stranding a runner in scoring position. However, after further review, Pillar beat out shortstop Didi Gregorius' throw, resulting in a fielder's choice and giving the Blue Jays runners on the corners with two outs. The throw was late because Jimmy Paredes' slide forced Gregorius to double clutch. The review only lasted 49 seconds.
Blue Jays: Right-hander Marco Estrada (1-2, 2.61) will take the mound when the Blue Jays continue their series against the Yankees on Wednesday night. Estrada has surrendered three earned runs or fewer in all but two of his starts this season, but he has just one win because of a lack of run support. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. ET.
Yankees: The Yanks send Ivan Nova to the mound Wednesday, hoping Nova continues to take advantage of the the opportunity he has to start. After beginning the season in the bullpen, Nova has made three starts, posting a 2-0 record and a 1.65 ERA over that span. All of the runs Nova has allowed as a starter this season have come on solo home runs.
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Nick Suss is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York.
Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.