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Happ outduels CC as Blue Jays edge Yanks

May 26, 2016

NEW YORK -- Edwin Encarnacion drove in a pair of runs with a third-inning single, which proved to be sufficient for J.A. Happ, whose sterling effort helped lift the Blue Jays to a 3-1 victory over the Yankees on Thursday at Yankee Stadium.The Blue Jays took two out of three

NEW YORK -- Edwin Encarnacion drove in a pair of runs with a third-inning single, which proved to be sufficient for J.A. Happ, whose sterling effort helped lift the Blue Jays to a 3-1 victory over the Yankees on Thursday at Yankee Stadium.
The Blue Jays took two out of three games in the series despite being limited to just two hits by resurgent left-hander CC Sabathia, who did not permit an earned run over seven innings and struck out seven with a walk.
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Happ was just as sharp, holding New York to Starlin Castro's first-inning home run among three hits over seven innings. The left-hander walked three and struck out five, defeating the Yankees for the second time this season.
"I battled in the game. Their guy was a little bit better than me today," Sabathia said. "Happ had a big game. You've got to tip your hat."
Devon Travis cashed an insurance run in the ninth, driving in Justin Smoak with a single off fireballer Aroldis Chapman.

Timely hitting: The Blue Jays entered play on Thursday ranked second-last in the American League with a .216 average with runners in scoring position, but the first opportunity the club was presented with in the series finale went Toronto's way. With the bases loaded and two outs in the third, Encarnacion came through with a single to left, which scored two and gave Toronto an early 2-1 lead. It was the second consecutive game with an RBI for Encarnacion after he went four consecutive games without one earlier this week.
"Sometimes you want to do too much and that's when you swing at a lot of pitches outside the strike zone," Encarnacion said. "That's what I need to make adjustments on -- wait for your pitch. … I just want to help this team to win games. I don't think about my numbers, I just think about the team and I think we can be better than we are right now." More >

CC piling up the Ks: With a swinging strikeout of Travis to end the seventh inning, Sabathia recorded the 2,610th strikeout of his career, tying Chuck Finley for 23rd place all time and fifth place among left-handers. Sabathia rang up seven strikeouts in Thursday's performance, which also moved him past Hall of Famer Tom Glavine (2,607). The veteran southpaw leads all active pitchers in strikeouts, complete games (38) and quality starts (279).
"I thought he threw the ball great," catcher Brian McCann said. "He's been throwing the ball great all month. It's unfortunate we couldn't score enough runs." More >

Finishing strong: Happ cruised during his last start vs. Minnesota only to see it completely unravel in the eighth inning. He was in a somewhat similar scenario vs. New York as he entered the seventh inning on a roll but trying to protect a slim one-run lead. The veteran lefty retired the first two batters he faced in the seventh before issuing a walk to Chase Headley. That proved to be little more than a small blip as Happ quickly recovered to retire Didi Gregorius en route to his ninth quality start in 10 outings this season.
"I think that was a big game," Happ said after his team finished its road trip 5-2. "Nice to get the series here. We're going to face them again next week, so we have to keep grinding."

Didi's 'E' opens the door: The only two runs scored off Sabathia were of the unearned variety, as shortstop Gregorius could not corral Travis' hard one-out grounder in the third inning. It was Gregorius' eighth error of the season and overshadowed the fact that he extended his hitting streak to eight games with a fifth-inning single, the longest string compiled by a Yankee this season.
"It took a bad hop on me," Gregorius said. "CC was pitching really good and for that to happen, right there, a bad hop. As a shortstop, you want to make every play and there's nothing you can do about that anymore. Take the positives and look to the next game."
The Blue Jays allowed four hits or fewer in four of their seven games on the road trip. Opponents finished the week with a .176 (39-for-221) average.
Happ became the third Blue Jays pitcher since the start of 2015 to toss at least seven innings and surrender three hits or fewer in back-to-back starts. Marco Estrada (June 19 and 24, 2015) and David Price (Aug. 3 and 15) were the other two to do it.
Blue Jays: Right-hander Aaron Sanchez (4-1, 3.20 ERA) will get the call when the Blue Jays open a three-game series against the Red Sox on Friday night at Rogers Centre at 7:07 p.m. ET. Sanchez was originally scheduled to pitch Thursday in New York, but Toronto decided to push him back to give the 23-year-old an extra day of rest.
Yankees: Right-hander Masahiro Tanaka (2-0, 3.24 ERA) takes the ball on Friday as the Yankees open a three-game series with the Rays at Tropicana Field at 7:10 ET. Tanaka has the fifth-lowest road ERA in the American League at 1.69 and is coming off a winning effort his last time out against the A's. Tampa Bay will counter with right-hander Chris Archer.
Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch, on Facebook and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat.

Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.