Yankees pull out win in 8th against Blue Jays' bullpen
NEW YORK -- Chase Headley's infield single ticked off Blue Jays closer Brett Cecil's glove and pushed home Brett Gardner with the go-ahead run as the Yankees rallied for three runs in the eighth inning, posting a 4-3 victory on a raw and rainy Wednesday evening at Yankee Stadium.
The Yankees accepted some help from Toronto's bullpen in erasing the late deficit. Cecil's wild pitch allowed Chris Young to score their second run, and with the bases loaded by a single, hit-by-pitch and intentional walk, Cecil plunked Brian McCann in the back to force home the tying run.
"A little bit unconventional, but guys did what they had to do to get on and we fought and clawed," Headley said. "It turned out in our favor."
R.A. Dickey permitted just a Carlos Beltran sacrifice fly and four hits over 6 1/3 innings, while Devon Travis and Russell Martin drove in runs for Toronto. Michael Pineda offered the Yankees a promising start, permitting two runs and six hits over six innings. Andrew Miller pitched the ninth to log the save in his Yankees debut.
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Bullpen bends, then breaks: The Blue Jays were six outs away from their second win of the series until the bullpen let one get away. Aaron Loup allowed all three batters he faced to reach base and Cecil didn't fare any better. Cecil threw a wild pitch, hit McCann and then had Headley's grounder bounce off his glove as the Yankees took control.
"That's all it takes," said Young, who started the inning with a bloop double to right field. "That's the difference between winning and losing the game. You catch a break. That's the way the game goes and you'll take it, you need wins like that." More >
Big Mike's effort: Pineda started his season on a good note, getting plenty of swings and misses in a six-strikeout performance. The Yankees offered one run while he was the pitcher of record, but support continues to be an issue for Pineda, who was 0-2 with a 2.25 ERA in two starts vs. the Jays last year, both in Toronto. The Yanks lost those games by scores of 4-0 and 2-0.
"I thought he was really good considering the elements that he had to battle," manager Joe Girardi said. "To give us six strong innings, I thought he was really good." More >
Gardner's glove: Gardner's defense in left field has consistently been well-regarded by the Yankees, and he saved them a run in the sixth inning by ranging toward the corner and taking away an extra-base hit from Kevin Pillar with a sliding catch.
"He pulled it down the line, and most of the time those balls hook pretty good into the corner," Gardner said. "I wasn't sure off the bat if it was going to keep hooking away from me or not. I just tried to get a good jump and get to it."
Dickey dazzles: Cold-weather conditions usually aren't very conducive for an effective knuckleball, but that wasn't the case for Dickey on Wednesday night. Dickey walked three batters in the first three innings but managed to escape the early jams and pitch deep into the game. It wasn't always easy, but the pitching line was impressive, and one reason was his ability to hold the Yankees hitless in five at-bats with runners in scoring position. More >
Throwing it around: The Yankees have committed three errors in their first two games. A Stephen Drew throwing error helped set up Toronto's fifth-inning run, with Mark Teixeira and Headley also seeing the ball hit their gloves on the play. McCann then threw a ball down the right-field line in the eighth, allowing Jose Bautista to trot home with the Jays' third run.
"We just imploded," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "Started with the wind-blown hit there, and then we hit a couple of guys; we don't normally do that, and it just got away.
"We'll figure some things out … roles and who can do that. You're still guessing on some guys, but the better they pitch, the more opportunities they'll have to pitch."
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Dickey's streak of 55 consecutive starts with Josh Thole behind the plate came to an end Wednesday night. It was the longest streak in the Majors, and dating back to 2013, Thole had caught all but 10 of Dickey's 101 starts. Thole is currently in Triple-A Buffalo while Martin has become Dickey's regular catcher.
Blue Jays: Left-hander Daniel Norris will make the second start of his big league career when the Blue Jays close out the series with the Yankees on Thursday night at Yankee Stadium. Norris, who is ranked as Toronto's No. 1 prospect by MLBPipeline.com, made his starting debut near the end of last season. Danny Valencia is expected to make his first start of the year at either first base or designated hitter with lefty CC Sabathia on the mound for New York.
Yankees: Sabathia will be on the mound for his first big league start since May 10 as the Yankees conclude their three-game series with the Blue Jays on Thursday at 7:05 p.m. ET. Toronto will counter with Norris, and since Girardi has indicated that he plans to rest shortstop Didi Gregorius against left-handers, infielder Gregorio Petit is expected to make his Yankees debut.