Martin spearheads Blue Jays' Bronx eruption

May 26th, 2016

NEW YORK -- Russell Martin slugged his first two homers of the season, supporting Marco Estrada's solid effort as the Blue Jays ended the Yankees' six-game win streak with an 8-4 victory on Wednesday night at Yankee Stadium.
Martin snapped out of a 124 at-bat homerless drought to start the year, connecting for a sixth-inning drive off Ivan Nova, then followed up in the seventh inning by belting a two-run shot off Chasen Shreve. Michael Saunders also hit a two-run homer as part of Toronto's four-run seventh.

"That was a little more typical of our lineup," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "It was one game, but I feel good; those guys have to feel good. You need it here. This place is really just like Fenway [Park] … you never really feel good. It was a nice win."

Estrada picked up his second victory of the season, commanding the Bronx Bombers until the seventh, when he surrendered back-to-back home runs to Chase Headley and Didi Gregorius. Despite striking out a season-high eight batters, Nova was charged with four runs on seven hits over 6 2/3 innings, taking his first loss as a starter this year.
Snapping the streak: The Blue Jays' offense was in the midst of a 20-inning scoreless streak when it finally pieced together a rally in the fourth inning. Kevin Pillar and Devon Travis each reached with two outs, and Goins came through with a two-run double to the gap in right-center field. It was the first time Toronto had reached the scoreboard since the first inning of Sunday's 3-1 victory over the Twins.

"That got us going," Gibbons said. "Go-Go has been scuffling, we got shut out last night and [for] three innings tonight, we were shut out. We definitely needed that. We've been looking for that. Everybody loves home runs, but a double with a couple of guys on can do wonders for you, too. That's just what he did."
Settling for one: The Yankees had their best run-scoring opportunity in the third inning, loading the bases with no outs against Estrada. Jacoby Ellsbury lifted a fly ball to left field, but it was too shallow to allow Headley to score from third. Brett Gardner got New York on the board by legging out a fielder's-choice grounder to second base, but Estrada wriggled free as Carlos Beltran flied out to left field, stranding two runners.

"That was the one chance that we had to really put some runs on him; we weren't able to do it," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "I think he got 'Jake' on a fastball that was up, and he wasn't able to drive it far enough. We got the ground ball and scored the one run, but that was a chance to get a crooked number and we weren't able to do it."

Signs of life: Martin had yet to homer this season until he led off the sixth with his solo homer to left field. According to Statcast™, the drive was projected to land 374 feet from the plate, and it left his bat at 100 mph. Martin went 124 at-bats without a home run, the second-longest homerless stretch to start a season in his career. He went 217 at-bats without a home run to start the 2009 season before ultimately finishing that year with seven. Martin's seventh-inning shot cemented the 11th multihomer game of his career.

"Since the Twins series [last weekend], I've been swinging the bat better, making better contact," Martin said. "I just made a couple of subtle adjustments. I was hitting the ball better in batting practice, and it finally transitioned into the game for me."  More >
Quantity, but not quality: Yankees starters had run off six consecutive quality starts coming into Wednesday's action, and Nova departed with a chance at a seventh, having permitted three runs. Shreve surrendered the run he inherited, however, as Saunders took the left-hander deep on a 3-2 slider before Martin hit his second.

"The stuff, the way that my curveball was today, you've got to take the positive out of it," Nova said. "You don't want to lose the game, but especially, you don't want to be the guy who loses the streak."
"When I'm going the other way, it's a pretty good indicator that my swing is moving the right way." -- Martin, on his opposite-field homer in the seventh inning

Martin and Saunders became the first duo from Canada to homer in the same inning of a Major League game, and just the second duo to do so in the same game. Justin Morneau and Corey Koskie previously did it in the same game five times for the Twins.
Blue Jays: Left-hander J.A. Happ (5-2, 3.43 ERA) will take the mound when the Blue Jays close out their three-game series against the Yankees on Thursday afternoon at 4:05 ET. This outing originally belonged to Aaron Sanchez, but the righty was pushed back to get an extra day of rest. The move could be a smart one, given the Yankees' well-documented struggles vs. lefties. New York entered play on Wednesday with a .646 OPS against lefties, which ranked second-to-last in the American League.
Yankees: Left-hander CC Sabathia (3-2, 3.41 ERA) will look to follow up on a successful return from the disabled list on Thursday, as the Yankees wrap up an abbreviated homestand. Sabathia picked up his 100th win with the Yankees his last time out, holding the A's to one run over six innings in Oakland.
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