TORONTO -- Christopher Austin crushed two impressive home runs, but an eighth-inning blast and an embarrassing lapse on Dellin Betances' watch sent the Yankees to their first defeat of the young season on Saturday afternoon.In a contest that was marred by a pair of injuries on the visiting side, Yangervis
TORONTO -- Christopher Austin crushed two impressive home runs, but an eighth-inning blast and an embarrassing lapse on Dellin Betances' watch sent the Yankees to their first defeat of the young season on Saturday afternoon.
In a contest that was marred by a pair of injuries on the visiting side, Yangervis Solarte hit a go-ahead homer and Kevin Pillar caught the Bombers napping with a straight steal of home plate, lifting the Blue Jays to a 5-3 victory at Rogers Centre.
Austin brought his team back twice as he enjoyed the first multi-homer game of his career, slugging game-tying shots in the fifth and seventh innings, but was left standing on deck in the ninth as Roberto Osuna froze Brett Gardner looking for his first save of the year.
"I thought we played pretty well. We just didn't come out on top," Austin said. "I'm just trying to get a good pitch and not miss it. That's really the big thing, trying to stay within myself and not try to do too much. Sometimes good things happen."
Betances hurled a scoreless seventh, but left a 97-mph fastball over the plate to Solarte leading off the eighth inning. Pillar's daring baserunning produced another run; roping a one-out single, he stole second and third base, then dared Betances to pay attention with a dance toward home plate.
When Betances came set, Pillar broke, dashing home as Betances uncorked a wild pitch.
"I thought he was trying to distract me," Betances said. "I had two strikes at the time. They're trying to create runs, and obviously it was a savvy move by him. I've got to do a better job of stopping him instead of trying to come set and step off, doing too much at once. Next time, I'll be more aware of it."
Justin Smoak had a big day for Toronto, going 3-for-4 with a double and two RBIs. Neither starting pitcher factored into the decision; Austin drove in all three runs against Blue Jays starter Marco Estrada, who worked seven innings and scattered four hits. The victory was credited to Dennis Tepera, who hurled a scoreless eighth.
Returning to the mound where he feared his season -- and career -- might have ended with a right knee scare last August, Carsten Sabathia was charged with two runs (one earned) on five hits and a pair of walks, striking out four over five innings.
"They put some good at-bats together the whole game, fouling off some good pitches," Sabathia said. "It's a tough lineup. I definitely feel good that he was able to let me go out and finish that [fifth] inning."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Canadian larceny: Already trailing after Solarte's homer, Betances had two outs and a 2-2 count on Mpho' Ngoepe as Pillar danced off third base, so the right-hander said that his focus was on the hitter. Pillar took advantage, racing home to become the first player in Blue Jays history to steal three bases in an inning, and the first Toronto player with a straight steal of home plate since Aaron Hill did it against the Yanks' Andy Pettitte on May 29, 2007.
"It was a pretty cerebral moment for me," Pillar said. "There are a lot of things you dream about doing on the field, as a kid, getting to the big leagues. Stealing home is one of those things."
Early exits:Billy McKinney left the second game of his big league career after crashing into the left-field fence, pursuing Josh Donaldson's first-inning double. Replaced by Brett Gardner, the rookie was diagnosed with a left shoulder AC sprain and has been placed on the 10-day disabled list, with infielder Miguel Andujar called up.
Right-hander Adam Warren sustained a right ankle contusion after being struck by Aledmys Diaz's sixth-inning comebacker.
"It is what it is. You've just got to go out, next man up, and be ready to play," Sabathia said. "It was the same thing last year. We look for guys to come in and step up. We talk about that in Spring Training; everybody in the room, be ready. Whoever is next, let's go." More >
"It certainly gave us a lot of energy in the dugout. I loved the way the guys competed. Especially after his first at-bat where Estrada kind of had his way with him, two big swings like that, it's a little peek into the strength of Tyler Austin right there." -- manager Aaron Boone, on Austin's performance
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Austin became the seventh player to mash at least two 112-plus-mph home runs in the same game since Statcast™ was introduced in 2015. Aaron Judge -- who played center field for the first time in his MLB career Saturday -- was the only previous Yankee to do so, having accomplished the feat last April 28, against the Orioles in New York.
Austin crushed a two-run shot in the fifth inning that was measured at 112.9 mph, traveling a Statcast-calculated 432 feet to left-center field. He went deep again in the seventh inning, producing an exit velocity of 112.7 mph on a drive down the left-field line that went 421 feet.
Of his nine career homers, eight have either tied the game or given the Yankees the lead. Eight have also been against American League East opponents.
Sonny Gray and Austin Romine will serve as the starting battery on Sunday at 1:07 p.m. ET as the Yankees try to secure a series victory at Rogers Centre. Gray is 2-3 with a 2.32 ERA in five career starts at Toronto, and 4-3 with a 2.47 ERA in eight starts against the Blue Jays overall.
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Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.