Andujar’s lifts Yankees over Blue Jays as Toronto’s bullpen struggles

Yankees 7 Blue Jays 2

TORONTO — Miguel Andujar hit his first career grand slam in the seventh inning to lift the New York Yankees over the struggling Toronto Blue Jays 7-2 on Tuesday.

CC Sabathia (3-1) gave up two solo homers over seven innings and struck out six for the win. David Robertson and Chasen Shreve combined for two scoreless innings out of the bullpen.

Aaron Hicks added a three-run homer for New York (39-18).

Teoscar Hernandez and Kevin Pillar each hit a home run as Toronto (26-34) looked for back-to-back wins for the first time since beating Texas and Minnesota on April 29 and 30.

Marco Estrada threw six-plus innings, giving up six hits and one run while striking out six for a no-decision.

It was Estrada’s best start since May 6 when he pitched six scoreless innings and struck out four for a no-decision in Tampa. Since then, he has earned four straight losses and allowed a total of 15 runs in 20 2/3 innings.

Unfortunately for Toronto, its bullpen blew Estrada’s solid start.

Seunghwan Oh (1-2) took the loss, giving up three runs in his one inning of relief. Joe Biagini allowed a run in his two-thirds of an inning, while Aaron Loup gave up two more in his third of a frame. Tim Mayza was the only reliever to stay scoreless in his one inning of work.

Another one of the Blue Jays issues this season has been their offence, with the fourth worst team batting average in Major League Baseball heading into Tuesday.

Devon Travis’s pop fly to right field in the third inning dropped his average to below .200. That made him the fourth hitter in Toronto’s lineup on Tuesday below the Mendoza line: Travis, Kendrys Morales, Russell Martin and Randal Grichuk.

Hernandez finally broke a scoreless tie with a solo home run to deep left field in the bottom of the sixth. The ball looked like it was going to sail foul, but instead fell into the second deck at Rogers Centre to the delight of the 29,308 in attendance.

Estrada gave up a single to Gary Sanchez to start the seventh, forcing Blue Jays manager John Gibbons to pull him in favour of Oh. The Toronto reliever then hit Didi Gregorius with a pitch and walked Hicks to load the bases before Andujar crushed the ball to deep left field and give New York a 4-1 lead with no outs.

Oh bore down to retire the next three Yankees hitters, but the damage was done.

Pillar hit his fifth home run of the season in the bottom of the inning to cut New York’s lead down to two.

The Yankees piled on in the eighth inning as Giancarlo Stanton and Gregorius got on base to set up Hicks’s three-run blast to right field and give New York a 7-2 lead. Those runs were charged to Biagini and Loup.

Notes: Toronto pitcher Marcus Stroman is expected to pitch three innings of “game action” later this week. The Blue Jays weren’t sure what minor league level he would throw at or if it would be a simulated game. He is on the 10-day disabled list with right shoulder pain.

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