Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Ross Stripling throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the New York Yankees, Saturday, April 3, 2021, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Sánchez homers again, Kluber debuts, Yanks beat Jays 5-3

NEW YORK — Gary Sánchez joined Elston Howard in 1963 as the only Yankees catchers to homer in each of the first two games and Jay Bruce blooped a two-run single in the seventh for his first hit with his new team in New York’s 5-3 win over the Toronto Blue Jays on Saturday.

Two-time Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber, limited by injuries to one inning in the previous two seasons, pitched around control problems to allow one earned run over four innings in his Yankees debut.

Left-hander Lucas Luetge also debuted for the Yankees in his first major league appearance in six years. Chad Green got Rowdy Tellez to swing under a 96 mph pitch to strand two on in the eighth and got a four-out save in the absence of Aroldis Chapman, who completed a two-game suspension for throwing near the head of Tampa Bay’s Mike Brousseau last Sept. 1.

A sellout crowed of 10,107 — capacity was limited to 20% under New York State novel coronavirus restrictions — was noticeably louder than during Thursday’s 3-2, 10-inning loss. Brett Gardner, a 37-year-old fan favourite, got loud cheers when he replaced Clint Frazier in left field to start the eighth.

Pitching in long sleeves on a 44-degree afternoon, Kluber threw 37 pitches in the first two innings, more than double his 18 last season. His 2019 season ended that May 1 when hit on the forearm by a comebacker, and his debut for Texas in the 2020 season lasted just one inning when he tore a muscle in his right shoulder on July 26.

Winner of the 2014 and 2017 Cy Young Award with Cleveland, Kluber is a right-hander who turns 35 next Saturday and is seeking to re-establish himself with the Yankees, who gave him an $11 million, one-year deal. He struggled with his control, allowing three walks, five hits and costly wild pitch in four-plus innings with five strikeouts. New York’s defence helped him by turning double plays in the first two innings.

Called “Klubot” for his reserved, robot-like manner, he is among three Yankees starters coming off long layoffs. Domingo Germán starts Sunday in his first appearance since Sept. 18, 2019, after completing a suspension under Major League Baseball’s domestic violence policy. Jameson Taillon make his Yankees debut Wednesday against Baltimore after recovering from an elbow injury that had sidelined him since May 1, 2019, and required his second Tommy John surgery.

Kluber’s 11 fastballs topped at 90.7 mph, and he mixed in 22 in curveballs, 20 sinkers, 15 cutters and six changeups.

Toronto’s Ross Stripling, starting because of injuries to Robbie Ray, Nate Pearson and Thomas Hatch, allowed three runs, seven hits and two walks in 3 1/3 innings with five strikeouts.

AL batting champion DJ LeMahieu legged out a two-out infield hit in the second that allowed Gio Urshela to come home from third, but Toronto tied the score in the third with a pair of walks a wild pitch followed by Sánchez bouncing a throw into centre for an error as Marcus Semien stole second for the second time.

Sánchez homered for a 2-1 lead in the fourth, and Tyler Chatwood entered with two on and allowed singles on consecutive pitches to Aaron Judge and Aaron Hicks.

Hick had a run-scoring hit off the glove of a diving Semien at second. Hicks also has struck out three times each in consecutive games for the first time in his nine-season career.

Rafael Dolis walked the based loaded in the seventh, left-hander Tim Wayza relieved and Bruce, New York’s first baseman while Luke Voit recovers from knee surgery, plopped a sinker 234 feet into left field in front of Lourdes Gurriel Jr.

BEEN A LONG TIME

Luetge allowed a bloop leadoff single in the seventh to Randal Grichuk, who scored on two wild pitches and Semien’s RBI groundout. The 34-year-old had not been in a major league game since April 25, 2015, with Seattle.

PENT-UP DEMAND

The Yankees’ 3-2 loss in Thursday’s opener drew averaged 543,000 viewers on YES, the second-highest weekday afternoon game in the network’s 20 seasons behind 577,000 for a 6-4 defeat to Boston on July 4, 2008. The opener drew an additional 72,739 unique viewers on the new YES app.

IN MEMORIAM

The Yankees unveiled a plaque in the first base photographer’s well on Friday honouring Anthony Causi, the New York Post photographer who died of COVID-19 last April at age 48. Inscribed above his image, it reads: “A passionate talent who always got his shot, he captured history with extraordinary excellence and uncommon care, his luminous spirit and brilliant images remain with us forever.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Blue Jays: OF George Springer (strained left oblique) could be activated for Thursday’s home opener against the Los Angeles Angels in Dunedin, Florida. … Ray (bruised left elbow) threw a bullpen session Friday.

Yankees: LHP Justin Wilson (shoulder tightness) threw batting practice and could be activated from the IL when the Yankees start a trip at Tampa Bay on Friday. … RHP Clarke Schmidt (strained elbow) has not started throwing.

UP NEXT

Germán pitched nine scoreless innings over five appearances during spring training, allowing five hits, striking out 13 and walking one. RHP T.J. Zeuch starts for the Blue Jays.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cowboy Kicks, originally scheduled for May 5, will now take place Sept. 18. (Contributed photo)
Westerner Park’s Cowboy Kicks fundraiser moved to Sept. 18

A major fundraiser for Westerner Park and the Canadian Pro Rodeo Sport… Continue reading

Red Deer Rebels forward Josh Tarzwell tries to tip a point shot past Lethbridge Hurricanes goalie Car Tetachuk in WHL action Friday night at the Centrium. (Photo by ROB WALLATOR/Red Deer Rebels)
Red Deer Rebels struggles continue, drop seventh straight to Hurricanes

Hurricanes score three power-play goals in 6-3 win

Downtown Red Deer patio restaurants have been busy this summer. Contributed photo
City of Red Deer expediting patio application process for restaurants

The City of Red Deer is allowing businesses to install patios prior… Continue reading

RDC Queens forward Camryn Wallan was named the 2020-21 RDC Outstanding Female Athlete of the Year. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Wallan, Podgorenko named 2020-21 RDC Outstanding Athletes of the Year

Even with the cancellation of the 2020-21 Alberta Colleges Athletic Association, RDC… Continue reading

A new Angus Reid poll says that close to two-thirds of Albertans think premier Jason Kenney is doing a bad job handling the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
75% of Albertans disapprove of Kenney’s pandemic leadership: poll

Nearly 75 per cent of Albertans believe Premier Jason Kenney is doing… Continue reading

Red Deer-South MLA Jason Stephan is among those who have signed an open letter criticizing the government’s return to stricter health measures. (Advocate file photo).
Updated: Kenney tells UCP caucus COVID-19 dissent OK, breaking health rules means expulsion

15 MLAs released letter on Wednesday critical of new health restrictions

Here masking tape was applied to both sides of a joint to be caulked. Peeling the tape off as soon as the caulking is smeared with a finger leaves behind a neat edge. (Photo by Robert Maxwell)
Houseworks: Unheated spaces can cause tools to rust

Q: How well do woodworking tools survive in an unheated Canadian workshop?… Continue reading

University of Victoria rowing coach Barney Williams is seen in the stands during the Greater Victoria Invitational at CARSA Performance Gym at the University of Victoria in Victoria, Friday, Nov. 29, 2019. The University of Victoria and the head coach of its women's rowing team have denied allegations of demeaning and aggressive treatment outlined in a lawsuit filed last summer by a former student and team member. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
UVic, women’s rowing coach deny former athlete’s allegation of verbal abuse

UVic, women’s rowing coach deny former athlete’s allegation of verbal abuse

Canada's Julia Grosso, right, and Wales' Natasha Harding battle for the ball during the women's international friendly soccer match at Leckwith Stadium, Wales, Friday, April 9, 2021. Canada blanked Wales 3-0 but lost captain Christine Sinclair to an injury in the fist half of a soccer friendly Friday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-PA, Nick Potts
Canada blanks Wales in soccer friendly but has injury scare with Christine Sinclair

Canada blanks Wales in soccer friendly but has injury scare with Christine Sinclair

Canada's DTH Van Der Merwe, left, is tackled by Hong Kong's Toby Fenn, during the 2019 Japan Rugby Union World Cup qualifying match between Canada and Hong Kong, in Marseille, southern France, Friday, Nov. 23, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Claude Paris
Canadian rugby star DTH van der Merwe enjoying life in Los Angeles

Canadian rugby star DTH van der Merwe enjoying life in Los Angeles

Team Canada skip Brendan Bottcher, right, makes a shot as second Brad Thiessen sweeps against Germany at the Men's World Curling Championships in Calgary, Alta., Friday, April 9, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Canada’s Bottcher heads into men’s world curling playoffs on a winning note

Canada’s Bottcher heads into men’s world curling playoffs on a winning note

Justin Rose, of England, hits out of a bunker on the seventh hole during the second round of the Masters golf tournament on Friday, April 9, 2021, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Rose clings to 1-shot Masters lead as Spieth, Thomas lurk

Rose clings to 1-shot Masters lead as Spieth, Thomas lurk

People shop for essential items at Costco as pallets block off aisles and sections that have been deemed non-essential during the COVID-19 pandemic, in Mississauga, Ont., Thursday, April 8, 2021. Retailers in Ontario are adjusting to new lockdown restrictions with stores like grocers, discount and big box chains roping off non-essential items from underwear to calculators. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Ontario retailers adjust to new rules, non-essential goods off-limits to shoppers

Ontario retailers adjust to new rules, non-essential goods off-limits to shoppers

A worker smooths concrete at a construction site in Toronto on January 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston
Economy adds 303,000 jobs in March, unemployment rate falls, Statistics Canada says

Economy adds 303,000 jobs in March, unemployment rate falls, Statistics Canada says

Most Read