Toronto Blue Jays' Edwin Encarnacion

Jays’ struggles continue against Yankees

NEW YORK — Nothing was working for Hiroki Kuroda in the first two innings. By the time the right-hander was lifted after the sixth, he really had impressed his manager. With Derek Jeter making his first visit to the Bronx this season, Kuroda gave a gutsy performance, Robinson Cano hit a three-run homer and the New York Yankees used a flurry of early long balls to outslug the Toronto Blue Jays 5-3 Thursday night.

NEW YORK — Nothing was working for Hiroki Kuroda in the first two innings. By the time the right-hander was lifted after the sixth, he really had impressed his manager.

With Derek Jeter making his first visit to the Bronx this season, Kuroda gave a gutsy performance, Robinson Cano hit a three-run homer and the New York Yankees used a flurry of early long balls to outslug the Toronto Blue Jays 5-3 Thursday night.

“This might be his best performance of the year,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “It says a lot because he didn’t have a whole lot.”

Vernon Wells homered again against Mark Buehrle, and Francisco Cervelli also connected for New York, which overcame a 3-0 deficit to beat the Blue Jays for the third time within a week. The Yankees took two of three in a weekend series in Toronto.

Kuroda (3-1) settled after giving up homers to Edwin Encarnacion and Brett Lawrie in the first two innings, yielding six hits and three runs before getting the third out of the second. With a little help from Cervelli, his catcher, Kuroda didn’t allow a hit after Munenori Kawasaki doubled with two outs in the second.

“All I thought about was, ’Just hang in there,”’ Kuroda said through a translator.

Cervelli knew Kuroda was struggling, yet he would never let on. His job was to figure out a way to guide his pitcher through the struggles.

“I think he started to take a little more time and throw his pitches down,” Cervelli said. “I started to call more breaking balls.”

Jeter, out until probably mid-July because of a broken ankle, watched a no-frills New York lineup improve to 12-9. The Yankees captain said he was meeting some of his teammates for the first time.

Joba Chamberlain and David Robertson each pitched a scoreless inning, and Mariano Rivera was perfect in the ninth for his seventh save in seven chances.

The game drew 31,445, the fourth time this month a record low has been set at new Yankee Stadium, which opened in 2009.

Toronto manager John Gibbons was ejected in the seventh inning after umpires overturned a call at first, giving Ben Francisco an infield hit.

With a runner on first, Francisco hit a soft grounder to third base. Lawrie made a low throw that first base umpire Chad Fairchild initially said Encarncion made a clean scoop and Francisco was out.

But crew chief Jeff Kellogg, who was the second base umpire, felt he had a better view of the play than Fairchild. He called the group together and overturned the call. TV replays showed Encarnacion trapped the ball and didn’t have possession.

“My sense was that the ball was resting on the ground and his glove was around the top of the ball,” Kellogg said.

Gibbons argued with Kellogg, tossed his hat and was ejected for the 22nd time in his career.

“I asked him how could they overturn it if there is no appeal by the other side? I thought the rule was that there had to be an appeal by the other side for them to get together,” Gibbons said. “That was my interpretation of the rule. They are a good umpiring crew, they’re trying to get it right.”

Gibbons added: “You kind of wish they had done that when Galarraga was pitching the perfect game.”

He was referring to Detroit’s Armando Galarraga, who lost a perfect game in 2010 on a blown call at first base with two outs in the ninth inning.

It was Gibbons’ second ejection in two games for the disappointing Blue Jays, off to a 9-14 start after bulking up their roster during the off-season.

The left-handed Buehrle, pitching against Kuroda for the second time within a week, struggled against a team that came in hitting .199 against lefties, yielding five runs and seven hits in 5 1-3 innings. Buehrle (1-1) has lost seven straight decisions against the Yankees dating to 2004 with the Chicago White Sox and is 1-9 in 14 starts against New York.

Encarnacion hit a two-run drive in the first, and Lawrie led off the second with a fly that landed in the second row of the short porch in right field for his first home run this season.

Wells, a former Toronto star who was among the players New York acquired in March, homered leading off the second with a drive just beyond the 408-ft mark in centre field. Wells is 24 for 50 (.480) against Buehrle.

“He’s got new life going over there,” Gibbons said of Wells. “He’s a very intelligent guy and you know he’s motivated.”

Jayson Nix and Brett Gardner reached on singles, and Cano sent a long drive to right-centre for his seventh homer of the year.

“He’s fun to watch,” Wells said of Cano.

Just Posted

Red Deer’s single parents and children at greatest risk of poverty, says report

Yet almost half of local low-income families are people living alone

Graffiti vandals strike Kerry Wood Nature Centre in Red Deer

Cleanup will be tricky at bird sanctuary

Foodgrains project is in the ground

Lacombe County farmers continue to help feed the hungry

Red Deer housing market sales down 6%

The Red Deer housing market remains flat, says a realtor. Alex Wilkinson… Continue reading

Stamp collectors from across Alberta will gather in Red Deer Saturday

Local philatelist wants to restart the Red Deer stamp club

Dogs and drugs don’t mix: Red Deer business wants to leave downtown after 18 years

One business owner is done with downtown Red Deer after 18 years.… Continue reading

Cast your votes for the Best of Red Deer

Nominations for the Best of Red Deer Readers’ Choice Awards are officially… Continue reading

Gardening: Adding a new dimension with water

A water feature, large or small, adds a whole new dimension to… Continue reading

Alberta throne speech promises changes to expand economy, end carbon tax

EDMONTON — The new Alberta government has set its first legislature sitting… Continue reading

Wider fire bans, off-highway vehicle restrictions in northern Alberta

The fire ban prohibiting campfires and unauthorized burning, and restricting the use… Continue reading

WestJet pilot injured by green laser light while approaching Orlando airport

A WestJet pilot flying from Newfoundland to Orlando International Airport had his… Continue reading

Canada hires firm to ship back garbage, will be done before end of June: McKenna

OTTAWA — Environment Minister Catherine McKenna says the Canadian trash that has… Continue reading

Newfoundland man pleads not guilty in case of skeleton stolen from graveyard

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — A young Newfoundland man pleaded not guilty Wednesday… Continue reading

Canadians increasingly worried over boomers’ health bills, survey finds

CHARLOTTETOWN — Canadians are increasingly concerned about how to pay for the… Continue reading

Most Read