Blue Jays Spoil Opener, Tank Tanaka • Latino Sports

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Blue Jays Spoil Opener, Tank Tanaka

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Yankee Stadium – It’s beginning to feel like the early 1990’s here in the Bronx, as the Toronto Blue Jays are relevant, and the Yankees are without Derek Jeter for the first time in two decades.

The final score, a 6-1 win for the visiting Bluebirds was as much a preview of what we can come to expect in the new power structure of the AL East; with a Toronto team that can hit for power, and a Yankees’ squad that is struggling to put it all together.

One game does not a season make, but home runs by Edwin Encarnacion [1] and rookie second baseman Devon Travis [1], was more than enough to expose weaknesses in what could end up being a thin pitching rotation for the Pinstripes.

Travis the nine-hole hitter, who finished 2-for-2 with one RBI, became the ninth Blue Jay to hit a home run for his first MLB hit, and only the fourth to do so in his debut.

“Amazing, a dream come true,” said Travis on his seventh inning home run over the scoreboard in left off Yankees’ reliever Chasen Shreve. “It was a nerve-racking at-bat…but I felt a little bit of relief [afterwards].” Travis’ teammates witnessed a rookie who flew by the bases, and promptly pranked him by giving him the silent treatment upon reaching the dugout

New York’s Masahiro Tanaka was lit up for five runs [four earned] off five hits, and two walks in four innings pitched.

Tanaka and the Yankees suffered their fourth consecutive Opening Day loss, their longest streak since 1982-1985.

On the hill for Toronto was the righty Drew Hutchinson, who allowed but one run, a homer by Brett Gardner in the sixth inning, while going six innings to earn his first win of the season.

“That’s a good thing if I’m waiting [in the dugout], means we’re scoring runs,” commented Hutchinson on the long breaks between innings.

“Hutch was amazing,” said Toronto manager John Gibbons. “He worked on his changeup in spring training, rose to the occasion…and Russell [Martin] made them work.”

Gardner’s homer, a blast over the Pepsi sign in right-field, became the 100th Opening Day long ball hit in franchise history.

In his Major League debut, Blue Jays’ relief pitcher Miguel Castro threw a scoreless ninth inning, but only after a strange moment that occurred back in the eighth inning.

With two outs, and two runners on in the eighth, and the switch-hitting Mark Teixeira up to bat, newly acquired shortstop Didi Gregorius was caught stealing third base to end the inning, and the threat. Castro had thrown but two pitches to start his career before going straight to the dugout.

“It was a little weird, and a little comforting,” said Castro on how the eighth inning played out.

Asked about the enormity of the experience to record a successful appearance in Yankee Stadium, Castro replied: “What does it mean to me? I was really excited to make my debut at Yankee Stadium, and face such veteran hitters. To retire them 1-2-3 was special.”

About Oren Vourman

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  • ReeRee

    Thanks for the Castro quotes! Always great reading about players debut games

  • Julio

    Look forward to being kept up to date on Yankee games through your insights of baseball.