Late rally lifts Blue Jays to victory over Yankees
By Gregor Chisholm and Jamie Ross
TORONTO -- Russell Martin had a pinch-hit single and Edwin Encarnacion contributed an RBI double as the Blue Jays rallied in the eighth inning to steal a victory away from the Yankees and take the series opener, 3-1, on Monday night at Rogers Centre.
Toronto entered the eighth trailing, 1-0, until Josh Donaldson and Jose Bautista sparked a rally with a pair of one-out singles off Yankees right-hander Chris Martin. New York's Dellin Betances entered, and he was promptly greeted with Encarnacion's RBI bloop double to shallow left field.
Two batters later, Martin stepped to the plate as a pinch-hitter for Josh Thole and hit a sharp ground ball down the third-base line. Chase Headley came up with a spectacular diving play, but first baseman Garrett Jones wasn't able to return the favor on a one-hop throw, which allowed Bautista and Encarnacion to score. More >
"Going into it, I definitely had breaking ball in the back of my mind in that situation and was able to put some good wood on it," Martin said. "But I'm not going to lie, when I saw [Headley] come up with that ball, I got a little nervous right there. Fortunately, [Jones] didn't make the pick at first base, and we'll take it. We need things to go our way every once in a while, or else it can be a little tough."
The Blue Jays' late rally took a well-deserved win away from Chase Whitley. New York's right-hander limited Toronto to six hits while striking out six over seven scoreless innings. Knuckleballer R.A. Dickey was equally as effective for the Blue Jays, as he allowed just one run on three hits and three walks over eight innings. More >
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Whitley fights off Blue Jays in 6th: The Yankees' starter pitched himself out of a tough spot in the bottom of the sixth inning. After Devon Travis singled and Donaldson doubled, Toronto had two in scoring position with no outs and a golden opportunity to break a scoreless tie. But Whitley retired Bautista, Encarnacion and Kevin Pillar in order to escape unscathed heading into the seventh.
"Considering where he is in the order," said Yankees manager Joe Girardi, "he's got to face Bautista and Encarnacion, two guys that are extremely dangerous, and he did a great job." More >
Defense lets Dickey down: Dickey was nearly flawless until the seventh inning, when Carlos Beltran led off with a double. Toronto right fielder Ezequiel Carrera misread the liner to right and took a step in before eventually going back and seeing the ball sail over his head. Beltran would later score on a ground ball that went under the glove of Encarnacion at first base. Dickey remained in the game through eight innings and Toronto's late rally was enough to give him win No. 1 on the season.
"That's what he does. He's a pro, nothing takes him by surprise. He was thinking along with the game, he was in the video room preparing in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings. … He was prepared and put together a great at-bat, that's what he has been doing." -- Dickey, on Martin
"It's really tough, because it's so much different than anything that you do. You can't really prepare for it." -- Headley, on facing the knuckleball
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Dickey became the first Blue Jays starter this season to pitch into the seventh inning without giving up a run. The eight innings he pitched were the most he has thrown in one start since July 3, 2014, when he also went eight.
Dickey also didn't record a strikeout, becoming the 21st pitcher since 2000 to toss at least eight innings while allowing one earned run or fewer and not striking out a single batter. The last to do it was Rick Porcello on July 1, 2014.
WHAT'S NEXT Yankees: Big right-hander Michael Pineda (3-0, 3.73 ERA) will make his sixth start of the season for the first-place Yankees at 7:07 p.m. ET at Rogers Centre. Pineda, who's won his last five decisions, has a career 1-2 record with a 3.93 ERA in six starts against the Blue Jays. He'll be pitching on an extended five days' rest.
Blue Jays: Righty Marco Estrada will make his first start of the season on Tuesday night. Estrada began the year in the bullpen but recently secured a starting spot when rookie Daniel Norris was optioned to Triple-A Buffalo. Estrada is expected to be limited to approximately 75 pitches.
is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the
Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. Jamie Ross is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.