Hicks blasts leadoff HR as Yanks down Jays

Hicks blasts leadoff HR as Yanks down Jays

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Aaron Hicks led off the game with a home run and Alex Rodriguez hit an RBI single in the Yankees' 4-3 victory over the Blue Jays on Saturday afternoon at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium. New York pulled ahead in the ninth when Deibinson Romero scored from third on a pitch that got by the catcher.

Toronto left-hander J.A. Happ was charged with three runs on five hits while striking out two and not issuing a walk over six innings. It was a strong outing for Happ, who cruised into the sixth until the Yankees finally got to him with an extended rally.

Box score

Hicks' home run came on the third pitch of the game as he lifted a deep fly ball over the wall in left-center field for his second homer of the spring. The Yankees then added two runs in the sixth as Cesar Puello led off with a double to the corner in right field before coming around to score on the single by Rodriguez.

A-Rod's RBI single

New York's third run against Happ came via a fielder's choice that scored pinch-runner Juan Silva from third. The end of Happ's outing wasn't quite what he was looking for, but it was an otherwise strong start and by far his longest outing of the spring. Happ threw 59 of his 86 pitches for strikes.

"Felt good," Happ said. "I felt sharp early on; toward the end there, just a little bit big with some of the offspeed stuff -- I need to stay aggressive with that. Other than that I felt really good."

Happ retires Romine

Yankees right-hander Bryan Mitchell allowed just one hit and didn't walk a batter over four scoreless innings. He struck out four as he continues to compete for either the final spot in New York's rotation or as a possible swingman out of the bullpen.

"My goal coming in was to make this team," Mitchell said. "With the performance I've had, I feel like I've put myself in a good position. I feel like I've made some good strides since last year."

Mitchell gets Colabello looking

Justin Smoak, David Adams, Jio Mier and Josh Thole all doubled for the Blue Jays. Right fielder Jose Bautista went 0-for-3 with a strikeout in his return to the lineup following a two-game absence because of a stiff neck.

Up next for the Yankees: Jacoby Ellsbury is expected to return to the lineup on Sunday as the Yankees host the Twins for a 1:05 p.m. ET contest at George M. Steinbrenner Field (watch on MLB.TV). Right-hander Nathan Eovaldi draws the start for New York, opposed by former Yankees right-hander Phil Hughes.

Up next for the Blue Jays: Right-hander Drew Hutchison will get the start when the Blue Jays visit the Rays on Sunday, with first pitch scheduled for 1:05 p.m. at Charlotte Sports Park (watch the game on MLB.TV). Hutchison is expected to throw approximately 100 pitches as he continues to compete for the final spot in Toronto's rotation. An announcement on the Blue Jays' choice for the fifth starter is expected any day, but Hutchison seems to be trailing Aaron Sanchez and Gavin Floyd for the job.

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.