Bronx, NY (SportsNetwork.com) – Alex Rodriguez’s return took center stage
leading up to the New York Yankees’ season opener, but Drew Hutchison and the
Toronto Blue Jays ended up stealing the show.
Hutchison’s six strong innings and a five-run third off Masahiro Tanaka
carried the Blue Jays to a 6-1 Opening Day win in Rodriguez’s first major
league game since Sept. 25, 2013.
Hutchison (1-0) held the Yankees to three hits, one a solo homer to Brett
Gardner, in an impressive first career Opening Day start. The young righty was
backed by a big third inning, highlighted by a two-run single from prized
offseason pickup Russell Martin and capped by Edwin Encarnacion’s two-run
Devon Travis added a solo homer, the rookie second baseman’s first major
league hit, later on for Toronto.
Rodriguez, back from a league-imposed suspension for the three-time AL MVP’s
his involvement in the Biogenesis PED scandal, finished 1-for-2 with a
walk while serving as New York’s designated hitter.
Tanaka (0-1) struck out six over four innings of work and breezed through the
first two, but yielded a leadoff single to Kevin Pillar and walked Travis to
set the stage for Toronto’s eruption in the third.
Jose Reyes followed with a bunt that Yankees third baseman Chase Headley bare-
handed and threw wildly to first, enabling Pillar to score and placing two in
scoring position. Martin then slapped a single to right to increase the lead
to 3-0, and Encarnacion drilled Tanaka’s belt-high fastball over the wall in
left two batters later.
Four of Tanaka’s five runs allowed were earned.
“I just wasn’t able to pitch the way I wanted to,” said Tanaka through an
interpreter. “Just basically missing (my) spots.”
Rodriguez, greeted to a mostly warm reception when he stepped to the plate for
the first time, became the first Yankee to reach base on Hutchison by working
a walk to open the bottom of the third. He delivered a single to right center
but was left stranded in the fifth.
New York didn’t register its initial hit against Hutchison until Brian
McCann singled with two out in the fourth.
“I thought (Martin and I) worked really well together,” Hutchison said. “I was
able to throw all three of my pitches for strikes. Overall, I think it’s a
solid start to build off and take us into the season.”
Gardner finally got the Yankees on the board with a line-drive shot into the
right center-field bleachers to start the bottom of the sixth. Travis
answered, however, by depositing Chasen Shreve’s pitch into the left-field
seats in the seventh for a 6-1 Toronto advantage.
“I don’t know if I have the exact words to explain it,” said Travis of his
homer. “What a day, really. There’s nothing else I could really ask for.”
New York didn’t record another hit after Gardner’s homer, with Aaron Loup and
Miguel Castro combining for three scoreless innings in relief of Hutchison.
Toronto had lost in 17 of its last 20 games at Yankee Stadium coming in …
The Yankees have now dropped four straight and six of their last seven Opening
Day games … At 24 years, 228 days old, Hutchison became the youngest Opening
Day pitcher in Blue Jays history. Todd Stottlemyre was 24 years and 324 days
old when he pitched Toronto’s 1990 lid-lifter … Castro, one of six rookies
that made the Blue Jays’ roster out of spring training, threw the final 1 1/3
innings in his MLB debut … Tanaka became the fourth Japanese-born hurler to
start on Opening Day, joining Hideo Nomo, Daisuke Matsuzaka and former Yankees
teammate Hiroki Kuroda … The teams were meeting for the third time in a
season opener, with the Yankees winning the first two matchups.