Blue Jays beat Yankees 3-0 in New York home opener behind Clement’s tiebreaking pinch homer

0
12

NEW YORK (AP) — Pinch-hitter Ernie Clement had a tiebreaking solo home run off Caleb Ferguson leading off the seventh inning, and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Yankees 3-0 Friday in New York’s home opener.

“The Toronto faithful may not like this but I was the biggest Yankees fan growing up, so I’m glad we could kick their (butt),” said Clement, who grew up in Rochester, New York.

A 28-year-old who appeared in just 35 major league games over the previous two seasons, Clement drove the second pitch from Ferguson (0-1) into the left-field seats for his first career pinch homer. He was the first Toronto pinch hitter to give the Blue Jays the lead from the seventh inning on since Justin Smoak at Miami on Aug. 31, 2018.

“I just like to keep it simple,” Clement said. “I’m up there looking for a fastball to drive and do damage on, and he laid one in there and I’m just glad I could come through for these guys.”

Juan Soto went 0 for 4 with a pair of strikeouts in his pinstripes debut, slamming his bat and helmet after making the final out of the eighth.

He bowed to fans in right field in the top of the first and was greeted with a standing ovation when he came to the plate in the bottom half. Soto is in a 1-for-16 slide after a 9-for-17 start.

“Just frustration that comes out,” Soto said. “You want to do so (many) things for this fan base and get your team going, and you have the chance to do it and couldn’t get it done. It really gets you mad. And at the end of the day, that’s my fault, shouldn’t do that, but things happen.”

Marcus Stroman matched Yusei Kikuchi with shutout ball before the bullpens took over. Kikuchi gave up four hits in 5 1/3 innings with seven strikeouts.

He played catch in Central Park on Thursday’s day off.

“It’s my fifth time doing it and I feel like a Central Parker now,” Kikuchi said through a translator. “I found the biggest rock, because I can, and I did some visualization from the top of that top rock.”

Nick Burdi threw a pair of run-scoring wild pitches in the ninth, prompting boos from the sellout crowd of 47,812.

Yimi García (1-0) got the final two outs of the sixth and Génesis Cabrera retired two batters in his first appearance since a three-game suspension for causing a benches-clearing incident at Tampa Bay last weekend. Trevor Richards struck out the side in the eighth and Chad Green got his first save since 2022 with the Yankees as Toronto pitched a six-hitter to start the last leg of an opening 10-game trip.

After beginning 6-1 on the road, New York dropped to 81-40-1 in home openers. The Yankees were shut out in a home opener for the first time since 1967.

Giancarlo Stanton was 0 for 4 and is hitting .120 (3 for 25) with 13 strikeouts.

An earthquake about three hours before game time wasn’t felt by most of the Yankees on the field for batting practice.

Stroman allowed three hits in six innings. He has not allowed an earned run in 12 innings this season.

Cheered when he was introduced, Paul O’Neill drew boos when he bounced the ceremonial first pitch to Don Mattingly, now Toronto’s bench coach, in pairing of former Yankees stars.

Toronto selected the contract of right-hander Paolo Espino from Triple-A Buffalo and designated right-hander Wes Parsons for assignment.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Blue Jays: CF Kevin Kiermaier was removed from the lineup shortly before game time because of lower back tightness but entered as a defensive replacement in the eighth. … Closer Jordan Romano, on the IL since March 25 with right elbow inflammation, threw a bullpen session Thursday. … RHP Erik Swanson, on the IL since March 25 with right forearm inflammation, pitched batting practice Thursday. … C Danny Jansen (broken right wrist on March 13) caught Swanson. … RHP Alek Manoah (right shoulder inflammation) is to throw about 65 pitches in a game Sunday at Dunedin, Florida.

Yankees: RHP Jonathan Loáisiga was put on the 60-day IL because of a strained right flexor muscle. RHP Danny Santana was brought up from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and was charged with the ninth-inning runs in his Yankees debut.

UP NEXT

RHP Clarke Schmidt (0-0, 5.06) starts for the Yankees and RHP Kevin Gausman (0-0, 2.08) in a rare Saturday night game at Yankee Stadium.

___

AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB

Source: post