TORONTO – Adam Lind hit a three-run homer and rookie starter Marcus Stroman allowed three hits over a career-high eight innings as the Toronto Blue Jays kicked off a key three-game series with an 8-3 victory over the New York Yankees on Monday at Rogers Centre.
Lind drove a Chase Whitley offering to straightaway centre field in the second inning to give Stroman (4-2) an early lead. The rookie starter gave up just two singles and a solo homer to Mark Teixeira as Toronto moved 2 1/2 games ahead of New York in the American League East standings.
The offensive outburst was most welcome for a team that was coming off a disappointing 3-7 road trip and had been held to three runs or less in 11 of its last 16 games.
The Blue Jays opened the scoring for the first time in six games. Melky Cabrera hit a one-out double in the first inning and scored on a Lind single.
Toronto (43-35) loaded the bases in the second inning after consecutive singles by Juan Francisco, Munenori Kawasaki and Anthony Gose.
Jose Reyes hit a chopper to second baseman Brian Roberts, who threw to shortstop Brendan Ryan for the sure out at second base. Gose made an aggressive slide that forced Ryan to hang on to the ball as Francisco scored.
That left runners on the corners for Cabrera, who singled to score Kawasaki and move Reyes to third. Lind then turned on a 0-1 pitch for his fourth home run of the season.
Edwin Encarnacion followed with an infield single and moved to second on a wild pitch. Colby Rasmus pushed him to third on a ground ball and Encarnacion scored on a Dioner Navarro double.
Stroman, meanwhile, allowed just a single to Ryan and had four strikeouts his first time through the Yankees’ order.
Teixeira scored for New York (39-36) in the fourth inning with his 13th homer of the season. He hit an 0-2 pitch that appeared to hit the top of the wall in centre field before leaving the park, just beyond the reach of Rasmus.
Toronto restored its seven-run lead in the bottom half of the frame.
Lind and Encarnacion walked before Rasmus hit a sacrifice fly that moved Lind to third. Navarro followed with a single that cashed in Lind.
David Huff replaced Whitley (3-1) and got out of the jam by striking out Francisco and getting Kawasaki on a comebacker. Whitley allowed eight earned runs, 11 hits and three walks while striking out a pair.
In the sixth inning, Ryan nearly had his second hit of the game but was denied by Gose, who made a great catch against the wall in right field. Kawasaki and Reyes then turned a nice 4-6-3 double play to retire the side.
Ichiro Suzuki stroked a two-out single in the eighth for New York’s third hit of the game. Stroman responded by getting Ryan to fly out.
The 23-year-old right-hander, who was making his fifth career start, struck out seven and walked a batter. He threw 73 of his 114 pitches for strikes.
Toronto reliever Chad Jenkins relieved Stroman and gave up two runs over two-thirds of an inning. With two runners in scoring position, Aaron Loup got Roberts to fly out to end the game.
The Blue Jays outhit the Yankees 13-6. Announced attendance was 31,554 and the game took two hours 45 minutes to play.
© The Canadian Press, 2014