Yanks Knuckling Under

first_imgNEW YORK — The Yankees have seen enough of the knuckleball.Shut down by R.A. Dickey on Friday night two games after flailing at the fickle pitch tossed by Boston’s Steven Wright, New York was beaten by the Toronto Blue Jays 2-1 in 10 innings in the opener of a key AL East series.Jose Bautista homered with one out in the 10th after two of the top slugging teams in the major leagues engaged in a tense pitchers’ duel. Bautista connected off Branden Pinder (0-1) to pull Toronto within 3 1-2 games of the division-leading Yankees.“I thought we had better swings tonight than the other night,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “We just couldn’t score any runs.”The first of 13 games remaining between the division rivals started as most expected, with a slugfest. Josh Donaldson hit his 30th for Toronto in the first and Mark Teixeira connected for his 30th an inning later — after a replay reversal — giving the Yankees a homer in 13 straight games.But then Dickey and Nathan Eovaldi settled in and set down these powerful lineups with two very different styles. Dickey was the second soft-tossing knuckleballer the Yankees faced in three games. Eovaldi has one of the highest fastball averages for starters in the majors. They both were dominant through six innings.Dickey had his sixth straight start of allowing two or fewer runs. He yielded six hits in seven innings. He had allowed just two runs in 14 1-3 innings against New York this season coming in.The Yankees mustered just one run and four hits over eight innings Wednesday against Wright, a 2-1 loss.“He had good stuff today,” Gardner said of Dickey. The ball was moving all over the place. We just couldn’t get a lot done. I thought he was good, on top of his game.”Brett Cecil (3-4) gave up a single in the ninth for the win. Roberto Osuna pitched a perfect 10th for his ninth save, the third scoreless inning for Toronto’s bullpen.Winners of nine of 10 since Troy Tulowitzki entered the Toronto lineup on July 29, after a trade with Colorado, the Blue Jays looked loose before what manager John Gibbons called the most important series in the Bronx for Toronto in 20 years.A group played some serious soccer in left field before batting practice and Liam Hendrickson zipped around on a CyBoard — it’s like a Segway without something to hold onto. Another newcomer, David Price, said the clubhouse “is easy to come into and feel comfortable.”“We won the first game of the series. Everyone knows what our offense is capable of. We’ve got David Price going (Saturday),” Bautista said. “I don’t think they feel good right now, going home.”Toronto quickly went up on Donaldson’s homer to right-center.Teixeira got it right back with a long ball of his own. Well, it took nearly four minutes to make it official.A switch-hitter batting righty against the right-handed Dickey, Teixeira’s fly ball to left appeared to slip through the hands of a fan in the front row and miss the glove of a leaping Ben Revere. The Yankees slugger stopped at second base, and Girardi requested an appeal.After 3 minutes, 56 seconds, the call was overturned and Teixeira, had his 30th — the ninth season he reached that plateau.Teixeira’s homer gave New York 147, their total for all last season. It’s also two fewer than Toronto, who is second in the majors behind Houston, which entered the night with 153.Eovaldi pitched beyond the sixth inning for only the second time in 10 starts, allowing five hits in 6 1-3 innings.“I’m satisfied,” Eovaldi said. “I was able to get double-play balls when I needed and easy outs when we needed. The defense was good tonight.”TRAINER’S ROOMBlue Jays: C Russell Martin was back in the starting lineup after sitting out Thursday.Yankees: C Brian McCann wore a brace all day on his left knee to get used to it before getting behind the plate after being limited to one pinch-hit at-bat the previous two games because of a stiff knee.UP NEXTBlue Jays: LHP Price makes his second start for Toronto since being acquired just before the nonwaiver trade deadline. He had 11 Ks in an electrifying debut for the Jays. But he struggled in his last two starts against the Yankees, giving up eight runs each time.Yankees: RHP Ivan Nova will make his eighth start since returning from Tommy John surgery. He’s won three straight.SUCCESSFUL REVIEWThe Yankees have successfully won eight straight replay challenges and 14 of their last 15. HOWIE RUMBERG, AP Baseball Writer TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more