Some nights, you take the field and through no fault of your own, you just don’t have a chance. Tuesday was one of those games for the Toronto Blue Jays, as New York starter Nathan Eovaldi continued his outstanding work on the mound, combining with three relievers to pitch a two-hit shutout as the Yankees beat the Blue Jays 6-0 in the series opener in The Bronx.
Eovaldi has been locked in of late, improving to 5-0 with a 2.92 ERA over his last six starts, and found his groove early against Toronto. After allowing two men to reach with one out in the second, the former Los Angeles Dodgers prospect got Kevin Pillar and Darwin Barney to ground out, ending the threat and the inning. He escaped a similar jam in the third when Toronto had runners and second and third with one out, but Eovaldi hunkered down, collected a strikeout of Edwin Encarnacion before inducing a fly ball from Michael Saunders.
Toronto would manage just three more baserunners the rest of the night.
For a good portion of the game, this one was close, as Blue Jays starter R.A. Dickey had limited the Yankees to just two runs through the first six innings, giving his team a chance to get back in it. But in the bottom of the seventh, New York tacked on a couple more runs, putting this game out of reach and allowing them to avoid using their power lefty double team of Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman over the final two innings, as Kirby Yates and Luis Cessa were able to follow Dellin Betances and close out the contest.
Nights like this are few and far between and when they come up, the only thing you can do is tip your cap to Eovaldi and get ready for the next one. Highly touted on his way up the Dodgers minor league ranks, Eovaldi has struggled to find consistency over his first few big league seasons, but the 26-year-old is in a groove right now, working behind a blistering fastball to become the surprising standout at the front of the Yankees order as they claw their way back to .500 after a horrendous start.
The Jays finished Tuesday’s contest down a man, as shortstop Troy Tulowitzki came out of the game with quad tightness in the bottom of the seventh after picking up his first stolen base of the season in the top half of the inning. With the loss, the Jays drop to 22-25 on the season and fall to last place in the American League East, seven games back of division-leading Boston.
On Deck: The Jays look to get back on track on Wednesday when they send Marco Estrada (1-2, 2.61) to the hill. New York counters with recent rotation addition Ivan Nova (3-1, 3.26), who has gone 2-0 in three starts since being moved from the bullpen