Martin hits first 2 HRs of season, Blue Jays top Yankees 8-4
May. 26, 2016
NEW YORK (AP) — Once he finally produced some power at the plate, Russell Martin got into a dangerous groove.
Martin hit his first two home runs of the season, Michael Saunders also went deep and the Toronto Blue Jays broke out their big bats Wednesday night in halting the New York Yankees' six-game winning streak with an 8-4 victory.
"That's what a couple of guys and I were talking about at dinner: It's like, this is the Jays we remember, you know?" Saunders said. "We're starting to show signs of life, and we're looking to get this ball rolling."
Marco Estrada took a two-hitter into the seventh inning while pitching with a bit of a head cold, and the Blue Jays climbed out of last place by winning for the fourth time in six games following an 0-5 slide.
The defending AL East champions, who led the majors with 891 runs last season, batted .230 and averaged only 3.5 runs over their previous 16 games. This time, every Blue Jays starter had a hit after the team mustered only two in a 6-0 loss Tuesday night.
Toronto got an early two-run double from slumping No. 9 batter Ryan Goins and pulled away with two homers off reliever Chasen Shreve in a four-run seventh.
"Obviously, the bats came alive today, which was great to see," Estrada said.
Ivan Nova (3-2) threw well again for New York (22-23) but lost for the first time in four starts since moving from the bullpen to the rotation.
Trailing 3-1 with two outs in the seventh, he was pulled after hitting Edwin Encarnacion in the foot with a pitch. Shreve quickly let the game get away by giving up two-run homers to Saunders and Martin.
On an 86-degree night at Yankee Stadium, Chase Headley and Didi Gregorius hit successive homers in the seventh off Estrada (2-2), who yielded four hits and three runs while walking four in seven innings.
The right-hander loaded the bases with nobody out in the third but limited the damage to one run on Brett Gardner's RBI groundout.
"That was the one chance we had to really put some runs on him and we weren't able to do it," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "He really knows how to pitch."
Pinch-hitter Austin Romine homered on the first pitch from Blue Jays reliever Chad Girodo in the ninth. Romine's only other major league home run came in August 2013.
Martin also ended a long drought with his leadoff shot to left field against his former team in the sixth. It was the first home run for Martin since Oct. 2 against Tampa Bay. He went 124 at-bats this season without connecting.
"It definitely felt like it'd been a while. So it's definitely nice to get that first one. You know, normally I'd rather get it in April than late May, but hopefully it's a sign that there's more to come," he said.
Martin had a career-high 23 home runs last season, his first with Toronto. But he began the night batting .172 with one extra-base hit this year, a double.
"I just made a couple subtle adjustments and I was hitting the ball better in batting practice and it finally translated into the game for me," he said. "I definitely have some power, so I'm bound to run into a couple."
It was Martin's 11th career multihomer game, third with the Blue Jays and first since Sept. 11, 2015, at Yankee Stadium.
"He definitely needed that," manager John Gibbons said. "It was just a matter of time, we all feel, and hopefully he builds on that."
Martin nearly hit a third homer, too, flying out in the ninth to the right-center warning track in front of the 385-foot sign.
Encarnacion had an RBI single in the eighth.
WE THE NORTH
Saunders and Martin became the first Canadian teammates in major league history to homer in the same inning, the Blue Jays said. The only other players to do it in the same game were Justin Morneau and Corey Koskie, five times for Minnesota. "I'm sure it probably would've happened a lot sooner if I didn't miss all of last year," Saunders said.
Yankees: Slumping 1B Mark Teixeira sat out because his neck stiffened again. Dustin Ackley started in place of Teixeira, who had an MRI. "I think he's going to get a couple more shots and we'll make an evaluation (Thursday)," Girardi said. "I feel OK about it. There's a chance we won't have him for a few days here. We'll have to see, obviously." ... DH Alex Rodriguez is expected to rejoin the lineup Thursday. The 40-year-old Rodriguez, on the disabled list since May 4 with a strained right hamstring, played his second rehab game for Double-A Trenton and went 1 for 2 with a two-run homer to center field.
Blue Jays: SS Troy Tulowitzki sat out with a sore right quadriceps that caused him to exit Tuesday night's game in the seventh inning. He said it's nothing to worry about and he plans to play Thursday. Goins made his third start of the season at shortstop. ... 2B Devon Travis was activated from the DL and batted eighth in his first major league game since July 28 last year. He had surgery on his left shoulder in the offseason.
New York LHP CC Sabathia (3-2, 3.41 ERA) makes his second start since coming off the disabled list when the teams play the series finale Thursday. Sabathia is 15-6 with a 3.35 ERA in 22 career starts against Toronto. On the mound for the Blue Jays will be LHP J.A. Happ (5-2, 3.43).