A five-run eighth inning capped off by a two-out, bases loaded double from Mark Payton was enough to keep the Yankees undefeated as they took down the Blue Jays to move to 5-0 in Spring Training.
Going into the eighth inning, down 5-4, first baseman Ryan McBroom immediately belted his first homer of the spring to make it 5-5. Tyler Wade followed up with a single and Kyle Higashioka drew a walk to give the Yankees men on first and second with no outs.
An attempted sacrifice bunt by catcher Francisco Diaz turned into a throwing error that loaded the bases with still no men out. A wild pitch in the next at-bat scored Wade, giving the Yankees a 6-5 lead.
A walk drawn by Estavan Florial loaded the bases again with two outs, and Payton delivered a bases-clearing double that gave the Yankees a 9-5 lead.
The Blue Jays responded quickly with a solo home run the next inning, and a two-run home run in the ninth. Cale Coshow came in after the ninth inning blast to record the last two outs and seal the win for the Yanks.
Miguel Andujar continues to make his case for the starting third base job, as he clubbed another home run in the sixth inning, tying the game at three.
The initial plan was to start the newly acquired Brandon Drury at third base to begin the season, according to J. Scott Butherus of MLB.com; but if Andujar keeps this up, it will be hard to send him down to the minors.
Yankees skipper Aaron Boone had this to say in regards to the 22-year-old after the game, per Erik Boland.
"“I’ll tell you what, he plays with a lot of confidence, especially when he gets in the box, and there’s a good reason. He’s got a lot of equipment to do some things…it’s fun to watch him right now play his game.”"
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Other noteworthy offensive performances include Danny Espinosa and Austin Romine. Coming off of a three-RBI performance a couple of days ago, Espinosa belted a solo shot in the first inning to give the Yankees their first run of the game. Romine laced doubles in both at-bats for his second and third hits of the spring.
Chad Green made his debut as a starter and lasted 1.2 innings. Despite giving up a solo home run to Russell Martin, Green looked sharp, fanning three batters in his short outing. It is not certain whether he will break the Opening Day rotation yet, but it is still a possibility.
Boone commented on Green’s performance, per Boland.
"“All in all, I thought a nice start. He looked free and easy, he had command, and his slider I thought was a decent pitch for him today.”"
Trevor Lane and Raynel Espinal had solid performances as well on the bump. Lane inherited a runner from Green in the second inning and escaped without allowing him to cross home plate. Espinal gave up one hit and struck out one in his only inning of work.
Next up, Aaron Judge will make his Spring Training debut as the Yankees take on the Tigers at home. Luis Cessa gets the ball in his second start of the spring.