Robinson Cano provided the offensive fireworks early with a three-run homer in the third inning, while Hiroki Kuroda settled down after allowing three runs and six hits in the first two innings for the New York Yankees to defeat the division rival Toronto Blue Jays 5-3 on Thursday night in the Bronx.
After a slow start to the season, Cano—whose third-inning blast gave the Yankees a 4-3 lead—is now hitting .322 with seven homers and 17 RBI in the middle of the lineup.
The Yankees are playing much better and got exactly what they needed from Kuroda. With questions still lingering over CC Sabathia's velocity, someone has to step up and take some of the pressure off the big lefty.
Vernon Wells continues to be a pleasant surprise for the Pinstripes. He hit his sixth homer of the season in the second inning to put the Yankees on the board after falling behind 3-0.
The Yankees improve to 12-9 on the young season, while the Blue Jays continue to struggle and drop to 9-14.
New York Yankees @Yankees
After scuffling early, #HIROK has put together 6 quality innings tonight in the Bronx.2013-4-26 00:55:44
Yankees PR Dept. @YankeesPR
PS - @RobinsonCano's next home run ties @PaulONeillYES on the Yankees' all-time list2013-4-26 00:42:06
Anthony McCarron @AnthonyMcCarron
Gibbons just threw his hat to the ground. He might have mentioned something that you'd find in a farmyard to umps, too. He's been ejected2013-4-26 01:26:05
Jon Morosi @jonmorosi
Mariano Rivera, still breaking bats at age 43. #BestEver2013-4-26 01:57:21
Marc Carig @MarcCarig
Just checked on Yankees game. Mariano Rivera, still ridiculously good at what he does. Now, back to the draft.2013-4-26 01:58:07
On the way the Yankees won (h/t Yankees.com):
We're finding a way to win. Sometimes it isn't pretty, but we're taking advantage of the opportunities given to us.
On Kuroda's performance (h/t Yankees.com):
This might be his best performance of the year.
On falling behind early and making adjustments (h/t Yankees.com):
All I thought was, 'Just hang in there, pitch by pitch, and [you'll] be able to overcome. Considering how it started, I think I was able to put together a decent outing.
On how his game-calling changed for Kuroda (h/t Yankees.com):
I started calling him a lot of breaking balls, too. Find a way to put him on the line, and he can throw his best pitch, the two-seam fastball. I always say he's a warrior. He tries to get more than five innings all the time.
On watching Robinson Cano hit a home run (h/t Yankees.com):
You're getting a chance to watch somebody pretty special play this game. To me, there's some at-bats where he's not going to make an out. It doesn't matter what the pitcher throws him, it doesn't matter who's on the mound.
The Blue Jays manager was ejected in the seventh inning after third baseman Brett Lawrie appeared to throw out Ben Francisco at first base, though it was a close play and first baseman Edwin Encarnacion didn't catch the ball cleanly.
On watching Kuroda dominate after the third inning (h/t Yankees.com):
We had some big hits off Kuroda early, but he settled in. He's one of the great pitchers out there.
On what he saw during the Ben Francisco play that led to his ejection (h/t Toronto Sun):
They were watching and said (Encarnacion) bobbled it. I didn’t see a bobble. My big concern was that there was no appeal from (the Yankees). My interpretation of the rule is that once the other team appeals, then they can huddle up. They’re a good umpiring crew and they were just trying to get it right, I guess, but I didn’t see a bobble.
On the pitch Cano hit out (h/t Toronto Sun):
It was a fastball, in, where I wanted it, and he hit it out. He’s a great hitter. That’s why this game is kind of frustrating at times because you make your pitch and they get hits. Right before that, two infield hits and then a home run. It changes a game right there.
The Blue Jays and Yankees will be back at it again on Friday night in Yankee Stadium when Josh Johnson takes the hill for Toronto against Ivan Nova at 7:05 p.m. ET.
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