Andujar lifts Yankees over Blue Jays as Toronto’s bullpen struggles

Miguel Andujar hit his first career grand slam off Seunghwan Oh to propel the Yankees to a 7-2 victory over the Blue Jays.

TORONTO — After blowing a 1-0 lead, Blue Jays reliever Seung-hwan Oh approached starting pitcher Marco Estrada in Toronto’s dugout to apologize.

Estrada appreciated the gesture, but told his teammate there was no need.

"I don’t expect any reliever to come up to me and pat me on the back because obviously they didn’t do it on purpose," said Estrada, after one of his best starts of the season soured into a 7-2 loss to the New York Yankees on Tuesday night. "I’ve been on that end. I’ve come into a game with guys on and I’ve given up the runs and obviously you feel terrible.

"I feel a little more upset for you than I do for me."

Estrada threw six-plus innings, giving up six hits and one run while striking out six for a no-decision. It was Estrada’s best start since May 6 when he pitched six scoreless innings and struck out four for another no-decision in Tampa. Since then, he has earned four straight losses and allowed a total of 15 runs in 20 2/3 innings.

Oh (1-2) took the loss, giving up a grand slam, including a runner he had inherited from Estrada, in his one inning of relief. Joe Biagini allowed a run in his two-thirds of an inning, while Aaron Loup gave up two more in his third of a frame.

Tim Mayza was the only Blue Jays reliever to stay scoreless in his one inning of work.

"Estrada was good today," said Yankees centre-fielder Aaron Hicks, who hit a three-run homer off Loup. "We were able to get into their bullpen and ultimately just take advantage of it."

Teoscar Hernandez and Kevin Pillar each hit a home run as Toronto (26-34) looked for back-to-back wins for the first time since beating Texas and Minnesota on April 29 and 30.

"It got away from us, no doubt about that," said Blue Jays manager John Gibbons. "We still like our team, but we’re not playing particularly well, obviously."

CC Sabathia (3-1) gave up two solo homers over seven innings and struck out six for the Yankees (39-18). David Robertson and Chasen Shreve combined for two scoreless innings out of the bullpen.

Another one of the Blue Jays issues this season has been their offence, with the fourth worst team batting average in Major League Baseball heading into Tuesday.

Devon Travis’s pop fly to right field in the third inning dropped his average to below .200. He became the fourth hitter in Toronto’s lineup to be below the Mendoza line, joining Kendrys Morales, Russell Martin and Randal Grichuk.

Hernandez finally broke a scoreless tie with a solo home run to deep left field in the bottom of the sixth. The ball looked like it was going to sail foul, but instead fell into the second deck at Rogers Centre to the delight of the 29,308 in attendance.

Estrada gave up a single to Gary Sanchez to start the seventh, forcing Gibbons to pull him in favour of Oh. The Toronto reliever hit Didi Gregorius with a pitch and walked Hicks to load the bases before Andujar crushed the ball to give New York a 4-1 lead.

Oh bore down to retire the next three Yankees hitters, but the damage was done.

"I really don’t care that the run came in, Oh’s a great guy and I feel bad for him that it happened in that inning," said Estrada. "It’s unfortunate. He is a great guy and a very good pitcher but those things happen. He’ll be back tomorrow and hopefully pitch a great game."

Pillar hit his fifth home run of the season in the bottom of the inning to cut New York’s lead to two.

The Yankees piled on in the eighth as Giancarlo Stanton and Gregorius got on base to set up Hicks’s three-run blast to right field and give New York a 7-2 lead. Those runs were charged to Biagini and Loup.

Notes: Toronto pitcher Marcus Stroman is expected to pitch three innings of "game action" later this week. The Blue Jays weren’t sure what minor league level he would throw at or if it would be a simulated game. He is on the 10-day disabled list with right shoulder pain.

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