By Michael DiStefano
Canadian Baseball Network
After an abysmal April and a monstrous May, the Toronto Blue Jays were trounced 12-2 by the New York Yankees to start the month of June in the first of a four-game series at Rogers Centre on Thursday.
The Yankees' offence pounced on Blue Jays pitchers for 15 hits, including six for extra bases. Outfielder Aaron Hicks had six RBIs and catcher Gary Sanchez smacked two homers to lead the way for the Bronx Bombers.
Veteran left-hander CC Sabathia (6-2) cruised to his fourth straight victory, allowing only one run in 6 1/3 innings while striking out seven.
Hicks went 4-for-5 with three doubles and six RBIs, while Sanchez was 2-for-5 with a pair of homers and three RBIs for the Yankees, who sit atop the American League East division.
Marco Estrada (4-3) was hit hard early by the Yankees and gave up seven runs on nine hits in just 3 2/3 innings.
“It was a tough outing. I got hit around a bunch [and] I didn’t make any good pitches today. It just wasn’t there,” said Estrada.
Leonel Campos pitched three innings of mop up relief, allowing two hits and two unearned runs, while striking out four.
Kendrys Morales went 2-for-4 with a home run while Ezequiel Carrera’s solo homer counted as the second run for the Blue Jays, who’s three-game winning streak was snapped as they fell to 6 1/2 games back of the Yankees.
Brett Gardner led off the game with a double and scored for the early 1-0 lead. Later in the frame Hicks cleared the bases with a double to right field over the head of Jose Bautista which gave the Yankees a 4-0 lead after the first inning.
Sanchez belted a solo home run off Estrada into the second deck in left field and extended the lead to 5-0 in the second inning. The Yankee catcher hit a second homer off Estrada in the fourth to make it 7-0.
“Sanchez hit two off me today, [which is] basically what he did last time at their place. I missed two change-ups and he crushed those, so I just got to stop missing change-ups,” Estrada said.
In the seventh inning, Hicks smoked a ball off Campos to the right-field wall to score Didi Gregorius from first on a bang-bang play which was reviewed, but stood. Gregorius later scored on a Chase Headley single to left field to make it 9-0, which knocked the Blue Jays reliever out of the game.
Morales replied with a long solo shot to right field just past the outstretched arm of Aaron Hicks in the seventh.
Carrera followed in the eighth inning with a line drive over the right field wall off Chad Green to cut the lead 9-2.
The Yankees scored three more runs in the ninth inning, all charged to lefty J.P. Howell, including a two-run double off the bat of Hicks who collected his fifth and sixth RBIs of the game.
After dropping the series opener, the Blue Jays will look to even the series on Friday when Michael Pineda (6-2) takes on Francisco Liriano (2-2) in his first start since coming off the disabled list.