Nathan Eovaldi, New York Yankees shut out Toronto Blue Jays

By Larry Fleisher, The Sports Xchange  |  May 25, 2016 at 1:22 AM
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NEW YORK -- Three weeks ago, nothing was working for the New York Yankees.

Now things are going well and Yankees have surged to the .500 mark.

New York returned to the break-even point Tuesday night as Nathan Eovaldi allowed two hits in six-plus innings in a 6-0 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays.

On May 5, the Yankees were 9-17 and eight games under for the second time. By getting their sixth straight victory Tuesday, New York has won 13 of its last 15 games and is at .500 for the first time since being 4-4 following a 4-2 loss at Toronto on April 14 doing so with Alex Rodriguez on the disabled list and Mark Teixeira contributing little offensively.

"I think it's a milestone for us," New York third baseman Chase Headley said. For me where things are going bad you set your sights on .500 and go from there. So we've had to play really good baseball to get here. Now we're here and we have to keep going."

"It's good after the way we started the season," New York designated hitter Carlos Beltran said. "There's no doubt we played horrible the first month."

Helping New York's surge has been a rotation which has produced a 1.76 ERA in the last week. It began Wednesday when Eovaldi allowed one run and one hit in six innings at Arizona and the right-hander kept it going, especially after some early command issues.

"We had a rough start to the season and we've been playing really great ball now," Eovaldi said. "Hopefully we can keep it going and get to first place."

"It means we're playing well right now," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "We were struggling mightily for a while there."

Eovaldi retired 12 in a row before allowing a leadoff walk in the seventh to Troy Tulowitzki. The run began when Josh Donaldson sacrificed Jose Bautista to second and Josh Thole to third when the Yankees held a 1-0 lead.

Eovaldi then started using his splitter to get four of his five strikeouts and four ground ball outs. He threw 62-of-100 pitches for strikes, improved to 5-0 in his last six starts and 14-3 in his last 23 outings since June 22.

"Really impressed," Girardi said. "I thought he struggled a little the first three innings and then he really seemed to find it after that. To be able to hold that offense down when his stuff wasn't sharp the first couple of innings, I thought he did a really nice job."

Eovaldi had a 2-0 lead when he exited to a loud ovation thanks to Beltran, who has 14 RBIs since May 15. Beltran had an RBI groundout when he avoided hitting into an inning-ending double play in the first and hit a second deck home run to open the fourth against R.A. Dickey (2-6).

"Eovaldi was really good tonight, but we couldn't put any pressure on," Toronto manager John Gibbons said. "We had some guys on in a couple of spots but came up empty."

Beltran's production put the Yankees in place to use Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman. New York only had to use Betances as it added two runs apiece in the seventh and eighth.

Dickey (2-6) allowed four runs and five hits in 6 2/3 innings.

The Blue Jays (22-25) lost for the seventh time in 10 games, were shut out for the second time and held to a season low in hits. They also lost Tulowitzi to right quad tightness.

The game began poorly for Toronto when Bautista made an ill-fated dive in right field on a ball hit by Ellsbury. Ellsbury easily reached third, the Blue Jays quickly fell behind and wasted scoring chances in the second and third innings.

"(I) took a chance and it didn't work out," Bautista said. "That sort of thing happens sometimes."

NOTES: Manager Joe Girardi said the Yankees decided during a Monday conference call to send DH Alex Rodriguez (strained right hamstring) on a rehab assignment with Double-A Trenton instead of activating him Tuesday. Rodriguez was 2-for-4 with an RBI and also is expected to play there Wednesday. ... Toronto RF Jose Bautista's appeal of his one-game suspension for his role in the May 15 brawl at Texas will be heard Thursday. ... New York RHP Luis Severino (strained right triceps) will pitch a rehab game Sunday at Class A Tampa Bay. ... Toronto swapped the order of its rotation for Thursday and Friday with RHP Aaron Sanchez and LHP J.A. Happ. Happ will pitch Thursday in New York on four days' rest and RHP Aaron Sanchez will go Friday in Boston on six days' rest. ... The Yankees claimed LHP Layne Somsen off waivers from the Cincinnati Reds, added him to the 40-man roster and optioned him to Triple-A Scranton-Wilkes/Barre.

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