Sunday, March 2, 2014

Carlos Beltran finally collected his first hit of the spring, launching a solo homerun in the 4th inning of the Yankees' 8-2 win over the Toronto Blue Jays Sunday at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium in Dunedin, Florida.

"That's why we're here, to try to get our swings and to try to get our timing back," Beltran said. "It always feels good every time you square a ball and hit it good."

Eduardo Nunez also smacked his first homerun of the spring -- making up for an error that he made at shortstop in the first inning -- and John Ryan Murphy hit a three-run homerun in the 8th to blow the game wide open, putting the Yankees up 8-2.

Vidal Nuno started the game for the Yankees, and he pitched pretty well in his second start of the spring. He tossed two innings of one-run ball, giving up two hits while striking out three. His only blemish of the day was a solo homerun off the bat of Jose Bautista in the 1st inning that gave the Blue Jays a 1-0 lead.

Nuno said that overall, he was pretty happy with his performance today. 

“Just one (bad) pitch,” he said. “And Bautista just hit it out.”

Yankees manager Joe Girardi said after the game that it's possible Nuno could be placed in the bullpen to start the season if he doesn't win the fifth starter job. 

“I think you have to consider him, too,” Girardi said. “I think you have to. He’s left-handed. He can give you some innings. He can get left-handers and right-handers out. I think you have to look at it.”

Bautista took advantage of an offspeed pitch that Nuno left up in the zone, the kind of pitch that Bautista can do damage with, and sent it over the left field wall into the palm trees.

Adonis Garcia, who collected two hits on the day, opened the 2nd inning with a single to right field, then Brendan Ryan singled a couple batters later to put runners on 1st and 2nd with one-out.

A sac-fly by Russ Canzler moved Garcia to third, putting runners on the corners for infield bench candidate Dean Anna to rip a single into right field, tying the game at 1-1.

An inning later in the 3rd, the Yankees took the lead on a three run inning that started with a leadoff walk by Jacoby Ellsbury and was followed by a two-run homerun off of Nunez's bat. Beltran went back-to-back with a homerun a couple pitches later, extending the lead to 4-1.

Girardi also addressed the chances of Nunez making the team as a backup infielder. 

“Obviously (he can make the team) by being able to play all over the place and playing well is the important thing,” Girardi said. “We know there’s a lot of talent in that young man, and there are some things that he can do. He provides speed for you. But he’s got to be able to play all over.”

Shane Greene gave up Toronto's second run of the game in the 6th inning on a RBI double by Melky Cabrera. A one-out double by Edwin Encarnacion put him on second for Cabrera to drive him home a two batters later.

The Yankees got that run back in the following half inning after Garcia doubled to open the inning and Gary Sanchez singled to put runners in 1st and 3rd with one-out, then Corban Joseph grounded to the second baseman, making it a 5-2 ballgame.

And then Murphy's three-run shot in the 8th made it a five-run game. Antoan Richardson and Yangervis Solarte both singled with one out in the inning, then Murphy got a pitch he could hit from Neil Wagner, sending it out of the park.

Bryan Mitchell tossed two scoreless innings for the Yankees in the 3rd and 4th innings, striking out three in-a-row at one point. Bruce Billings and Fred Lewis reached three a scoreless inning in relief, and Matt Daley closed out the game with a clean 9th inning.

Solarte continued to have a great spring, going 2-for-2 at the plate. He is slowly putting himself into the bench spot competition. And Garcia had a great day at the plate, going 3-for-4 with two runs scored.

The Yankees are back at it tomorrow in Tampa when they face the Washington Nationals at 1:05pm EST. Ivan Nova will get the ball for the Yankees in his first start of the spring.


Gavin Ewbank is the Lead Writer of Yanks Beat Blog


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