Bassitt provides quality start as Jays top Yankees 3-1 in opener of three-game series

TORONTO — Every pitch is a process for Blue Jays starter Chris Bassitt. He'll often bend down or talk to himself before locking in and unloading from an arsenal that offers both variety and quality.

When his game is on, his weapons can leave opponents handcuffed.

The Yankees had no answers for the veteran right-hander in Toronto's 3-1 win over New York on Monday night at Rogers Centre.

"He is the epitome of the kitchen sink, he'll throw everything," said Yankees manager Aaron Boone. "He will make things up on the fly.

"He's very good at just coming up with different pitches so it's hard to really get a bead on him."

Bassitt (2-2), who throws eight different pitches, held the Yankees to one earned run and four hits. He mixed in mid-90s fastballs with sweepers as slow as 69 m.p.h. over his 6 1/3-inning appearance.

"I thought he just made big pitch after big pitch," said Blue Jays manager John Schneider. "That's kind of what he does."

Alejandro Kirk had two hits as Toronto extended its win streak to three games. The Blue Jays (9-8) have won five of seven and are over the .500 mark for the first time since winning on Opening Day.

The Yankees, who started play with the best record in the major leagues, fell to 12-5.

"It is a very tough lineup but we had a game plan and stuck to it," Bassitt said.

Tim Mayza finished off the seventh inning for Bassitt and Chad Green threw a clean eighth. Yimi Garcia completed a 1-2-3 ninth inning against the heart of the Yankees' lineup for his second save.

"There's no better bullpen arm, whatever you want to call him, in the big leagues right now," said Bassitt, who walked two and struck out five. "Yimi Garcia is unbelievable right now."

Both teams had four hits in the opener of the three-game series.

Toronto scored on a bases-loaded walk and a bases-loaded wild pitch in the second inning. Kirk drove in the Blue Jays' other run in the third.

The Blue Jays put runners on the corners in the first inning after a pair of walks and a fielder's choice. Yankees starter Luis Gil (0-1) escaped by striking out Justin Turner and picking off Bo Bichette at first base.

New York also put runners on first and third in the next frame and took advantage. Oswaldo Cabrera's RBI single brought Gleyber Torres home with the game's first run.

Gil's control issues continued in the bottom half of the inning. He issued three straight walks after giving up a leadoff double to Cavan Biggio, who extended his hitting streak to a career-high nine games.

The free pass to Isiah Kiner-Falefa brought home Biggio and a wild pitch to George Springer allowed Kirk to scamper home to make it 2-1.

Kirk delivered his first extra-base hit of the season with a double down the left-field line in the third inning. Bichette scored from second base on the play.

“Definitely not my night,” Gil said through an interpreter.

The right-hander allowed three earned runs, three hits and seven walks to go with six strikeouts.

"You've got to take your walks against a guy who's not controlling the zone," Schneider said. "We did that and got a couple knocks and a couple walks."

A successful challenge on a stolen base call helped prevent a New York rally in the fifth inning. Trent Grisham was initially called safe at second base but a review showed Biggio tagged his leg before his hand touched the bag.

Announced attendance was 30,962 and the game took two hours 23 minutes to play.

RELIEF ON WAY

Specifics on timing weren't available, but Toronto relievers Jordan Romano and Erik Swanson were expected to be activated "soon" from the injured list, Schneider said before the game.

An announcement will likely be made Tuesday. Romano (elbow) and Swanson (forearm) were with the big-league club on Monday after completing their rehab assignments at Triple-A Buffalo.

The Blue Jays reinstated catcher Danny Jansen (wrist) from the 10-day IL before the game.

JACKIE ROBINSON DAY

Players on both teams wore No. 42 for Jackie Robinson Day. The number was universally retired by Major League Baseball in 1997.

Robinson broke MLB's colour barrier in 1947 with the Brooklyn Dodgers.

COMING UP

Left-handers were scheduled to square off Tuesday night with Toronto's Yusei Kikuchi (0-1, 2.30 earned-run average) to face Carlos Rodon (1-0, 1.72).

The series wraps up Wednesday with a matinee. Kevin Gausman (0-2, 11.57) was tabbed to start against former Blue Jay Marcus Stroman (1-1, 2.12).

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 15, 2024.

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Gregory Strong, The Canadian Press