The Hamilton Spectator

Blue Jays blank Yankees in New York home opener

- ERNIE CLEMENT WHO GREW UP IN ROCHESTER, N.Y.

Pinch-hitter Ernie Clement had a tiebreakin­g solo home run off of Caleb Ferguson leading off the seventh inning, and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Yankees, 3-0, on Friday in New York’s home opener.

“The Toronto faithful may not like this but I was the biggest Yankees fan growing up, so I’m glad we could kick their (butt),” said Clement, who grew up in Rochester, N.Y.

A 28-year-old who appeared in just 35 major-league games over the previous two seasons, Clement drove the second pitch from Ferguson (0-1) into the left-field seats for his first career pinch homer. He was the first Toronto pinch hitter to give the Blue Jays the lead from the seventh inning on since Justin Smoak at Miami on Aug. 31, 2018.

“I just like to keep it simple,” Clement said. “I’m up there looking for a fastball to drive and do damage on, and he laid one in there and I’m just glad I could come through for these guys.”

Juan Soto went 0 for 4 with a pair of strikeouts in his pinstripes debut, slamming his bat and helmet after making the final out of the eighth.

He bowed to fans in right field in the top of the first and was greeted with a standing ovation when he came to the plate in the bottom half. Soto is in a 1-for-16 slide after a 9for-17 start.

“Just frustratio­n that comes out,” Soto said. “You want to do so (many) things for this fan base and get your team going, and you have the chance to do it and couldn’t get it done. It really gets you mad. And, at the end of the day, that’s my fault, shouldn’t do that, but things happen.”

Marcus Stroman matched Yusei Kikuchi with shutout ball before the bullpens took over. Kikuchi gave up four hits in 5 1⁄3 innings with seven strikeouts.

He played catch in Central Park on Thursday’s day off.

“It’s my fifth time doing it and I feel like a Central Parker now,” Kikuchi said through a translator. “I found the biggest rock, because I can, and I did some visualizat­ion from the top of that top rock.”

Nick Burdi threw a pair of runscoring wild pitches in the ninth, prompting boos from the sellout crowd of 47,812.

Yimi Garcia (1-0) got the final two outs of the sixth and Genesis Cabrera retired two batters in his first appearance since a three-game suspension for causing a benchescle­aring incident at Tampa Bay last weekend. Trevor Richards struck out the side in the eighth and Chad Green got his first save since 2022 with the Yankees as Toronto pitched a six-hitter to start the last leg of an opening 10-game trip.

After beginning 6-1 on the road, New York dropped to 81-40-1 in home openers. The Yankees were shut out in a home opener for the first time since 1967.

Giancarlo Stanton was 0 for 4 and is hitting .120 (3 for 25) with 13 strikeouts.

An earthquake about three hours before game time wasn’t felt by most of the Yankees on the field for batting practice.

Stroman allowed three hits in six innings. He has not allowed an earned run in 12 innings this season.

Cheered when he was introduced, Paul O’Neill drew boos when he bounced the ceremonial first pitch to Don Mattingly, now Toronto’s bench coach, in pairing of former Yankees stars.

Toronto selected the contract of right-hander Paolo Espino from Triple-A Buffalo and designated right-hander Wes Parsons for assignment.

The Toronto faithful may not like this but I was the biggest Yankees fan growing up, so I’m glad we could kick their (butt).

 ?? MARY DECICCO GETTY IMAGES ?? Ernie Clement and Vladimir Guerrero Jr., right, of the Toronto Blue Jays celebrate after beating the Yankees, 3-0, in their home opener Friday afternoon. Clement had a big pinch-hit home run to get the Jays in flight.
MARY DECICCO GETTY IMAGES Ernie Clement and Vladimir Guerrero Jr., right, of the Toronto Blue Jays celebrate after beating the Yankees, 3-0, in their home opener Friday afternoon. Clement had a big pinch-hit home run to get the Jays in flight.

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