NEW YORK (AP)Steven Matz felt at home in his return to New York, making it appear the Mets gave up too soon when they jettisoned the left-hander to Toronto.
Matz limited the Yankees to one run over 6 2/3 innings in his finest outing in two years and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hit his major league-leading 16th home run in a 6-2 victory on Tuesday that stopped the Blue Jays’ six-game skid and the New York’s six-game winning streak.
”It’s fun coming back here, just being around the city and the pulse of New York,” Matz said. ”You definitely feel the energy.”’
A 29-year-old left-hander from Stony Brook, New York, Matz won 11 games for the Mets in 2019 but faltered to an 0-5 record and 9.68 ERA in last year’s pandemic-shortened season. The Mets traded him to Toronto in January with a 36-43 record over seven seasons in Queens.
With his father and uncle in the stands, Matz said he felt pumped up. He reached 96.4 mph, up from an average of 94.7 mph for his fastball coming in.
”He was on. He was throwing all his pitches for strikes,” Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said. ”He’s got what it takes to be a really good starter in the big leagues, because he’s got good stuff.”
Matz (6-2), who entered with a 8.25 ERA in three appearances in the Bronx, gave up six hits, struck out a season-high 10 and walked none. New York didn’t advance a runner past first until the seventh inning, when Clint Frazier doubled and Kyle Higashioka followed with an RBI single on Matz’s 112th and final pitch – his most since June 2019.
”He’s got stuff that plays really well,” Frazier said, ”and I think that his fastball plays up in a sense because sometimes he makes you think that other pitches are coming.”
Tyler Chatwood and Jordan Romano finished with one-hit relief, giving up an unearned run in the ninth, and Toronto improved to 5-2 against New York this season.
Corey Kluber (4-3), making his first start after pitching a no-hitter for the Yankees, had his outingcut short after three innings by shoulder tightness. The team said the two-time Cy Young Award winner will have a MRI.
”I wouldn’t say alarmed at this point. I wish we knew more,” said Kluber, who was limited to one inning by a right shoulder injury last season. ”It doesn’t feel at all like what I dealt with last year.”
Bo Bichette reached on an infield single with one out in the third for the first hit off Kluber, a 35-year-old right-hander who pitched his first no-hitter at Texas last Wednesday. Guerrero followed with a drive into the right-field bullpen, giving a career-high for homers and 41 RBIs, and stopping a 37-inning scoreless streak for Yankees starters.
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. homered off Michael King in the fourth and shortstop Gleyber Torres made a two-run throwing error that extended the lead to 5-0 in the seventh. Randal Grichuk homered against Justin Wilson in the ninth, his 16th against the Yankees since 2018.
INF DJ LeMahieu was placed on the paternity list because wife Jordan was giving birth to their first child, and the Yankees uncharacteristically played a man short. Voit is likely to miss Friday’s game at Detroit; wife Tori plans to induce labor that morning. ”Still don’t know if it’s a boy or girl, which makes anticipation even crazier. But I can’t wait to meet my son or daughter,” Voit said.
Yankees: OF Giancarlo Stanton (quadriceps) ran bases pregame and could be activated Wednesday or Thursday … LHP Zack Britton, recovering from surgery on March 15 to remove a bone spur in his pitching elbow, threw a bullpen Monday and is to throw another Wednesday, then make rehabilitation outings for Double-A Somerset on Saturday, June 1, June 4 and June 6.
RHP Alek Manoah, the 11th overall pick in the 2019 amateur draft, makes his major league debut for the Blue Jays, and RHP Domingo German (4-2) starts with a fifth day of rest and a seven-inning scoreless streak.
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