TORONTO — Blue Jays reliever Brett Cecil went more than three months without allowing an earned run last season.
So far this year, Cecil can’t seem to keep opponents off the scoreboard.
Brian McCann homered before leaving with a bruised left big toe, Jacoby Ellsbury singled home the tiebreaking run in the seventh inning and the Yankees beat Cecil and the Blue Jays 3-2 on April 12.
Cecil (0-2) has blown two saves and has a 10.13 ERA over four outings. “He’s off right now,” Manager John Gibbons said. “There’s no secret about that.”
Ellsbury’s bloop single off Cecil scored Chase Headley from third base, helping the Yankees hand the slumping Blue Jays their fifth loss in six games.
Toronto had just three hits against the Yankees, only one after the third.
“We’re not too far off,” catcher Russell Martin said. “The hits are going to come. We’ll start loosening up a little bit and we’ll start playing like we know how we can play.”
Dellin Betances struck out Jose Bautista looking to end the seventh, stranding the tying run at second base. Andrew Miller got his second save. “Betances shut us down pretty good,” Gibbons said.
McCann tried to keep playing after being hit by a foul tip in the middle innings but Austin Romine took over in the ninth.
“They drained a little blood out of the toenail after the eighth inning,” Manager Joe Girardi said. “He’s pretty sore. He won’t be a player for us (Wednesday).”
X-rays taken at the stadium were negative. Yankees spokesman Jason Zillo said the team was “comfortable with that diagnosis,” and no further tests were scheduled.
Johnny Barbato (1-0) pitched a scoreless inning for his first major league win in the first game between these AL East rivals this season. The Yankees lost 13-of-19 meetings with Toronto last year.
“They played us really tough last year,” Headley said. “Especially toward the end, we had a tough time beating them.”
McCann finished 2-for-3 with a walk and scored twice.
Following an errant pickoff throw by right-hander Aaron Sanchez, Starlin Castro hit an RBI groundout to give New York a 1-0 lead in the second. Toronto answered in the third when Bautista hit a two-run double just beyond the reach of Ellsbury, who appeared to get a late break.
McCann tied it with a two-out homer in the sixth, his second. Sanchez allowed two runs, one earned, and three hits in six innings. “He was sticking his fastball really good all night for the most part,” Gibbons said.
Masahiro Tanaka came in 5-2 with a 2.23 ERA in seven career starts against Toronto but struggled with his command and a high pitch count. He allowed two runs and three hits in five innings, walked four and struck out six. Tanaka threw 92 pitches, 54 strikes.
“He had a hard time funding a rhythm early on,” Girardi said. “For him to get us through five was big.”