When someone mentions the phrase “pitchers duel,” Nathan Eovaldi and R.A. Dickey aren’t the names that first come to mind.
But through the first six innings on Tuesday night, the two starters combined for just two runs allowed. Dickey, a former Cy Young Award winner with the New York Mets, went gave up the two runs on 86 pitches, while Eovaldi finished his night at an even 100 pitches, shutting out the struggling Toronto offense and limiting the Blue Jays to just two hits in a 6-0 win.
Dickey struggled in the seventh though and was removed after only retiring two batters. He was charged with four runs.
Most notably, the Yankees returned to the .500 mark for the first time since April 14 when they were 4-4. Tuesday was New York’s sixth straight win after salvaging the finale against Arizona and sweeping a four-game series at Oakland.
THE PLAY: BELTRAN BELTS ONE (+.102 WPA)
With Dickey cruising and the Yankees leading 1-0, Carlos Beltran launched a knuckleball that didn’t knuckle into the second deck in right. It’s interesting to note that Beltran homered from the left side — when some switch-hitters face knuckleballers, they like to bat from the same side as the pitcher throws. Beltran, however, did not.
Blue Jays — Leadoff hitter Jose Bautista: 1-for-3 plus a walk
Yankees — Leadoff hitter Jacoby Ellsbury: 2-for-4, 1 run, 1 RBI
— Dellin Betances pitched the seventh inning with the game looking like it might be headed to a save situation. However, the Yankees scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh and two in the eighth, negating the need for a save, and manager Joe Girardi turned to Kirby Yates instead of Andrew Miller. Tuesday was Betances’ 22nd appearance in the Yankees’ first 44 games.
— Troy Tulowitzki and Jose Bautista were the only two Toronto players to get hits in the game. They also both walked, in addition to Jimmy Paredes and Josh Thole drawing free bases. Toronto pushed a runner past 2nd base just once — Tulowitzki in the second inning.
— Russell Martin made an appearance at second base Tuesday night after Darwin Barney departed. It was only his fourth career appearance at the position, having played second in two games last season for Toronto in addition to a two-inning stint for the Yankees back in 2011.
THE HIGHLIGHT: EOVALDI STRANDS A PAIR
Following a surprising sacrifice bunt from Josh Donaldson, the Blue Jays had runners on second and third with one out. After getting a key strikeout of slugger Edwin Encarnacion, Eovaldi induced a weak fly ball from Michael Saunders to get out of the inning. The escape proved clutch at the time, even though the Yankees went on to score five more runs in the game.
The Yankees will continue their series with Toronto and try to move over .500. New York sends Ivan Nova (3-1, 3.26 ERA) to the mound to face Marco Estrada (2-1, 2.61 ERA).
Photo: Adam Hunger / USATSI; Videos: MLB.com