Robinson Cano and Chris Stewart hit home runs and Ivan Nova pitched into the seventh inning for the eighth straight start as the New York Yankees defeated the Toronto Blue Jays 8-4 in Game 1 of a doubleheader on Tuesday afternoon.
Nova struggled early on, allowing all four Toronto runs in a four-hit second inning that saw the Blue Jays bat around. However, the 26-year-old settled down after that, scattering just five hits the rest of the way until he was removed with one out in the seventh inning. The outing on the mound earned Nova his seventh victory of the season.
"They made me throw a lot of pitches, but after that, I just tried to get quick outs," Nova said. "You're pitching to keep your team in the game. That's my mindset."
Offensively, Robinson Cano was the driving force for the Yankees, with a hit in each of his four trips to the plate. Cano drove home four runs, including a three-run home run in the third inning to bring the Yankees within a run. The third-inning home run for Cano was the 200th of a career that has many more long balls to come.
"As a kid, you always dream to be able to hit one," Cano said. "Then, to hit 200, it means a lot to me. We're in a situation where we need to win games. It's good to hit 200, but the great thing is that we won."
The Yankees’ second big blast came from one of the unlikeliest of sources, light-hitting catcher Chris Stewart. With the Yankees trailing 4-3 in the sixth inning, Stewart caught a Neil Wagner pitch and drove it over the left field wall. The go-ahead shot was Stewart’s fourth home run of the season and first in 173 at-bats.
"It's not an everyday thing," Stewart said. "I don't know; hell might freeze over now. It's definitely nice to contribute. I try to do the job and take care of the pitchers behind the plate first. It was big to be able to drive those runs in and take the lead again."
Ichiro Suzuki was the only other Yankee to record multiple hits, with a pair of singles bringing him to 3,999 career hits. He will not play in the nightcap of the double header.