Smoak show: 3-run blast vaults Jays to win over Yankees
Justin Smoak homered in a five-run second inning that forced an early exit for New York's scuffling starter Sonny Gray, and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the division rival Yankees 6-2 on Friday.
Curtis Granderson and Devon Travis also drove in runs in Toronto's big inning and Teoscar Hernandez tacked on a late RBI as the Blue Jays (41-46) won for the 12th time in 16 home games.
Aaron Hicks homered and drove in a run with a bases-loaded walk for the Yankees (56-29), who were beginning an 11-game road trip.
Toronto starter Sam Gaviglio stretched his streak of no-decisions to four straight, allowing two runs (one earned) and four hits over 4 1/3 innings. The 28-year-old right-hander walked three and struck out six over a 101-pitch outing.
Reliever Joe Biagini (1-5) pitched 1 2/3 innings for the win.
Shaky 2nd inning
Gray (5-7) lasted just two innings, allowing five runs over six hits and two walks while striking out four. David Hale pitched 5 2/3 scoreless frames before Hernandez drove in Aledmys Diaz with an RBI double in the eighth.
Smoak's homer, with two out and two on, put Toronto up 5-0 in Gray's shaky second inning that also featured three singles, one double, a hit batsman, a wild pitch and a stolen base.
Travis started the rally with a broken-bat base hit to drive in Randal Grichuk for the first run and Granderson followed with a single to score Travis and double the lead to 2-0. The inning finally ended with a strikeout to Russell Martin, the ninth batter of the frame.
Another Pillar highlight catch
Hicks responded in the third with a solo shot off Gaviglo, then drew a bases-loaded walk in the fifth to end the Toronto starter's night and cut New York's deficit to 5-2. Reliever Joe Biagini came up with two big outs in the inning — including a strikeout to Giancarlo Stanton with the bases loaded — to maintain a three-run lead.
Gray came into the game with a 5.44 earned-run average and expanded it further to 5.88 with his latest setback.
Toronto also tested him in the first, loading the bases on two walks and a single before Martin struck out to end the threat.
The Blue Jays defence was on full display throughout the game. Kevin Pillar robbed the Yankees of extra bases twice, sprinting and leaping to catch deep fly balls at the centre-field wall, and Travis made a pair of diving snags in the infield.