The last time the Yankees lost the opening game of a series, it was in a close pitchers' duel between CC Sabathia and Alfredo Simon in Detroit. They lost tonight's series' opening matchup in similar fashion, after Chase Whitley and R.A. Dickey squared off in a masterfully pitched battle. When Major League Baseball implemented rules to speed games up, the first seven innings of tonight's game is what they had in mind. The game flew by as the two starters exchanged quick inning after quick inning.
Knuckleballer R.A. Dickey took on what almost resembled a spring split-squad Yankee lineup, and handled them as such. He allowed three hits over the course of eight innings, and the Yankees scored their lone run after the recently reanimated Carlos Beltran kicked off the top of the seventh with a double, and eventually scored on a Garrett Jones groundout.
The loss of Masahiro Tanaka was an undeniably devastating blow to the Yankees and their rotation, but Chase Whitley has eased the pain a bit through his first two starts. After an efficient season debut in Tampa Bay, Whitley delivered the best start of his young career tonight against one of the most potent lineups in baseball. With the two-headed beast that is Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller, seven scoreless innings from your starter should be all the Yanks need to put a game away. This wasn't the case tonight, unfortunately.
After Whitley was pulled in favor of Chris Martin in the eighth, Toronto got to work, putting two men on right away. Betances came in to relieve Martin, but the game would be tied after a soft fly ball down the left field line fell in for a double. With two outs and two on, Russell Martin hit a sharp grounder down the line, and Chase Headley came up with as pretty a play as you'll see from a third baseman, but Jones was unable to come up with the scoop at first to end the inning, and two runs scored, which was all the Jays would need to close things out.
The Yanks will be back at it in Toronto tomorrow night as Michael Pineda faces Marco Estrada.