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Blue Jays make Carlos Rodón work as Yankees drop first series of the season



TORONTO — The Yankees lost their first series of the season on Tuesday when they fell to the Blue Jays, 5-4.

Like Luis Gil on Monday, Carlos Rodón had a tough time navigating Toronto’s lineup despite limited damage. That appeared evident right away, as the southpaw needed 32 pitches to get through the first inning. Twelve of those were thrown to Bo Bichette, who won a lengthy battle with a walk.

Rodón, pitching to Jose Trevino for the first time in a major league game, ultimately required 101 pitches to get through four innings. He totaled three earned runs, four free passes and five strikeouts while his ERA climbed from 2.87 to 3.66.

Toronto’s first run came in the third inning when Justin Turner tied the game with a sac fly. That was the only damage Rodón permitted that inning after the Blue Jays loaded the bases with nobody out, but his pitch count was at 72 by the time the frame ended.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. added two more runs off Rodón with an RBI single in the fourth.

The Blue Jays plated two more runs in the sixth on a Gleyber Torres error and a Bichette single.

While Rodón labored more than he has all season, Yusei Kikuchi made easy work of the Yankees for the second time this year. The lefty previously blanked the Bombers while striking out seven over 5.1 innings on April 5.

Kikuchi was even better on Tuesday, punching out nine, walking none and holding the Yankees to four hits over six innings. He didn’t permit an earned run, though Giancarlo Stanton slowly scored in the second inning when Toronto catcher Danny Jansen couldn’t handle a throw that beat the slugger by several steps.

That RBI went to Trevino, who picked up another with a seventh-inning groundout. Oswaldo Cabrera drove in another run with a sac fly after that.

Trevino picked up a third RBI with another groundout in the ninth, but the Yankees’ comeback bid fell short.

The Yankees and Blue Jays will wrap up their series on Wednesday afternoon when Marcus Stroman faces Kevin Gausman.

Stroman began his career in Toronto, pitching for the Blue Jays from 2014-2019. The right-hander has gotten off to a solid start with the Yankees, recording a 2.12 ERA over his first three starts for the team. However, Stroman is coming off an uncharacteristic four-walk night against the Marlins on April 10. He also allowed four earned runs in that loss.

Gausman, meanwhile, is looking to rebound from two awful starts. The 2023 Cy Young finalist struggled with his velocity while giving up five earned runs over 1.1 innings against the Yankees on April 6. He followed that performance up with another clunker against the Rockies, who tagged him for six earned runs over 3.2 innings on April 12.

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