New York — Greeted by boos at Yankee Stadium, George Springer responded with the type of racket he and his Toronto Blue Jays are ready to make.
Springer hit a go-ahead, two-run homer and an RBI double, and the Blue Jays made three dazzling defensive plays to beat New York 3-0 Monday night.
Toronto is off to a 3-1 start after missing the playoffs last year despite a 91-71 record.
“I think that the world is probably a little bit behind what we thought, but we’ve always been confident in what we can do,” shortstop Bo Bichette said. “We’ve known that we had an ability to make some noise for a few years internally. Obviously, we didn’t. But I think this is the first year that people are kind of on board.”
Bichette made two sparkling plays, Teoscar Hernández had a great grab in right field and Alek Manoah (1-0) allowed one hit over six innings.
“Those little things, that’s how you win games,” Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said. “They’re just kids, so they’re just going to get better little by little.”
Springer remains targeted by fans for his time on the 2017 championship Houston Astros, found guilty by Major League Baseball of stealing signs with an unauthorized camera.
Fans booed Springer before and during each at-bat, and he finished a triple short of the cycle in the leadoff spot. No. 9 batter Santiago Espinal had three singles for the Blue Jays.
“I’m concentrating on the stuff that I can control, which is the swings and all that stuff,” Springer said.
Manoah permitted only Joey Gallo’s opposite-field single with one out in the second. The 24-year-old right-hander struck out seven and worked around four walks, helping the Blue Jays extend their Yankee Stadium winning streak to five.
He pitched six shutout innings of two-hit ball to win his major league debut in the Bronx last May 27.
“It’s the Mecca,” Manoah said. “You kind of want to come in, you want to play hard. There’s a lot of fans here and it’s just an exciting ballpark to play in and something you dream of as a kid.”
Springer followed Espinal’s third-inning single by pulling a slider from Jameson Taillon (0-1) into the left-field seats for his second homer in two days. Espinal hit a two-out single in the seventh and scored when Springer sliced a fastball to the opposite field for a double on two hops to the right-field wall.
Manoah loosened up before the game with a football, then mixed 44 fastballs, 22 sliders, 18 sinkers and 15 changeups, getting five swings and misses on fastballs, four on sliders and three on changeups.
He walked the bases loaded in the third before Giancarlo Stanton hit a broken-bat grounder to Bichette, who made a backhand pickup and off-balance throw to first from the edge of the outfield grass.
Hernández slid to grab Kyle Higashioka’s looper into short right field with two on in the seventh after Gleyber Torres’ leadoff single off Trevor Richards and Aaron Hicks’ walk.
Espinal, shifted to the left side of a second, ranged back to the right side of a second to glove pinch-hitter Josh Donaldson’s 106 mph grounder against Adam Cimber. Espinal flipped to Bichette, who made an acrobatic, 360-degree turn at second and threw to first for an inning-ending double play.
Jordan Romano finished the four-hitter for his third save and 26th in a row dating to last season, and the Yankees lost their second straight after opening with two wins. Of the seven times New York was shut out last year, two were against Toronto.
Taillon became the first Yankees pitcher to last five innings, allowing five hits with six strikeouts and no walks.
“They made a couple big plays when they did get in trouble, but for the most part Manoah was in control,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said.
Phillies 5, Mets 4
JT Realmuto hit a two-run homer for Philadelphia in the eighth inning, and Rhys Hoskins and Didi Gregorius followed with run-scoring doubles.
The Phillies trailed 4-0 before they scored five runs in the eighth against two Mets relievers. Realmuto’s first homer of the season deep into the left-field seats made it 4-3. Hoskins ripped a tying double to left off Seth Lugo (0-1), and Gregorius lined one into the right-center gap for a 5-4 lead.
Seranthony Dominguez (1-0) tossed 1 1/3 scoreless innings for the win. Brad Hand worked the ninth for a save.
Phillies third baseman Alec Bohm made three errors in the first three innings, a bad look as he tries to win the third base job over rookie Bryson Stott.
Guardians 10, Royals 7
Cleveland rookie Steven Kwan hit a bases-loaded triple while becoming the first player to reach base at least three times in each of his first four games.
Kwan, who went 5 for 5 and safely reached six times a day earlier, finished the series 9 for 13. He got on base in 15 of 19 plate appearances and scored four times.
His three RBIs in the eighth inning Monday were the first of his career.
Oscar Mercado added a two-run homer for the Guardians. Logan Allen (1-0) earned the win with two scoreless innings.
Andrew Benintendi had three hits and three RBIs for Kansas City. Jake Brentz (0-1) got the loss.
Twins 4, Mariners 0
Byron Buxton and Luis Arraez each had three hits, and Dylan Bundy earned his first win in a Twins uniform.
After Jorge Polanco doubled in Buxton for the game’s first run in the first inning, the Twins scored on three straight singles in the fifth. Arraez, Polanco and Gio Urshela all picked up RBI singles as Minnesota built a 4-0 lead.
That was enough run support for Bundy (1-0), who allowed one hit in five innings.
Chris Flexen (0-1) took the loss in his season debut. The righty allowed three runs in 4 1/3 innings.
Athletics 13, Rays 2
Paul Blackburn pitched five scoreless innings, and the Athletics handed the Rays their first loss of the season.
Blackburn (1-0) struck out seven and walked one, helping the rebuilding A’s under new manager Mark Kotsay win their second straight after beginning the season with two losses.
Seth Brown and Elvis Andrus each hit a three-run homer for Oakland. Sheldon Neuse hit his first career grand slam with two out in the ninth against Tampa Bay outfielder Brett Phillips.
Wander Franco had his third three-hit game of the season for the Rays. Luis Patiño (0-1) parted in the first inning with a strained left oblique.
Rockies 6, Rangers 4 (10)
Jose Iglesias’ fourth hit was a tiebreaking RBI single in the 10th inning, and Colorado won a game-ending replay challenge, spoiling Texas’ home opener.
After Texas pinch-hitter Willie Calhoun hit a tying drive in the ninth, Iglesias put Colorado ahead in the 10th and Connor Joe added a homer off Greg Holland (0-1), the eighth Rangers pitcher.
Mitch Garver walked with one out in the Rangers 10th, then was forced out sliding into the bag as second baseman Brendan Rodgers’ relay throw was wide of first – allowing Marcus Semien to score from second and Adolis Garcia to move up a base.
But Rockies manager Bud Black challenged the play, and after a lengthy review, it was determined that Garver’s slide interfered with the fielder. Garcia was also ruled out, ending the game.
Daniel Bard (1-0) got the win, and Ashton Goudeau earned his first save.
Nationals 11, Braves 2
Maikel Franco drove in five runs on four hits, including a two-run homer as Washington beat Huascar Ynoa and Atlanta.
Franco’s homer capped a five-run third inning. He added a three-run double off Tucker Davidson when the Nationals scored five runs in the eighth to turn the game into a route.
Josh Rogers (1-0) allowed one run on two hits in 5 1/3 innings in a fill-in start for Washington after scheduled starter Aníbal Sánchez was placed on the 10-day injured list with a stiff neck.
Lane Thomas drove in three runs with two hits. Josh Bell drove in two runs with two hits.
Ynoa (0-1) allowed five runs on seven hits and two walks in three innings. Spencer Strider gave up one run in 3 1/3 innings. Marcell Ozuna had an RBI single for Atlanta, which lost its second straight.
Orioles 2, Brewers 0
Cedric Mullins hit a two-run single, Bruce Zimmermann pitched four sharp innings and Baltimore won its opening game at a slightly altered Camden Yards.
On the 30th anniversary of its inaugural season, Baltimore’s ballpark looked noticeably different after the wall in left field was pushed back and made taller in the offseason. The new dimensions weren’t a factor in this game, though.
Baltimore won for the first time this season after being swept in a three-game series at Tampa Bay.
Zimmermann, the first Maryland-born pitcher to start a home opener for the Orioles since 1990, allowed three hits. Mike Baumann (1-0) got the win and Jorge López worked a hitless ninth for the save.
Milwaukee’s Adrian Houser (0-1) allowed two runs and four hits in 3 2/3 innings.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism