Yankees vs. Blue Jays: Yusei Kikuchi stymies New York to spoil Juan Soto’s first game in pinstripes

NEW YORK — Yankee Stadium shook on Friday, and never solely as a result of an earthquake hit the world within the morning. The New York Yankees performed their house opener and Juan Soto wore pinstripes for the primary time. Soto acquired a thunderous ovation throughout baseline introductions and gave a bow to the best discipline Bleacher Creatures through the first inning Roll Name.

Soto obtained one other standing ovation earlier than his first at-bat.

“The reception’s gonna be I feel fairly particular. I am unable to look forward to that,” Yankees supervisor Aaron Boone stated earlier than Friday’s sport. “That is one of many issues I feel in all probability everybody’s wanting ahead to just a little bit. His vibe’s been excellent. He is been clearly already a key contributor this primary week of the season. He is been so impactful on either side of the ball.”

Native New Yorker Marcus Stroman began the Yankee Stadium opener, tossed six shutout innings and clapped his method off the mound after the sixth inning. By way of six innings, the vibes within the Bronx have been immaculate. Soto was a Yankee, Stroman shoved, and the natives may brag about experiencing an earthquake.

The Toronto Blue Jays have been having none of it.

Yusei Kikuchi matched Stroman pitch-for-pitch — the veteran left-hander struck out seven in 5 1/3 shutout innings — and, within the prime of the seventh inning, utility man Ernie Clement despatched Caleb Ferguson’s second pitch into the left discipline seats to interrupt the scoreless tie. The Blue Jays broke the sport open because of a pair of run-scoring wild pitches within the prime of the ninth.

“I used to be the most important Yankees fan rising up, so I am glad we may kick their ass,” Clement told Sportsnet after the game.

After all of the pregame pomp and circumstance, the Blue Jays shut the Yankees out 3-0 (field rating), and New York didn’t have a runner attain third base within the sport. Solely two runners made it so far as second base. Alex Verdugo flew out to middle to finish the sport whereas representing the tying run. The Blue Jays smothered the Yankees and took the life out of the group Friday.

Soto went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts in his first house sport as a Yankee and is quietly in a 1 for 16 hunch since going nuclear throughout New York’s four-game sweep in Houston final weekend. The Yankees have scored in solely three of their final 35 innings, and in two of these three innings, they got an automated runner at second base in further innings.  

“I assumed he was actually good,” Boone stated about Kikuchi. “We did not have a lot going towards him the primary few innings, but it surely was type of in keeping with what we have been doing — I feel he was round 70 pitches at that three-inning mark — we have been taking robust at-bats, he was simply beating us in spots. He did job altering speeds. He was fast on the prime (of the zone). Labored either side of the plate too. Did not have numerous actual good scoring probabilities.”

One run would have been sufficient Friday, although offense has been exhausting to come back by for the Blue Jays early in 2024. They’ve scored solely 25 runs in eight video games, and eight of these 25 runs got here on Opening Day. Toronto was no-hit by Ronel Blanco on Monday and one-hit by 5 Houston Astros pitchers Wednesday. Even in Friday’s win, they scored two of their three runs on wild pitches.  

The storybook ending is Verdugo hitting a game-tying house run within the ninth and Soto strolling issues off later, after which the whole thing of the baseball media makes earthquake puns. Alas and alack, it didn’t occur. Kikuchi, Clement, and the remainder of the Blue Jays spoiled Soto’s first house at Yankee Stadium. Happily for him, there are 80 extra house video games remaining.