- Associated Press - Sunday, April 6, 2014

TORONTO (AP) - Blue Jays manager John Gibbons understands that his team doesn’t have much margin for error in the competitive AL East.

That’s why he was so frustrated to see Toronto fall short against a division opponent with a series victory at stake.

CC Sabathia pitched six innings for his first victory of the season, Brett Gardner hit a two-run home run and the New York Yankees beat the Blue Jays 6-4 on Sunday afternoon

“To have a big year you’ve got to start winning some games like this,” Gibbons said after the Blue Jays left runners at first and second in the ninth inning. “You’ve got to find that magic. Hopefully we find that soon.”

There was no magic for the Blue Jays on Sunday, with starter Drew Hutchison giving up three runs and one hit in the first inning, and putting his team in a five-run hole by the fourth.

“We had a chance to win a series against an East opponent, I didn’t perform, and it’s that simple,” Hutchison said.

Hutchison (1-1) pitched 5 1-3 shutout innings to beat Tampa Bay on Tuesday but couldn’t duplicate that success against the Yankees. He allowed six runs and six hits in 3 1-3 innings, striking out six.

Hutchison walked three batters and hit one, with all four coming round to score.

“He has been off a little bit,” Gibbons said. “Even down in Tampa the other night, he pitched a nice ballgame, but he wasn’t locating like he normally does.”

Sabathia (1-1) allowed four runs and seven hits, walked none and struck out six, bouncing back from Tuesday’s opening day loss at Houston, when he allowed six runs and eight hits, including two home runs, in six innings.

“He was down in the zone, his ball was sinking like it was supposed to, his changeup was good, his slider was good,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “I was encouraged.”

The left-hander was taken deep again Sunday when Melky Cabrera connected in the first inning. The homer was Cabrera’s third of the season and third this series.

Maicer Izturis followed with an infield single but was erased on a fielder’s choice. Sabathia retired 16 of the next 17 hitters before running into trouble in the sixth.

Jose Bautista started Toronto’s two-out rally with a single, Edwin Encarnacion singled and Bautista scored when Dioner Navarro doubled. Erik Kratz followed with a two-run single to center, with Navarro scoring easily when Jacoby Ellsbury’s throw to the plate was off target.

Kratz took second on Ellsbury’s throw, but was left stranded when Brett Lawrie flied out.

Adam Warren worked the seventh, Shawn Kelley pitched the eighth and David Robertson finished for his second save in as many chances.

Gardner hit New York’s first home run of the season, ending a five-game drought, with a two-run shot off Hutchison in the fourth.

“I don’t think anybody bet on that,” Gardner joked. “Good to get the first one out of the way. I’ve got a feeling we’ll hit a couple in New York.”

Derek Jeter had two hits, moving into sole possession of eighth place on baseball’s career list. Jeter’s single to right in the fourth was the 3,320th hit of his career, breaking a tie with Paul Molitor.

“It’s special,” Jeter said. “I grew up watching Paul, I played against him briefly and I have a lot of respect for him and his career.”

Next on the list is Carl Yastrzemski, with 3,419.

NOTES: New York starting pitchers did not issue a walk in 19 innings against Toronto. … Yankees C Francisco Cervelli took grounders at first base before the game in case he’s needed to fill in for injured 1B Mark Teixeira (right hamstring). … New York OF Carlos Beltran got the day off. … Toronto Raptors All-Star DeMar DeRozan threw out the first pitch. … Toronto is off Monday, while the New York faces Baltimore in its home opener. RH Hiroki Kuroda (0-1) will face RH Ubaldo Jimenez (0-1).

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

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