Yanks back at .500, beat Blue Jays 6-0 behind Eovaldi
NEW YORK >> For the first time since the second week of the season, the New York Yankees are back at .500.
A resurgent Nathan Eovaldi combined with his bullpen on a two-hitter to win his fifth straight decision, and the Yankees beat the Toronto Blue Jays 6-0 Tuesday night to extend their winning streak to six games.
Carlos Beltran homered off knuckleballer R.A. Dickey and drove in New York's first two runs. Having dropped as many as eight games under .500 during their worst start in a quarter-century, the Yankees (22-22) won for the 13th time in 18 games and evened their record for the first time since they were 4-4 on the morning of April 15.
New York is on its longest winning streak since the first week of last June.
Eovaldi (5-2), whose fastball velocity trails only the Mets' Noah Syndergaard among big league starting pitchers, improved to 5-0 with a 2.92 ERA in his last six starts and has allowed one run and three hits over 12 innings in his last two outings. He gave up two hits over six-plus innings in this one, escaping trouble in the second when with two on, Kevin Pillar hit into a forceout and Darwin Barney struck out.
With New York ahead 2-0, Dellin Betances relieved after Troy Tulowitzki's leadoff walk in the seventh. He struck out Jimmy Paredes, retired Pillar on a flyout to the left-field warning track and fanned Barney.
After the Yankees doubled their lead in the bottom half, New York was able to avoid using the remainder of its late-inning trio, Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman. Kirby Yates and Luis Cessa finished with an inning each.
Beltran drove in a first-inning run when he beat Tulowitzki's relay throw from second on a grounder to avoid what would have been an inning-ending double play and allow Jacoby Ellsbury to sprint home from third. Ellsbury tripled leading off when Jose Bautista made an ill-advised attempt for a diving backhand catch, allowing the ball to roll to the right-field scoreboard.
Beltran homered into the right-field second deck in the fourth, his 10th this season. Austin Romine chased Dickey with an RBI double in the seventh, and Ellsbury followed with a run-scoring infield hit against Joe Biagini. Chase Headley added a sacrifice fly in the eighth, hitting right-handed against switch-pitcher Pat Venditte, and Didi Gregorius followed with an RBI single.
Following their only off day in a stretch of 40 games in 41 days, the Yankees started a three-game series that will be their only time at home over a 20-game span. New York also is beginning a stretch in which it plays 12 of 13 games against AL East rivals.
Making his 250th major league start, Dickey (2-6) dropped to 1-6 in nine appearances since winning his opener at Tampa Bay. He gave up four runs and five hits in 6 2/3 innings, striking out seven and walking two.
Last-place Toronto dropped to 22-25 but manager John Gibbons lasted until the end for just the third time in nine games. He was ejected from three and served a three-game suspension for his role in a brawl against Texas.
Toronto put Bautista at the top of the batting order, followed by AL MVP Josh Donaldson and Edwin Encarnacion, the fifth straight game the Blue Jays moved up their sluggers. The trio went 1 for 10, dropping to 13 for 58 (.224) in the five games. Before last week, Bautista had not hit leadoff since 2010.
Tulowitzki left in the bottom of the seventh, but there was no immediate word on whether he was hurt.
Toronto changed its rotation and will have LHP J.A. Happ start Thursday's series finale and RHP Aaron Sanchez pitch the homestand opener against Boston.
Blue Jays: 2B Devon Travis (offseason left shoulder surgery) was to play his ninth game of a minor league rehab assignment, his fifth at Triple-A Buffalo. "You want to make sure he's seeing enough breaking balls," Gibbons said. "You jump the gun too soon, you don't want him to get off to a struggle."
Yankees: Starting a rehab assignment at Double-A Trenton, Alex Rodriguez was 2 for 4 with a pair of singles through the first eight innings. ... RHP Luis Severino (strained right triceps) is to start Sunday for Class A Tampa.
RHP Ivan Nova (3-1) is slated to start for the Yankees on five days' rest, and Marco Estrada (1-2) goes to the mound for the Blue Jays. Nova is 2-0 with a 1.65 ERA in three starts since joining the rotation.
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