Happ sharp in Blue Jays' loss to Yankees
Left-hander tosses 3 1/3 scoreless innings; Cecil touched for three-run fifth
DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Juan Rivera had a bases-clearing double in the top of the fifth inning to lead the Yankees to a 3-0 victory over the Blue Jays on Sunday afternoon at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium.
New York did its damage against left-hander Brett Cecil, who is attempting to make the Blue Jays' bullpen as a long reliever. Cecil walked the first batter he faced and then induced what should have been a double-play grounder but was turned into a fielding error for shortstop Mike McCoy.
Cecil then walked another batter to load the bases with nobody out. Rivera, who was already 2-for-2 on the afternoon, broke the scoreless game by driving one into the gap in right-center field. Cecil was charged with two of the three runs while allowing one hit and an alarming three walks in 1 1/3 innings of work.
Blue Jays starter J.A. Happ continued his strong work by pitching 3 1/3 scoreless innings. He allowed four hits and one walk while striking out two in his fourth appearance of the Grapefruit League season. Happ threw 34 of 57 pitches for strikes in his longest outing this spring.
"Pete [Walker] has been preaching attack and expand," Happ said of Toronto's pitching coach. "I wanted to go in there and continue to throw strikes, so I was happy with that.
"I was trying to work on a two-seam fastball. I felt like I'm getting more consistent with that. We ended up throwing that quite a bit."
Yankees starter David Phelps was nearly flawless as he allowed just three hits and one walk over five scoreless innings of work. Phelps has allowed just one run in 14 innings this spring and continues to make a strong case in his bid to win the No. 5 spot in New York's rotation.
Up next: The Blue Jays have an off-day on Monday, but when they return to action Tuesday against the Red Sox, right-hander Justin Germano will get the start. Germano is expected to be followed by Claudio Vargas, Chad Beck, Mickey Storey and Juan Perez in the 1:35 p.m. ET tilt, aired live via an exclusive bluejays.com audio webcast. Most of the regular position players will get the day off, but outfielder Colby Rasmus and infielder Maicer Izturis will make the trip. Right-hander Brandon Morrow will be able to avoid the long drive to Fort Myers, Fla., instead getting the call in a Minor League game versus the Phillies.