Juan Rivera's three-run double leads Yankees past Blue Jays, 3-0

03/10/2013 4:26 PM ET
By Lou DiPietro

Juan Rivera provided all the offense the Yankees needed with his fifth-inning double.(AP)
David Phelps pitched five scoreless innings and Juan Rivera smashed a three-run double as the New York Yankees topped the Toronto Blue Jays, 3-0, in Dunedin, Fla., on Sunday.

Offense was at a premium on the whole, as the Jays got seven hits off five Yankees pitchers (with no baserunners even reaching third base) and the Bombers themselves had just five; however, it was offensive star Rivera – who started at first base once again and may have made himself the favorite to replace Mark Teixeira for the short-term – who had three of them, and he gave the Bombers the only runs they would need with his fifth-inning two-bagger off Brett Cecil.

The Yankees mounted that rally with just the one hit, as both Brett Gardner and Kevin Youkilis walked and Jayson Nix reached on an error by shortstop Mike McCoy before Rivera’s drive to right chased them all home.

Rivera was 3-for-4 on the day overall, with Youkilis and right fielder Thomas Neal accounting for the team’s other hits; the Yankees did also draw six bases on balls, with Youkilis, Gardner, Neal, Dan Johnson, Francisco Cervelli and Corban Joseph the benefactors.

Meanwhile, on the mound, Phelps was once again impressive, allowing just three hits over five innings while walking one and striking out three. Preston Claiborne, Josh Spence and Mark Montgomery were strong in relief, and lefty Vidal Nuno, who no-hit the Yankees for four innings on Wednesday while pitched for the Dominican Republic’s WBC squad, finished off by allowing two hits and striking out a pair over the final 2 1/3 innings.

With the win, the Yankees improve to 4-11 on the Grapefruit League schedule. They will return home Monday to take on the St. Louis Cardinals at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, and coverage of that game will begin at 1 p.m. on YES.

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