Yunel Escobar returned home to the Rogers Centre on Thursday for the first time since he wrote a gay slur on his eye-black at the beginning of the club’s final road trip.
Escobar, who met with Patrick Burke, the founder of the activist group You Can Play, and openly gay distance runner Jose Estevez, prior to a game that saw go hitless.
The Jays opened their final homestand with a 6-0 victory over the New York Yankees.
Although it was Escobar’s first night in front of the Toronto faithful since the incident, the crowd was mostly indifferent to his appearance.
There were a smattering of boo’s from the 23,060 on hand during his first at-bat but the Jays supporters were relatively quiet the rest of the way.
Both Estevez and Burke said they believed Escobar’s face-to-face apologies were sincere.
“I think he has learned from it,” said Burke.
Edwin Encarnacion continued his career season in this game by driving in three runs, giving him 110 on the season, and good for a tie for third in the MLB RBI race.
On the mound, Blue Jays (69-87) starter Brandon Morrow was dominant all night as he tossed seven shutout innings while striking out three.
It was Morrow’s seventh start since his oblique injury that sidelined him for two and a half months.
The Yankees (90-66) were impotent all night at the plate as they managed to string together only five hits. Toronto native, Russell Martin had a pair and Robinson Cano had three on the night.
New York was never able to get a runner past second the entire night.
Jays third baseman Brett Lawrie got things started for the blue birds in the third inning when the BC native hit an opposite line drive on a first-pitch fastball to right field that just managed to get over the wall to give Toronto 2-0 lead.
It was Lawrie’s first home run since July 22 against Boston.
The Jays increased their lead to four in the fifth when Encarnacion hit a line drive to right field, the ball bounced to the 328 ft. sign as both Colby Rasmus and Anthony Gose scored.
It was all on cruise control from there as the Yankees never really came close to scoring against Morrow. Only two players advanced past first base in his seven innings and he stranded them there both times by retiring Raul Ibanez.
The Jays will continue their series versus the AL East leading Yankees tomorrow with rookie Chad Jenkins making his first start at home, versus Hiroki Kuroda.