NEW YORK (AP) — Cory Kluber kept hitters mostly to humdrum contact off the bat — fitting for the monotone man they call Klubot.
Restricted by injuries to one inning in the previous two seasons, the two-time Cy Young Award winner induced six ground-ball outs and five strikeouts in his New York Yankees’ debut.
Kluber allowed one earned run over four innings, and Gary Sánchez joined Elston Howard in 1963 as the only Yankees catchers to homer in each of the first two games. Jay Bruce highlighted his 34th birthday by blooping a two-run single in the seventh for his first hit with his new team and made a diving backhand stop at first to rob Vladimir Guerrero Jr. of a double in a 5-3 win over the Toronto Blue Jays on Saturday.
“The most fun part of it for me today was going out there with my teammates and competing and trying to win,” Kluber said.
Pitching in long sleeves on a 44-degree afternoon, Kluber threw 37 pitches in the first two innings, more than double his 18 last season. His 2019 season ended May 1 when he was hit on the forearm by a comebacker, and his debut for Texas in 2020 lasted just one inning before he tore a muscle in his right shoulder on July 26.
Winner of two Cy Young Award with Cleveland, the 35-year-old right-hander allowed three walks, five hits, a hit batter and a wild pitch in four-plus innings. He faced 19 batters and just two hits were hard: Guerrero’s leadoff single in the fourth and Marcus Semien’s homer that ended Kluber’s afternoon in the fifth.
His 11 fastballs topped at 90.7 mph, and he mixed in 22 in curveballs, 20 sinkers, 15 cutters and six changeups. Toronto tied it in the third with two walks and a wild pitch followed by Sánchez’s run-scoring throwing error into center.
Given his nickname for his reserved, robot-like manner,…