Yanks' Germán cheered in return, struggles vs Blue Jays

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New York Yankees starting pitcher Domingo German (55) winds up during the first inning of a baseball game against the Toronto Blue Jays, Sunday, April 4, 2021, at Yankee Stadium in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

NEW YORK – Domingo Germán was cheered by Yankees fans in his return from a domestic violence suspension but struggled against the Toronto Blue Jays, allowing three runs over three innings in New York's 3-1 loss Sunday.

Germán hadn’t pitched since Sept. 18, 2019, due to an 81-game ban under Major League Baseball’s domestic violence policy after an alleged incident involving his girlfriend, with whom he has at least one child.

“It was very exciting to be back on a major league mound and compete,” Germán said via translator. “I wanted to stay calm and take it all in. Definitely had some issues in the game today, but overall, exciting.”

The 28-year-old was applauded by fans in right field after he bolted out of the dugout for warmups about 35 minutes before first pitch — he pointed and acknowledged them as he sprinted by. He got more cheers from the virus-restricted, sellout crowd of 10,066 after completing a 12-pitch first inning.

The right-hander allowed a solo homer to Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and a two-run shot to Randal Grichuk in the second, repeatedly leaving the ball up in the strike zone on an afternoon with a 59-degree temperature at gametime. He needed 34 pitches to get out of the inning.

He labored through 22 more pitches in the third but escaped without further damage and was replaced by Michael King to start the fourth.

Germán was charged with four hits, a walk and a wild pitch while striking out two.

“Just a couple mistakes, they made him pay,” manager Aaron Boone said. “Just not overall as sharp with some of his secondaries.”