Luis Gil loses the strike zone as Yankees drop opener vs. Blue Jays, 3-1

TORONTO — While John Sterling’s retirement commanded all of the attention in the Yankees’ universe on Monday, the team began a three-game series against the Blue Jays north of the border.

The opener, part of Major League Baseball’s annual Jackie Robinson Day celebration, didn’t go the Yankees’ way, as the team lost, 3-1. Toronto’s three runs were charged to Luis Gil, who took his command issues to a new level by walking seven batters over five innings.

While Gil held the Jays to three hits and struck out six over a season-high five innings, free passes and efficiency have been an issue for him. He’s walked at least three batters in each of his three starts, and high pitch counts have forced early exits.

Gil threw 99 pitches on Monday, including a wild one that led to a run. The righty also issued a walk with the bases loaded.

Gil, who won a spot in the Yankees’ rotation after Gerrit Cole injured his elbow in spring training, now has a 3.86 ERA this season.

While he struggled, Ron Marinaccio provided two scoreless innings of relief.

Meanwhile, Toronto’s Chris Bassitt held the Yankees to one run over 6.1 innings. The right-hander totaled four hits, two walks, five strikeouts and 97 pitches.

The one run off Bassitt came from an Oswaldo Cabrera RBI single in the second inning.

Now 12-5, the Yankees will turn to Carlos Rodón on Tuesday. Following a disastrous 2023, the lefty has quelled concerns thus far, recording a 1.72 ERA over three starts.

Yusei Kikuchi will take the ball for Toronto. He blanked the Yankees for 5.1 innings in the Bronx on April 5 and has a 2.30 ERA over three starts.