In a series which looked like it would be a cakewalk at first glance, the New York Yankees exit Ontario with a series split against the pesky Toronto Blue Jays. The Blue Jays were relentless and showed their potential for sure. Yet, the Yankees were able to hop back to New York on a positive note.
Different country, different city, different team but it sure felt like the Yankees were playing the “Canada Orioles.” On an evening when preseason football ramped up, the Yankees racked up another football scored with a 12-6 victory.
GIO WORKS THE POWER PLAY
No, not Brian Gionta, Gio Urshela! Although the Yankees weren’t too far away from Rochester (former home of the old Triple-A Empire State Yankees). Facing Thomas Pannone, the Yankee third baseman thumped a two-run tater to left-center for a 2-0 edge.
The offensive onslaught continued as Cameron Maybin, who registered a three-hit night (along with Urshela and LeMahieu), lined an RBI single to center.
Following a call to the bullpen, Mike Tauchman, aka Mr. Socko, went all Mankind on Zack Godley, socking a two-run smash to right.
Domingo German cruised through the first four frames with ease and essentially pitched to the scoreboard in the fifth. German mixed a nice assortment of pitches, displaying his fastball, curveball, and changeup. Across five frames, German fanned three, scattered eight hits, walked one, and yielded four runs, three earned.
During that fifth frame, Derek Fisher’s solo shot and Bo Bichette’s two-run smash (what a player that kid is huh?) pulled the Blue Jays to within five. After Maybin lost one in the lights on a ball hit to left by Cavan Biggio, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. stroked an RBI-single to left.
Taking two of those runs back in the sixth, LeMahieu connected on a two-run double to center, which evaded Fisher and Gurriel Jr. in left-center.
The winning streak was snapped with an 8-2 loss. The umpiring was bad, but J.A. Happ wasn’t much better and he didn’t get much help either.
Happ, who has basically turned into 2006 Shawn Chacon, surrendered a two-run homer in the bottom of the first to Randal Grichuk and a solo shot to Teoscar Hernandez in the second, placing New York in an early hole. Hernandez also took Tommy Kahnle deep in the eighth on a two-run tater.
FOURTH FRAME FOUL-UPS
The fourth inning was quite a debacle. Starting in the top half, Brett Gardner was run from the game by home plate umpire Chris Segal for uttering nary a word. It was bad, Segal wasn’t even looking into the dugout and tossed Gardner and, according to Gardner, lied about it. On the replay, it appeared to be Cameron Maybin, who was called out on strikes, chirping from the bench.
With two down in the home half, ex-Yankee Brandon Drury doubled to left. On a wild pitch by Happ, Drury was initially ruled out at third, but the umpire missed the call. Urshela missed the tag and, after a replay reversal, Drury was standing on third base. After Happ walked the ensuing batter, Danny Jansen popped up into foul territory and neither LeMahieu nor Valera could find the ball. On the next pitch, Jansen clocked a three-run homer.
The Yankees tried to piece together a win, but couldn’t quite stave off the pesky Blue Jays with a late 5-4 loss.
EL GARY RETURNS
Not that offensive output was a problem in his absence, but the Bronx Bombers welcomed back Gary Sanchez to the lineup and he delivered with a bang. With two down in the fourth, Sanchez smacked a 2-1 slider off Jacob Waguespack to deep left-center, providing New York with a 1-0 advantage. The ball traveled about 800 kilometers. Ah, remember learning the metric system in grade school? Fun times! Sanchez became the fourth Yankee backstop with multiple 25+ home run seasons.
Entering the game, the Yankees were 11-0 when using an opener. However, the patchwork didn’t quite pan out this time. After a scoreless first by Chad Green, Stephen Tarpley and Chance Adams ran into a bout of trouble. In the fourth inning, Tarpley issued a leadoff walk to Justin Smoak and, after getting Freddy Galvis to pop out, allowed a single to Fisher.
Adams entered and Hernandez, who homered twice the night before, made the ball exit quickly with a three-run round-tripper to left-center.
I don’t want to rehash what did or didn’t happen at the trade deadline, but it sure would’ve been nice for the Yankees to have gotten even a five and fly type, Lance Lynn, type of starter.
HIS NAME IS GIO AND HE HITS IT TO THE STANDS
The Yanks would battle back and tie it in the sixth. Aaron Judge set the table with a single. With two down, Urshela shuffled off a two-run homer to Buffalo for the equalizer.
After the Yankees regained the lead on a sexy sac fly by LeMahieu in the seventh, their lead would evaporate nearly as fast in the home half.
Adam Ottavino issued a one-out free pass to Bichette. Cavan Biggio followed with a single to right. The ensuing batter, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., delivered the go-ahead two-run triple with a liner to right which proved to be the difference maker.
Providing the Yankees with a huge lift, Masahiro Tanaka and Aroldis Chapman combined on a 1-0 shutout victory.
Honing a new grip on his splitter, mixing in a sharp slider and fastball, Tanaka took control with eight-plus scoreless frames. After allowing a leadoff single to Bichette in the first, Tanaka wouldn’t yield a hit until Smoak singled in the eighth. Tanaka was cruising, and aided by his defense.
Urshela made an airborne diving snag at third to rob Grichuk and retire the Jays in the fourth frame. During the seventh, Tanaka recorded a trio of quick ground outs and nearly forgot the number of outs. In the eighth, Tanaka ended the Toronto threat by inducing an inning-ending double-play.
Tanka allowed three hits, zero walks, and fanned four on the afternoon.
GARDY’S LAST LAUGH
The Savage of River Ave was responsible for the New York offense Sunday. With Trent Thornton also dealing and not allowing a hit, Urshela connected with a double to left-center in the fifth. Gardner followed with a ground-rule RBI double.
In his first appearance since Monday, Aroldis Chapman took over with one on and one out in the ninth. Chapman was able to get the better of pinch-hitter Guerrero Jr., winning a 13-pitch at-bat with a double-play. Following a Bichette single, Chapman whiffed Biggio to lock down the 1-0 win.