TORONTO, CANADA - AUGUST 15: Masahiro Tanaka #19 of the New York Yankees is congratulated by John Ryan Murphy #66 after his complete-game victory during MLB game action against the Toronto Blue Jays on August 15, 2015 at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
What a way to take back the division. After letting go of first place momentarily this week to the Blue Jays, the Yankees were able to disguise their recent offensive woes with timely hits and excellent pitching. They took this weekend series against Toronto and it came at a perfect time, as they took back the reigns in the AL East for now.
The first game snapped Toronto’s 11 game win streak with a 4-3 Yankees win. It didn’t look like that would be the outcome as David Price held them scoreless for the first 7 innings. In the 8th, however, the Yankees fortunes changed as Price allowed an RBI ground-rule double by Chase Headley. Then, with Aaron Sanchez pitching, Carlos Beltran belted a 3-run homer to give the Yanks a miraculous lead. Price was shaky, allowing 11 hits and striking out 6. Headley paced the offense with 3 hits, and Didi Gregorius had 2.
Ivan Nova allowed 3 early runs, but settled in to go 7 innings. All 3 runs came in the 3rd inning, courtesy of a groundout, a double, and a sac fly by the heart of the Blue Jays’ lineup. Dellin Betances pitched a perfect 8th, and Andrew Miller earned his 26th save. The Rays managed only 6 hits for the ballgame.
The middle game was dominated by Masahiro Tanaka. He pitched a complete game, his first of the year, and allowed just 5 hits. He allowed 1 run, struck out 8, and walked 3. The only Toronto run came via a Josh Donaldson sacrifice fly. Edwin Encarnacion had 2 hits to lead the Jays.
Carlos Beltran hit a homer in the top of the first off of Marco Estrada to get the party started. Mark Teixeira then homered in the top of the 6th to give Tanaka all of the support they needed, but they werent done yet. Teixeira then hit a sac fly and Jacoby Ellsbury added an RBI single in the top of the 9th for good measure. Ellsbury, Beltran, and Teixeira each had 2 of the team’s 9 hits. Estrada gave up just the two solo homers in 6 innings.
The finale was taken by the Blue Jays thanks to a 2-run homer from Jose Bautista. He was only able to get to that point after Beltran lost a ball in the sun. That didn’t help out Luis Severino, who was tagged with his second career loss after giving up 3 runs in 6 innings. Only 2 Blue Jays starters didn’t have hits in the game, and Bautista drove in 2 of the team’s 3 runs with that homer.
The Yankees did not fare well against Drew Hutchison, who gave up 1 run on just 3 hits n 6.2 innings. Toronto used the bridge of Brett Cecil, Aaron Sanchez, and Roberto Osuna to close the door. Their lone run came on an Ellsbury homer in the 6th. He had 2 hits, and Brian McCann had the other for the Yankees, who now lead the Jays by half a game.
This was a huge win for the Yankees, who were coming off of a string of losses in which they had no offense to back their solid starting pitching. There were many solid showings for the Yanks, let’s see who did the best and the worst.
Offensive MVP: Carlos Beltran- clutch homer in the first game and a 3-7 series.
Cold Streak: Didi Gregorius- Only two hits after being most of the offense for the last week or so.
Pitcher of the Series: Masahiro Tanaka- A masterful complete game showing that perhaps could kickstart the staff for the rest of the season.
Mound Misery: Luis Severino- Not because he was bad, but because he was probably in misery because of his tough-luck loss in the finale. 6 innings, just 3 runs, but no offensive help and a miscue by Beltran in the field.