The Yankees entered today’s game flying high, seeking a sweep of their division rivals and their 10th win in a row. Although Luis Severino had strikeout stuff and the offense was able to pounce on Yusei Kikuchi, the bullpen simply couldn’t hold the 8-3 lead and allowed Toronto to sneak away with one win in the series.
After DJ LeMahieu flew out to right to begin the game, Aaron Judge worked a walk off of Kikuchi. Josh Donaldson was then hit by a pitch and slammed his bat into the dirt in annoyance, although the ball seemed to barely brush his jersey. Kikuchi managed to strike out Giancarlo Stanton swinging, but with Gleyber Torres at bat catcher, Alejandro Kirk snap threw to first and picked Donaldson off to end the inning.
While the Yankees missed their scoring chance in the first, the Blue Jays didn’t. While Luis Severino got the scuffling George Springer to fly out, he then walked Bo Bichette on four pitches. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. followed up with a crushed line-drive home run to quickly make it 2-0.
Sevy then walked Kirk, but struck out Teoscar Hernández and Santiago Espinal to keep it there.
The 2-0 margin wouldn’t last long. Torres got to start his at bat over in the second and made the most of it, hitting a solo shot to left field.
Kikuchi hit Aaron Hicks — missing badly inside, just like the Donaldson HBP. Unfortunately, Kyle Higashioka struck out looking, then the Jays executed a strikeout double play when Marwin Gonzalez did the same and Hicks was thrown out trying to steal second base.
Sevy had a bounce-back second inning with two strikeouts, though it took a nice running catch by Joey Gallo to take a double away from Lourdes Gurriel Jr.
Kikuchi wasn’t able to keep baserunners from scoring in the third, finally. Gallo worked a walk to lead the inning off and advanced to second on a LeMahieu ground out. Kikuchi got a fastball by Judge to strike him out. Donaldson, who had already earned many boos from his first-inning antics, got even more by crushing a home run and launching a hearty bat flip. If you’re going to be an annoyance, Josh, do it like that!
Severino pitched a scoreless third, working around a walk of Guerrero. Kikuchi did the same in the fourth, working around a Torres leadoff single.
After Sevy threw a clean fourth, Kikuchi was replaced in the top of the fifth by Adam Cimber. Gallo promptly walked again, then LeMahieu laid down a bunt single. Judge extended the lead with an RBI double to drive in Gallo, his first hit of the day. Cimber struck out Donaldson and Stanton swinging on high fastballs, but couldn’t get the red-hot Torres, who hit another double to drive in two more and make it 6-2.
Springer was finally able to break his long hitless streak in the bottom of the fifth with a solo home run, making it 6-3. The Yankees quickly got that run back, though, after Higashioka hit a solo shot 426 feet off Max Castillo, making his MLB debut. Then they tacked on another, with a very similar-looking homer from Marwin Gonzalez.
Despite a high pitch count, Severino was allowed to start the sixth inning, but he was pulled and replaced by Miguel Castro after allowing Guerrero and Kirk to reach. Castro got two outs, then walked Matt Chapman. Gurriel followed up by mashing a grand slam, all of a sudden turning it into a one-run game. Wandy Peralta came in and was able to get Springer out to end the rally.
Yimi Garcia sent the Yankees down in order in the seventh, including swinging strikeouts of Stanton and Torres. Torres and Garcia appeared to yell at each other as they walked off the field.
Peralta, unfortunately, could not keep the one-run lead. After Bichette reached on an infield single and Kirk walked, Teoscar Hernández launched a home run to center field to give the Blue Jays back the lead and make it 10-8.
These Yankees don’t quit, though. Anthony Rizzo, given the day off, pinch-hit for Higashioka with one out in the eighth, facing Tim Mayza. He was the winner of the lefty-lefty matchup, sending a solo home run to right and cutting the deficit to one run.
Gonzalez then singled. Manager Aaron Boone pinch hit Jose Trevino for Gallo, who walked. Toronto closer Jordan Romano was brought in to try and secure a five-out save. He got the first two of those outs and finished the inning, getting LeMahieu to fly out and striking out Judge.
Ron Marinaccio pitched a scoreless eighth, leaving it up to the offense. Donaldson struck out looking, followed by a walk to Stanton. Torres flew out to center field, leaving it in the hands of Rizzo, who grounded out to end the game — and the nine-game winning streak. It was always going to be a challenge for the Yankees to sweep the Blue Jays in Toronto; it’s just a little disappointing that they had the chance and lost the lead. But this was the first game all year long that their pitching staff gave up 10 runs and they almost tied it back up anyway. They’ll settle for the road series victory and 49-17 record.
The Yankees will take on the Tampa Bay Rays tomorrow at Tropicana Field, with Gerrit Cole facing Shane McClanahan. First pitch is at 7:10pm ET.