Saturday, August 20, 2022

Jays Jolt Yanks To Take Third Straight At Stadium

Yankees starting pitcher Gerrit Cole firing one to Alejandro Kirk in the first inning. Photo by Jason Schott.

The Toronto Blue Jays beat the Yankees, 5-2, on Saturday afternoon at Yankee Stadium, as they have now won the first three games in this series and have cut the Yankees' lead in the American League East down to seven games.

The Yankees fall to 73-48, and have now lost five of six on this homestand, and nine of their last 11 games. Toronto improved to 65-54, just six games behind the Yankees in the loss column, and will look to complete the four-game sweep on Sunday afternoon.

"We've got to do better," an agitated Yankees Manager Aaron Boone said. in his postgame press conference. "We need to do better, put that on auto tomorrow. We need to do better...

"We had chances to grab that game, take that game, didn't, and that's where we are right now. You've got to find a way when it's really difficult, and it's really difficult right now."

What really set Boone off was when a reporter informed him that this is the first time since 1985 that the Yankees have lost six series in a row, and he answered that question thusly: "It's just...crap, I mean we've answered all these questions and regards, we've answered them until we're blue in the face, we've gotta go out and do it. I gotta quit answering questions about this gate and this perplexion, we gotta play better! Period! And the great thing is it's right in front of us!," to which the Yankees skipper pounded the table.

"It's right here and we can fix it. It's right here, it's there and we can run away with this thing, and we've got the dudes in there to do it. We've gotta do it. If we don't score, tough to win, and I'll answer these same questions, am I perplexed? Yeah, I am, we gotta do better, and you know, the good thing is, 1985, not sure how that season ended for the Yankees, probably second or third place, good thing is we are in first place, and we've got the pen. Reggie tells me all the time, we've got the pen. We get to write the script the rest of the way. No one else can get in our way if we play our game, and that's what we've got to do. We got to stop talking about it, you know, got to go do it." 

The Yankees had a little different look to their lineup in this one, as Manager Aaron Boone moved Aaron Judge to the third spot in the order, and had DJ LeMahieu and Andrew Beninendi ahead of him.

In the first, against Toronto starter Mitch White, it appeared to work, as Benintendi and Judge got one-out singles, but then Anthony Rizzo popped out to third base, and Gleyber Torres grounded to third.

They went right back at it in the second, as Jose Trevino had a one-out double, then Isiah Kiner Falefa reached on a throwing error by shortstop Bo Bichette, who was way too nonchalant getting the ball over and threw it wide of the bag. 

Estevan Florial responded and got a single to left field for his first Major League RBI, and it brought in Trevino to make it 1-0 Yankees.

They couldn't add to it, as LeMahieu struck out and Benintendi grounded out to second.

In the fourth, Benintendi found himself with a chance to redeem himself, as he came up with two on and two out after LeMahieu singled to keep the inning alive, but he grounded softly back to the pitcher. That made it four runners Benintendi left on base, so the move by Boone to slip him in there for Judge certainly backfired.

Meanwhile, Yankees starter Gerrit Cole sailed through the first four innings, as he didn't allow a hit, and got some superb defense, as Judge leaped over the fence to nab a fly ball by Bo Bichette with one out in the second inning, and Oswaldo Cabrera leaped into the tarp to grab a pop-up by Jackie Bradley, Jr.

However, that all turned in the fifth, and Benintendi's tough afternoon continued on defense. With one out, Santiago Espinal hit one into the left field corner that Benintendi had a chance for, but he whiffed on the catch, letting him race into second for a double.

Danny Jansen followed with a walk, and Bradley, Jr., then hit a double to bring in Espinal and Jansen to make it 2-1 Toronto.

Raimel Tapia and Vladimir Guerrero, Jr., followed with singles to load the bases, and then Alejandro Kirk hit a rocket up the left-center field gap that a running Benintendi was a step short of catching.

Kirk would get a double, and Bradley, Jr., and Tapia scored easily, and Guerrero, Jr., was right on Tapia's heels, but he was thrown out at the plate, keeping the Jays' lead at 4-1.

The aftermath of the crazy play at the plate in the fifth, as Toronto's Vladmir Guerrero, Jr., who was out, walked back to the dugout, followed by Raimel Tapia and Jackie Bradley, Jr. Photo by Jason Schott.

White would not come out for the fifth for Toronto, so his final line was: 4 innings pitched, 7 hits, 1 run (all earned), 0 walks, 5 strikeouts.

Cole stayed on and pitched a perfect sixth to finish his afternoon, and his line was: 6 innings pitched, 5 hits, 4 runs (all earned), 2 walks, 5 strikeouts, 1 hit batter.

Toronto turned the game over to their excellent bullpen in the sixth, as Adam Cimber worked around a Trevino single and notched two K's to pitch a perfect sixth. Ex-Yankee David Phelps worked around a Benintendi walk, and got a strikeout of Judge, to pitch a perfect seventh. 

In the eighth, Gleyber Torres greeted Jays reliever Zach Pop with a blast to right field for a solo shot, his 18th of the season , and his 50th RBI, and that made it 4-2. Pop then retired the next three Yanks to get out of the inning.

Toronto got that run back in the ninth when Matt Chapman blasted a solo home run to center field, into the net above Monument Park, to make it 5-2. That was Chapman's 24th home run of the season, to go along with 61 RBI, in his first year in Toronto after they brought him in from Oakland.

Yimi Garcia retired the Yankees in order in the ninth, and fittingly, Benintendi made the last out with a pop-up to right field, caught by his old Royals teammate Whit Merrifield.

Andrew Benintendi watching his fly ball go for the final out of the game as he crossed first base. Photo by Jason Schott.

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