Series Sum-Up: Blue Jays vs. Yankees

 Lourdes Gurriel Jr. had two hits and three RBIs for the Toronto Blue Jays in his major league debut on Friday. Photo Credit: Jay Blue

Lourdes Gurriel Jr. had two hits and three RBIs for the Toronto Blue Jays in his major league debut on Friday. Photo Credit: Jay Blue

By Emily @JaysGirlEmily

Blue Jays from Away

Game 1: Thursday, April 19
Jays lose, 3-4
Losing pitcher: Aaron Sanchez

The Jays battled, but they just couldn’t take the series opener. The Yankees took a 2-0 lead in the second on three hits and an RBI ground out, none of which were hit particularly hard. After a pair of singles off C.C. Sabathia to start the third, Toronto scored their first run on a passed ball. Devon Travis hit a foul ball off his foot, but stayed in the game. In the fourth, Yangervis Solarte reached on an error, Kevin Pillar was hit with a pitch, and Luke Maile singled, bringing Solarte in as the tying run.

On his second time through the Yankee lineup, Aaron Sanchez set down eight batters in a row before walking Ronald Torreyes with one out in the fifth. Torreyes scored after a pair of singles and a force out, but Sanchez stranded the bases loaded with the score 3-2 in favour of New York. They padded their lead when Aaron Judge homered off Tyler Clippard in the seventh.

In the eighth, the Blue Jays loaded the bases with no outs, on a single and two walks. Kevin Pillar struck out, Curtis Granderson drove in a run with a single, but Randal Grichuk struck out and Justin Smoak flew out to end the inning with the bases still loaded. The side struck out (including a questionable strike one call to Travis) in the ninth. Sanchez lasted six innings, allowed three earned runs on seven hits, and walked and struck out two. Maile also threw out a pair of runners.

Game 2: Friday, April 20
JAYS WIN!!! 8-5
Winning pitcher: Marco Estrada
Save: Roberto Osuna

Marco Estrada, in his 100th game as a Blue Jay, went five innings and fell victim to the long ball, but held on for the win. He gave up a two-run homer to Tyler Austin in the second, then after the Jays tied it with a two-run Teoscar Hernandez home run, Giancarlo Stanton hit another bomb to take a 4-2 lead. Russell Martin and Kendrys Morales hit back-to-back doubles to start off the third, followed by Kevin Pillar singling and advancing on a wild pitch. Lourdes Gurriel Jr., in his first major-league game, then hit a two-RBI single to put the Jays on top, 5-4.

The Jays chased Sonny Gray from the game with one out in the third, then stranded the bases loaded. In the bottom of the fourth, the Blue Jays erased a leadoff single with a double play, but the Yankees tied it up again, on a solo home run from Miguel Andujar. Toronto managed to retake the lead off Domingo Germán in the fifth, thanks to another RBI single from Gurriel, plus a Hernandez walk with the bases loaded.

Estrada set down the side in order in the fifth, for the first time all game. His final line was five innings pitched, five earned runs on seven hits, one walk, and four strikeouts. Yangervis Solarte hit his fifth home run of the season to lead off the sixth and widen the lead.

The Toronto bullpen shut things down from there, with Seung-Hwan Oh, Danny Barnes, Ryan Tepera and Roberto Osuna each throwing a scoreless inning. All of them faced four batters, allowing a single apiece (though one was a bloop, and one involved Ronald Torreyes literally throwing his bat at the ball). Oh and Tepera had two strikeouts; the others each had one.

Game 3: Saturday, April 21
Jays lose, 1-9
Losing Pitcher: Marcus Stroman

Marcus Stroman basically cruised through his first two times through the order, save for a two-run homer to Aaron Judge in the third. One other hit, a leadoff single in the fifth inning, was erased on a double play, which Stroman started. The Blue Jays stranded the bases loaded in the third against Mike Montgomery. They scored their only run in the fifth, when Randal Grichuk led off with a walk, went first-to-third on Lourdes Gurriel Jr.’s single, and scored on Steve Pearce’s single.

Stroman hit a wall in the sixth, however, when the first four batters reached on two singles two four-pitch walks. The second run of the inning scored on a force out attempt, when catcher Luke Maile was charged with an missed catch error. After Stroman got a strikeout, Miguel Andujar hit a bases-clearing double. John Axford (Port Dover, Ont.) replaced Stroman and walked Austin Romine, then allowed a single to load the bases again. After that, a sacrifice fly and a single from Judge brought in another pair.

Aaron Loup walked two and allowed a single before stranding the bases loaded in the eighth. The Yankees bullpen didn’t allow one Blue Jay to reach base from the seventh onward. Stroman was charged with six earned runs (eight total) on four hits and four walks. He also had four strikeouts and threw two wild pitches. Toronto had four hits, New York had nine.

Game 4: Sunday, April 22
Jays lose, 1-5
Losing Pitcher: Jaime Garcia

Once again, the Jays were nearly shut down by Yankee pitching. Luis Severino went seven innings and only allowed three hits. Teoscar Hernandez hit a home run in the sixth, the only thing that prevented them from being shut out. Jaime Garcia went 5 1/3 innings, allowing a solo home run in the first to Didi Gregorius, and after a walk and a barely-fair double, another pair of runs scored on an Austin Romine double in the second.

Toronto had the leadoff man reach scoring position in each of the third and the fourth; he would be stranded both times. They hit into a double play in the sixth after a one-out walk, but had also turned one to end the inning in the fourth. When Garcia left with one out in the sixth, there were runners on the corners – Gary Sanchez, who had doubled, and Tyler Austin, who had singled. Sanchez scored when Seung-Hwan Oh allowed a double to Miguel Andujar, the first batter he faced. Aaron Hicks singled off Danny Barnes to lead off the seventh, then stole second and advanced to third when Montreal native Russell Martin’s throw hit him in the back. He scored on a sac fly two batters later.

John Axford (Port Dover, Ont.) threw the eighth and allowed an infield single, but no runs. He also got an out on a spinning throw from Lourdes Gurriel Jr. which appeared to take Justin Smoak off the base, but the out was confirmed on replay. In the top of the ninth, the Jays got two men on with one out on back-to-back walks off Aroldis Chapman, but they would be left there when the game ended. The Blue Jays had just four hits; the Yankees had nine, six of which were off Garcia.

Overall Notes:

Ahead of Friday’s game, the team announced that Kendrys Morales was being recalled from the DL, and that Lourdes Gurriel Jr. would be called up. Tim Mayza and Gift Ngoepe were sent to Buffalo. Mayza had pitched just one inning so far, with one hit, one walk, and one strikeout, and no runs allowed. Ngoepe had appeared in 12 games, starting six, and had just one hit over 18 at-bats, as well as a walk. He had struck out 12 times, and was hitting .056.

Devon Travis sat out Games 2 and 3 after taking a foul ball off the top of his foot early in Game 1. The trainers had been called out onto the field, and there was a delay in the game, but Travis played for the duration. X-rays revealed nothing was broken, but it was still swollen and causing him some pain, enough that he couldn’t run on it. He was back in the lineup on Sunday.

Weirdly Specific Record Alert:

- Luke Maile set a team record on Thursday when he got a hit in his ninth consecutive at-bat with runners in scoring position.

- Friday was the first time in history the Blue Jays have had three Cuban players in their starting lineup.

- Lourdes Gurriel Jr. is the ninth Blue Jay to drive in multiple runs in his MLB debut, and the first to do so since 2010. He’s the fourth all-time to drive in three or more runs.

- Roberto Osuna has moved into third place on the Blue Jays all-time saves list, with his 101st save on Friday.

Favourite player(s) this series: Gurriel/Hernandez

No matter what he did the rest of the series, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. would have ended up on this list solely for his performance on Friday night. The rookie impressed in his major-league debut with two hits and three RBI – the runs he drove in were the different in the Jays’ win. That’s an awesome way to make a first impression! He didn’t stop there, either, hitting another single on Saturday and smartly moving to second base on the throw. After an 0-for-3 game on Sunday, his batting average, OBP and slugging are all .273.

Teoscar Hernandez had two home runs in this series, as well as two singles and a walk. He drove in four runs and scored three times.

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Emily

Emily is a Communications student who grew up with a Roy Halladay poster on the back of her door. A baseball history nerd, she played softball for nine years and changes her favourite Blue Jay on a regular basis. She fondly remembers going to her first Jays game at age six with her father, and spending the whole time staring at the elevators going up the CN Tower.