Series Sum-Up: Yankees vs. Blue Jays

Josh Donaldson clubbed a game-winning home run in the eighth inning of the Toronto Blue Jays' series finale against the New York Yankees on Sunday. Photo Credit: Jay Blue

Josh Donaldson clubbed a game-winning home run in the eighth inning of the Toronto Blue Jays' series finale against the New York Yankees on Sunday. Photo Credit: Jay Blue

By: Emily (@JaysGirlEmily)

Canadian Baseball Network

Game 1: Thursday, June 1
Jays lose, 2-12
Losing pitcher: Marco Estrada

Marco Estrada’s struggles with the 1st inning continued, as he allowed four runs in the first in this contest. Brett Gardner hit a leadoff double, and scored on an Aaron Judge single. Estrada allowed another single which snuck under Darwin Barney’s glove, then walked Starlin Castro to load the bases before Aaron Hicks hit a two-out, bases-clearing double. The Yankees padded their lead with a Gary Sanchez home run in the 2nd. The Jays went down in order in the first inning, then got two singles to start the 2nd, but two fly outs ensured they were left there. 

A Josh Donaldson double was stranded in the 3rd, Sanchez hit another home run in the 4th – a two-run shot this time – and Estrada was done. He’d allowed seven runs, all earned, on nine hits in 3.2 innings. He’d also walked a pair and struck out four. The Yankees weren’t done there, as Barney made an error on a two-out Didi Gregorius ground ball in the 7th, Gregorius scored on an Aaron Hicks double, and Chase Headley drove in Hicks. Those runs were charged to Leonel Campos, who had not allowed a hit in the three innings before the error. In the 9th, J.P. Howell allowed a trio of runs on a double and two singles.

Two long fly balls in early innings by Blue Jays hitters came really close to leaving the park, and might have - had the roof been open. As it was, they got two runs all night, both on solo home runs: one to Kendrys Morales in the 7th, the other to Ezequiel Carrera in the 8th. Toronto had seven hits, and the Yankees had fifteen.

Game 2: Friday, June 2
JAYS WIN!! 7-5
Winning Pitcher: Francisco Liriano
Save: Roberto Osuna

In his first start since May 10, Francisco Liriano shut out the Yankees for the first 5 innings. His team gave him a lead with a pair of home runs in the 1st – a Josh Donaldson solo shot, and a Justin Smoak 2-run bomb which cashed in a Jose Bautista walk. Liriano loaded the bases in the 3rd with a double and two walks, but Matt Holliday grounded into a double play, getting the Jays out of the jam. The Jays tacked on another run with a Smoak sac fly, again scoring Bautista, who had walked. In the 4th, Luke Maile and Bautista singled, then Maile scored on a wild pitch, putting the Jays ahead 5-0.

Liriano needed just six pitches in the 4th inning, and struck out the side in the 5th, but ran into trouble in the 6th when Gary Sanchez led off with a single and Aaron Judge homered. That ended Liriano’s night, after 5.0+ innings, 2 earned runs, four hits, two walks, and five strikeouts. Danny Barnes came in, walked the first batter, and then gave up a two-run homer to Starlin Castro. That put the Yankees within a run, before there was an out that inning. Josh Donaldson added a run with another solo homer in the bottom half of the inning, making it 6-4 Jays.

In the 7th, Ryan Tepera came on with one out, and after striking out Gary Sanchez, walked Aaron Judge on a borderline full-count pitch. Judge scored on a Matt Holliday double that Kevin Pillar misjudged. With the tying run on second, Tepera composed himself enough to strike out Castro and preserve the lead. Justin Smoak led off with an infield single, Troy Tulowitzki doubled, and Devon Travis scored Smoak with a sac fly. Joe Smith pitched a clean 8th, and Osuna faced down the heart of the Yankee order, which ended with a 3-pitch swinging strikeout of Judge.

Game 3: Saturday, June 3
Jays lose, 0-7
Losing Pitcher: Joe Biagini

This lopsided score was more the fault of the defense and the bullpen than of the losing pitcher. Joe Biagini allowed just a walk through the first two innings, before a one-out Troy Tulowitzki error allowed Rob Refsnyder to reach in the 3rd. Refsnyder stole second, then scored on an Aaron Hicks double. Hicks would then score on an Aaron Judge double – but both runs were unearned. The Yankees starter, Jordan Montgomery, had never faced the Blue Jays before. They got two walks off him in the 2nd, both with one out, but nothing came of it. In the 3rd, Luke Maile and Kevin Pillar hit back-to-back singles to start the inning, but both were stranded.

Another pair of Jays runners were stranded in the 5th, as Maile got his second hit of the night. Biagini didn’t allow a runner in the 4th, 5th, or 6th, but then back-to-back doubles to lead off the 7th put the Yankees up 3-0. Montgomery shut down the Jays for 6 innings, they only had three hits (all singles) and three walks against him. Biagini went 7 innings, had three runs allowed (one earned) on four hits and one walk, plus six strikeouts.

Jason Grilli took over in the 8th, and the first batter he faced (Brett Gardner) homered. Two outs later, Matt Holliday homered. Then Starlin Castro and Didi Gregorius did the same. By the time J.P. Howell came in and got Chase Headley to ground out, the deficit had gone from three runs to seven. Nothing else happened offensively for the Jays after that, except for a Tulowitzki walk in the 9th. The Yankees did not hit one single all game.

Game 4: Sunday, June 4
JAYS WIN!! 3-2
Starting Pitcher: Marcus Stroman
Winning Pitcher: Joe Smith
Save: Roberto Osuna

Marcus Stroman retired the first seven Yankee batters he faced, then Chase Headley singled in the 3rd. Headley stole second base, and Luke Maile threw to second, but the throw was wide and Devon Travis waved his glove awkwardly at Headley’s leg while trying to tag him out. Kevin Pillar walked in the 1st, then singled in the 3rd, but he was the only baserunner for the Jays until Kendrys Morales doubled in the 4th. None of them scored.

In the top of the 4th, Aaron Judge singled and stole second, then got to third when Maile made a throwing error. Matt Holliday doubled to bring him in. Maile eventually caught a baserunner in the 5th, when Didi Gregorius tried to steal second base. A Devon Travis leadoff single was erased by a double play in the 5th, and the Yankees increased their lead to 2-0 on a single, a walk, and a Matt Holliday force out in the 6th. The Blue Jays tied it up with a two-out, two-run Justin Smoak home run in the bottom half.

Travis made up for his earlier awkward tag attempt when he turned a 4-3 double play in the 7th, tagging out Aaron Hicks on the basepath before throwing to first. Travis was then hit in the hand/wrist area with a pitch when he was batting in the 7th- he stayed in to run, but eventually left the game. Tyler Clippard replaced Luis Severino in the 8th, and promptly allowed a leadoff home run to Josh Donaldson. That gave the Jays a 3-2 lead, which they would not relinquish. Roberto Osuna struck out Judge, Holliday, and Starlin Castro on eleven pitches to record his thirteenth save of the year. All three at-bats ended with a swinging strike on Osuna’s slider.

Overall Notes:

The Blue Jays were an unbelievable 0-for-24 with runners in scoring position this series. Thank goodness for home runs, I guess.

Russell Martin missed the last three games of the series with soreness in his neck. He’d played third base on Thursday, but appeared to wince a few times while at the plate.

Weirdly Specific Record Alert:

·         After hitting two home runs on Friday, Josh Donaldson now has more multi-home run games (8) than any other third baseman in team history.

·         Jason Grilli was the first Blue Jays reliever to give up four home runs in the same game.

·         As well, Grilli became the first Blue Jays pitcher to ever give up four home runs in one inning.

My Favourite Player(s) of the week: Donaldson/Maile/Osuna

Josh Donaldson had four hits over the course of the series, but all were for extra bases – one double and three home runs. He also walked once, and drove in three. His home run Sunday put the Jays on top, and the two on Friday made the difference in a game the Jays won by 2.

Luke Maile had all of four hits on the season coming into this series, and then he got a hit in every game – two in Game 3 – to end up at 5-for-13 (.385) for the series, more than doubling his season hit total.

Roberto Osuna made two appearances in this series, both times facing the heart of the Yankee lineup with a slim margin for error (two runs on Friday, one run on Sunday). He didn't even allow a baserunner, and got four strikeouts between the two innings. In fact, only three of the 19 pitches he threw Yankees hitters were balls. 

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The 2017 Toronto Blue Jays Minor League Handbook is now available! Visit the Handbook page for more information!