Today's one of those glorious days where instead of one game, we happen to have two. The Yankees looked to make up some ground in the division after losing last night's series opener 11-5, and for a while they had a solid lead - but after some Blue Jay bombs and some bad pitching from the Yankees pen, New York dropped to three and a half back before the night cap.
Michael Pineda took on Jays starter Marco Estrada, and early on, Pineda had everything working early - his fastball was sharp and darting this way and that, and his slider, the pitch his effectiveness really depends on, had quite a bit of bite. The Yankees took the lead right away, as Brett Gardner hit a solo shot in the bottom of the first to give the Yankees the advantage.
The Yankees added another in the second when Chase Headley rocked another solo shot into the right field seats, giving the Yankees a 2-0 lead. At the end of the second, though, a shallow pop fly in center led to Troy Tulowitzki and Kevin Pillar colliding. Due to some soreness, Tulowitzki ended up leaving the game, and while initial X-rays were negative, he would not return.
In the top of the fourth, the Blue Jays got on the board with - what else- a home run. Jose Bautista hit a fly ball that would've stayed in most other parks, but since he hit it to right, it managed to sneak into the first row and out of the park.
The Yankees responded, though, in the bottom of the fourth with another home run (this game had a lot of homers, if you can't tell). Brian McCann singled and Alex Rodriguez followed that up with an opposite field home run of his own, making it 4-1 Yankees. Toronto quickly got back to hitting homers, though, as Ben Revere (he of three career long balls), managed to just sneak one out of the park off Pineda. Jose Bautista shortly worked a walk and then Edwin Encarnacion decided it was rude for everyone to hit home runs but him, so he roped a line drive out to left, tying the game at four.
So it stayed until the eighth. With Dellin Betances in the game, Bautista did what he does - hit home runs. He hit a bomb to dead center, giving the Blue Jays the lead for the first time today and putting a lot of pressure on the Yankees to find some kind of late-inning magic. And they did (at least initially). They quickly loaded the bases in the eighth, and McCann delivered, singling to right-center to tie the game. While the Yankees couldn't push one more across to take the lead, they'd managed to hang in it.
After Roberto Osuna and Andrew Miller proved nigh unhittable, it became a battle of bullpens...a battle the Yankees sadly lost. In the 11th, with Justin Wilson, Betances, and Miller already used, the Yankees turned to youngster Bryan Mitchell to keep them in the game, and he simply had no command. He walked a batter, hit another, then issued another walk. After getting Dioner Navarro to strike out, Joe Girardi pulled him in favor of Chasen Shreve - who also couldn't throw strikes. Shreve proved even worse, immediately walking Russell Martin (to score the go-ahead run), and then proceeding to give up a single before issuing two more walks. It felt like so many more. By the time Nick Goody came in to mop up the mess, the Blue Jays had taken a 9-5 lead, a lead they'd hold to take the first game of the day in the Bronx.
Overall, Pineda looked good, but he made a couple mistakes up, and that's all it takes with the Blue Jays lineup. The Yankees played well until the 11th, when the lesser arms in their bullpen really let them down. They'll look back on their inability to score another run in the 8th, when they had the bases loaded an one out and couldn't push manage to score the go-ahead run.
Tonight, Marcus Stroman makes his season debut against Ivan Nova.