The Bombers got on the board immediately with back-to-back home runs off southpaw starter J.A. Happ. Brett Gardner — who often bats ninth or sits against lefties — led off the game by belting Happ’s first pitch over the right-center field wall. Four pitches later, Aaron Judge launched his 25th home run of the year to virtually the same spot. Happ then walked Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Hicks, but nearly escaped further damage by striking out Miguel Andujar and Didi Gregorius.
Got the jacks goin' back to back. pic.twitter.com/YD3tcfKwho— New York Yankees (@Yankees) July 7, 2018
Brandon Drury then knocked in both runners with one of those wacky astro-turf doubles. He hit a short fly ball which bounced a few feet in front of Blue Jays center fielder Kevin Pillar and then bounded over his head. The play was backed up brilliantly by right-fielder Randal Grichuk, preventing Drury from racing around the bases for an inside-the-park home run. The Yankees would have taken a 5-0 lead on the next at-bat, were it not for the spectacular diving catch by left-fielder Curtis Granderson to snare Kyle Higashioka’s line drive to end the inning.
New York failed to score in the second, despite a bases-loaded with one-out opportunity, and Toronto halved the lead in the home half. Justin Smoak led off with a single, Kendrys Morales struck out on three pitches, and then Kevin Pillar deposited Severino’s 0-1 offering over the left-field fence.
The Yankees responded by scoring three times in the top of the third. Gregorius walked, Greg Bird drew a two-out walk, and Gardner plated them both with a triple over everyone’s head into the left-center field gap. Gardy later scored on a passed ball.
A first-pitch leadoff homer, a walk, and now, a two-run triple for Brett Gardner! (Oh, and he just scored on a wild pitch, too, to make it 7-2).#YANKSonYES live stream: https://t.co/UJI9zwccXJ pic.twitter.com/bAylgzEUWf— YES Network (@YESNetwork) July 7, 2018
In the frame, CC Sabathia was ejected by home-plate umpire Lance Barrett after Higashioka was called out on strikes for the second out of the inning. Sabathia was heard yelling at Barrett from the bench, and drew a quick ejection. I love seeing CC stand up for his teammates. I hope he remains in pinstripes forever.
Sabathia may be the leader of this team, but Severino is its undisputed ace. Sevy wasn’t his usual dominant self today, but he was still great. Pillar’s second-inning home run ended Sevy’s scoreless streak at 15 innings. The righty also coughed up a solo homer to Grichuk in the fourth. The two homers off Severino was very uncharacteristic, as he entered today having allowed only six long balls all year.
Severino threw 97 pitches to complete five innings and was replaced by Jonathan Holder for the sixth. He gave up a run on two hits, and David Robertson and Dellin Betances followed with a scoreless inning of relief apiece. Aroldis Chapman was deprived of a save opportunity when the Yankees took an 8-4 lead in the top of the ninth. Andujar led off the frame with his 25th double, and Didi singled him home.
Chapman came in to pitch the bottom of the ninth anyway, but was removed from the game after retiring the leadoff hitter. He appeared to come down awkwardly on his tendonitis-afflicted knee. According to Suzyn Waldman, Chapman’s removal may have been precautionary. After the game, she reported that Chapman wanted to continue pitching, but manager Aaron Boone insisted on removing him, “just to be safe.”
Despite the win, it was not a good night for the Yankees, health-wise. Hicks left the game in the bottom of the fifth due to a cramp in his left leg. Hopefully, neither injury is serious.
Chasen Shreve replaced Chapman and retired the first batter he faced, but then gave up a towering home run to Aledmys Diaz which landed in the center-field seats. Shreve rebounded to strike out Teoscar Hernandez on a foul tip to close out the victory.
It was an interesting day at the plate for the Yankees. They got nine hits and drew 10 walks while striking out 12 times. The Bombers stranded 11 runners. Severino’s final line was three runs on five hits with two walks and five strikeouts. The Yankees are now 17-2 in games started by Sevy.
With the victory, the Yankees improve their record to 57-29. They go for the series win tomorrow as Domingo German (2-4, 5.37 ERA) faces off against fellow rookie Ryan Borucki (0-1, 2.77 ERA). First pitch is set for 1:07 PM EDT.