Maybe all it takes is the Blue Jays coming to town to get the Yankees back on track. The Bombers’ offense exploded with a six-run first, capped off by Greg Bird’s grand slam. J.A. Happ also improved to 4-0 in pinstripes. Add that together and you get New York downing Toronto 10-2 to sweep the series.
Rookie southpaw Ryan Borucki made his tenth career start for the Blue Jays today, and the Bombers scored six times before he recorded a single out. Aaron Hicks and Giancarlo Stanton drew walks to open the home half of the first. Both came around to score on back-to-back RBI-singles from Miguel Andujar and Didi Gregorius. Gleyber Torres reached on an infield single to load the bases, setting the stage for Bird’s big blast.
The slumping first baseman got a hold of a sinker and drove it into the second deck down the right-field line to give the Yankees a commanding 6-1 lead. It was Bird’s second grand slam of the season. The 25-year-old joins Mark Teixeira (2016, ‘15), Don Mattingly (1987), and Lou Gehrig (1927, ‘30, ‘31, ‘32, ‘34, ‘36) as the only Yankees first basemen to hit multiple grand slams in the same season.
New York fell into an early hole when Randal Grichuk blasted a bases empty home run off Happ with two-outs in the first inning. The lefty allowed the next two batters to reach on singles before settling down to record the final out of the inning. Happ coughed up another solo homer in the sixth, this time to Kendrys Morales, but was otherwise great. Happ allowed just the two runs on seven hits over 5.1 innings, while walking one and striking out eight batters. He pushes his record to 4-0 since donning the pinstripes.
Unfortunately, there was bad news as well. Didi was injured on his first-inning single. He bounced a slow grounder to the second-base hole, with Blue Jays second baseman Devon Travis ranging far to his left to field the ball on the outfield grass. He threw late and off-line to first baseman Morales, who had his back turned to Gregorius as the Yankees shortstop crossed the bag. Didi tried to avoid the collision, and appeared to come down awkwardly.
Although he was attended to by the trainer and initially remained in the game, Gregorius was replaced by Torres at shortstop two innings later, with Ronald Torreyes entering the game and taking over at the keystone. It was subsequently announced that Didi was sent to the hospital for further testing on his injured heel. After the game, Boone said there was “significant swelling.” It appears Didi is headed to the disabled list.
The Yankees added four insurance runs in the sixth. Brett Gardner singled, Hicks walked, and Stanton drove Gardy home with a single.. The Bombers scored their eighth run when Andujar reached on a close force play. He appeared to be out, but replay review upheld the safe call on the field. Torreyes doubled, Torres was intentionally walked to load the bases, and Kyle Higashioka drove in New York’s final two runs with a single to center field.
Jonathan Holder hurled 1.2 perfect innings in relief of Happ, but Sonny Gray threatened to make it a game with his spotty mop-up performance. He pitched around a double in the eighth, and loaded the bases in the ninth before finally closing out the win.
It was a great win for the Bombers to cap the sweep. Every starter got a hit and contributed to the scoring except Shane Robinson. Torreyes went 3-for-4 after entering the game for the injured Gregorius. The Yankees were 6-for-12 today with runners in scoring position.
With the victory, the Yankees improve their record to 78-46 and move to 32 games over .500 for the first time this year. After playing 20 straight days, the club finally gets a well-deserved day off tomorrow. The Bombers resume action on Tuesday, when they begin a two-game series in Miami. Masahiro Tanaka (9-4, 4.03 ERA) faces off against Pablo Lopez (2-3, 4.79 ERA) in the opener.