The slumping Yankees dropped their second straight series to a bad team this weekend, losing the rubber game to the Blue Jays in heartbreaking fashion at Yankee Stadium. The Bombers took an early 2-0 lead, but couldn’t hold on or add to it. They lost the game 3-2.
The Yankees deployed the pitching system they are expected to use in the playoffs, where they allow the starter to go through the opposing lineup twice, and then turn the ball over to the vaunted bullpen. The flaw in that system was on full display today, however.
Starter Lance Lynn pitched a great game for the Yankees. He went five strong innings, allowing one run on just three hits. He walked only one batter, while striking out seven. Toronto scratched a soft run off Lynn, but were otherwise unable to get anything going at all against the right-hander.
Leadoff hitter Andrew McCutchen put the Yankees on the board immediately in the bottom of the first. Cutch sent a ball over the bullpen in left-center field to give the Bombers a quick 1-0 lead. It was the the former MVP’s fourth home run in 14 games as a Yankee.
The Bombers added a second run against rookie southpaw Thomas Pannone in the frame. Giancarlo Stanton walked and moved to third on an Aaron Hicks groundball single to right. After Miguel Andujar popped out, Didi Gregorius drove in Stanton with a shallow sac fly to center. It appeared to be a risky send, but the throw home was off the line and Stanton scored standing up.
Pannone settled down, and the Yankees were unable to get anything going against the 24-year-old for the remainder of his outing. They managed only five baserunners off Pannone and the bullpen for the rest of the game. Didi banged a two-out single in the ninth, but closer Ken Giles struck out Gary Sanchez swinging to end the game.
Toronto scored its lone run off Lynn in the third. Richard Urena singled up the middle, moved to second on a fielder’s choice, and scored on a little bloop double that dunked in down the third-base line. Lynn was otherwise dominant, but got the hook to start the sixth despite throwing only 80 pitches.
David Robertson pitched two frames, allowing one batter to reach on a walk. Dellin Betances came in for the eighth, didn’t have his best stuff, and coughed up the lead. Single, strikeout, single, RBI single, and the game was tied. Betances then allowed a hard double down the right-field line, and the Blue Jays took a 3-2 lead.
With the loss, the Yankees fall to 91-58. They missed an opportunity to put some distance between themselves and the upstart Athletics. Oakland lost to the Rays today, so the Bombers maintain a slim 1.5 game lead for the top Wild Card berth.
Following a day off tomorrow, the Yankees host the first-place Red Sox in a three-game series beginning on Tuesday. Boston clinches the AL East with a win in any of the three games, while New York’s magic number to clinch a playoff spot stands at five. J.A. Happ (16-6, 3.75 ERA) faces off against Nathan Eovaldi (5-7, 4.22 ERA) in the opener. Join us for the early start at 1:05 PM EDT.