Put away the brooms: the Yankees buckled down and staved off a Blue Jays sweep with a satisfying 6-2 win. What made it even sweeter? It featured strong pitching and timely hitting from a couple of former Blue Jays in Yankees uniforms.
The Blue Jays trotted out veteran Edwin Jackson to the mound, and the Yankees made him look like a 35-year-old journeyman who has pitched for a record 14 MLB teams. Although he set them down in the first inning, it took 30 pitches to do so. The Yankees got another chance to score in the second inning, and they didn’t mess around.
DJ LeMahieu smacked a two-out double off the wall to make it 1-0, and then Aaron Hicks crushed a three-run bomb on the very next pitch, quadrupling the lead in the blink of an eye. After the Yankees had been relatively quiet offensively this week, the early hitting was a nice change of pace.
The Yankees continued their onslaught in the fourth inning. Gio Urshela, a former Blue Jay for about three months, cracked a solo home run off his old team. A friendly reminder: the Blue Jays traded Urshela to the Yankees for nothing but cash. Thanks again, Jays!
Cameron Maybin followed with a double off the wall, and LeMahieu singled him home to make it a 6-0 lead. The hit bumped LeMahieu’s average with runners in scoring position up to an absurd .490, and he added another double before the night was over. Rarely does a night go by anymore where LeMahieu doesn’t contribute.
Meanwhile, Happ enjoyed his return to Toronto. After spending six years as a Blue Jay, arguably the best stretch of his career, it was a homecoming of sorts for Happ. He made the most of it, too. His fastball was sharp and his breaking pitches induced soft contact. The left-hander made just one mistake pitch, a home run to Eric Sogard. Even though he only had four strikeouts, it was another good start for Happ, who went seven innings.
The Yankees didn’t score off of the Toronto bullpen over 5.2 innings, and it almost bit them in the ninth inning. Chad Green threw a scoreless eighth, but loaded the bases in the ninth, forcing Aaron Boone to bring in Aroldis Chapman on a night where he probably shouldn’t have had to have been used. Regardless, he mostly got out of Green’s jam, and the Yankees won 6-2 to avoid what would have been an embarrassing sweep.
The Yankees will pack up and travel to Cleveland for a three-game set starting tomorrow. For many Yankees, it might not be the last time that they travel to Cleveland this year, the host of the MLB’s 90th All-Star Game.