The Yankees faced the Toronto Blue Jays in the rubber match of a three-game set on Sunday afternoon. Masahiro Tanaka took the mound for New York, and Marcus Stroman for Toronto. Stroman came into the game with nine career starts in Yankee Stadium with a 2-5 record and 6.37 ERA.
After going down 1-2-3 in the first inning, the Yanks would have quite the different second. Luke Voit reached on an infield single to start the inning, then Gleyber Torres followed by ripping a double down the left field line, advancing Voit to third. Gio Urshela laced a single in left, driving both of the runners home and giving the Yankees an early 2-0 lead. With that single, Urshela is batting a .362 with runners in scoring position.
Masahiro Tanaka cruised through his first four innings, allowing no runs and just two hits. The fifth inning, however, gave him some trouble. Randal Grichuk led off with a 428-foot bomb that rang off the back of the Yankees’ bullpen. With that shot, the Blue Jays cut the deficit to one. Three batters later, Eric Sogard took a high fastball into the short-porch to tie the ballgame. That homer had an expected batting average of .080. See, other teams can take advantage of Yankee Stadium too!
The game wouldn’t be tied for long, though. Aaron Judge stepped to the plate with Urshela on third and DJ LeMahieu on first. Judge didn’t even have to put the ball in play to score Urshela. Stroman yanked a fastball that went to the backstop and Urshela scored on the wild pitch. He was originally called out, but after the Yankees’ challenge, replay revealed that he was able to sneak his left foot in before getting tagged by catcher Danny Jansen. Heading into the top of the sixth, it was Gio Urshela 3, Toronto Blue Jays 2.
After review, Gio Urshela is ruled safe at the plate. So, #Yankees retake the lead on a wild pitch. Pretty amazing that Urshela got in there. pic.twitter.com/EWEsX0VXnu— Tom Hanslin (@TomHanslin) July 14, 2019
Adam Ottavino entered the game in the seventh, ending Tanaka’s day. Masa went six innings, giving up four hits, striking out five and surrendered two solo home runs. It was his 10th start of six or more innings and two or fewer runs, which is tied for fifth in the American League.
Ottavino faced just two Blue Jays before Aaron Boone called on Tommy Kahnle to face Rowdy Tellez, Eric Sogard, and Freddy Galvis—all left-handed batters. Why? Lefties were hitting just .194 against Kahnle, and after the inning was over, that average lowered to .188 with a 40% strikeout rate.
Derek Law started the seventh for the Jays, replacing Stroman. This was a very important game for Stro as he has been swirled in trade rumors, including some to the Bronx. He hurled six innings with seven hits, three runs, and seven punch-outs. His line may look worse than he actually pitched. Two of his three earned runs were by runners who reached on infield singles. Stroman going six innings and allowing only three runs is a quality start. Because of how poorly the Blue Jays have been, Stro now leads the majors with five losses in 12 total quality starts.
Law got Austin Romine to strike out to begin his outing, but Mike Tauchman greeted Law with a visit to the bleachers in right. It was his fifth homer of 2019, and surprisingly, the Yankees’ first long ball of the second half. The Bombers extended their lead to 4-2.
Cool. Good Tauch. pic.twitter.com/B8Q3Eue2TZ— New York Yankees (@Yankees) July 14, 2019
Aroldis Chapman entered the ninth seeking his league-leading 25th save, and would achieve it with ease by setting down his opponents in order. The Yankees took the series and defeated the Blue Jays by a final score of 4-2.
The Bombers head into a big four-game set with the Tampa Bay Rays with a six-game division lead. That series will start tomorrow in the Bronx with James Paxton on the mound.