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Tommy Kahnle allows big home run, Yankees fall to Blue Jays 4-3

The Bombers dropped the series opener on Friday night

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at New York Yankees Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Hits didn’t come too frequently throughout the first five innings, but when they did, they most likely went for home runs.

The Blue Jays took the first lead of the game, but it didn’t last long. Aaron Judge led off for the Yankees in the bottom of the fourth, and the slugger hit his 25th home run of the season. The solo shot went into the left-field bleachers to tie the game.

The homers didn’t stop there either. Jacob Waguespack pitched a total of 5 innings, striking out six, allowing three earned runs and two home runs. After allowing a lead-off single to Brett Gardner in the top of the fifth, Waguespack almost worked out of the inning unscathed. Tyler Wade, however, had other plans. After watching Judge’s home run, Wade decided the right-field bleachers needed a souvenir as well; he hit his second home of the season, giving the Yankees a 3-2 lead.

J.A. Happ, on the other hand, had a strong night, making only two mistakes. With the score knotted at zero in the top of the fourth, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. came up to bat with one out and Cavan Biggio on second. Guerrero Jr. singled up the middle, but a Gleyber Torres injury-scare allowed the runner to score. Torres fielded the ball, but slipped in the process. That prevented him from throwing the ball, and he remained on the ground in visible pain, but would stay in for the moment.

Happ’s biggest mistake of the night, however, came against Danny Jansen. The catcher put a 91.6 mph four-seam fastball into the left-field seats, making it 2-1 in favor of the Jays. All considered, the left-hander threw a total of 5.1 innings, allowing zero walks, striking out four, and surrendering two earned runs.

With a tight game going in to the top of the seventh, the Yankees made a few changes. Tommy Kahnle took the mound and Torres departed for Gio Ursehla. Fortunately for the Yankees, the switch for Urshela currently seems like a cautionary move rather than a necessary one. Kahnle would strike out three batters that innings, but a walk to Teoscar Hernandez and a homer by Justin Smoak gave the Blue Jays a 4-3 advantage.

Since it is September and roster expands to a maximum of 40, bullpens seem to have a never ending supply of arms. That would be the case in the bottom of the seventh as the Yankees went down 1-2-3 versus Buddy Boshers and Sam Gaviglio. The Yankees would do the same to the Blue Jays in the top of the eighth, taking it a step further using three relievers in Cory Gearrin, Tyler Lyons, and Ben Heller.

After a strike-em out, throw-em out double play, Judge pulled a double down the left-field line to put the tying run at second. Gregorius worked a walk, but Ursehla couldn’t provide the hit needed to tie the game.

Ben Heller appeared in the top of the ninth and found himself in some trouble. With two outs and Guerrero Jr. on second, the Yankees decided to intentionally walk Smoak to face the right-handed Jansen. Heller got the second strikeout of his relief appearance and worked his way out of a first and second jam.

Ken Giles took the mound to close things out for Toronto and he did so with some help from umpire Joe West. Gardner was ahead in the count 3-1 and saw a fastball outside of the plate called a strike; West surely heard Gardner’s opinion on the matter. Giles continued to throw strikes and Gardner would later hit a fly ball to center. The Jays closer then struck out pinch hitter Mike Ford to end the game.

The Yankees will look to rebound tomorrow with James Paxton taking the mound looking to continue his second half success.