The Yankees’ bats were lifeless, Toronto bats hit the ball very hard and Aaron Boone’s Wild Card leaders lost their fourth in a row. If you’re thinking you’ve heard that story before, you’re wrong, because this one gets worse. The team also watched Gerrit Cole walk off the mound in the middle of the fourth with a member of the team’s medical staff with what we later learned was a hamstring issue.
After retiring four of the first five batters he faced, Cole ran into a little trouble in the second inning. With one out, Toronto DH Alejandro Kirk lofted a home run into the right-field seats, giving the Blue Jays a 1-0 lead. Cole got out of the inning without further damage, inducing a Lourdes Gurriel Jr. groundball and getting a lineout to right field from Jake Lamb, but both balls were hit well; in fact, Kirk’s home run struck at 100.4 was the softest hit ball of the three. If you’re a believer in foreshadowing, it certainly got your attention.
The Yankees got the run back in the bottom of the third inning thanks to the kid from the Bronx. Andrew Velazquez led off the inning with a single, and then promptly stole second base and advanced to third base on a deep fly to center off the bat of Aaron Judge. From there, a two-out RBI single from Anthony Rizzo tied the game at one run apiece. Embarrassingly, that was the end of the night as far as the Yankees’ offense was concerned.
Cole escaped damage in the third despite allowing a hit and a walk, but the ace ran into more trouble in the top of the fourth. After a Teoscar Hernández double and a Kirk single – a groundball, that while not an easy play, I’d bet DJ LeMahieu would say he should have snared – Gurriel Jr. gave the Jays the lead again with a sacrifice fly. Another sacrifice fly from Reese McGuire plated another run, and extended the Jays’ lead to 3-1.
To make matters worse, Gerrit Cole called a trainer and manager Aaron Boone out to the mound after the at-bat and came out of the game shortly thereafter with what we learned later was “hamstring tightness” according to the team. Albert Abreu came on to end the inning, but after three and a half, the Yankees were down two runs and one ace.
In the fifth, Marcus Semien continued to beat up Yankee pitching when he turned around a 97-mph Abreu fastball on the inner half and deposited it in the left-field seats to extend the Toronto lead to 4-1. To paraphrase Yogi Berra, it was getting late pretty early for the Yankees.
Abreu, Joely Rodríguez, and Clay Holmes held Toronto hitless until there were two outs in the top of the eighth inning when Alejandro Kirk got his third hit of the night and his second home run, extending Toronto’s lead to 5-1. With the manner in which the Yankees have (not) been swinging the bats, it may as well have been 10-1.
The Yankees’ lifeless bats were unable to do anything else of note on the night and went down rather quietly, with a final score of 5-1. If you’ve been a fan that has said the Yankees need to swing for the fences less, and just put the ball in play more, you should hope no one saw this game. The Yankees had eight hits, all singles. If the other team hits three homers on their way to five runs, you’re going to need A LOT of singles. The Yankees' lack of punch has been a problem all year and it was on full display tonight, to a maddening degree.
The Yankees will try to end the losing streak at four tomorrow against the Jays once again. Rookie Luis Gil gets the ball against Alek Manoah, and he will have to do his best to preserve his 0.00 ERA with the not-so-much Bombers behind him. First pitch is at 7:05 pm ET.