Get used to Yankees/Blue Jays games like this, folks. These are two good teams and this game could have gone either way. Luckily for the Bronx Bombers, Gleyber Torres decided to put the team on his back today, propelling the Yankees to their 10th straight victory, 3-2. Let’s get to the details.
Defense was the story early tonight, and the Blue Jays’ defensive coaches were the undoubted stars of the top half of the second inning. After a perfectly-placed Santiago Espinal snagged a 96-mph shot off the bat of Josh Donaldson to record an easy out, he did the exact same thing to Torres, who hit a 106.7-mph rocket back up the middle. Alas, nothing to show for it.
Not to be outdone, the Yanks flashed the leather in the bottom half. Matt Chapman smoked a fly ball 353 feet to the right-field wall. Giancarlo Stanton, in right tonight with Judge playing center and Joey Gallo on the bench, tracked the ball all the way, elevated, and used every inch of his considerable frame to make the catch, thus robbing Chapman of an extra-base hit.
Giancar-no, no, no *finger wave* pic.twitter.com/ICC3r6cUVe— New York Yankees (@Yankees) May 2, 2022
The Jays’ infield can’t be perfectly placed on every hitter though. Leading off the third inning, Isiah Kiner-Falefa hit a seeing-eye groundball up the middle that he turned into a hustle double. A bobble in the outfield made IKF think about a triple, but after stumbling coming around second, he remembered that discretion is the better part of valor and retreated to second.
Jose Trevino, starting at catcher, followed that up with a fly to deep right field that allowed Kiner-Falefa to easily tag up and advance to third with one out. DJ LeMahieu then legged out an infield single on a swinging bunt down the third-base line. Initially called out, New York won the challenge to put runners on the corners. Alas, a Judge strikeout and an Anthony Rizzo fly out sent Jordan Montgomery back to the mound in familiar surroundings, unsupported by his offense.
Kiner-Falefa continued his good game in the bottom half of the third. Deep in the hole, the Yankee shortstop backhanded a 99-mph rocket grounder off the bat of Espinal, planted, and unleashed a cannon of a throw to first:
IKF got the out by half a step. Monty took over the inning from there, striking out the next batters and sending the game to the fourth as a scoreless draw.
And in the top of the fourth… finally. Finally, some runs for Monty while he pitches. With two out and Donaldson on second base after singling against the shift, Torres drove a fastball to right field. It was 106 mph off the bat, ultimately landing in the Yankee dugout and giving New York a 2-0 lead.
Unfortunately, having run support must have thrown Monty off his game. So rather than throwing up a zero, he ended up giving the runs back. After the relentless George Springer knocked his second hit of the day (please, stop), Bo Bichette ripped a full-count changeup into the left-field corner. Springer scored easily to cut the Yankee lead in half.
And then, with two outs in the frame and Springer on third, Chapman singled to center field to make it a 2-2 ballgame. Monty managed to get out of the inning without any further damage, but the Jays made hard contact on his offerings. By the time the lefty recorded the final out of the fourth, Toronto’s xBA sat at .392 for the night.
From there, things remained quiet until Bichette greeted Montgomery with a leadoff single in the sixth. That ended his evening. Skipper Aaron Boone made the walk to the mound and summoned Jonathan Loáisiga to try and keep the game even. Jonny Lo proceeded to walk Vladimir Guerrero Jr. on four straight pitches, none of which were close. It’s not what you want. What you do want is a nice 6-4-3 double play ... and that’s what happened next, when Lourdes Gurriel Jr. weakly grounded to shortstop. A strikeout later, and it was off to the seventh, tied at two runs apiece.
In the bottom of the seventh, Miguel Castro came in for New York and promptly walked the leadoff man, Alejandro Kirk. Castro managed to get the next two outs, but then gave up a double to Tyler Heineman. That was it for Castro, as Boone came back to the mound to summon Clay Holmes. The more accurate righty rewarded Boone’s faith, retiring the exhausting Springer to end the stanza.
Holmes struck Bichette out to start the eighth, but then promptly surrendered consecutive singles to Guerrero and Gurriel to put runners on first and second. But the ground-ball gods can be kind. The third straight worm-burner went to IKF at short, and he instigated the 6-4-3 double play to send the game to the ninth still tied.
With one chance left to win the game before having to, at best, deal with Manfred-ball, Stanton led off the ninth with single. Tim Locastro came in to replace him and promptly stole second base. A Donaldson bouncer to third base failed to advance T-Lo to third base with one out. However, after Hicks went down on strikes, Monty Monday turned into Gleyber Day!
Torres knocked a first pitch breaking ball into right center field, scoring the run and giving the Yankees the lead.
With Aroldis Chapman unavailable, Boone went to Chad Green to close this one out. Green caught Kirk looking with a two-strike curveball at the top of the zone. Then, he whiffed Espinal with a 95-mph heater up and out of the zone. Finally, Green induced a weak fly ball from Raimel Tapia to put this one to bed with minimal drama, earning his first save of 2022 and the 11th of his career.
This was a crucial win over a division rival (on road turf, no less) that is likely not going away anytime soon, and it cemented a double-digit win streak to boot with a big night from Gleyber Torres. There was a lot to like tonight. Here’s hoping tomorrow is more of the same. First pitch at 7:07 pm EDT with Jameson Taillon facing the heretofore-unhittable-in-2022 Alek Manoah.