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Yankees 0, Blue Jays 3: Weary bullpen and errors spoil Cole’s scoreless start

Gerrit Cole did his best to give the Yankees length, but had to work around some errors, and the weary ‘pen couldn’t hold on after missed opportunities on offense.

Cole throws a pitch in the first inning tonight.
Cole throws a pitch in the first inning tonight.
Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images

For nine innings on Wednesday night, the Yankees and Blue Jays’ lineups refused to score. Until the final pitch, the two teams combined to go 0-for-23 with runners in scoring position. No one wanted to score until one errant slider from Wandy Peralta to Danny Jansen decided the ballgame in the bottom of the 10th, giving Toronto a 3-0 walk-off victory.

Starter Gerrit Cole was able to give the Yankees some length, tossing six scoreless, but he ran his pitch count way up in the process. A pair of errors in the first — one of which Cole himself was responsible for — to go along with a cadre of cheap hits (three of the seven he allowed had an exit velocity under 80 mph) forced him to face extra hitters and pile up pitches. He already had 98 when the Yankees trotted him out to start the seventh; he promptly gave up a pair of singles, the second of which ended his night.

All told, the ace struck out six and walked two, looking pretty sharp in the wake of a pair of clunkers against Tampa Bay. His four-seamer was excellent as usual, generating seven whiffs. A rising heater in the third netted a popup to get Cole out of a bases-loaded situation:

Cole’s slider was also very effective. He turned to it a season-high 33 times and it rewarded him with a season-high six whiffs. But his scoreless outing was only sealed thanks to Clay Holmes, who relieved Cole in the seventh with two runners on. The sinkerballer set down the Blue Jays’ two, three, and four hitters in order, notching a weak groundout from cleanup man Matt Chapman to end the threat:

Meanwhile, the Yankees only mustered four hard-hit balls themselves against Chris Bassitt in seven shutout frames as the righty upped his scoreless streak to 27 innings in the process. It’s already the second-longest single-season streak in Blue Jays history, trailing only Dave Stieb, according to Sportsnet. Bassitt attacked with a bevy of offerings, throwing seven pitches at least five times each. His 20 called strikes on the night were perhaps most indicative of his ability to keep the Yankees guessing.

Relieved to get Bassitt out of the game, the Yankees loaded the bases in the eighth on a trio of walks. With two outs, they brought on Anthony Volpe to hit for Jake Bauers against Jays lefty specialist Tim Mayza. But the southpaw didn’t give in despite the platoon disadvantage, catching the Yankees rookie looking to end the inning:

In the bottom half of the inning, Oswaldo Cabrera took over for Bauers in left field, moving from short, where the Yankees slotted in Volpe. This change proved crucial, as the Jays’ offense seemed poised to breakout with back-to-back singles to start the inning against Jimmy Cordero until the new shortstop snagged an Alejandro Kirk liner with an expected batting average of .720. He quickly flipped the ball to Torres at second base to double up the lead runner Cavan Biggio (who had pinch-run for Brandon Belt):

After walking Jansen, Cordero induced a Santiago Espinal flyout to strand the runners.

The Yankees went quietly in the top of the ninth, but in the bottom half, the Jays had ducks on the pond once again. Michael King came out of the ‘pen a bit wild, walking two of the first three batters he faced — his first multi-walk outing of the year. With first and second and one out, Matt Chapman grounded out softly to the right side to move the runners over, the winning run just 90 feet away. Nonetheless, the Yankees escaped once more, a Biggio popup to center field ending the inning, and the scoreless game went to extras.

Isiah Kiner-Falefa subbed in for Jose Trevino as the zombie runner on second to start things off in the top of the tenth, moving over to third on a Cabrera groundout to the right side. However, Blue Jays closer Jordan Romano got Gleyber Torres swinging on the high heat, requiring the Yankees to get a hit to drive IKF in with two out. Next, Aaron Judge was intentionally walked — it came down to Anthony Rizzo. But after taking a hanging slider for a strike on 2-1, the first baseman fell for a high fastball as well, going down swinging.

Biggio started the bottom of the 10th as the zombie runner on second against Wandy Peralta. Whit Merrifield forewent the bunt and grounded one up the middle for Volpe, who couldn’t come up with it and was charged with his second error in as many games and the Yankees’ third on the night. It was a tough play, with an expected batting average of .410, but still one that the youngster could have made. The Yankees brought Cabrera in as their fifth infielder for the next batter Kirk, and he made a play on a grounder to retire the catcher.

Jansen rendered the five-man infield strategy naught on the very next pitch. He hammered a bad slider 414 feet away to cement a 3-0 victory for the Jays:

Jansen continues to kill the Yankees despite not doing much of anything against anyone else. Go figure.

Despite the close nature of the game, the Yankees were thoroughly outplayed; they managed just three hits on the night and committed as many errors while the Blue Jays notched 10 base knocks and didn’t commit a single error. Cole was pretty sharp despite the fielding miscues, and Holmes helped him out in the seventh, but the rest of the tired Yankees’ bullpen was predictably shaky — the trio of Cordero, King, and Peralta combined to surrender the three winning runs on three hits and three walks with no strikeouts. The Blue Jays’ bullpen didn’t allow a single hit in three innings.

With another day of rest for their remaining relievers, the Yankees will look to end the four-game set with the Jays on a good note. Two struggling top-end starters will take the hill in tomorrow’s contest, as Nestor Cortes faces José Berríos. First pitch will come at 7:07 pm ET.

Box Score