For a mid-May series, this has been a rather eventful couple days for the Yankees and Blue Jays. Between sign-stealing accusations, sticky stuff, walk-off homers, and close games, pretty much every contest has had something notable go down. However, in the win and loss columns, the Yankees have come out better as they wrapped things up with a victory in the series finale to take three out of four in Toronto.
While the offense wasn’t as on fire as the first couple games of the series, they were better than they were on Wednesday night. Homers from Aaron Judge and Anthony Volpe led the way on Thursday, and on the mound, the Yankees got a nice bounce-back outing from Nestor Cortes. In six innings, the southpaw allowed just two runs on five hits and a walk. The bullpen locked it down after that, which was enough for a 4-2 win.
After going scoreless over 10 innings last night, it didn’t take long for the Yankees to get on the board in this one. Gleyber Torres led off the game with a single, and that was immediately followed by a long ball from Judge. It was his fourth homer of the series and got the Yankees out to a nice start.
However, Toronto quickly got one of those runs back in the bottom half of the first. Bo Bichette added a home run of his own, a solo shot that got the Jays within a run.
Judge nearly added to his home run tally in the sixth. A deep fly ball from him hit the very top of the wall in right-ish center field, and was initially ruled a home run after an umpire discussion. The Blue Jays reviewed the call, and it was eventually overturned; Judge was sent to second base with a double. The rest of the offense couldn’t bring him home after that, though.
The Yankees did pick up some offense in the seventh. Oswaldo Cabrera led off the frame with a single, but the next two hitters went down in order, leaving the inning up to Aaron Hicks. While Hicks’ struggles this season have been fairly evident, he came through this time. His single scored Cabrera to plate another run.
Cortes came back out for the seventh but was pulled after he walked Whit Merrifield to start the inning. Likely due to recent heavy usage from other bullpen members, relative unknown Ryan Weber was the replacement, and things quickly got a little scary. A Danny Jansen single and an Alejandro Kirk walk loaded the bases with still nobody out in the inning. However, other than a run scoring on a sacrifice fly from a pinch-hitting Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Weber managed to work around the trouble.
Albert Abreu was then brought in for the eighth inning. Other than one very loud Matt Chapman foul ball, Abreu worked a nice 1-2-3 frame, fanning both Bichette and Chapman.
In the top of the ninth, Anthony Volpe gave the Yankees an insurance run. He took a 98.6-mph Nate Pearson pitch of the foul pole/screen in left field to reinstate the two-run lead.
While it didn’t end up leading to another run, later in the inning, Hicks recorded his third hit of the game. It was his first three-hit game since last September.
Ron Marinaccio was the choice for the ninth inning, as the Yankees continued their attempt to try and eke through without the bullpen big guns. Marinacco got the job done with a 1-2-3 inning to seal the game and series win. It was also the right-hander’s first career save and made him the sixth Yankee to notch one thus far in 2023.
This was a very nice series win for the Yankees, who will look to take that momentum with them as they go to Cincinnati for some interleague action against the Reds. Clarke Schmidt will get the ball for the series opener at Great American Ballpark, with Reds right-hander Ben Lively’s first pitch set to come at 6:40pm ET.