Poor Masahiro Tanaka. He fought hard over six innings of two-run ball, and with a decent team behind him, that probably would have been enough for a victory. At the very least, he probably would have had a no-decision. Sadly, this group of Yankees has decided that runs are for chumps. Who needs to score runs? Runs are overrated, clearly.
The Yankees lost this baseball game. It was not fun to watch. They were swept by the Blue Jays and are now four games under .500. This is fine.
Both teams had a shot to get on the board early, but both Tanaka and Aaron Sanchez proved to be tough to handle. A two-out infield single by Didi Gregorius in the second moved Mark Teixeira to third, who reached on a fielder's choice. Chase Headley struck out to cut the opportunity short. An almost identical situation popped up one inning later, as with two outs, Carlos Beltran singled Brett Gardner to second, and Gardner stole third when Sanchez didn't pay him any attention. Again, a strikeout ended it, as Brian McCann went down swinging on a Sanchez fastball.
Meanwhile, Tanaka had to work out of his own jams, even ones created by himself. In the bottom of the second, Devon Travis hit a two-out single and scampered to third base on a pickoff error from Tanaka. Kevin Pillar fought Tanaka through a seven-pitch at bat, but Tanaka won when the center fielder grounded out. Back-to-back infield singles to start the third caused more problems, especially very dangerous hitters coming up. None of Josh Donaldson, Edwin Encarnacion, or Michael Saunders could get the runs home though, and Tanaka wiggled out of another threat.
The Yankees' offense agonizingly continued to blow chances to support their ace with even one damn run. Alex Rodriguez was stranded at second after a double in the fourth when Gregorius and Headley went down on strikes. Gardner created another opening an inning later with a two-out walk followed by Beltran's second hit of the night. The rally died on a line out to right by McCann. It was some truly inspiring work.
The dam broke through for Tanaka in the home half of the fifth. Darwin Barney knocked a single to right and moved to second on a slow ground ball from Bautista. Although Tanaka kept the defending AL MVP off the board earlier, he could not do so this time. Donaldson lined a base hit to right, easily scoring Barney even though Donaldson was cut down at second by the relay man. Nonetheless, Toronto was on top.
As if the lineup wasn't causing enough pain, they decided to add in some classic derpfense. Saunders lined a double to kick off the sixth inning but looked like he would be frozen on a routine fly ball to center from Justin Smoak. Inexplicably, Jacoby Ellsbury bobbled it about three times, leading to his first error since 2014. Saunders could only advance one base, but he crossed home plate anyway when to his credit, Tanaka induced a double play grounder from Russell Martin. Ronald Torreyes made a smart decision at second base to enable the twin killing, but it was still 2-0. With the Yankees scuffling as badly as they are right now, it sadly seemed like the two runs were more than enough.
Of course the Yankees couldn't help but tantalize with the possibility of actual runs yet again. With one out, Torreyes and Ellsbury notched consecutive singles to right field. Sanchez was wearing down, but Gardner could only hit a lazy fly ball to left field. That was enough for Toronto skipper John Gibbons to see, who hooked Sanchez in favor of the newly acquired Jason Grilli to face Beltran. Grilli's first offering was a wild pickoff throw to second, allowing Torreyes to run to third base. Naturally, both runners were stranded when Beltran lined out to center.
That inning pretty much terminated all hopes of avoiding a sweep, and some very shoddy relief work only exacerbated the problem. Kirby Yates and Nick Goody were both absolutely mauled by the powerful Blue Jays hitters, who lit the duo up for three singles, two walks, and a double. That ran the score up to 7-0 and the offense went down meagerly over the final couple innings.
Having endured their first sweep in Toronto at the hands of the Blue Jays in 16 years, the Yankees will not be given an off-day reprieve, as originally scheduled. Instead, they have to fly to Detroit for a quick make-up game at 7:40 tomorrow night. Michael Pineda will be forced to deal with Miguel Cabrera, Ian Kinsler, and the Martinez duo. Consider yourselves warned.