Today was a pitcher’s worst nightmare. The Yankees and Blue Jays combined for 29 hits, scoring early and often and working deep into counts to rattle the starters on both sides. The Yankees came away with a slim advantage, but blew it in the ninth and had to rely on the bats one last time to pull out a topsy-turvy 8-7 victory.
New York’s relievers did a good job for the most part in limiting the fireworks produced by Toronto’s bats, but Zach Britton had an adventure filling in as the closer for the ninth inning. Britton allowed a leadoff single to Danny Jansen, and Billy McKinney entered as a pinch-runner and reached second on a passed ball from Gary Sanchez. Cavan Biggio lofted a single to left-center that scored McKinney for the tying run, and advanced to second on a fumbled fielder’s choice. Britton settled down and got a double-play ball and groundout to keep the game tied, but the lead was blown.
Fortunately, the Yankees picked him right up. Didi Gregorius started the rally with an infield single that died in front of the pitcher’s mound, and advanced to second on a walk from Aaron Hicks. Gleyber Torres came to the plate with two singles to his name on the afternoon, and picked up his third on a line drive to right that scored Gregorius. The sweep was complete, but not without a significant effort from the offense to dig themselves out of an early hole.
James Paxton couldn’t miss enough bats against Toronto’s lineup. They worked him right away in the first inning, earning two consecutive six-pitch walks to set up Lourdes Gurriel Jr. for a three-run home run next to the visitor’s bullpen. In the second Jansen took Paxton deep, this time for a two-run jack off the side of the second deck in left. Paxton worked a pair of clean innings afterword, but Gurriel Jr. got to him again to lead off the fifth and the 30-year-old’s day ended two batters later.
Down 5-0 at one point, the Yankees looked like they were going to take a shelling like in the finale against Houston on Sunday. This time, however, they turned it around in time. Gregorius got them on the board in the bottom of the second, launching a solo shot to center for his second homer of the year. Hicks and Torres got aboard to continue the rally, and Aaron Judge punched a ball out to left that brought the pair home.
DJ LeMahieu continued his inhuman play in the fourth, taking advantage of the short porch for a two-run blast that tied the game. Hicks re-tied the game an inning later with a sacrifice fly, and Luke Voit found a hole through the left side with two runners on in the sixth to give the Yankees the temporary lead. They left a fair number of runners on base, but the Yankee offense more than answered the call today.
The homestand ends on a high note for the Yankees, completing a 9-1 stretch and sweeping their second straight division series. Their next trip is a unique one, but it leads them to a familiar foe. The Red Sox await in London, though they’ll have two off-days to recover from the trip across the Atlantic and take in the scene in England.