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Bullpen unable to hold lead, Yankees drop series finale to Blue Jays

Jordan Montgomery and Dellin Betances had different results in their season debuts

MLB: New York Yankees at Toronto Blue Jays Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees made the decision to use their depth in this series against the Blue Jays, culminating in the finale this afternoon. Chad Green reprised his role as the opener, followed by a pair of pitchers getting their first looks in 2019: Jordan Montgomery and Dellin Betances. The latter returned in strong form, but the former got into trouble quickly.

Green picked up two strikeouts in his one inning of work, turning it over to Montgomery. The left-hander is in an interesting sport roster-wise, where the team is looking ahead to 2020 for him but he has an opportunity now to impress and possibly pitch in the postseason. Unfortunately he had a rough look in his debut. The first two batters of the second were retired on fly outs, but Brandon Drury started a rally with a double to left. Billy McKinney scored Drury on a single to center, and Richard Urena slapped another double to left to put the Blue Jays ahead early.

Montgomery came out for a second inning, but couldn’t escape unharmed. Randal Grichuk worked a 2-0 count on Montgomery and lifted a ball at the top of the strike zone into the stands in right field for a solo shot. Monty managed to get the final two batters he faced out, but the early results may have shot down his postseason hopes.

Betances took over for Monty to begin in the fourth inning, and got right down to business. The right-hander was held to only two batters due to a pitch count limit, but he managed to strike out both batters he faced. He won’t save his streak of five consecutive seasons with 100+ strikeouts, but if Betances is on point after a lengthy rehab he can be another weapon for Aaron Boone to deploy in October.

Nestor Cortes Jr. took the baton after Betances and ended the fourth cleanly, but got knocked when he returned in the fifth. Bo Bichette got a one-out infield single, and Cavan Biggio worked a six-pitch walk to move him into scoring position. Grichuk struck again, launching another home run to left that put Toronto ahead for good.

The Yankee offense was productive, but not good enough to bail out the pitching. Aaron Judge started the scoring with a solo shot in the first inning off of Wilmer Font, but the rest of the bats were quiet the first time through the order. Tyler Wade turned over the lineup with a single in the third against new pitcher T.J. Zeuch, and showed off his wheels scoring on a DJ LeMahieu double. Didi Gregorius scored LeMahieu on a base hit of his own, and the Yankees briefly regained the lead.

Zeuch managed to bring the Yankee lineup into a lull afterwards. New York didn’t get a hit again until Austin Romine led off the seventh with a double. Zeuch got one more out before handing the ball over to Derek Law, who got LeMahieu to hit a groundball to third that Urena threw away. Romine scored on the play and the Yankees got within two runs, but couldn't find another opportunity. The Blue Jays walked away the victors, winning 6-4.

The series concludes the Yankee road trip, which still ended positively with a 6-4 overall record. New York returns for their final homestand of the regular season with their eyes on clinching the AL East for the first time since 2012, and they’ll begin with a series against the Angels on Tuesday.

Box Score.