Boy do the Blue Jays know how to humble the Yankees or what? After blowing a 6-0 lead Wednesday night, the Yankees got pushed around by Toronto and dropped Thursday afternoon’s series finale 7-4. The Blue Jays outscored the Yankees 19-4 in the final 13 innings of the series. The Yankees are 7-18 against the Blue Jays since last year’s trade deadline, including 3-10 at Yankee Stadium. They’ve been outscored 119-71 in the 25 games. Men against boys.
An Early Deficit
The Blue Jays bludgeoned New York’s bullpen last night, scoring 12 runs in the final four innings of the game, and they picked up right where they left off Thursday afternoon. Toronto struck quick for three runs in the second inning and the bottom of the order did most of the damage. That’s annoying. The top of their lineup is so good and you expect them to create runs. Letting the bottom of the order do it too is no good. That’s going to lead to a loss more times than not.
The second inning rally started with a Troy Tulowitzki single inside the first base bag, then CC Sabathia walked the baseball player former known as B.J. Upton. The Blue Jays were in business with one out, and Ezequiel Carrera took advantage with a loud double off the left field wall. Brett Gardner played the carom perfectly and prevented the the second run from scoring on the play, but ultimately it did not matter. Darwin Barney, the No. 8 hitter, poked a double just inside third base to score two runs. Just like that, it was 3-0 Toronto.
The Short-Lived Comeback
The Yankees did manage to chip away some in the middle innings. Gary Sanchez hit yet another home run in the second inning, his third in the last 24 hours and fourth in the last fourth games. This one was a bomb to dead center field. Here’s the video:
The game got away from the Yankees in the fifth inning, when the defense completely screwed over Sabathia. They gave the Blue Jays three extra outs. Three! The inning started with a soft ground ball to short by Devon Travis, but Didi Gregorius got his feet tangled and fell down, and was unable to make the throw to first. The next batter, Josh Donaldson, hit a soft grounder to Chase Headley, who threw to second. Travis beat it out (pretty easily, too) and everyone was safe. The play developed slowly and I thought Headley should have gone to first while watching live. The outcome confirms it.
Those are the first two extra outs. Edwin Encarnacion following Donaldson’s grounder to third with another grounder to third, and this time Headley stepped on third base for the first out (hooray!) before throwing the ball over Tyler Austin‘s head at first base (boo!). It should have been a double play. Instead they only got one out. There’s the third extra out. And of course the Blue Jays made the Yankees pay. Russell Martin singled in a run and Upton whacked a three-run home run into the short porch to make it 7-2 Blue Jays. Sabathia isn’t good enough to escape six-out innings anymore. Brutal job by the defense and Headley especially.
Sabathia finished the afternoon with seven runs allowed in six innings. His ERA has ballooned from 2.20 to 4.49 in his last eleven starts. Sabathia’s resurgence was fun while it lasted. On the bright side, CC struck out 12 batters, his most since striking out a dozen Rays in June 2012. Sabathia is the first pitcher with 7+ earned runs and 12+ strikeouts in a game since rookie Cole Hamels in 2006.
The Yankees did manage to bring the tying run to the plate at one point. Headley hit a solo homer to make it 7-3 in the sixth, then Aaron Judge singled in a run to make it 7-4 in the eighth. Roberto Osuna struck out Gregorius with two on to end that eighth inning. Not a great afternoon for Didi. He went 0-for-4 with a double play, two strikeouts, and four runners left on base, plus got his feet twisted up in that fifth inning.
The 2-3-4-5 hitters led the way offensively: Headley, Castro, Sanchez, and Judge each had two hits and drove in a run. Headley, Castro, and Sanchez homered. Sanchez drew a walk too. The bottom four hitters in the lineup went a combined 0-for-16 with seven strikeouts. Ouch. The Yankees aren’t good enough to win games when a chunk of the lineup does that.
Kirby Yates, Tommy Layne, and Anthony Swarzak each tossed a scoreless inning once Sabathia’s afternoon was over. Swarzak tossed the ninth with the Yankees down 7-4. It’s pretty amazing he’s not only still on the roster, but is also pitching in games that are still reasonably within reach.
And finally, the Blue Jays have now won five straight series in Yankee Stadium. Five! The last visiting team to win five straight series in the Bronx was the Indians, who did it from 1967-69. Yikes!
Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
Go to ESPN for both the box score and updated standings, and MLB.com for the video highlights. Don’t miss our Bullpen Workload and Announcer Standings pages. Here’s the sad loss probability graph:
The homestand is over and the Yankees are now heading out on a six-game West Coast trip. But first: an off-day. The Yankees don’t play Thursday. The West Coast trip starts Friday night in Anaheim with the first of three against the Angels. Masahiro Tanaka and Jered Weaver are the scheduled starters.