Series Sum-Up: at New York (AL), April 19-22

Game 1: Thursday, April 19th
Jays lose, 3-4
Losing pitcher: Aaron Sanchez


The Jays battled, but they just couldn’t take the series opener. The Yankees took a 2-0 lead in the 2nd on three hits and an RBI groundout, none of which were hit particularly hard. After a pair of singles off C.C. Sabathia to start the 3rd, Toronto scored their first run on a passed ball. Devon Travis hit a foul ball off his foot, but stayed in the game. In the 4th, Yangervis Solarte reached on an error, Kevin Pillar was hit with a pitch, and Luke Maile singled, bringing Solarte in as the tying run.


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On his second time through the Yankee lineup, Aaron Sanchez set down eight batters in a row before walking Ronald Torreyes with one out in the 5th. Torreyes scored after a pair of singles and a forceout, but Sanchez stranded the bases loaded with the score 3-2 in favour of New York. They padded their lead when Aaron Judge homered off Tyler Clippard in the 7th.


In the 8th, the Blue Jays got loaded the bases with no outs, on a single and two walks. Kevin Pillar struck out, Curtis Granderson drove in a run with a single, but Randal Grichuk struck out and Justin Smoak flew out to end the inning with the bases still loaded. The side struck out (including a questionable strike 1 call to Travis) in the 9th. Sanchez lasted 6 innings, allowed three earned runs on seven hits, and walked and struck out two. Maile also threw out a pair of runners.


Game 2: Friday, April 20th
JAYS WIN!!! 8-5
Winning pitcher: Marco Estrada
Save: Roberto Osuna


Marco Estrada, in his 100th game as a Blue Jay, went 5 innings and fell victim to the long ball, but held on for the win. He gave up a two-run homer to Tyler Austin in the 2nd, then after the Jays tied it with a two-run Teoscar Hernandez home run, Giancarlo Stanton hit another bomb to take a 4-2 lead. Russell Martin and Kendrys Morales hit back-to-back doubles to start off the 3rd, followed by Kevin Pillar singling and advancing on a wild pitch. Lourdes Gurriel Jr., in his first major-league game, then hit a two-RBI single to put the Jays on top, 5-4.




The Jays chased Sonny Gray from the game with one out in the 3rd, then stranded the bases loaded. In the bottom of the 4th, the Blue Jays erased a leadoff single with a double play, but the Yankees tied it up again, on a solo home run from Miguel Andujar. Toronto managed to retake the lead off Domingo Germán in the 5th, thanks to another RBI single from Gurriel, plus a Hernandez walk with the bases loaded.


Estrada set down the side in order in the 5th, for the first time all game. His final line was 5 innings pitched, five earned runs on seven hits, one walk, and four strikeouts. Yangervis Solarte hit his fifth home run of the season to lead off the 6th and widen the lead.



The Toronto bullpen shut things down from there, with Seung-Hwan Oh, Danny Barnes, Ryan Tepera and Roberto Osuna each throwing a scoreless inning. All of them faced four batters, allowing a single apiece (though one was a bloop, and one involved Ronald Torreyes literally throwing his bat at the ball). Oh and Tepera had two strikeouts; the others each had one.


Game 3: Saturday, April 21st
Jays lose, 1-9
Losing Pitcher: Marcus Stroman


Marcus Stroman basically cruised through his first two times through the order, save for a two-run homer to Aaron Judge in the 3rd. One other hit, a leadoff single in the 5th inning, was erased on a double play, which Stroman started. The Blue Jays stranded the bases loaded in the 3rd against Mike Montgomery. They scored their only run in the 5th, when Randal Grichuk led off with a walk, went first-to-third on Lourdes Gurriel Jr.’s single, and scored on Steve Pearce’s single.


Stroman hit a wall in the 6th, however, when the first four batters reached on two singles two four-pitch walks. The second run of the inning scored on a forceout attempt, when catcher Luke Maile was charged with an missed catch error. After Stroman got a strikeout, Miguel Andujar hit a bases-clearing double. John Axford replaced Stroman and walked Austin Romine, then allowed a single to load the bases again. After that, a sacrifice fly and a single from Judge brought in another pair.


Aaron Loup walked two and allowed a single before stranding the bases loaded in the 8th. The Yankees bullpen didn’t allow one Blue Jay to reach base from the 7th onward. Stroman was charged with six earned runs (eight total) on four hits and four walks. He also had four strikeouts and threw two wild pitches. Toronto had four hits, New York had nine.


Game 4: Sunday, April 22nd
Jays lose, 1-5
Losing Pitcher: Jaime Garcia


Once again, the Jays were nearly shut down by Yankee pitching. Luis Severino went 7 innings and only allowed three hits. Teoscar Hernandez hit a home run in the 6th, the only thing that prevented them from being shut out. Jaime Garcia went 5 1/3 innings, allowing a solo home run in the 1st to Didi Gregorius, and after a walk and a barely-fair double, another pair of runs scored on an Austin Romine double in the 2nd.


Toronto had the leadoff man reach scoring position in each of the 3rd and the 4th; he would be stranded both times. They hit into a double play in the 6th after a one-out walk, but had also turned one to end the inning in the 4th. When Garcia left with one out in the 6th, there were runners on the corners – Gary Sanchez, who had doubled, and Tyler Austin, who had singled. Sanchez scored when Seung-Hwan Oh allowed a double to Miguel Andujar, the first batter he faced. Aaron Hicks singled off Danny Barnes to lead off the 7th, then stole second and advanced to third when Russell Martin’s throw hit him in the back. He scored on a sac fly two batters later.


John Axford threw the 8th and allowed an infield single, but no runs. He also got an out on a spinning throw from Lourdes Gurriel Jr. which appeared to take Justin Smoak off the base, but the out was confirmed on replay. In the top of the 9th, the Jays got two men on with one out on back-to-back walks off Aroldis Chapman, but they would be left there when the game ended. The Blue Jays had just four hits; the Yankees had nine, six of which were off Garcia.


Overall Notes:

Ahead of Friday’s game, the team announced that Kendrys Morales was being recalled from the DL, and that Lourdes Gurriel Jr. would be called up. Tim Mayza and Gift Ngoepe were sent to Buffalo. Mayza had pitched just one inning so far, with one hit, one walk, and one strikeout, and no runs allowed. Ngoepe had appeared in 12 games, starting six, and had just one hit over 18 at-bats, as well as a walk. He had struck out 12 times, and was hitting .056.


Devon Travis sat out Games 2 and 3 after taking a foul ball off the top of his foot early in Game 1. The trainers had been called out onto the field, and there was a delay in the game, but Travis played for the duration. X-rays revealed nothing was broken, but it was still swollen and causing him some pain, enough that he couldn’t run on it. He was back in the lineup on Sunday.


Weirdly Specific Record Alert:

  • Luke Maile set a team record on Thursday when he got a hit in his 9th consecutive at-bat with runners in scoring position.
  • Friday was the first time in history the Blue Jays have had three Cuban players in their starting lineup.
  • Lourdes Gurriel Jr. is the 9th Blue Jay to drive in multiple runs in his MLB debut, and the first to do so since 2010. He’s the 4th all-time to drive in three or more runs.
  • Roberto Osuna has moved into third place on the Blue Jays all-time saves list, with his 101st save on Friday.


Favourite player(s) this series: Gurriel/Hernandez

No matter what he did the rest of the series, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. would have ended up on this list solely for his performance on Friday night. The rookie impressed in his major-league debut with two hits and three RBI – the runs he drove in were the different in the Jays’ win. That’s an awesome way to make a first impression! He didn’t stop there, either, hitting another single on Saturday and smartly moving to second base on the throw. After an 0-for-3 game on Sunday, his batting average, OBP and slugging are all .273.


Teoscar Hernandez had two home runs in this series, as well as two singles and a walk. He drove in four runs and scored three times.


Where we are now:
13-8, .619
2nd place in the AL East, 4 games back of Boston (as of Sunday night).


After a day off on Monday, the Jays will be heading home again to play the Red Sox. Boston currently has a 17-4 record, and is sitting in first place in the division. Mind you, they did get no-hit by the Oakland Athletics’ Sean Manaea on Saturday night, so they may be human after all!


Though Josh Donaldson was eligible to be activated off the DL in this series, the word is not to expect him back quite yet, as his arm is still causing him some trouble. He is still on a rehab assignment in Florida.


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