Game 1: Friday, September 14th
Jays lose, 0-11
Losing pitcher: Marco Estrada
Marco Estrada dug himself a big hole in the 1st inning, allowing five runs on five hits and a walk. The first three batters reached before Estrada got a pop-out. Another run scored on a groundout. Estrada then turned it around for the 2nd, stranding a leadoff walk to Andrew McCutchen. But he hit the leadoff batter in the next inning, then walked Luke Voit, and allowed an RBI single to Brett Gardner. Taylor Guerrieri came in to pitch with two outs and two on, then walked McCutchen to load the bases. Giancarlo Stanton drove in two with a single before Guerrieri got out of it.
Guerrieri stranded the bases loaded in the 4th without allowing a run. The Blue Jays came closest to scoring in the 5th, when Aledmys Diaz hit a first-pitch double, and Luke Maile walked with one out, but no dice. Two strikeouts quickly put an end to that. McCutchen led off the bottom of that inning with a home run off Justin Shafer. He also led off the 7th, with a single off Joe Biagini, but was out when Stanton hit into a double play. McCutchen reached base five times in the game. The only Blue Jay who got on base more than once was Maile, who walked twice and hit two singles. The only Jay to make it beyond second base was Devon Travis, who doubled in the 7th and advanced on a forceout.
The Yankees tacked on two more runs in the 8th when Didi Gregorius led off with a homer, then Gary Sanchez doubled and Luke Voit reached on an error, both with one out. Brett Gardner hit a sac fly, and Voit was doubled off at first base, but the run counted. Masahiro Tanaka took the win for the Yankees after pitching 6.0 scoreless innings allowing four hits. Luis Cessa picked up the remaining three innings, allowed three hits, and actually recorded a save, even though his team won by 11 runs.
C.C. Sabathia was chased from the game early, having allowed five runs in 2 1/3 innings. Randal Grichuk opened the scoring with a first-pitch homer in the 2nd, and then four singles scored two more runs. Sean Reid-Foley had retired the first three Yankee batters of the game on strikeouts, but then he the first two batters of the 2nd inning (one on four pitches, the other on five) and allowed a Gleyber Torres infield single that loaded the bases. He retired the next three with strikeouts to escape the jam unscathed – but following the two walks, Luke Maile had been yelling at the home-plate umpire from the dugout, and was ejected. John Gibbons then left the dugout to confront the umpire, and was also tossed.
Reid-Foley didn’t get an out on a ball in play until the 3rd, when Giancarlo Stanton grounded out with one on. By that point, Sabathia was done and the Jays had a 5-0 lead following back-to-back homers from Grichuk and Kevin Pillar in the top half of the frame. The Yankee bullpen held the Jays to just three hits, and then the Yankees got on the board in the 6th with a leadoff home run from Didi Gregorius. Gregorius was the first batter to face Jake Petricka, who’d taken over from Reid-Foley. Petricka also hit a batter and gave up a single, before he was replaced by Tim Mayza. Mayza walked the only batter he faced, loading the bases, before Ryan Tepera got a strikeout to end the inning.
In the 7th, the Blue Jays padded their lead to 8-1 with four hits. Following a leadoff single, Grichuk doubled for his third hit of the game, then Pillar walked to load the bases. Following a forceout at the plate, Aledmys Diaz cashed in a pair with a single and Richard Urena singled to score another. It turned out they would need every last one of those runs, because in the bottom of the inning the Yankees countered with six. Giancarlo Stanton homered on Tepera’s first pitch, then Gregorius hit his second home run of the game off Danny Barnes. With two out, Torres doubled, Neil Walker and Voit walked, and Miguel Andujar hit a grand slam off Tyler Clippard. Since Reid-Foley’s departure from the game, it had taken five relievers to record a total of six outs, and they’d allowed six runs in the process.
Clippard pitched into the 8th but he walked Aaron Hicks with one out, and then threw a wild pitch that put the tying run in scoring position. Ken Giles whiffed Gary Sanchez on three pitches, stranding the runner, then retired the side in order in the 9th to cling to the lead and save the game.
Game 3: Sunday, September 16th
JAYS WIN!!! 3-2
Winning Pitcher: Thomas Pannone
Save: Ken Giles
After nearly blowing a massive lead the day before, this time the Blue Jays made an unlikely comeback of their own. Thomas Pannone allowed two runs in the 1st when Andrew McCutchen homered, then a walk and a single set up Didi Gregorius for a sac fly. Pannone faced the minimum over the next five innings, thanks to a double play that erased a single in the 3rd.
Richard Urena led off the 3rd with a single, and scored on a Reese McGuire double, cutting the Yankee’s lead in half. Lance Lynn pitched 5 innings, allowing just the one run on three hits. In the 8th, Dellin Betances came in and allowed three singles that tied the game, with Rowdy Tellez knocking in the tying run. Randal Grichuk then doubled, putting the Jays ahead 3-2.
All you need is a little piece, Reese!
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) September 16, 2018
Following a slew of defensive replacements, with Mark Leiter Jr. on the mound, Giancarlo Stanton reached third in the bottom of that inning as the tying run. It had been a two-out single to left, but the ball bounced around and got away when Teoscar Hernandez tried to field it with his bare hand, hence the extra bases. Leiter struck out Aaron Hicks to strand the tying run at third. Ken Giles pitched the 9th, and again the tying run reached base in the form of a Gregorius single. Giles then dispatched the last two batters of the game with strikeouts, three pitches apiece.
Russell Martin was reinstated off the paternity list on Friday, following the birth of his daughter Eva.
Joe Biagini also returned to the team after spending time on the disabled list with an oblique strain.
Weirdly Specific Record Alert:
- Sean Reid-Foley tied the Blue Jays record of strikeouts for the first outs of the game, with six.
- Reid-Foley tied his own personal-best strikeouts in a game with 10, first done his last time out in Miami. He is now the second-ever Blue Jays pitcher with two starts of 10 strikeouts in his rookie season.
- He also set a new Blue Jays rookie record for strikeouts at Yankee Stadium (the previous record was eight).
- With his 52nd career ejection on Saturday evening, John Gibbons has now become the 14th-most ejected manager in MLB history.
My favourite player(s) this series: Reid-Foley/Pannone/Grichuk/Giles
Sean Reid-Foley needed 92 pitches to get through a 5-inning start, but he held the Yankees offense scoreless and only allowed two hits. His start of 10 strikeouts tied a personal best and he walked four. The best example of his composure on the mound came in the 2nd, when two walks and an infield single loaded the bases with nobody out.
Thomas Pannone might have been even more impressive than Reid-Foley, despite allowing two runs he then pitched 7 innings and only allowed four hits and two walks, while striking out eight. After that two-run 1st, he only allowed three more Yankees to reach base, and also retired 12 in a row.
In Game 2, Randal Grichuk hit for the highest total bases he has all season, with two home runs and a double. He went 4-for-12 in the series, all extra-base hits, plus a walk, drove in three runs and scored three times.
Ken Giles is the only closer in baseball who’s perfect in save opportunities this season. Including the two in this series, he now has 22 saves, 10 of which he picked up since coming to Toronto. In his 2 innings of work this series, he allowed one hit and struck out four. He hasn’t allowed a run since August 29th, and hasn’t walked anybody since the 31st.
Where we are now:
4th in the AL East, 35.5 games back of Boston
The Blue Jays will finish this road trip with a three-game series in Baltimore. Ryan Borucki takes the hill on Monday, followed by Aaron Sanchez on Tuesday. The Baltimore starters are still to be determined. The last time the two teams met, the Blue Jays were embarrassingly swept by the last-place Orioles. Hopefully they fare better this time.
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