Toronto Blue Jays - 0 New York Yankees - 5 (Boxscore for Mobile)
During the 162 game MLB season you come to expect there will be some incredible soaring highs and devastating lows. You may not expect them both to come in the same 24-hour period, mind you.
What with the anticipation and excitement surrounding the Marcus Stroman start, the shocking incident leading to the Troy Tulowitzki injury, and the elation of a pair of wins on a double header, the Blue Jays entered play Sunday hoping to finish the four-game sweep of the Yankees in the least dramatic way possible.
With 20 games left on the schedule the Jays sat 4.5 games up on their pinstriped foes and sent R.A Dickey (10-10, 4.01 ERA) to the mound trying to extend that to 5.5.
They would have to do it without the aforementioned Tulowitzki as well as starting DH Edwin Encarnacion who re-injured his hand in the double header on Saturday and had the day off. Which meant the Cola-Smoak debaters had a day off as both started the game in the lineup.
On the mound for the Yankees
Hiro Nakamura Hiro Hamada Masahiro Tanaka (11-6, 3.57 ERA). And at First Base, with his -0.9 WAR and 73 wRC+ for the season, Dustin Ackley... You wouldn't think these are at all related, and yet they are.
Jose Bautista started off the Blue Jays attack with a helmet-less double which put him in scoring position for Chris Colabello who... promptly struck out on four pitches (none of which in the strikezone but at least one called a strike).
Kevin Pillar, he of the rock hard chin of destiny, did his Superman thing with a spectacular diving catch deep in centre robbing Carlos Beltran of sure extra bases. You know... Just Pillar things.
Speaking of amazing gloves, the Jays brought in Darwin Barney to sure up their infield with the health concerns of Devon Travis and Tulo... Did you know he won a Gold Glove?
Back to the game where in the second inning Pillar's tumultuous 24 hours continued as, to start, he hit a 1-out double in basically the same place Jose Bautista hit his. But, a few moments later with Ryan Goins at the plate, Didi Gregorius got the drop on him and Pillar was picked off 2nd by Tanaka effectively ending the Blue Jay threat.
Dickey would put himself into trouble in the bottom half walkign Brian McCann, surrendering a single to Alex Rodriguez, walking Headley before Dustin Ackley and Gregorius each had sac-flies to score the first two runs of the game. 2-0 Yankees.
Just when it appeared Dickey had hit cruise control the Yankees struck again with a two-out, two-run homerun extending the lead to 4-0 for the Empire. And, you guessed it! It was Ackley who hit the homerun for the Yanks... Because apparently lose a beard, gain a bat... Who knew?
Tanaka settled in going into the 7th without much resistance from the Blue Jays. It was in the 7th that the Jays got another runner into scoring position on a Colabello double that Brett Gardner lost in the sun. This gave Justin Smoak a chance to drive in a run for the Jays but a good diving stop by Gardner kept Cola at 2nd.
Full marks for the attempt, though. Smoak made solid contact. Just didn't have the BABIP luck on his side. Tanaka, on his 108th pitch, would get Pillar to fly out to right to end the threat; another wasted opportunity for the Jays.
Tanaka would go 7 IP, allowing just 4 hits, walking none, allowing no runs, and striking out 7 Blue Jays along the way.
Dellin Betances came on in relief and worked a clean Top of the 8th inning striking out the side.
Meanwhile, an Alex Rodriguez double, followed by a terrible throw by Ben Revere, would give the Yanks their 5th run and close the book on Dickey in the bottom half of the 8th.
In a way of thinking, Dickey did exactly what was wanted from him in this one. Sure, not the best start, but he got through 7 innings to help a depleted and tired pen get some rest. While perhaps a better start would have been nice, a long outing was a nice consolation.
His final line: 7.2 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 2 K
Not great, but what we needed. Especially going into a series against Atlanta in Atlanta. The more rest the pen has before interleague play, the better. Ryan Tepera came in to finish off the 8th getting Chase Headley on strikes.
James Pazos and Caleb Cotham combined to complete the shutout as the Darwin Barney era starts with a loss.
Jays lose 5-0.
Jays of the Day: Nope.
Suckage: The Blue Jays Offense (-.291)... I've decided to veto R.A Dickey's suckage. He has the number (.205) but since he did exactly what was needed from him. Isn't his fault the offense gave him nothing to work with.
Fear not, Blue Jays faithful. The Jays are still 3.5 games up over the Yankees with a three game set coming up against the Braves starting Tuesday. Your expected starter is Mark Buehrle.
Beardless Dustin Ackley Bests Blue Jays Pitching - Jays Lose 5-0
Blue Jays struggle against Masahiro Tanaka falling 5-0 to the Yankees, but leave New York with a 3.5 game lead.