Jason Grilli blew a ninth inning save opportunity, and Toronto's late comeback attempt came up short in a game filled with a couple of bench clearing incidents.
Brett Gardner led off the game with an infield single, which quickly turned into a little league triple thanks to an errant throw from Russell Martin. An easy groundout would cash him in from third, and the Yankees were immediately off to a 1-0 lead.
Making his first start in over a month, twenty-two year old Luis Severino took the hill for the Yankees. After making quick work of Devon Travis, the young righty hit Josh Donaldson, before giving up a line-drive single to Edwin Encarnacion. With runners on the corners and just one out, Bautista walked to load the bases, before Russell Martin followed suit to tie the game at one.
The Blue Jays were given a chance to put a crooked number on the scoreboard, but Troy Tulowitzki's fly ball was not hit deep enough to cash in a run. Michael Saunders was caught looking to end the inning, ultimately stranding the trio of base runners.
Tempers began to flare in the second, as J.A. Happ immediately threw behind Chase Headley, before proceeding to hit him with his second offering. Benches cleared, warnings were given to both sides, and home plate umpire Todd Tichenor promptly tossed an irate Joe Girardi. Happ luckily escaped with just a warning, and he quickly erased the leadoff base runner by inducing a double play groundball.
The drama continued in the bottom half, as Severino just missed hitting Justin Smoak with his first pitch, but made no mistake with his second offering:
In the end, two more Yankees coaches were ejected, and Jonathan Holder entered the game in place of Severino. Most importantly, Joaquin Benoit looked to be hurt in the scrum, as he limped to the dugout rather than returning to the bullpen. In the end, the Blue Jays failed to take advantage of the free base runner, but Happ responded with a scoreless third to keep the game tied.
Holder returned to start the third, and began to pitch himself into trouble by surrendering a one-out single to Bautista. After Martin followed with a four-pitch walk, Tulowitzki geared up for a first pitch fastball and crushed a RBI double off the centre field wall. Left-hander James Pazos entered the game to face Saunders, but Toronto's left fielder followed with a base hit of his own to make it a 3-1 ball game. With runners on the corners and still just one out, Smoak was given an opportunity to blow the game wide-open, but a 1-4-3 double play promptly ended the inning.
The middle innings turned into a pitcher's duel, as both teams exchanged zeros in the fourth, fifth, sixth, and even seventh innings. Unfortunately, Travis did not take the field for the top of the 6th due to injury, and Darwin Barney was needed to take his place. Travis' status is unclear at this time.
With no earned runs on his pitching line, J.A. Happ was given the opportunity to begin the 8th. After retiring Starlin Castro to begin the frame, a pair of hits from Gardner and Ellsbury ended Happ's night, and also cut the lead down to 3-2 in the process.
With a runner in scoring position and just one out, Joe Biagini entered to face Gary Sanchez, and quickly retired him on a lineout to right. Brett Cecil soon entered to face pinch-hitter Brian McCann, and ended the inning by inducing a groundout to short. Thanks to a strong performance from the bullpen, the Jays maintained the 3-2 lead heading into the ninth.
With Roberto Osuna unavailable, Jason Grilli entered the game looking to preserve the one run lead. After retiring Headley on a groundout to first, Mark Teixeira tied things up with a one-out solo shot to right field. After Didi Gregorius followed with a single to left, Aaron Hicks crushed a no-doubter into the right field bleachers. Grilli surrendered one more double to Donovan Solano before his night came to an end. After this horrible performance, the Blue Jays were now trailing 5-3.
Danny Barnes replaced Grilli and did not fare much better. A walk, single, and sacrifice fly cashed in another two runs, and the Yankees lead extended to 7-3.
Dillon Betances entered the game for the Yankees in the bottom of the ninth, but did not possess his usual command. He began the inning by issuing a four-pitch walk to Justin Smoak, before committing a fielding error that allowed Pillar to reach safely. After surrendering yet another walk to Darwin Barney, left-hander Tommy Layne entered to try to limit the damage.
With still no outs in the inning, Josh Donaldson represented the tying run at the plate. Layne managed to get the reigning American League MVP to fly out to right, but soon surrendered a bases-loaded walk to Encarnacion. Jose Bautista left the game in the top of the ninth for a defensive replacement, so it was up to pinch-hitter Dioner Navarro to keep the rally going.
Down 3 with the bases still loaded, Navarro's blooper fell just in front of a diving Aaron Hicks in right, cutting the deficit even further to 7-5. Martin stepped up and began to work the count in his favour, but ultimately hit a weak groundball just in front of the plate. A diving Layne narrowly beat a hustling Darwin Barney to the plate for the force out, leaving it up to Tulowitzki to tie things up.
After falling behind 0-2, Tulowitzki hit a fly ball into foul territory in left, which Gardner tracked down with a nice diving catch to end the game. Final score: Yankees 7, Blue Jays 5.
Jays of the day are Encarnacion (.142), Happ (.137), and Navarro (.128). As you'd expect, suckage goes to Grilli (-.773). Tulowitzki also had the number, but we'll give him a break for his RBI double earlier in the game.
Joaquin Benoit hurt his calf; Devon Travis hurt his shoulder. They're both being evaluated as we speak.— Arden Zwelling (@ArdenZwelling) September 27, 2016