I forgot how nice these things called "winning streaks" were. The last time the Blue Jays defeated the Yankees was September 25, 2016. The last time the Blue Jays won three straight (regular season) games was September 25, 2016. So it was both fitting and entirely satisfying to see the Blue Jays repeat the feat as the calendar turned to May on the strength of three home runs and strong pitching.
Marco Estrada turned in a characteristically strong start, needing just 99 pitches to go 7 innings while mostly scattering 7 hits. He gave up more hits than usual, mostly balls that were well squared up and an infield single, but critically kept the ball in the yard and away from the short porch in right at Yankee Stadium with nothing that even came close to leaving. Moreover, he issued no free passes while striking out 7 batters.
Estrada rolled through the lineup the first time through, allowing just the infield single while overmatching a few hitters with his change-up, notably Aaron Judge and Didi Gregorius (with an assist to Luke Maile for selling a foul tip). The second time through, the Yankees saw him a little better, with four solid singles. They scored their only run of the night in the 4th when Starlin Castro, Jacoby Ellsbury and Judge strung together consecutive singles. But Estrada quashed the rally by getting Greg Bird to roll a double play ball.
Meanwhile the Jays were staked to a lead by Ryan Goins of all possibilities. After the Jays failed to capitalize on a couple of baserunners in the 1st, Devon Travis lead off the 2nd with a single, and Goins turned around a second straight 3-1 fastball down the middle at 96 from Luis Severino for a two run bomb to right (and not a Yankee Stadium special).
The Jays clung to that 2-0, then 2-1 lead into the middle innings as Severino settled in. They threatened again in the 5th, when Chris Couglan and Kevin Pillar lead off with a single and walk, and Ezequiel Carrera got down the sac bunt, which, well, ugh. This is the problem with Carrera in the 2-hole: given his underlying abilities, it's hard to hate having him bunt there. But playing for one run in the 5th with the middle of the order up the third time though (especially in this park) is such a bad idea. Sure enough, Jose Bautista couldn't get the run home as he struck out, and Kendrys Morales couldn't pick him up either.
But they did manage to get some breathing room in the 6th. Justin Smoak singled leading off, and Travis hit a ground rule double to advance him to third. Then came one of the weirder, and rarer plays that one will see in baseball. Goins cracked a 3-0 pitch to straight away centre, which Ellsbury tracked down as he crashed into the wall and fell down. He tried to flip the ball to Judge coming over from right, but flipped it over him (I didn't think that was even possible). That allowed Travis to come all the way around from second for the 2 RBI sac fly.
The Jays extended the lead via some fireworks. Two batters later, Coghlan went deep (the odds of Goins and Coghlan going deep in the same game?). An inning later, Bautista hit a tape measure blast to right-centre to make it 7-1. It would be great if that was the beginning of hi getting going.
From that point, Estrada was basically in cruise control, working around a single in the 6th and a catcher's interference drawn by Ellsbury, the 27th of his career. Pete Rose is all time leader with 29, though it took him about 3x the plate appearances. A quick 7th was critical to rest an extended bullpen.
Danny Barnes came in the 7th, and looked great with two strikeouts. For some reason, Gibby had Joe Biagini stretching and/or warming, but Barnes came back out the 9th. His command was not as sharp and he had trouble both finding the zone and locating within it, driving his pitch count above 40 and exacerbated by defensive replacement Darwin Barney dropping a popup in shallow left field.
Blue Jays win!
Jays of the Day: Big Game Marco (+0.231 WPA); RFG (+0.194); Travis (+0.127)
Suckage: Morales (-0.117) has the number, but had two solid hits that didn't move the needle after it was already 7-1, so we'll let him off the hook.
Tomorrow night, the Jays will look to extend their winning streak to four games and clinch their second straight series at 7:05EDT with Mat Latos taking on Masahiro Tanaka....so, uh, yeah that should be something