Beating the Yankees is always fun. Josh Donaldson hitting bombs is a lot of fun. It follows, then, that tonight was a very good night. On both sides, one player was responsible for driving all in all his team's in this game. Fortunately, for the Jays, a former MVP has a slight edge over a guy with just double digit MLB at-bats, and Donaldson was more than up to the task of doubling up Garrett Cooper.
Donaldson did all his damage off Yankee starter CC Sabathia, in what was a short and miserable night for him. After Jose Bautista led off the bottom of the 1st with a hard double and after a bunt by Russell Martin (ugh), Donaldson hit a 407 foot bomb to stake the Jays to a 2-0 lead.
The second time went about the same in the 3rd. Martin led off with a single, and Donaldson took Sabathia yard. This one wasn't quite the bomb the first one was, 365 feet to left field, but it worked just as well. Unfortunately for Blue Jays hitting, that was Sabathia's last inning. All told, he gave up six hits, five of which went for extra bases.
That Jays would not score again, squandering several innings with multiple hits/baserunners, though perhaps the best opportunities that slipped between their fingers came off Sabathia. After the first inning HR, Justin Smoak walked and an out later Pearce doubled, but both were stranded. In the third, Kendrys Morales hit a one out double, and also advanced no further.
And frankly, given the Yankee lineup, this ballpark, and the lack of shutdown pitching, the Jays were quite fortunate that four runs held up tonight. The Yankees were more than equal to the task of stranding runners, with 10 LOB to right for the Jays.
J.A. Happ was okay, sort of calssic "Old Happ", working 5.2 innings of 1 run ball, allowing 1 run on 4 hits and 4 walks against 5 strikeouts. He allowed at least one runner in every inning save the 4th, but mostly managed to navigate around them. The exception was the 2nd inning, when he allowed back-to-back lead off singles, got a double play ball but couldn't finish off Cooper, would singled to drive in the Yankees first run.
Happ's day came to end in the 6th, when he walked back-to-back hitters with one out. He retired Didi Gregorius, but Domonic Leone was summoned to finish off the inning. He gave up an infield single to load the bases, but retired Cooper to strand them that way. As went Happ, as went Leone, and as would go the bullpen the rest of the way.
Danny Barnes came in for the 7th, and allowed a pair of singles sandwiched around a double play ball. I don't know that was the best move, but that was the end of him, and Ryan Tepera got Aaron Judge swinging to quell another.
Tepera ran into this own trouble in the 8th, hitting the first two batters of the inning and walking Todd Frazier after retiring Gregorius. That brought up Cooper, who got the run home with the sacrifice fly, but the Jays were plenty happy for that outcome, especially was Ronald Torreyes flew out to end the inning and end the damage.
Roberto Osuna mercifully had a clean inning to lock down the 9th. Huzzah!
Jays of the Day: Donaldson (+0.258 WPA), Happ (+0.166)
Suckage: Pillar (-0.102, 0/4). Barney also went 0/4 but only ended up at -0.062. Such is life.
Tomorrow is the middle game of the series, same time, same place as Masahiro Tanaka will take on Nick Tepesch, who will be selected from Buffalo Wednesday. This will be fine. Perfectly fine.