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Blue Jays play a close and exciting game, but lose to the Yankees 4-3

Clayton Richard settled down after a shaky beginning, Edwin Encarnación hits game-winning homer for New York

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at New York Yankees
Jun 25, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion (30) follows through on a solo home run against the Toronto Blue Jays during the eighth inning at Yankee Stadium.
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees hit four home runs to beat the Blue Jays 4-3, securing a series win at Yankee Stadium. But the Blue Jays made it close and had a chance to win in the ninth, which is basically a moral victory, no?

The game started ominously for the Blue Jays, with Clayton Richard giving up back-to-back solo shots to the first two Yankees to come up to bat in the bottom of the first. That first homer, by DJ LeMahieu, gave the Yankees their 28th consecutive game with a home run, setting a major league record. The first inning continued rather eventfully, with catcher Danny Jansen and first baseman Rowdy Tellez colliding on a Gary Sánchez straight-up pop-up near the plate (Jansen held onto the ball for the out despite being plowed over by the charging Tellez). A Giancarlo Stanton single was later erased at third base on an unconventional 5-3-1 double play that was initiated by a slick diving play by Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

Opening for the Yankees was Chad Green, who recorded a clean 1-2-3 frame on 13 pitches. He was followed by lefty Nestor Cortes Jr. who went 4-5-6-7-8-9-1-2-3 until Cavan Biggio led off the fifth inning with a double to right field.

Richard gave up a 340-foot solo shot to Gleyber Torres in the second, which could’ve been a two-run homer had Richard not picked off Aaron Hicks. Richard settled down and held New York scoreless for the rest of his outing.

In the fourth Richard and the Blue Jays were helped out by Lourdes Gurriel Jr.’s sixth outfield assist, throwing out Luke Voit at home with enough time to spare to make a glass of instant ice tea. The Yankees loaded the bases in the sixth but Richard came out unscathed.

With how this game began, Richard delivering a quality start was a pleasant surprise. Toronto’s starter finished six innings—his longest outing of the season—allowing three earned on eight hits, recording a single walk and strikeout.

Toronto recorded their first run in the sixth, when Eric Sogard flied out sacrificially to score Freddy Galvis from third on a close play at the plate with an accurate throw from left fielder Brett Gardner. Gardner came into the game to replace Stanton, who injured his knee in that aforementioned 5-3-1 double play. Guerrero Jr. continued the comeback attempt by slapping a single, scoring Jansen to make it a 3-2 game and ending Cortes’s night. Tommy Kahnle came in to neutralize the Jays’ threat by striking out Biggio and Teoscar Hernández.

Former Yankee David Phelps pitched the seventh inning and got out of it not giving up a run despite getting into a little jam with Hernández slipping in centrefield to give a LeMahieu a triple. Tim Mayza gave up Edwin Encarnación’s second career home run against Toronto (first was on July 21, 2017 off of Marco Estrada) to give the Yankees an insurance—and later the winning—run going into the ninth.

Aroldis Chapman came in for the save in the ninth and created some drama by allowing the first two batters, Gurriel Jr. and Biggio, to reach base on a single and catcher’s interference, respectively. He then proceeded to whiff Hernández and Tellez. With two out, Randal Grichuk hit a handsome single on a Chapman slider to score Gurriel Jr. to make it a 4-3 game. The drama ended a batter later when Freddy Galvis loses a seven-pitch battle, grounding out on a 102 mph sinker from Chapman.

Yankees pitchers struck out 12 Blue Jays, led by Cortes’s five. New York improves to 51-28 while Toronto falls to the near-mirror record of 29-51.

Jays of the Day! Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (+.128 WPA)

Suckage Jays: Teoscar Hernández (-.239 & golden sombrero), Rowdy Tellez (-.181), Freddy Galvis (-.138), and Eric Sogard (-.137)

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The Blue Jays and Yankees will wrap up this series with a getaway day 1:05 pm game on Wednesday, Trent Thornton (2-5, 4.25) is scheduled to face James Paxton (5-3, 3.75). While the Blue Jays are returning to Toronto for a series against the Royals on Friday, the Yankees are getting away to London to face the Red Sox on Saturday and Sunday—perhaps some actual royals will be in attendance.