Yankees 5 @ Blue Jays 6
It wasn’t an elimination game but the Blue Jays needed a win Wednesday night against the Yankees. And they got one in dramatic fashion.
José Berríos gave Toronto a performance that hopefully fans can point to in years to come as the beginning of the Blue Jays’ final march into the 2021 Postseason. Coming into this game, Berríos had a streak of six consecutive quality starts; coming out of the game, he had a streak of seven.
Berríos arrived on the mound with his mower on: striking out D.J. LeMahieu, Anthony Rizzo, and Aaron Judge 1-2-3. The Blue Jays bats continued the early statement with George Springer lining a double on the first pitch from Gerrit Cole followed immediately by Marcus Semien’s 44th home run. That homer not only gave Toronto a 2-0 lead but it also set the major league record for most homers by a second baseman in a season. Cole ended up facing six batters in the first.
The Jays continued to hit the Yankees’ ace, with Springer bringing in a Santiago Espinal double in the second and Bo Bichette connecting with his 27th homer in the third. Meanwhile, Berríos’s mower continued to rumble on: no Yankee even reached base until there were two outs in the fifth inning when Gleyber Torres pulled a very inside pitch and somehow managed to keep it just fair down the third base line for a double. Gio Urshela singled Torres home on the very next pitch and Brett Gardner followed with a double, which undoubtedly doubled the level of tension in the Rogers Centre stands. The fans got some relief when Kyle Higashioka ended the inning with a weak ground ball to first.
The bottom of the fifth saw Vladimir Guerrero Jr. double in Springer and New York tacked on another run in the sixth leaving Berríos with a final line of: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 7 K. The numbers look good, but Berríos looked spectacular, stepping up for this huge game.
He wouldn’t get the W beside his name though. Steady Tim Mayza was summoned for the seventh with a 5-3 lead and started his night by hitting Joey Gallo in the wrist. Torres followed with a swinging bunt single and a wild pitch on a strikeout brought both runners into scoring position. Higashioka, who has a career 157 tOPS+ against the Jays, then hit a two-run game-tying single on a Mayza pitch that caught way too much of the plate. Adam Cimber ended the inning; the focus then turned to the Blue Jays batters, to see if they could salvage a win—and their season—against the Yankees’ bullpen.
They couldn’t do it against Jonathan Loáisiga but then Adam Cimber shut down Rizzo, Judge, and the park helped to hold in a deep fly ball by Giancarlo Santon to end the top of the eighth.
Then a Bo-omb went off. The park didn’t help to hold this one from Bo Bichette off of Clay Holmes.
That was possibly the biggest home run of the Blue Jays season so far. What followed was Jordan Romano’s biggest appearance of the season—career?.
Gary Sanchez, pinch hitting for Gallo, was called out on strikes. Gleyber Torres reached first on a bloop single against a no-doubles defense. Gio Urshela flew out to the warning track in centre field and Torres moved up to second for Tyler Wade.
Wade pops up the first pitch—lands just out of play on top of the dugout. Strike one. Then Wade watches a 98 mph fastball at the bottom of the zone for strike two. Fastball and fouled off, still 0-and-2. Slider and fouled off, still 0-and-2. Torres dances off second base. Romano delivers a 99 mph heater on the inside edge of the plate, Wade connects and pops it up! Bichette races out to centre field, Springer races in from centre field, and Springer makes the catch!
BLUE JAYS WIN! BLUE JAYS WIN! BLUE JAYS WIN!
Jays of the Day! Bichette (+.318 WPA), Romano (+.176), Cimber (+.157), Springer (+.127), and Berríos (+.092) gets one for starting the game with 4.2 perfect innings.
Suckage Jays: Mayza (-.254)
Blue Jays ace (and after tonight’s performance from Cole, Cy Young frontrunner) Robbie Ray will go up against the Yankees’ Corey Kluber Thursday night at 7:07 pm. September baseball, baby.