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Jays Lose 4-2, Fail to Complete Sweep

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at New York Yankees Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports

That was a frustrating one. Alek Manoah didn’t have his command, but battled hard to give his team a chance. Unfortunately, the defense let him down and the offence couldn’t figure out Nestor Cortes or capitalize on opportunities against the bullpen.

Oh well, if you’d told me in advance they’d take 3 of 4 in Yankee Stadium I’d absolutely have taken it. They finally won a series in August, and they have some things to build off heading into an easier stretch they need to capitalize on to secure a playoff berth.

The offense struggled with Nestor Cortes early. Lourdes Gurriel jr. hit the ball well for a line out, and Vladimir Guerrero jr. and Alejandro Kirk grounded out weakly.

Alek Manoah started off well, but his defence let him down. He struck out Andrew Benintendi and got Aaron Judge to ground out to third, but Anthony Rizzo golfed a low slider off the right field wall for a long single and scored on a DJ LeMahieu ground ball single against the shift and a stupid throwing error by Gurriel trying to get Rizzo at third. Manoah rallied to strike out Gleyber Torres, but bad defense put the Jays in an early hole.

The second was uneventful in both directions. Teoscar Hernandez lined out and Bo Bichette and Matt Chapman struck out in the top half. In the bottom half, Oswaldo Cabrera flew out, Aaron Hicks grounded out, and Manoah beat Jose Trevino with a fastball in to end it.

The Jays got on the board in the third, with Whit Merrifield leading off with an oppo shot that bounced off the top of the wall twice before falling over. Santiago Espinal popped out and Jackie Bradley jr., and Gurriel had his second well hit ball of the day go for an out, this time a one hopper to second.

Manoah struck out Marwin Gonzalez to lead off the home half of the inning, but lost the zone a little after that. He walked Benintendi on four pitches. Judge struck out swinging, but then he also walked Rizzo on the minimum. It cost him, as Bichette somehow whiffed on a hard grounder right at him, allowing Benintendi to come around to score Teo line to right and putting New York up 2-1. He fell behind Torres 3-0, but Torres did him a favour by chasing a fastball way inside, and a couple pitches later grounded out to short.

After Guerrero and Kirk fly outs, Hernandez poked a soft liner over short for a single. Bichette also singled, on a flair to right centre, to put a runner in scoring position. Chapman fought a long battle with Cortes, hitting a hard grounder on the 11th pitch of the at bat that LeMahieu was able to get to for the third out. Manoah bounced back in his half of the inning, getting Cabrera swinging and getting fly outs from Hicks and Trevino.

Merrifield narrowly missed his second homer of the day leading off the fifth, but it drifted just foul, and he flew out on the next pitch. Espinal worked a walk, but Bradley and Gurriel flew out to strand him.

Manoah really laboured in the bottom of the fifth. Benintendi lead off with a double. Manoah then hit Judge on the elbow. The Yankees dugout emptied and it looked like Gerrit Cole was trying to start something, but there was clearly no intent on Manoah’s part and the umpires were able to get the situation calmed down. I suspect Cole was just sore about the losing streak and getting beaten yesterday and decided to make a scene to vent a bit. Rizzo grounded out and LeMahieu lined out to short to stop the Yankees from adding onto their lead.

The top of the Jays order continued their futility in the sixth, with Vlad, Kirk and Hernandez striking out in order against a pitcher who’d been on the ropes the previous two innings. Somewhat surprisingly, Manoah came back out for the home half. He got Torres to ground out, sat Cabrera down swinging for his seventh strikeout of the day, and then did the same to Hicks for his eighth. He wasn’t sharp today, but he seems to have a knack for getting the job done. In a slightly different world, if Gurriel and Bichette could play defence, he might well have worked six shutout innings. As it was, two runs (one earned) in six against even a slumping Yankees lineup is solid work.

Jonathan Loaisiga worked beginning of the seventh for the Yankees. Bichette lead off with a single to right. Chapman grounded into a fielder’s choice, with Bo out at second. Merrifield then walked, which prompted a chess connect four match between John Schneider and Aaron Boone. Schneider pulled Espinal for Cavan Biggio. Biggio had the platoon advantage, but I can’t see him catching up to Loaisiga’s 100mph fastball, especially cold off the bench. The book says you want the platoon advantage, though, so Boone went to his bullpen for lefty Wandy Peralta, which prompted Schneider to pull Biggio for George Springer. Schneider won the battle of wits, as Springer lined a single to left. It was hit too hard for Chapman to score from second, but Peralta walked Bradley with the bases loaded to drive him in anyway, tieing it at 2. Raimel Tapia was brought in to run for Springer in case he had to score from second on a single, but Gurriel grounded out softly, and after another pitching change (to Lou Trivino), Vlad also grounded out to end the rally before the Jays could take the lead.

Trevor Richards had been warming, but now that the game was tied Adam Cimber was brought in for the bottom of the seventh. Trevino lead off with a soft roller to third that Chapman made a nice play on but couldn’t quite get to first in time. Gonzalez successfully sac bunted him over to second. The saccrifice ended up not mattering, as Benintendi homered to put the Yankees up 4-2. Cimber struck out Judge and Rizzo, but the damage was done.

Trivino stayed in to work the top of the eighth. He got Kirk on a ground out, struck out Hernandez, and got a fly out from Bichette. With the game now back out of hand, Richards was brought in. He got a fly out from LeMahieu then struck out Torres and Cabrera.

Boone stayed with Trivino in the ninth. Chapman grounded out, Merrifield walked, Tapia lined out to third, and Bradley ground out to end the ballgame.

Jays of the Day: Merrifield (0.205), Springer (0.116)

Suckage: Cimber (-0.288), Gurriel (-0.191), Guerrero (-0.200), Chapman (-0.167)

The Jays are off tomorrow. They’ll head to Boston on Tuesday night to take on the Red Sox.