Today, America spent its federal day to honor the laborer with BBQs, last days at the pools and beaches, movie marathons, and ball games all over the country. Including 42,141 at Yankee Stadium The Yankees also hosted some American Olympic medalists fresh from this year’s games at Rio, and the current CIA director threw out the ceremonial first pitch (which was really good, by the way).
And then they played a game against Toronto to kick off this home stand, sending Masahiro Tanaka to the mound to start today’s game. While certainly not his best outing, Tanaka still maintained a decent one. He threw 105 pitches into the 7th inning, giving up 7 hits, 3 walks, and 2 runs, striking out just 4 batters.
In the 1st, a lead-off double scored on an RBI single. Later, with 1 out and runners on the corners, an instinctive fielder’s choice got the out at home before Tanaka could shut down the early attempt by the AL East leaders to get too far ahead of the Yankees. Tanaka held the Blue Jays off from further damage until the 7th inning, giving up a lead-off walk and getting a deep fly out before his afternoon was done.
Jonathan Holder came on and promptly got another fly out, but then walking his next 2 batters loaded the bases and ended his time on the mound. Ben Heller didn’t help much, giving up a 2-run single. But then Layne shut things down for the final out of that long 7th inning. Clippard and Betances both breezed through the 8th & 9th innings, respectively with minimal pitches. Toronto gave Clippard a bit of a challenge, but he pulled through on the replay. Betances earned his 9th save in just 10 pitches, with 2 strikeouts.
Now, this could be terrible news for the Yankees, but as rough as the Yankees pitchers had in the 1st & 7th innings, the Blue Jays’ starter was just having an awful day himself, only lasting through 4 innings before the Jays opened the bullpen and had a much better job of keeping the Yankees from adding to their score.
Fortunately, the Yankees certainly made their mark early. In the 1st, Gardner led-off with a single before scoring as part of Jacoby Ellsbury’s 2-run home run into the right field seats. Tyler Austin started the 3rd inning with a double before scoring on Ellsbury’s 1-out single. And in the 4th, with 1 out, Castro singled and Romine worked a walk, and they both scored on Tyler Austin’s 2-out double to cap off the Yankees scoring.
Like I said, that called the end to Toronto’s starter, and once they got into their bullpen, the Yankees didn’t do much offensively. But they made a big enough dent to protect their lead through the rest of the game.
Final score: 5-3 Yankees.
Okay, I have to highlight the defense of two of the Baby Bombers — Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez. Judge made a couple of key plays — a head-first diving grab in the 2nd and a catch right at the wall in the 7th. And Sanchez continued his strength behind the plate, getting a runner stealing 2nd in the 4th inning.
Roster news: the final word on Aaron Hicks was to move him to the 15-day DL, retroactive to September 1st when he strained his hamstring. I don’t really think he’s coming back this season. Hamstring injuries aren’t really easy to gauge as far as recovery and easy to mess up again if they aren’t completely healed; they often feel healed well before they are which leads many people to jump back into regular activities before they’re really healthy again. Rest up, and get well.