Tonight begins a 4-game weekend series in Toronto as the Yankees continue to secure and protect their status as the AL East leaders. And honestly, tonight, the Blue Jays proved why they’re trailing in the division.
Plus, CC Sabathia was just amazing on the mound tonight. He’s continuing his strong season, earning his 6th win (in 10 starts). He threw 102 pitches into the 7 innings, giving up just 5 hits, no walks, and 1 run, and striking out 7 Toronto batters. In fact, Sabathia shut out the Blue Jays until that 7th inning, when he gave up a lead-off solo home run. After his 7th strikeout, Sabathia’s night was done, but it was a start he can certainly be proud of.
Chad Green took over for Sabathia and finished the 7th inning quickly. Despite a lead-off home run in the 8th, Green continued his own strong outing through the rest of the game, closing out the 9th for the Yankees’ victory.
Meanwhile, the Blue Jays had a terrible start, their starter not even making it out of the 4th inning. Gardner led-off the game with a double, moved to 3rd on an out, and then scored on Aaron Judge’s single. After Holliday’s single and Castro’s walk loaded the bases, Aaron Hicks hit a bases-clearing 2-out double to solidify the Yankees early lead.
In the 2nd, with 2 outs, Gary Sanchez hit a solid solo home run to join in on the offensive fun. And with 1 out and Gardner on base in the 4th, Sanchez hit his 2nd home run of the game, a 2-run shot to left field. Then with 2 outs, Holliday singled, and the Jays had seen enough. They went to their bullpen to close out the 4th inning.
And it helped for a bit. The Yankees still hit, they just didn’t hit much. In the 7th, with 2 outs, Gregorius reached on a sloppy fielding error and then raced home on Hicks’ double. Gregorius’ hand slid under the tag, but it was close enough for the Blue Jays to call for a replay challenge. It wasn’t close enough, and the call was upheld. Gregorius was safe at home.
Chase Headley then singled and scored Hicks to continue the 7th inning domination. (Remember, at this point, no Blue Jays had scored a run.) So, Toronto went to their bullpen again. And that once again worked for a bit.
In the 9th, Holliday led-off with a single, and Gregorius joined him on base with his own single. Both runners then scored on Hicks’ 3rd RBI double of the night. Another new reliever promptly gave up an RBI single to Headley to score Hicks, before getting his 2 outs to close out the inning.
It was just all Yankees, all game. Every single starting batter got on base, many with multiple hits. It was everyone to contribute, with standouts like Aaron Hicks going 4-for-5, with 6 RBIs and 2 runs scored. Hicks is having quite the hot streak.
Final score: 12-2 Yankees.
Maybe it’s a good thing Hicks is doing so well as Jacoby Ellsbury is still troubled with concussion effects. I’ve said it before, but concussions aren’t formulaic to treat. They take time and individualized treatment, and each person responds differently and heals at a different pace. They are still hoping he will see play time this weekend in Toronto, but as he’s still not feeling himself, they’re on a wait-and-see plan.
Milestone alert: CC Sabathia became the 21st all-time and 4th in just left-handeders strikeout leader. After tonight’s game, he stands at 2,779 career strikeouts with his 7 strikeouts. He is now 53 below the next lefty and just 24 behind the all-time pitcher (who happens to be the legendary Cy Young). And once he’s in the top 20, they’re almost all Hall-of-Famers, so pretty good company up there.
And Brett Gardner hit his 1000th hit in MLB tonight, a single in the 4th inning. He would then score as part of Sanchez’s 2-run homer to continue the offensive surge early in the game.