Fisticuffs started the game, bad bullpens ended it. Toronto Blue Jays drop an exciting final game to the Yankees.
The Blue Jays blew a chance for a series sweep and Happ’s 21st win of the season in a messy ninth inning. With the loss they are now only 1.0 game up in Baltimore, who come to town tomorrow.
New York Yankees: 3 vs Toronto Blue Jays: 3
WP: Warren (7-4) LP: Grilli (7-6) S: Layne (1)
9/26 @BlueJays lineup vs NYY
— MLB Lineups (@mlblineups) September 26, 2016
The Blue Jays we able to claw back the earlier 1-0 deficit they found themselves in quickly in their half of the first inning. After Josh Donaldson was HBP with one out, Edwin Encarnacion stroked a single to right-centre, pushing Donaldson to third. The patience of Jose Bautista and Russell Martin would lead to two walks and an RBI for Martin, and a 1-1 game.
J.A. Happ took things into his own hands in the second inning by hitting Chase Headley after throwing behind him on the first pitch. The payback for Donaldson’s HBP, caused a little stir when the benches emptied, and resulted in a warning from the umpire, but nothing came of it.
The Blue Jays lineup was able to jump on Luis Severino‘s replacement Jonathan Holder in the third inning to extend their lead. Troy Tulowitzki doubled home Jose Bautista who reached after a single and advancing to second on a Martin walk.
J.A. Happ, with Toronto looking for a sweep, put together another strong effort tonight of 7.1 IP, 6H, 2R, 1ER. Oddly, he only recorded 2 strikeouts, but did record 10 ground ball outs. This is what allowed him to go deep into the game on only 96 pitches.
The combo of Biagini and Brett Cecil neatly cleaned up the 8th inning for J.A. Happ, which left the game at 3-2. Thus guaranteeing Happ a shot at his 21st win on the season.
Toronto made it interesting in the 9th inning by loading the bases on Dellin Betances and cashing in two runs to make it 7-5. They had a shot to win it, with Martin and Tulo at the plate, and the bases loaded, but it didn’t happen.
Russell Martin committed a 2 base error when attempting to field a bunt off the bat of the lead-off hitter, Brett Gardner. This allowed Gary Sanchez to drive in Gardner with a ground ball out to the short stop.
Yankees pitcher, Severino, decided that Happ wasn’t to have the last laugh in the bean ball war, and went after justin Smoak, not once, but twice. Of course, this resulted in another bench clearing meet-up near the plate, this time punches appeared to be thrown. Severino seemed to exasperate the situation by immediately throwing down his glove and running at Smoak, who hadn’t made a motion towards the mound whatsoever. All in all, the entire thing was rather unnecessary for a team in a playoff hunt.
Pillar mis-played a Jacoby Ellsbury single to left centerfield which scored Gardner. The bobble allowed Ellsbury to scamper into second as the tying run with one out. It also ended Happ’s evening.
With one out in the 9th, and a 3-2 lead, Jason Grilli, proceeded to surrendered a solo home run to Mark Teixeira, a single to Didi Gregorius, and a two-run home run to Aaron Hicks to put the Yankees ahead 5-3. He was pulled after a Torreyes double to left field, for Danny Barnes.
Barnes allowed a single of his own, but two of his inherited runners scored to make it 7-3 New York.
NEWS & NOTES:
- Joaquin Benoit left the game after the melee between both teams in the second inning. No update was given before the end of the game. But, it did seem to be a foot issue.
- Devon Travis left the game after what appeared to be an odd-looking swing (according to the broadcast), it had been noted he was pushed into the earlier fracas, and may have had an issue as a result.
- Joe Biagini‘s appearance, though only one batter, allowed him to add to his excellent strand rate this season. Of the 25 runners he has inherited, he has only allowed 5 to score.
*Featured Image Credit: Kris Robinson (Flickr) – UNDER CC BY-SA 2.0
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Wade is a long time baseball fan who has been involved with the game for over 30 years. Including as a former college player, amateur pitching coach, and blogger.