THE BRONX – For the second consecutive day, the Yankees put 10 runs on the board as they swept the Toronto Blue Jays with a win Sunday afternoon.
“A lot of people contributing, and really, I felt like our hunger was good coming in,” Aaron Boone said. “Really pleased with how the guys came out today from a focus, energy standpoint, to finish this homestand that was kind of up-and-down on a really good note.”
The Yankees got their runs in two bunches, with a six-run first inning and four-run sixth inning. The Blue Jays actually scored first since J.A. Happ allowed a solo home run with two outs in the top of the first inning to Randal Grichuk on a 3-0 fastball.
But, the offense backed their starter in the bottom of the frame, thanks to some shoddy command from Jays starter Ryan Borucki. Aaron Hicks and Giancarlo Stanton each walked to lead off the game, then moved up a base on a double steal. Miguel Andújar followed with a single to left that scored Hicks.
Didi Gregorius came to the plate next, and he hit a ground ball to second base that ate up Devon Travis. Travis’s throw to first was late, and pulled first baseman Kendrys Morales into the baseline. Gregorius and Morales collided, leaving Gregorius worse for the wear. It was scored an RBI single as Stanton scored. Gregorius would stay in the game to run the bases, moving to second on an infield single hit by Gleyber Torres.
Greg Bird came to the plate next, entering fresh off a garbage-time solo shot in the eighth inning the day before but hitting just .140/.222/.246 in August. With the bases loaded, he crushed a 2-1 sinker on the inside corner into the second deck in right field for his second career grand slam.
“It’s a product of keeping your head up,” Bird said. “I felt like I did a better job of using my legs today … I just keep playing. I keep going. The biggest thing is not getting caught up and chasing results, and just doing what you can when you get the opportunity.”
Morales homered off Happ for the Blue Jays in the sixth, but the Yankees more than made up for it in the bottom of the inning. Brett Gardner singled, Hicks worked another walk and Stanton smacked an RBI single through the right side of the infield to score Gardner. Andújar followed by juuuuust beating out a double play ball hit up the middle. The Blue Jays challenged, and lost.
Ronald Torreyes* doubled, and Torres was intentionally walked to face Bird. Bird grounded into a 3-2 force at home plate, but the return throw to first was late, according to first base umpire Jansen Visconti. Blue Jays manager John Gibbons was out of challenges (having already lost one), and wanted a crew chief review of the play at first. Visconti wanted no part of that, and handed Gibbons his sixth ejection of the season.
With runners on second and third, Kyle Higashioka ripped a two-run single to score Torreyes and Torres. That capped the scoring for both teams. Happ pitched 5⅓ innings, giving up the solo homers to Grichuk and Morales. Jonathan Holder pitched 1⅔ and Sonny Gray got the final six outs to lockdown the sweep.
“It was strange, I can admit that,” Happ said. “I think I’d probably prefer not knowing the opposition the way I know those guys. But we got through it, had a big first inning and got a good win.”
The only Yankee without a hit was Shane Robinson. Torreyes managed to go 3-for-4 with two singles and a double despite not starting the game.
* I put an asterisk next to Torreyes’s name because he entered as a defensive replacement for Gregorius after the latter played an inning after the collision. The Yankees announced later that Didi had a “bruised left heel” and was headed to a local hospital for further testing. After the game, Aaron Boone said that the injury was “pretty significant” and that he could spend some time on the disabled list.
The first off-day since July 30. Then, the team heads south to Miami to take on the Marlins in a short two-game series. Masahiro Tanaka starts game one and Lance Lynn starts game two.