Yankees win 11th straight, 9-1, as offense explodes in Blue Jays bullpen

The Blue Jays had a 1-0 lead. Alek Manoah had been tearing up the Yankees’ lineup, retiring 15 straight batters after walking Aaron Hicks on four pitches and giving up a one-out single to Anthony Rizzo in the first inning. Aaron Judge, who had already struck out twice, trailed 0-2 in the count. Hicks, who had just recorded the team’s first hit since the first, was caught trying to steal the second.

But then Judge fouled out on two pitches, took three straight nasty sliders to bring the score to 3-2 and deposited a 96 mph fastball deep into Toronto’s night to tie the game. From then on, the entire tenor of the night changed, launching the Yankees to a 9-1 victory over the Blue Jays.

It was a beautiful thing, an absolute moonbeam that traveled 427 feet into the arms of a local Blue Jays fan…who then proceeded to give the ball to a young yankees fan nearby bearing the signature of Judge No. 99. A pleasant and wholesome moment.

For the first five innings, the story revolved around the pitch. The Yankees were unable to get anything out of Manoah, who allowed just two runners and struck out seven; the only hard ball the Yankees had was Rizzo’s single in the first inning, which had an exit velocity of 113.3 mph. At the same time, Jameson Taillon fended off a one-out double by Bo Bichette in the first inning and a leadoff double by Vladimir Guerrero Jr. in the fourth inning, drawing even with Manoah.

However, the Blue Jays were the first to get a run, staging a mini-rally in the fifth inning. After Zack Collins struck out to lead off the inning, Alejandro Kirk doubled. Taillon then had Santiago Espinal drop an 0-2 slider, and it looked like he would again draw an extra-base hit. George Springer, however, reached on catcher’s interference after the review. Bichette followed with a single that led to Kirk scoring and gave Toronto a 1-0 lead.

The Yankees tied the score in the next inning, courtesy of the aforementioned Judge Tater. While that was the only real blemish on Manoah on the night, Blue Jays captain Charlie Montoyo took notice of the fact that the Yankees tattooed the ball three times in the inning: Hicks’ single, Judge’s homer and Rizzo’s lineout clocked in at 98.1, 114.9 and 104.8 mph, respectively, and he turned to his bullpen for the seventh inning. That would ultimately prove to be his downfall.

Giancarlo Stanton opened the inning with a searing line drive straight at Bichette; at 119.8 mph, the most hit ball of the season in baseball, he ate Bichette, and although the shortstop was able to recover the ball, the throw knocked Guerrero off the bag. Trusting the instincts of their first baseman, the Blue Jays defied the call on the field; however, the ruling stood, the E6 remained, and Montoyo lost his challenge. That last part would turn out to be massive.

With Stanton on first, Josh Donaldson drove an 0-2 sinker into the gap between left-center field, splitting the outfielders and allowing Stanton to run all the way to score from first; Donaldson himself would move into second place with a stand-up double.

Torres struck out swinging for the first out, but Marwin Gonzalez bounced his double off the left-field wall, bringing home Donaldson and giving the Yankees a 3-1 lead.

Isiah Kiner-Falefa hit an infield single that moved Gonzalez to third. José Treviño followed with a soft grounder to first. The contact play was underway and Guerrero threw the ball home on what should have been an easy play. Rather than be ejected, Gonzalez opted to get caught in an oversight. His plan, clearly, was to stay alive long enough for the IKF to move up to third place and Treviño to second, and he did that quite easily.

Eventually, though, Marwin pulled out a “Javier Báez” and seemed to sneak past Guerrero and score:

I must emphasize “seems” in this case, because not only was González clearly off the baseline, Guerrero really applied the label, which is why he didn’t try to shoot home. If the Blue Jays had challenged the call, it would have been easily nullified, but because they challenged E6 earlier and lost, they didn’t have a challenge to use. As a result, the call was upheld and the Yankees took a 4-1 lead.

Hicks followed with a single that set up Kiner-Falefa and sent Treviño to third. Judge decided to return to the gap between left-center field that had been so good for the Yankees throughout the inning, driving in both Treviño and Hicks to take the lead to 7-1. That would be all the Yankees would get, as two of the next three batters fanned out to end the inning. But it was more than enough: in all, 11 batters came to the plate, 6 of whom scored.

Wandy Peralta took over from Taillon, tasked with the most important task a pitcher has after a big inning: putting up a zero to keep the opponent’s morale low. And he did exactly that, thanks in part to a clever pickoff move that wiped out a one-out single by Kirk.

Peralta allowed a double to Espinal, but struck out Springer, his third K of the night, to drop another zero on the scoreboard. Miguel Castro followed up with a relatively uneventful eighth, allowing just one double by Guerrero, and Lucas Luetge floored the Blue Jays to secure the 9-1 victory.

Everything was clicking for the Yankees today. The pitching staff combined to limit a Toronto lineup that entered the night with a 109 OPS+ and is packed with one-run hitters, striking out seven in the process and not allowing a single free pass. Meanwhile, the entire lineup was clicking, with only Treviño and Gleyber Torres failing to register a hit. Judge’s home run now ranks him ninth on the year, tying him with teammate Rizzo for the most in the Majors; he is also the eighth of him in the last ten games, a streak similar to his hottest stretches of 2017.

As a bonus, Stanton joined the party in the ninth, extending his hitting streak to eight games with a 444-foot, two-run homer.

Jameson Taillon is credited with the win, improving to 2-1 on the year, while Adam Cimber takes the loss. The Yankees have now won eleven straight games, and will return to action tomorrow looking for their fourth straight sweep. Néstor Cortés begins, against Yusei Kikuchi, with the first pitch scheduled for 7:07 pm ET.

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