Last night's game was a blast, a sensation, a great ride, and a lot of fun to watch. The Yankees defeated the Toronto Blue Jays 11-5, and except for one brief moment, the game was never that close. For almost the entire night, it was all Yankees.
Masahiro Tanaka started for the Yankees and sailed through the early innings. He allowed single hits in the first and second innings and retired the side in the third and fourth innings. By the time Tanaka started showing signs of weakness, the game seemed well out of reach for the Blue Jays.
Mat Latos started the game for the Blue Jays and had nothing. Brett Gardner led off the game with a loud double. Chase Headley then bunted against the shift for an infield single. Matt Holiday then doubled home Gardner setting the Yankees up for a huge first inning. Alas! It wasn't quite to be. After Starlin Castro hit a hard lineout to right field, Didi Gregorius bounced out and some poor base running by Matt Holiday led to a strange 1-3-6-2 double play. (In short, Holliday strayed too far off second base on Gregorius' soft hit to the pitcher. When Justin Smoak, the Jays' first baseman saw Holliday too far off the bag, he fired to second. This forced Headley to try to score where he was thrown out easily.)
Interestingly, the Blue Jays also had a base running blunder in the first inning. Kevin Pillar began the game with a double, and with two outs and Kendrys Morales at the plate, he tried to steal third as Masahiro Tanaka was standing on the mound getting ready to deliver a pitch. Tanaka stepped off the rubber and easily threw out Pillar at third base.
Because of the base running blunders, I learned a new phrase from my 18-year-old son:
TOOTBLAN (Thrown Out On The Basepaths Like a Nincompoop). Each team had a TOOTBLAN in the first inning. Oh baseball!
The Yankees broke the game open in the second inning. Aaron Hicks hit a two-run blast. A few batters later, Brett Gardner launched a bomb into the upper deck for two more. After two innings, the Yankees led 5-1.
In the third inning, Aaron Judge got into the act by hitting a towering, but short, home run into the right field seats.
In the fourth inning, Brett Gardner blasted his second homer of the night.
By the time the fourth inning came to a close, the Yankees were winning 7-0.
Tanaka seemed to tire a bit in the middle innings. The Blue Jays scored twice in the top of the fifth. Former Yankee Steve Pearce hit a solo homer. Chris Coughlon later singled home Devon Travis who had doubled.
In the sixth inning, Tanaka gave up a double to Jose Bautista to begin the inning, but stranded him by retiring the next three batters in a row.
Off of Dominic Leone (relieving Mat Latos), the Yankees added a run in the bottom of the sixth around a walk and two singles.
After six innings, the score stood at 8-2 Yankees. But...
The only time the game looked close was in the seventh inning. Tanaka came out and had very little left. Steve Peace begin the inning with his second home run of the day. One out later, Devon Travis singled ending Tanaka's night. Tyler Clippard came in without his best stuff. He retired the first batter he faced and then gave up a single and a walk to load the bases. This forced the Yankees to call on Dellin Betances and it didn't start well...
On one of Betances' first offerings, the ball slipped out of his hand for a strange balk scoring the Jays' fourth run. Russell Martin then walked bringing up Kendrys Morales with the bases loaded. A grand slam would have tied the game. No worries...Betances struck him out looking to end the threat.
Heading into the bottom of the seventh, the score stood at a much-too-close 8-4. It didn't stay that close for long. The Blue Jays called on Jason Grilli to relieve Dominic Leone.
Starlin Castro greeted Leone with a loud double. Didi Gregorius then walked. (With that walk, every Yankees starter reached base at least once in the game.) Aaron Judge then came up and battled with Grilli fouling off pitch after pitch after pitch, until... he hit another huge home run, this time a three-run shot, to put the game out of reach.
The final two innings were uneventful. The Blue Jays scored a meaningless run in the top of the 8th off of Tommy Layne who relieved Betances. Jonathan Holder then held off the Jays in the 9th.
All told, behind five home runs and solid enough pitching (except for the one brief scare), the Yankees walked away with an enjoyable 11-5 victory.