Through the first month of the season, the Toronto Blue Jays and New York Yankees have become well acquainted with each other and quite familiar with playing close games against each other.
After the most eventful meeting of the season series featured three Toronto ejections on Tuesday, the American League East foes face a quick turnaround Wednesday afternoon in the finale of a two-game series at Yankee Stadium.
The Yankees lead the season series 5-3, with six of the games being decided by three runs or fewer. On Tuesday, New York pulled out a 6-5 win on Aaron Judge’s three-run, walk-off homer in the ninth inning against AL saves leader Jordan Romano.
“I think both teams have aspirations,” Toronto shortstop Bo Bichette said. “There’s a lot of really good players on each side and obviously there are going to be competitive games.”
Judge’s homer gave the Yankees their 14th win in 16 games and put them in position to win their seventh straight series.
The long ball capped a night that saw the Yankees overcome getting no-hit into the sixth before three Toronto ejections. Reliever Yimi Garcia and pitching coach Pete Walker were tossed when Josh Donaldson was hit in the back following Giancarlo Stanton’s tying three-run homer.
In the seventh, Toronto manager Charlie Montoyo was booted after New York reliever Jonathan Loaisiga threw up and in against Bichette in a 3-3 game.
“That was the thing that kind of got me going a little bit,” Judge said of the sixth. “This is a team we’re fighting for each other, it doesn’t matter what the situation is. We’re always going to pick each other up.”
Toronto lost for the eighth time in 13 games since getting off to a 12-6 start. The Blue Jays took a 5-3 lead into the ninth after Lourdes Gurriel Jr. hit an RBI double and scored on Alejandro Kirk’s sacrifice fly in the eighth.
“I’m proud of my team for coming back after all that (expletive),” Montoyo said. “Believe me, we could have said, ‘Oh man, the umpires are against us,’ and all that stuff. We battled back and we have the best closer in baseball there in the ninth inning, so actually the other way around, I’m proud of my team for coming back in a game like this.”
On Wednesday, New York’s Jameson Taillon (2-1, 2.84 ERA) will face the Blue Jays for the third time this season and the second straight outing. The right-hander held them to two runs and five hits on April 11 in a 3-0 loss in New York and then allowed one run on five hits in a season-high six innings of a 9-1 win at Toronto on May 3.
Taillon is 2-3 with a 4.20 ERA in six career starts against Toronto.
Jose Berrios (2-1, 5.34 ERA), who is coming off his worst outing of the season, will start for the Blue Jays. Berrios took his first loss of the season when he allowed season highs of six runs and eight hits in 4 2/3 innings of a 6-5 defeat against the Cleveland Guardians on Thursday.
Before the rough outing in Cleveland, Berrios had a 1.93 ERA in his previous three starts, two against the Boston Red Sox and one vs. the Houston Astros.
Berrios is 2-2 with a 4.83 ERA in six career starts against the Yankees. He last faced them on April 13 in New York, when he allowed three runs (including solo homers by Anthony Rizzo and Judge) in a five-inning no-decision.
–Field Level Media