Monday, September 26, 2016

Multiple Yankee Ejections Fire Up Team, Lead to 7-5 Comeback Win Over Blue Jays

In one of the wildest games of the entire 2016 season, the Yankees pulled out a win in the final game of the four-game set with the Toronto Blue Jays. Luis Severino got the call for the Yankees tonight in a spot-start for Masahiro Tanaka, but The fiery rookie would get ejected after plunking multiple bluejays in just two innings of work. The winningest pictcher for the Blue Jays, J.A. Happ got the start against the Yankees; but fell victim to a shotty performance by his bullpen that prevented him from winning a Toronto record high 21st game of the season.

The Yankees were quick to jump on the 20-game winner, scoring on Happ in the top of the first inning. Brett Gardner led off the game with an infield single, advancing to third on a two-base throwing error by catcher Russell Martin where he launched his throw to first base over the head of Edwin Encarnacion. Two batters later, Gary Sanchez drove in the 39th run of his young career by grounding out to short to give the Yankees a first inning one run lead.

The Jays didn't take Long to get that run back, tying the game as they forced the wild Severino to throw 33 pitches in the bottom of the first. The first inning was a rough one for Severino, not really having any control of the strike zone and inadvertently drilling Josh Donaldson in the elbow for Toronto's first base runner of the game. After an Encarnacion single moved Donaldson to third, Jose Bautista walked to load the bases with one out. The next batter Russell Martin also worked a walk, forcing in the Jays' first run of the game to tie it at one apiece.

Although Severino got out of the first, that Donaldson HBP would loom large in the top of the second. Happ took exception to his third baseman getting plunked and in turn drilled Yankees third baseman Chase Headley to begin the frame. As the Homeplate umpire gave warnings to both sides, Yankee players and coaching staff took exception to the situation, which led to the first of several on-field delays. After Gregorius grounded out to end the frame, manager Joe Girardi was ejected from the game still visibly upset over the beanball wars and was sent to the clubhouse, leaving Coach Rob Thompson to take over the game.

Girardi wasn't the only person to take exception, as Severino drilled first baseman Justin Smoak to begin the bottom of the second. Smoak charged the mound towards a barking Severino, as both benches cleared and multiple ejections would be handed out. Severino, pitching coach Larry Rothchild and acting manager Rob Thompson were all ejected from the game, leaving third-base coach Joe Espada to take over the Yankees managerial duties. If nothing else, the play showed that young Severino had his teammate's backs.

After order resumed, the Jays capitalized on tapping into the Yankees bullpen so early, taking the lead in the bottom of the third. Jose Bautista started the rally when he ripped a one out single off Yankee reliever Jonathan holder, advancing to second on a Russell Martin walk. The next batter Troy Tulowitzki ripped a double into the left center field gap, advancing Martin to third and scoring Bautista to give the Birds a one run lead. Holder was then lifted for left-handed reliever James Pazos, who immediately served up a single to Michael Saunders that scored Martin and extended Toronto's lead to 3-1.

It took then until the eighth, but the Yankees got one of those runs back as they chased Happ from the game. With one out, Brett Gardner roped a double into right, scoring when the next batter Jacoby Ellsbury ripped a single into center to close the gap to 3-2. After the RBI knocked Happ out of the game, left-hander Brett Cecil got pinch-hitter Brian McCann to ground out to short to end the frame and prevent any further damage.

 Because the Blue Jays closer Roberto Osuna had the night off, Jason Grilli came on to pitch the ninth and opened the door on the Yankees late-inning comeback. With one out, Mark Teixeira absolutely  obliterated a Grilli fastball into the second deck in right-center, tying the game at three apiece. After a Gregorius opposite field single, Aaron Hicks unloaded on a Grilli breaking ball into the seats in right field to give the Yankees a 5-3 lead. After a Donovan Solano double kept the Yankee rally alive, Grilli was pulled for righty Danny Barnes. Barnes immediately walked Brett Gardner and then allowed Solano to score on a Jacoby Ellsbury single to right, 6-3 New York. And then Gary Sanchez capped off the rally by smacking a fly ball into centerfield for sacrifice fly, scoring Gardner to push their lead out to four.

The struggles for Delin Betances continued on this nightmarish road trip as he let the Jays back in the game in the bottom of the ninth. Betances missed badly on four straight pitches to leadoff hitter Justin Smoak, Who advanced to second when the next batter Kevin Pillar reached on a throwing error by (who else)Betances. After a VERY wild pitch advanced both runners up a base, Betances walked Darwin Barney to load the bases with no one out for Josh Donaldson. And even though there was only a lefty up in the bullpen, Espada went to that lefty Tommy Layne.  The mid-season supposed left-handed specialist got Donaldson to hit a short pop up, leaving the bases loaded with now one out. He followed up the pop out by walking Encarnacion to force in Smoak from third to make it a three run game. Layne then served up a soft fly ball to "no man's land" by Russell Martin for a single, scoring Pillar and pulling the Jays back to within two. But two sparkling plays, first by Layne to record out number two at home plate and the second a diving catch to end the game by Gardner, put the Yankees back in the win column to close out the roughest road trip of the season.

The Bombers head home for their final games of the season, starting tomorrow at 7:05 PM/EST when they host the retiring David Ortiz and the Red Sox for a three-game set.

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