TORONTO — Even after they blew a five-run lead, the Yankees pushed the tying run to third base on Sunday and went down swinging. Anthony Rizzo battled Blue Jays’ closer Jordan Romano before grounding out to shortstop to end the Bombers’ run of nine straight games with a 10-9 loss to Toronto in the Rogers Centre.
The Yankees (49-17) had already taken the series by winning the first two of three games here. They are now 20-10 away from Yankee Stadium, the best road record in the AL and are 24-11 in the division. Sunday night, they left the Rogers Center with an 11-game lead over the Blue Jays (38-28) in the American League East and still holding the best record in baseball—by far.
They didn’t get to the top of the standings this early in their season, however, by ever letting up.
“You gotta beat us,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “I mean they come back with obviously some huge at-bats to grab the lead, but then our guys just don’t go away.”
The Blue Jays had some really, really big at-bats—and they needed them to scrape out the win.
They scored all 10 of their runs—the most allowed by Yankees pitchers this season—on four home runs. Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. hit a two-run shot in the first to give the Blue Jays’ their first lead. George Springer hit a solo shot after the Bombers had taken a lead. Lourdes Gurriel, Jr. hit a grand slam—the first off a Yankees pitcher this season—to cut the Yankees lead to a run. Teoscar Hernandez hit a three-run shot in the seventh to finally give the Blue Jays back the lead.
“It’s a really good offense over there, obviously,” Boone said. “They had a couple of big swings. Big swings with a grand slam and a three-run homer that really hurt us.”
Luis Severino had given up the homers to Guerrero, Jr. in the bottom of the first and to Springer in the fifth. The right-hander, who had been scratched from his scheduled start on Thursday with flu-like symptoms, went five innings allowing three runs on three hits, he walked two and struck out five. Miguel Castro came in and gave up the grand slam to Gurriel and Wandy Peralta gave up the three-run homer to Hernandez.
“I mean, yeah, it’s definitely not something we are used to,” catcher Kyle Higashioka said. “So we’ll definitely just have to regroup and come to Tampa ready to go.”
Gleyber Torres hit his 13th of the season in the second off of Blue Jays starter Yusei Kikuchi. Torres hit it in his 201 at-bat of the season. He had a total of 12 homers in the 2020 and ’21 seasons combined over 595 at-bats. Torres doubled in two more runs in the fifth.
Josh Donaldson, who angrily slammed his bat down after being hit by a pitch in the first inning, took some extra time to admire his sixth homer of the season in his next at-bat. The two-run shot in the second gave the Yankees their first lead of the day.
Kyle Higashioka and Marwin Gonzalez went back-to-back in the sixth off Max Castillo, who was making his major league debut. Not only was it Gonzalez’s first home run as a Yankee, but the first by a Bombers’ shortstop this season. The Yankees were the only major league team without a homer from the shortstop spot. Anthony Rizzo, pinch hitting in the eighth, hit his third home run in the last four games to cut it to a run.
“I think we’ve just continued to prove to ourselves that it doesn’t matter what the situation is in the game, we’re never out of it,” Rizzo said. “Out of our handful of recent losses the one in Minnesota really the only one that stands out that kind of got out of hand, just a regular loss. Most of our losses are tight, gut-wrenching. So it’s just a credit to our team and how relentless we are. We’ll continue to fight until the last out.”