Aaron Judge laid down the law in the 13th inning as the Yankees defeated the Blue Jays 3-0 on Wednesday night at the Rogers Centre.
The New York right-fielder smacked a Joe Biagini offering over the wall in left centre with Brett Gardner on first to break an extra-inning deadlock and put the Yankees ahead 2-0. Later in the frame, Giancarlo Stanton smashed his 14th dinger of the year, a liner off Biagini to left, for New York’s third run. For the Jays, their first extra inning defeat this season after going 5-0. Toronto has now lost 10 of their last 11 home games and have dropped seven straight divisional games and are now 8-17 against AL East opponents.
Up until the 13th, the game featured some stellar pitching, both the starters and bullpens.
Right-handed starter Sam Gaviglio was called up from Triple A Buffalo on April 11 as a reliever, was pressed into service by the Jays as an emergency starter on April 19 and hasn’t looked back. Gaviglio went seven innings and kept the powerhouse Yankees scoreless, giving up three hits and walking three while striking out four, easily his best outing of the year and third straight game he went at least six innings. It will be difficult taking Gaviglio out of the rotation.
“He was really, really good,” said Toronto manager John Gibbons. “Really, the whole pitching staff. It was great pitching on both sides. But obviously we couldn’t put together many hits.”
The Yankees out-hit Toronto 8-4 over 13 innings.
“You got to ride it out,” Gibbons added, when asked about his team’s offence going cold at times this season. “I mean, we’ve got guys that can hit and they’re going to hit. But there’s not a lot you can do.”
But while Gaviglio was rock solid against the Yankees, his New York counterpart Sonny Gray was as equally impressive against the Jays, going eight innings and also keeping his opponent off the board. Gray struck out eight and walked two.
Second baseman Devon Travis made a magnificent defensive play in the second to take away a run, diving to his right to snare a hot grounder by Austin Romine for the third out of the inning.
“That was big,” said Gaviglio. “It allowed me to get out of that inning, I kind of dug myself a hole.”
The Jays finally got to Gray in the bottom of the fifth when Justin Smoak lead off the inning with a double – Toronto’s first hit of the game – that went between centre and right field. Kendrys Morales followed that up with a single, moving Smoak to third. But for some reason Smoak broke for home on a routine grounder to third by Kevin Pillar and was thrown out easily. Gray then walked Russell Martin to load the bases. But as the Jays have tended to do quite frequently lately, the blew an opportunity to score as Travis hit into an inning-ending double play. Toronto third baseman Yangervis Solarte ended the sixth inning by grounding into a double play – the 12th time he has done that this season. And not for the first time in recent games, he didn’t exactly bust it down to first.
The Yanks threatened in the top of the ninth when Didi Gregorius got on base via a single. But Gregorius was thrown out trying to steal second by Jays catcher Martin – the third time in two games Martin has thrown runners out at second.
MAD ON MAGNOLIA
Steve Sanders, the Jays director of amateur scouting, wouldn’t comment on reports that there was some kind of package deal worked out between the Jays’ first round draft pick from Monday, shortstop Jordan Groshans, and their third round selection Adam Kloffenstein, a right-handed pitcher. Both are out of Magnolia High School in Texas. Reportedly Groshans will sign for less than the approximate $4.2 million bonus value for his slot (12th overall) and Kloffenstein will get more than the $653,000 the 88th slot is valued at. Reports have the Jays offering Kloffenstein a first-round level signing bonus of about $2.5 million, and he will forgo his commitment to TCU.
“The way the draft worked out, we were certainly opportunistic in being able to make it happen,” said Sanders of drafting the high school teammates.
Sanders added that the organization was also excited about the two Canadians they picked up in the draft – RHP Will McAffer from North Vancouver (who played at Tulane) and third baseman Damiano Palmegiani of Surrey, B.C., who played at the The Vauxhall Academy of Baseball in Alberta. McAffer went in the 25th round and Palmegiani in the 35th.