New York Yankees: Yankees strengthen hold on the wild card with win over the Jays (video)

New York Yankees, Aaron Judge

With new urgency, last night, the New York Yankees entered the last game of the Toronto Blue Jays series at Roger’s Center in Toronto with a need to win the rubber game of the series. The Yankees won the first game  7-2 but lost the second game in a 6-5 squeaker. The must-win would allow the Yankees to keep the wild card home field advantage even if the Red Sox won their game with the Orioles. Which they didn’t; they lost to the Baltimore Orioles, including the series.

The Yankees relied on Corey Kluber to get the win over the likely Cy Young award winner Robbie Ray. Kluber managed to keep the Yankees in the game at the night’s end as the Jay’s best pitcher Ray failed miserably. Five Yankee homers powered the way to a 6-2 win in the game, giving them even more cushion in the wild card race.

Corey Kluber got the job done

The still building up after coming off the IL, and after not pitching for three months, the New York Yankees sent righty Corey Kluber to the mound to at least keep the Yankees in the game against arguably the best AL pitcher Robbie Ray.  Even though Corey Kluber wasn’t at his best, he kept the Yankees in the game; he limited the Jays to just two runs against the energetic young Jays team. He pitched into the fifth inning, giving up seven hits and the two runs.

When Kluber was taken out of the game after 4.2 innings of work, Michael King entered. King finished off the fifth and pitched the sixth, giving up just one hit. Luis Severino, who has been lights out since his return from Tommy John surgery, pitched a hitless seventh. Chad Green, who has been returning to form lately, struck out three in the eighth. Chapman came in for the ninth in a non save situation and allowed one hit while striking out two and securing the 6-2 lead for the Yankees.

Bronx Bombers power their way to another win

The Toronto Blue Jays sent their best pitcher, the likely 2021 Cy Young award-winner, to shut down the Yankees and give them the series win. But the Bronx Bombers were not going to take any of that silliness; they pummeled the lefty with five home runs in the game. All the Yankee runs were via the home run, including the one other hit in the game.

It started in the first inning after DJ LeMahieu struck out and Anthony Rizzo ground out into the shift. Then, Aaron Judge came to the plate and hit a monster 455′ homer into the Roger’s Center left-field stands. He wouldn’t be denied as he hit his second home run in the sixth inning back to back after Anthony Rizzo hit the 250th homer of his career. Then, Gleyber Torres hit his own home run driving Robbie Ray out of the game. Finally, Brett Gardner tacked on an insurance homer in the top of the ninth inning for a 6-2 win that the Jays couldn’t recover from.

Questions with DJ Lemahieu

The New York Yankees are not done with injuries this year. Shortly before last night’s game, it was announced that the first baseman and DH Luke Voit was put on the 10 day IL with a knee injury. After a strikeout Wednesday night, Voit was seen limping off the field. Possibly of even greater consequence Tyler Wade entered the game to take DJ LeMahieu’s last two at-bats. LeMahieu has been suffering from hip and groin problems. The Yankees, in their usual vagueness, wouldn’t comment on how serious it is, other than he would work through it. Being taken out early last night questions that.

Yankees wild card standing

The New York Yankees strengthened their grip on a wild card berth by holding on to the home-field advantage. The Red Sox, who are behind the Yankees, lost their game against the Baltimore Orioles. Next in line was the Seattle Mariners, who were idle yesterday. The situation caused the Mariners and the Red Sox to have identical records two games out. With the loss last night, the Toronto Blue Jays are one game out for a wild card appearance with only three games left in the season.

In other standings, Dusty Bakers’ Houston Astros clinched the AL West for the fourth time in five years and will face the Chicago White Sox. When the Yankees win the wild card game, they will face the Tampa Bay Rays. The winners of those series will play each other in the AL Championship to determine who goes on to play in the World Series.

Notes: I can’t finish this article without giving a shout-out to Bo Bichette who played his heart out in this series. The little guy did everything he could to make the Blue Jays victorious. He had seven hits including two home runs in the series while striking out only twice.

Tonight at 7:05 pm EDT, the New York Yankees start out their final series of the season at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx. Nasty Nestor Cortes Jr. will be on the mound for the Yankees. The game will be televised on the YES Network, Bally Sports Sun, and on MLBN out of market.