New York Yankee fans waited over a year to see a Yankee Stadium game with fans in the stands. Today was the Opening Day of the 2021 baseball season for the New York Yankees as they faced the Toronto Blue Jays. Many baseball know-it-alls believe the Blue Jays will be the major competition in the East for the Yankees, this writer included.
Today, after the festivities were over Gerrit Cole, took to the mound for the Yankees. The starter for the Blue Jays was their ace, Hyun Jin Ryu. The Opening Day celebration started with introducing the Blue Jays coaches and players to polite applause by Yankee fans. Then came the Yankee coaches and players’ introduction to huge applause of Yankee fans, far beyond the 10,840 in attendance. The Yankees pitched well in the game but lost it 3-2 in the tenth inning.
After the introductions, Cole faced Semien and ground him out. Biggio went down on strikes, and Bichette ground out as Gerrit Cole had a great start with a 1-2-3 inning. At the bottom, Hyun Jin Ryu faced DJ LeMahieu and ground him out. Aaron Judge struck out, and Aaron Hicks struck out swinging for a fast first for both pitchers. It was evident from the first inning that all the New York Yankees were wearing the number 16 on their sleeve in honor of Hall of Famer Whitey Ford, whose number was retired in 1974. Ford passed away this winter.
Hernandez led off against Cole in the second singled just beyond Gleyber Torres. Guerrero Jr. singled up the center move Hernandez to second. Gurriel singled, driving in Hernandez for the early Jays lead. Tellez popped out to Jay Bruce. Grichuk struck out swinging. Jansen has always been a difficult out for the Yankees, but this time Cole struck him out. Cole’s command was off as his strike-to-ball ratio was not good. Jays 1 Yankees 0. At the bottom, Giancarlo Stanton popped out. Gleyber Torres, who had 5 homers in the spring, singled to left. Gio Urshela struck out swinging. Gary Sanchez homered well over the left-field fence driving in two for the Yankee lead. Jay Bruce ground out. Yankees 2 Jays 1.
At the top of the third, Cole took the mound with 38 pitches thrown. Semien flew out. Biggio was down looking. Bichette struck out for a fast half for Cole. Clint Frazier lead off the bottom of the third. It’s his first opening day start. Frazier ground out to the infield. LeMahieu ground out to third. Judge ground out as well for a scoreless third inning.
Hernandez, at the top of the fourth, went down looking. Guerrero Jr. walked. Gurriel Jr. struck out for Cole’s seventh strikeout of the game. Tellez flew out to Judge to end the half. Aaron Hicks led off the bottom by striking out. Stanton ground out in the infield. Torres struck out, making it a quick inning for both pitchers. Yankees 2 Jays 1.
Grichuk led off the Jays with a long out to left field in the fifth inning. Jansen got a base hit to left. Semien flew out to Frazier. Biggio did the same, flying out to Frazier. At the Yankee half Urshela flew out to right. Sanchez flew out to left field. Bruce walked. Frazier singled, but the Jays asked for a check with New York umpires. Frazier was called safe. LeMahieu was nearly out on an excellent scoop but the second baseman Semien. Yankees 2 Jays 1.
Gerrit Cole out for the sixth inning struck out Bo Bichette. Hernandez homered to tie up the game. Guerrero Jr. walked, and that was Cole’s day; he fell one strikeout short of the most opening day strikeouts for any Yankee pitcher. (8). He was replaced by Chad Green, facing Gurriel Jr. Chad Green one pitch and a double play, and the inning was over for the Jays, but they tied it up. Aaron Judge led off the bottom with a single to center. Hicks singled for the force out of Judge. That was it as Chatwood took over for Ryu. Stanton went down swinging. Torres walked to move Hicks to second with two outs. Urshela made the final out. Yankees 2 Jays 2.
Green on the mound for the seventh popped out Tellez to Urshela. Crichuk singled past Green into centerfield. Jansen popped out to LeMahieu. Chichuk tried to steal, and the bullet arm of Sanchez caught him stealing, ending the half. Sanchez led off the bottom with a single to left. Bruce hit a long one that was caught on the warning track. Clint Frazier got his second hit of the game a single to left, moving Sanchez to second, with one out. LeMahieu walked to load the bases. Aaron Judge hit into an inning-ending double play. The game tied at 2.
Out to pitched the eighth was Jonathan Loaisiga, one of the best Yankee pitchers in spring training. Semien struck out against Loaisiga. Biggio flew out to Hicks in center. Bichette ground to LeMahieu, who threw to Loaisiga for the final out of the half. Rafael Dolus took over the pitching for the Jays at the bottom. He walked Aaron Hicks. Stanton went down on strikes. Torres popped out to the infield. Urshela went down swinging. On to the ninth inning. Yankees 2 Jays 2.
New acquired sidearmer Darren O’Day had the mound for the Yankees in the ninth. Teoscar Hernandez singled on a late throw from Torres. Guerrero Jr. popped out to LeMahieu. Gurriel Jr. struck out swinging. Tellez flew out to Judge. At the bottom, the Yankees had the chance for a walk-off like they did in the home opener in 1957. Gary Sanchez led off with a walk. Mike Tauchman pinch ran for Sanchez. Which was a good move as Tauchman stole second base. Jay Bruce struck out. Clint Frazier at the plate Tauchman stole third. Frazier walked. DJ LeMahieu singled, but Tauchman was called out as he tried to make it home. Aaron Judge, with two outs, strikes out to end the ninth.
10,850 fans in the stands got free baseball as the game went to the 10th inning, with Nick Nelson on the mound for the Yankees. According to the rules, Tellez started the inning at second. Crichuk doubled, driving Tellez in for the Jays 10th inning lead. Jensen struck out. Semien struck out. Baggio struck out, but the Jays took the lead. Jays 3 Yankees 2. At the bottom of the 10th, with last licks on the line for the New York York Yankees, Aaron Hicks was at-bat, with Judge on second base. Hicks went down looking. Giancarlo Stanton struck out. He stuck out with the Yankees losing the opener down to the final out with Torres at the plate. Final score Jays 3 Yankees 2. Ramano got the win, Nick Nelson the loss, and Merryweather the save.
Suppose today’s game is any indication it will be an interesting competition this season between the New York Yankees and the Toronto Blue Jays. Anyone could have won this game; it just so happened to be the Jays in the 10th inning.