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Boone's blunder results in 7-4 Yankees loss in series finale


A two-home run day from Justin Smoak led the Blue Jays to a 7-4 win over the Yankees on Sunday afternoon, as the American League East rivals split their four-game season-opening series in Toronto. Smoak gave the Jays a 7-4 lead with a grand slam off of David Robertson in the bottom of the eighth inning. Brandon Drury continued to rake for the Yankees, going 2-for-3 on Sunday, with a homer and two RBIs.
Photo Credit: Carlos Osorio | Toronto Star

Down 4-1 in the seventh, Smoak pulled the Jays to within a run with a two-run homer off of Tommy Kahnle, who entered the game to start the frame. Kahnle came on in relief of Chad Green, who pitched two scoreless frames out of the bullpen. Kahnle walked Josh Donaldson to start the inning, before Smoak put a 1-0 offering over the wall in center to make it a 4-3 Yankees lead.

Robertson entered the game with two outs in the bottom of the seventh in relief of Kahnle. Despite getting out of the seventh unscathed, Robertson got himself into trouble in the eighth. After a Russell Martin single and an Aledmys Diaz double put two runners, Aaron Boone chose to intentionally walk Donaldson with two outs to bring up Smoak with the bases juiced. This move turned out to be costly, as Smoak would burn the Yankees with a towering grand slam to center field, his second home run of the game, giving Toronto a 7-4 lead that they would never look back from.

Yankees’ starter Sonny Gray only lasted through four frames, as he found himself in trouble several times throughout the early innings. In the first, Gray allowed a leadoff walk to Devon Travis, followed up by a Donaldson single, putting two men on with no one out. Gray bared down and struck out the next three batters he faced to strand runners at the corners and escape the inning without any damage.

The Jays got to Gray in the second, though. After Martin walked with one out, he moved up to second on a Kevin Pillar single. Gift Ngoepe then lined a single into right, where Aaron Judge was able to field the ball and fire it home to nab Martin before he could cross the plate. The assist was Judge’s first of the season. A Travis single then scored Pillar for the first run of the game, but Gray was able to escape the frame allowing just the lone run.

The Yankee offense showed some life in the top of the third, turning a 1-0 deficit into a 4-1 lead. After Jays’ starter Marcus Stroman struck out Brett Gardner and Judge to start the frame, he walked Giancarlo Stanton. Didi Gregorius kept the line moving with a double into deep left-center, scoring Stanton and tying the game at one. After a Neil Walker single brought home Gregorius to give New York the lead, Drury stepped up and smashed an 0-2 Stroman offering over the wall in left-center to extend the Yankees’ lead to 4-1. It was Drury’s first big fly as a Yankee.
Photo Credit: Corey Sipkin
Toronto brought on Seung Hwan Oh to close out the game in the ninth. Oh worked around a two-out Judge single to pitch a scoreless frame and earn his first save as a member of the Blue Jays.

Winning Pitcher: Tyler Clippard (1-0, 3.00 ERA): 1 IP, BB, K
Losing Pitcher: David Robertson (0-1, 18.00 ERA) 1.1 IP, 3 H, 4 ER, BB
Save: Seung Hwan Oh (1)

Notable Players
Brandon Drury:  2-3, HR (1), BB, 2 RBI
Chad Green: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 4 K
Giancarlo Stanton: 1-2, 3 BB, 1 R
Sonny Gray: 4.0 IP, 7 H, 1 R (1 ER), 3 BB, 8 K

What’s Next?
The Yankees travel to the Bronx for the first time in 2018 for their home-opener against the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday afternoon. The Yankees will send Jordan Montgomery out to the mound for the first time this season. The young southpaw went 9-7 with a 3.88 ERA in his rookie campaign in 2017. The Rays have yet to announce their starter for Monday afternoon, and will likely cycle through relievers to get through the game. First pitch from Yankee Stadium is scheduled for 1:05 p.m.      

Article by: Jonathan Kohut

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