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Bullpen Day Thrives, Yanks top Rays 4-1

Entering the last week of the regular season the Yankees opened a four-game set Monday night in the always dreaded trip to face the Tampa Bay Rays. The Yankees came into tonight sitting one and a half games (two in the loss column) above the Oakland A’s for home field advantage in the AL Wild Card game. Aaron Boone decided to go with a “bullpen day” tonight instead of giving the ball to a typical starter.

Timely hitting and solid relief pitching lead Yankees to 4-3 win over Toronto

In what seemed like more than a regular April game, the Blue Jays traveled to the Bronx for another four-game set between the two. Jays’ ace Aaron Sanchez took the bump for the visitors, and CC Sabathia made his first start in 13 days, returning from nagging hip soreness. 6.5 games behind the Red Sox, the Yankees got a must needed win against the second-place team in the AL East. It was not pretty and no one on the Yanks tallied more than one hit, but they did enough to pull out a 4-3 win over Toronto.




The Yankees bats got going early. Gary Sanchez led off the bottom of the second off with a single to right. The Yankees quickly had second and third with one out, and a fielder’s choice by Tyler Wade put the first run on the board. A two-out single from Torreyes made it 2-0 to end the second.

In his first start since the 10-day DL stint, CC Sabathia came out and pitched somewhat well. He coasted through the first two innings, retiring six of the first seven batters that came to the plate. He found himself in some trouble to start the third, allowing the first two guys to reach. After a fielder’s choice, the Jays had runners on second and third with one out. In what seemed to be a mix-up between Sabathia and Sanchez, a cutter skipped off of Sanchez’s glove, allowing Luke Maile to score. It was deemed a passed ball, keeping an earned run off Sabathia’s line.

Again, the first two batters reached for the Blue Jays in the fourth. Ronald Torreyes made a throwing error to start the inning followed by a hit by pitch against Kevin Pillar. Sabathia bounced back to get two quick flyouts, but a two-out single by Maile tied the game at two. Sabathia came out to start the fifth but did not finish it. He was knocked out after 4.1 IP, allowing two unearned runs on four hits.

Chad Green entered the game for CC and fared well, getting out the fifth as well as pitching a perfect sixth.

The Yankees went down in order in the third and fourth but put more pressure on Jays starter Aaron Sanchez in the fifth. After a quick out, Ronald Torreyes worked a walk and Brett Gardner ripped a single to right. A fielder’s choice from Aaron Judge had the Yankees with first and third with two outs and Didi Gregorius at the plate. Didi came through with an RBI single to give the Yankees a one-run lead. The threat was put to pass after Gary Sanchez grounded out to third.

The sixth inning started with a leadoff single from Aaron Hicks, but Aaron Sanchez came back to get three straight outs to work out of the inning. The infamous Tyler Clippard came into a one-run ballgame for Toronto in the bottom of the seventh. With one out, Aaron Judge launched a solo-shot to double the Yankee lead, his fifth of the season. This proved to be the game winning run. Clippard worked out of the rest of the inning unscathed. 
 

Dellin Betances came in to start the seventh, something Yankees fans may have been weary of due to his previous outings versus Toronto. Betances had a perfect seventh as a collective sigh was let out from Yanks fans everywhere.

David Robertson started the eighth and immediately dug himself into a hole. A leadoff single followed by two walks left the bases loaded with no one out. He came back to strike out Kevin Pillar for the first out of the inning, but a pinch-hit bloop-single to center from Curtis Granderson plated a run, bringing the Jays within one. The bases were still loaded with just one out, but a quick strikeout followed by a flyball to left had the Yankees holding on to a 4-3 lead.

Aroldis Chapman came in and shut the door in the ninth, striking out the side on just 12 pitches. A great sight for Yankees fans.


Winning Pitcher: Chad Green (1-0, 1.80 ERA) 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 2K.
Losing Pitcher: Aaron Sanchez (1-2, 3.86 ERA) 6.0 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 2K.

Notables:
C.C. Sabathia: (first start since April 6) 4.1 IP, 4H, 2R, 0ER, 1K.
Aaron Judge: 1-3, HR (5), RBI, BB.
Aroldis Chapman: 1.0 IP, 0H, 0ER, 3K.
Luke Maile: 2-4, RBI, R.

What’s next?
Game two of the four game series will be played on Friday night, first pitch 7:05 EST. The Yankees will be throwing Sonny Gray against the Blue Jays’ Marcus Estrada. A win for the Yanks would at least clinch a tie in the series.

Article by: Shane Black

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