Torres walk-off clinches 8-7 win, series sweep of Toronto

In a back-and-forth slugfest, the Yankees erased two deficits, including one of five runs, to beat the Blue Jays, 8-7, in walk-off fashion Wednesday. The win clinched a series sweep of the Blue Jays for the Yanks, and they finished off their final home stand of the season’s first half with a 9-1 record. After today’s win, New York is now a season-best 24 games above .500 at 52-28. They lead the American League East by 6.5 games.

Photo Credit: Seth Wenig/AP Photo

James Paxton got the start for the Yankees and was once again shaky, at best. The lanky lefty walked the first two Toronto batters of the game before allowing a three-run home run to Lourdes Gurriel Jr. to make it 3-0 Jays early. Paxton responded by striking out the next three Blue Jays, but it was an inauspicious start for a pitcher that hasn’t looked all that great over the last month (7.15 ERA in 22.2 June frames).

After a scoreless bottom of the first by the Yanks, Paxton went back out for the second looking for a clean inning. Instead, he allowed a single to former Yankee Brandon Drury, and then a two-run big fly to .184 hitting Danny Jansen. Toronto entered the game 26th in runs scored in MLB, but Paxton made them look like the ’27 Yankees in the early going.

Thankfully for “Big Maple,” his offense had his back today. Facing a 5-0 deficit in the bottom of the second, New York responded with three runs to get back into it. Didi Gregorius hit a solo blast to center to make it 5-1, and Aaron Judge came through with a two-out, two-run single to get the Toronto lead down to just two, at 5-3.

After two scoreless innings from Paxton in the third and fourth, the Bronx Bombers struck again in the bottom of inning number four. DJ LeMahieu hit a game-tying, two-run home run to right field on a day where the ball was flying out of Yankee Stadium. “The Machine” went 8-12 (.666 batting average) with two home runs, three RBI and four runs scored in this three-gamer against the Blue Jays.

Paxton came back out for the fifth inning, and immediately gave the lead back to Toronto. Lourdes Gurriel hit his second long ball of the afternoon, and 12th of the season. Gurriel went 3-4 with four RBI on the day. Paxton finished the day allowing six runs on eight hits, and four walks, in 4.1 innings. His season ERA now sits at 4.34 after another questionable outing.

However, the Bronx Bombers were not going to be stopped in this one. The Yanks responded immediately in the bottom of the fifth. After a double by Edwin Encarnacion, and a single by Gregorius, Aaron Hicks tied the game at six on a sacrifice fly to right. And in the sixth, the Yankees finally took the lead. New York got three straight two-out singles from Gary Sanchez, Judge and then a run-scoring knock from Luke Voit to make it 7-6 pinstripers. Judge went 3-5 today, and 5-8 this series.

Following Paxton’s rough outing, the bullpen was mostly stellar. David Hale came on after Paxton and fired 1.2 crucial frames of scoreless relief. He was followed by Adam Ottavino, and Stephen Tarpley, who each put up a zero themselves. Tarpley gave Aaron Boone two clutch innings out of the ‘pen in this Toronto series. However, on a day where Aroldis Chapman was unavailable, Zack Britton blew the save. He gave up back-to-back hits, and the lead, to start the ninth. It was nodded up at seven heading to the bottom of the inning.

Once again, though, the Yankees offense came through for a pitcher that struggled. Didi Gregorius picked up his third hit of the day to get things going in the ninth. That was followed by a walk of Aaron Hicks and then the biggest swing of the day. Gleyber Torres flared a single into right field to end a long, wild day in the Bronx with an 8-7 Yankees win. Torres finished the day 3-5 and is cementing himself as a star at just 22-year-old.

What’s Next?

Two days off and then London. The Yanks will take a trip across the Atlantic for MLB’s inaugural London Series and a two-game series against the rival Boston Red Sox. After Boston’s loss today, New York leads them by 10 games in the loss column. The opening game of the series is scheduled for Saturday at 1:10pm Eastern time on FOX. The probables are Masahiro Tanaka (5-5, 3.21 ERA) for the Yanks, and Rick Porcello (5-7, 4.52 ERA) for the Sox.

Recap by: Jake Graziano


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