Great all-around pitching and timely hitting (including Aaron Judge’s fifth home run) lead to the New York Yankees taking Game 1 of a four-game set against the Toronto Blue Jays.
- New York Yankees 4 (9-8)
- Toronto Blue Jays 3 (12-6)
- W: Chad Green (1-0, 1.80 ERA)
- L: Aaron Sanchez (1-2, 3.86 ERA)
- AL, Final, Box Score
- Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York
On an extremely cold Thursday night in the Bronx, the New York Yankees received contributions up and down the roster to outlast their divisional foe, the Toronto Blue Jays.
The Yankees faced a guy in Aaron Sanchez who was within five outs of a no-hitter his last time out against Baltimore and put together some quality at-bats to send the young righty to the showers after six innings. A combination of Chad Green, Dellin Betances, David Robertson and Aroldis Chapman picked up their starter C.C. Sabathia by holding the lead for four-plus innings to take the all-important game one win.
While both starters worked uneventful first frames, it was the Yankees who jumped out to an early lead in the bottom of the second.
Gary Sanchez started things off with a single, replaced at first when Aaron Hicks grounded him into a force out at second base. The struggling Neil Walker then came up and smoked a double off of the wall in right that move Hicks to third. Tyler Wade followed suit with a groundout to second that scored Hicks to give the Yankees a one-run advantage.
When you’re lineup has seen such an array of injuries as this Yankees team has, you need someone to be there to clean up the messes both on offense and on defense. With a couple of sparkling defensive plays at third under his belt in the first two innings, Ronald Torreyes came up big with the bat as well. Toe took an Aaron Sanchez fastball and ripped it over the head of shortstop Aledmys Diaz and into left field for an RBI single to make it 2-0 good guys.
Well Boone's move swapping Andujar for Torreyes has come through so far. Nice diving play in the 1st and an RBI single in the 2nd for Torreyes. Can't really go wrong with Torreyes anywhere in the infield.
— Yankeesource (@YankeeSource) April 19, 2018
While the Yankees jumped out to an early lead in the second; Toronto was gifted a run in the top of the third, thanks to some suspect defense by Gary Sanchez.
With two outs and runners on second and third and Justin Smoak at the plate, Sanchez got crossed up with a pitch selection from C.C. Sabathia. It looked like he was expecting a breaking ball, but instead got a cutter that shot off of Sanchez’s mitt and to the backstop to allow Luke Maile to score from third to make it 2-1.
Then in the top of the fourth, former Yankee Yangervis Solarte reached on a throwing error by Toe, advancing to second when the next batter Kevin Pillar was hit by a pitch. Following two consecutive pop outs, Luke Maile slipped a ground ball single between short and third to score Solarte from second to knot the game up at two apiece. You just cannot play championship-caliber baseball when you continue to make these kinds of errors.
So Long, C.C.
Having just come off the DL and with the blustery conditions of the Bronx night, Yankee manager Aaron Boone pulled his starter CC Sabathia after the lefty tossed 71 pitches. Sabathia went 4.1 innings, surrendering four hits that led to two unearned runs while striking out and walking one.
Relief ace Chad Green came on in relief of the big lefty and proceeded to retire the final two batters of the fifth.
Back On Top
Even though they couldn’t manage to hold the lead for their starter Sabathia, the Yankees put together a mini-rally and retook the lead in the bottom of the fifth.
"He wins a lot of pitches."
– Aaron Boone on Aaron Judge pic.twitter.com/bPJxyDvuRP
— YES Network (@YESNetwork) April 20, 2018
Toe worked a one-out walk, advancing to second on a Brett Gardner single. After a Judge groundout moved Toe to third and retired Gardner at second, Yankees early season MVP Didi Gregorius smacked a single into right that scored Torreyes to give the Bombers a one-run lead.
Didi Gregorius knocks in a run to regain the Yankees lead at 3-2 in the 5th inning. pic.twitter.com/9VzmICukwk
— YES Network (@YESNetwork) April 20, 2018
The RBI was Didi’s team-leading 17th of the season and made Boone’s decision to hit Didi behind Judge and in front of Stanton really look genius.
In the bottom of the seventh, all of the Yankee fans that stayed through the freezing conditions got exactly what they came to see. Even better, it was off of former Yankee Tyler Clippard.
— Tom Hanslin (@tomhanslin) April 20, 2018
Not only did the home run account for Judge’s fifth of the season, it also gave the Yankee bullpen some much-needed breathing room to finish this one out.
Making It Interesting
After Chad Green and Dellin Betances worked perfect appearances to get the Yankees through the sixth and seventh innings, David Robertson started the eighth by loading the bases without retiring a single hitter.
Although Robertson would go on to strike the next hitter Kevin Pillar out as the first out, he served up a lazy fly ball single that dumped just in front of Aaron Hicks that scored just one to make it a 4-3 ball game. Fortunately, Houdini struck out Randal Grichuk and got Luke Maile to fly out to end the threat and the frame.
Aroldis Chapman came on to work a perfect ninth inning to close the door on any Toronto hopes of a comeback. When you are playing a four-game set, the first game is so crucial to take if you have designs of winning the series. Tonight, the Yankees did just that.
The Yankees will look to carry this winning momentum into tomorrow night’s game two of this four-game weekend series.
New York sends Sonny Gray (1-1, 6.92 ERA) to the mound to try to get their prize trade acquisition from a year ago back on track. Toronto sends right-handed Marco Estrada (1-1, 4.21 ERA) out to try and even the series at a game apiece.
First pitch is scheduled for the more traditional 7:05 p.m. ET and can be seen on the YES Network or the MLB Network(for those out of market), and heard on WFAN 660/101.9 FM.