Yankees’ ninth-inning failure dooms season opener against Blue Jays
1st April 2021

More On:

new york yankees

Yankee Stadium welcomes in-person crowd for Opening Day

Gary Sanchez has perfect start to season

Making Yankees roster gave journeyman ‘sense of joy again’

Post experts give their 2021 MLB predictions

For the first time since 2019, Yankees fans got to boo in The Bronx.

The Yankees suffered a season-opening 3-2 loss in 10 innings to Toronto on Thursday, blowing several chances to put the game away — including in the bottom of the ninth.

Then in the 10th, Nick Nelson allowed an RBI double to Randal Grichuk, scoring Jonathan Davis from second — where he started the inning, due to an MLB rule instituted last season.

The Yankees failed to score in the bottom of the inning, as Aaron Hicks, Giancarlo Stanton and Gleyber Torres all struck out against Julian Merryweather, but the game was really lost in the ninth, when the Yankees couldn’t push the winning run across.

Gary Sanchez started the inning with a walk and was replaced by pinch-runner Mike Tauchman, who stole second. After Jay Bruce struck out, Tauchman swiped third with Clint Frazier at the plate, forcing the infield in. Frazier then walked — replaced at first by Brett Gardner — to bring up DJ LeMahieu.

But LeMahieu grounded to third and Tauchman was thrown out at the plate, then Aaron Judge struck out to end the threat and send the game to extra innings.

It came in front of a sellout crowd of 10,850 — the full 20 percent capacity permitted by New York State — on a brisk afternoon.

Gerrit Cole started the game for the Yankees and allowed two runs in 5 ¹/₃ innings, striking out eight.

The right-hander, starting on Opening Day for the third time in his career, gave up a run in the second. After Sanchez’s two-run homer in the bottom of the inning gave the Yankees a 2-1 lead, Cole allowed a solo shot to Teoscar Hernandez in the sixth to tie the game.

The game stayed knotted until the 10th, thanks in part to strong work out of the Yankees’ bullpen, with Chad Green, Jonathan Loaisiga and Darren O’Day combining to pitch 3 ²/₃ scoreless innings.

But it wasn’t enough.

Cole found himself in an early hole in the second.

Hernandez grounded hard to short, where Torres let it get under him for a leadoff single. It was the first of three straight singles to open the inning. Vlad Guerrero Jr. lined a 114-mph hit to center and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. drove in Hernandez with a single to center for the game’s first run.

Cole recovered to get Rowdy Tellez to pop to first and strike out Grichuk. Cole started to walk off the mound after fanning Grichuk, thinking it was the third out, but then struck out Danny Jensen to end the 26-pitch inning.

He went on to retire the next seven straight before a walk to Guerrero in the fourth.

Torres had a one-out flare single to left in the bottom of the second, and after Gio Urshela struck out, Sanchez hit a two-run shot to left on the first pitch he saw this season to give the Yankees a 2-1 lead.

The Yankees had a chance to add to that advantage in the fifth with a two-out walk by Bruce and an infield single by Frazier, but second baseman Marcus Semien ranged far to his left and made a diving stop of a LeMahieu grounder and a strong throw to first to keep it a one-run game.

Cole cruised until the sixth. He struck out Bo Bichette to open the inning, but Hernandez tied the game with a homer to left, scorched at 110 mph. A walk to Guerrero ended Cole’s day after 97 pitches.

Green came on and immediately got Gurriel to ground into a double play to end the inning.

In the bottom of the seventh, the Yankees loaded the bases against ex-Yankee David Phelps with one out on singles by Sanchez and Frazier and a walk by LeMahieu. Judge, however, grounded into an inning-ending double play.

Torres made another shaky play at short to start the eighth, with O’Day on the mound. Hernandez hit a grounder to Torres’ left, and he showed no signs of urgency and made a less-than-strong throw to first, allowing Hernandez to beat it out for a leadoff hit. O’Day got Guerrero to pop to second and struck out Gurriel before he was allowed to face the left-handed Tellez and got him to foul out to right.

Share this article:

Source: Read Full Article