Yankees 4-5 Blue Jays: Yankees Suffer First Series Loss

Michael Bennington
Wednesday April 17, 2024

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TORONTO — Vladimir Guerrero Jr.’s four walks and two RBIs played pivotal roles in the Toronto Blue Jays’ 5-4 win against the Yankees on Tuesday night. This victory not only secured pitcher Yusei Kikuchi’s first win of the season but also extended New York’s losing streak to three games.

Bo Bichette’s clutch RBI single and Justin Turner’s sacrifice fly helped the Blue Jays halt the Yankees’ dominant start to the season. This win not only secured Toronto’s first series victory against New York this year but also ended the Yankees’ remarkable streak of five consecutive series wins, matching a franchise record set in both 1926 and 2010.

Blue Jays Capture Home Series vs. Yankees, Defense Shines

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. spearheaded the offensive effort, going 2 for 3 with two walks and two singles, as the Toronto Blue Jays clinched their first home series victory against the New York Yankees since September 13-15, 2019.

Outstanding outfield defense played a critical role for Toronto. Left fielder Davis Schneider made a diving catch on Anthony Rizzo‘s fly ball in the bottom of the sixth inning, thwarting a potential rally. Rizzo faced more frustration in the ninth when Daulton Varsho made another diving grab in left field, dashing any remaining hopes for the Yankees.

“Toronto’s outfield defense is a significant strength,” acknowledged Yankees manager Aaron Boone, highlighting the Blue Jays’ defensive capabilities.

Frustration Mounts for Yankees as Kikuchi Stymies Offense

Yusei Kikuchi stifled the Yankees’ offense on Tuesday night, holding them to just one run on three hits over six innings. The left-hander also recorded nine strikeouts, matching his season-high.

“His curveball was really effective for him tonight,” noted Yankees manager Aaron Boone. “It had a lot of movement and bite.”

This impressive performance adds to Kikuchi’s track record against New York. Coming into the game, the Blue Jays hadn’t scored a run while he was pitching in his previous three starts this season. Additionally, Kikuchi boasts an impressive career record against the Bronx Bombers, with a flawless 3-0 record and a stellar 1.13 ERA in his last six starts against them.

“When he’s hitting his spots with all of his pitches like he did tonight, it’s a tough matchup for any hitter,” lamented Yankees captain Aaron Judge.

Yankees Struggle as Blue Jays Pitching Shuts Down Offense

Toronto’s starting rotation continued to dominate, compiling a collective record of 5-1 with an impressive 2.15 ERA over their last eight games, presenting a formidable challenge for the Yankees lineup.

New York’s offense was stifled by a series of Blue Jays pitchers. Trevor Richards held the line in the seventh inning, conceding only two runs. Yimi Garcia followed with a flawless eighth, striking out all three batters he faced. Jordan Romano, making his season debut after recovering from a sore elbow, secured the save despite giving up a run in the ninth. He showed determination by inducing Oswaldo Cabrera to ground out with the potential tying run on third base.

On the opposing mound, Yankees starter Carlos Rodón struggled to find his groove. Despite acknowledging he had “good stuff,” he surrendered three runs, five hits, and four walks in just four innings. “I wish I had performed better tonight,” a frustrated Rodón admitted. “They had a good approach at the plate.”

The Yankees took an early lead with Jose Trevino‘s RBI single in the second inning, but they struggled offensively for the rest of the game, particularly with runners in scoring position, managing just one hit in seven at-bats in those situations and leaving numerous scoring chances unfulfilled.

Toronto quickly responded. Justin Turner’s sacrifice fly in the third inning tied the game, and Vladimir Guerrero Jr.’s two-out single in the fourth inning put the Blue Jays ahead. The Yankees’ prospects dimmed further in the sixth inning due to a costly defensive error. Gleyber Torres mishandled a throw on Isiah Kiner-Falefa’s stolen base attempt, allowing Ernie Clement to score and widening the gap to 3-1.

“That was a tough pill to swallow,” lamented manager Aaron Boone. “Those are situations where we need to come through, and unfortunately, we couldn’t execute.”

Bo Bichette’s two-out hit later in the sixth inning brought in another run for Toronto, solidifying their lead and ultimately sealing the victory.

The Yankees’ top prospects faced mounting challenges at the plate. Leadoff hitter Anthony Volpe had a tough outing, going hitless with four strikeouts, matching his career-worst performance from last season when he struck out four times against the Angels. Before this game, Volpe had only struck out twice in two games this year.

Aaron Judge‘s struggles also persisted. The slugger remained hitless in the series, going 0 for 4 with two strikeouts. “I’m just missing my pitches,” a frustrated Judge admitted.


Up next

Marcus Stroman (1-1, 2.12 ERA) will take the mound for the series finale on Wednesday afternoon, marking his return against his former team, the Toronto Blue Jays. He will be opposed by Kevin Gausman (0-2, 11.57 ERA), who starts for the Blue Jays.

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