The Yankees lost to the Blue Jays, 3-1, in the series finale at Rogers Centre. They are half a game ahead of the Blue Jays as a result of winning the previous two games in the series.
Luis Severino had his third quality start in a row to begin his career and could have had a better line if not for Carlos Beltran’s miscue. He allowed three earned runs on five hits and three walks in six innings while recording nine strikeouts. All of the runs that the Blue Jays scored came in the third inning.
Severino, who has a very good 3.18 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP in his first three starts, retired Kevin Pillar and Ben Revere to start the third but Troy Tulowitzki hit a high fly ball that Beltran lost in the sun. Tulowitzki fly ball, which was originally ruled an error, was a double because Beltran was trying to defend himself against the sun and didn’t know where the ball was at the end. If Beltran wouldn’t have lost the ball in the sun then Severino might have pitched more than six innings and not allowed any runs.
“That’s as good of an arm as we’ve seen all year,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. “Good quick arm, and he’s a strike-thrower.”
After Beltran couldn’t see Tulowitzki’s fly ball, MVP candidate Josh Donaldson hit a single to score Tulowitzki and then Jose Bautista blasted a two-run homer to center. Severino knew after he released the pitch that it was not where he wanted it. “I knew right away it was high and would be a problem,” Severino said after the game.
“I think I’m doing pretty good and I’m working hard so I can do better,” Severino said.
The only run that the Yankees scored was a home run by Jacoby Ellsbury to the second deck above the Pizza Nova sign in right field in the sixth inning. The Yankees only had four hits during the game and Brian McCann’s double was their only extra-base hit besides Ellsbury’s homer. They struggled against Blue Jays starter Drew Hutchison, and Beltran, Chase Headley, Didi Gregorius and Stephen Drew combined to go 0-12.
However, the offense was better than the previous three games and the Yankees did exactly what they needed to do in winning the series against Toronto.
Severino allowed the three runs in the third on two hanging sliders. “Outstanding job by him,” Joe Girardi said. “I thought he pitched really well. I thought he gave us a great chance to win the game. It is impressive to watch what he has done. He does a good job in Cleveland after a three-game losing streak. He has rose to the occasion.”
The 21-year-old Severino still had not lost any of his velocity in the sixth inning as he struck out Justin Smoak on a 98 mph fastball for the second out of the frame. Also, eight of Severino’s strikeouts were on fastballs, which is impressive since the Blue Jays strength as a team is hitting the fastball. The reason that Severino has not picked up a win in any of his three starts is that the Yankees have scored a total of two runs in the 17 innings that he has thrown.
Girardi realized after the game that sometimes an offense will flat out not perform against another team’s pitcher.
“It’s baseball,” Girardi said. “We pitched really well, we were just not able to come up with enough runs. I thought we did a good job winning a tough series on the road.” The Yankees (64-52) are now 32-31 on the road and 32-21 at Yankee Stadium. They will start a 10-game homestand on Monday, which is what they want since they play much better at home.
A sweep was what the Yankees wanted, but they bounced back well after being swept by the Blue Jays last weekend, and it appears the race to win the division will be tight the rest of the season. The Yankees will play a three-game series against the Minnesota Twins, who have a 59-58 record and are in second place in the AL Central, and the Blue Jays have a day off before a two-game set against the Philadelphia Phillies, who have the worst record in baseball.