Hector Cortes Jr executed his pitch and hit his spot — but Blue Jays centerfielder Randal Grichuk served it deep into the left field seats for a 3-run homer (his 28th) and 6-3 Toronto lead in the 5th and that was the ballgame. The Yankee offense was never able to quite get back the score.
It was not a good loss. Houston won and tied the Yankees for best record in baseball at 98-53 — but Houston owns the tie-breaker should the two meet in the playoffs. There are 11 games left.
Montgomery & Betances
It felt like an experiment-for-the-playoffs game from the start. It was Chad Green opening, and the Yankee bullpen featuring the returns of Jordan Montgomery and Dellin Betances aiming to carry the Yankees to victory. Toronto countered with their opener — former Met Wilmer Font — and then brought in T.J. Zeuch for long relief. It was really Zeuch’s pseudo-start — he was listed as the starting pitcher before the game. Zeuch is a 6’8″ 23-yr-old Toronto rookie who is ranked #16 in their system.
It was great to see both big lefties back. Montgomery — the 6’5 lefty starter who reminds me so much of Andy Pettitte when he pitches — was Rusty. He pitched 2 innings, allowed 3 runs — but did throw some nice pitches including a big curve that struck out Teoscar Hernandez to end the 3rd.
Delin Bettances looked much better. You turned around and he had struck out the first two batters he faced. And then left. In came Nestor Cortes Jr.
2 batters faced, 2 strikeouts for Dellin 👏🔥 pic.twitter.com/ixUyduUdY7
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) September 15, 2019
Yankee analyst and former ace David Cone defended Cortes on the 3-run homer to Grichuk — saying he didn’t really make a bad pitch — in fact had executed his pitch and hit his spot. After Cortes allowed the home run, he allowed a walk and a single but then got the final out of the inning. “Sometimes for a pitcher the hardest thing to do is forget about what just happened and concentrate on the next pitch, added Cone.
Aaron Judge hit a home run to the opposite field in the 1st — he could try trademarking this at this point he’s done it so often.
— YES Network (@YESNetwork) September 15, 2019
Down 2-1 due to Montgomery’s rust — the Yankees tied the game 2-2 in the 3rd on a DJ LeMahieu RBI double and went up 3-2 on a Didi Gregorius RBI single.
Zeuch to the 7th
After that Zeuch did a good job shutting down the Yankee lineup into the 7th. Austin Romine led off that 7th with a double, and scored on an error on DJ LeMahieu’s grounder. LeMahieu ended up on 2nd, and stole 3rd base. Aaron Judge got hit by a pitch to put Yanks on 1st and 3rd, a 6-4 game, 1 out and Didi Gregorius up. But Didi had a bad at bat — waving at pitches for the strikeout and Gleyber Torres grounded out and that was the closest the Yankees came.
DJ LeMahieu went 1 for 5 and Tim Anderson of the White Sox went 1 for 5 as well. Anderson is at .332 and LeMahieu is .328.
Anderson batted .240 last year, .257 the year before that, and .283 as a rookie the year before that (2016).