Austin Wells hit his second 2-run homer in 2 days — this time the game-winner in the top of the 9th, breaking a 0-0 tie to give the Yanks the 2-0 win over Toronto.
Kevin Gausman and Michael King had locked in a pitcher’s duel — Gausman with 7 shutout innings and King with 6 shutout innings despite not having his best stuff. Jhony Brito tag-teamed with King, pitching a shutout 7th and 8th. And then Clay Holmes for the save.
On a Tuesday night in Toronto.
“We’re facing a lot of good arms,” said Austin Wells afterwards with his catcher’s mask still over his head. “I’m just trying to be calm up there and get a good pitch to hit. Luckily I was ready to go and got a good pitch to drive.”
NY improves to 80-77. They are 18-9 since August 28th, the best record in baseball. But they are sadly 5.5 behind a Wild Card with 5 games to play. The only thing they’re playing for is to finish with a winning record for the 31st consecutive season, and individual performances. Toronto falls to 87-70, holding onto a Wild Card spot with a 1.5 game lead.
1. King 6 Shutout Innings
Michael King retired the first 7 batters of the game, but ran into wildness in the 3rd — allowing a 1-out hit and then with 2 outs, walking consecutive batters to load the bases.
He went 3-0 on Vladimir Guerrero Jr. but then threw 3 straight strikes to strike Vlad out looking. Huge at the time and ended up being a big turning point in the game.
King walked another batter in the 4th with 2 outs; walked a batter in the 5th but got a double play to end the inning; and walked a batter with 1 out in the 6th but got the final 2 outs. Before the double play in the 5th, King was helped by a nifty play at shortstop by Oswald Peraza — who showed off his rifle arm.
King’s final line: 6 innings, 1 hit allowed, 5 K’s, 5 walks.
“What stands out to me is just how good he is,” said manager Aaron Boone afterwards about King. “It was a grind for him tonite. He didn’t have great command. Stuff was probably a little less I think as the night went on. But he’s still able to make pitches and he’s got so many weapons that he can go to.”
“He’s trying to get his change up going,” continued Boone. “It wasn’t real effective for him. But it’s just the weapons he has that he can navigate even when he doesn’t have his best stuff, or he doesn’t have his sharpest command. And that’s 6 innings of shutout ball. That’s pretty impressive. And then when he was up against it, or back against the wall, he was able to make the big pitch.”
King now leads the American League in ERA for pitchers with over 100 innings pitched. He is 4-7 2.50. You need 162 innings to qualify for the ERA title. Gerrit Cole currently leads the league with a 2.74 ERA.
2. Gausman Great
Gausman walked 2 in the 1st inning — Gleyber Torres with 1 out, and Giancarlo Stanton with 2 outs — but got the final batter and then retired 13 in a row until an Estevan Florial single leading off the 6th. He then got DJ LeMahieu to hit into a double play.
The Yanks finally got to him in the 7th, when Giancarlo Stanton hit a 1-out double, and Isiah Kiner-Falefa singled to right — which should have scored anyone in the universe but Stanton was held at 3rd.
Stanton looks to be running better these days — less gingerly as he had been to protect the hamstring he pulled earlier this season. Some on Yankee twitter were confused why manager Aaron Boone hadn’t put in a pinch runner for Stanton that late in the game.
With 2nd and 3rd, 1 out, Oswaldo Cabrera hit a chopper to the right side of the infield — and the Yanks had runners going so Stanton was a dead duck at home on a slide.
“This is why I question Boone managerial decisions,” said Nick Colantino on Twitter. “Stanton can’t run. Why wasn’t he pinch run for? He has lower body injuries and now you want him running in a very close game. IKF singeled to RF and Cabrera hit a ground ball to the SS with the Infield in. Volpe or Judge could’ve PR”
3. Brito Great
Jhony Brito came in and pitched a shutout 7th and 8th — allowing a 1-out single in the 8th but getting a nifty double play to end the inning. Brito gets the win to go 9-7 4.33 on the year.
4. Wells for the Win
Erik Swanson pitched a shutout 8th and so it was to the 9th with the Blue Jays ace reliever Jordan Romano on the mound. Gleyber Torres led off with a single to left, and Austin Wells came up and hit first pitch 4-seam 95 MPH fastball for a homerun to opposite field left. Yankees 2 Blue Jays 0.
5. Holmes the Save