Yanks Bombed by Kiner-Falefa & Guerrero. Toronto 9 NY 3

Austin Wells belts 2-run Homer in 9th.

It’s come to that part of the season where Yankee fans are rooting for someone named Phil Bickford to save them on the mound in the 6th inning. A guy who wasn’t even on the team 2 weeks ago.

But Phil Bickford — sometimes called Bill Pickford by Yankee fans unfamiliar with his game — got bombed for 5 runs and the Yanks went down in flames again. Blue Jays 9 Yankees 3, a Saturday afternoon in Toronto.

Former Yank Isiah-Kiner Falefa went 4-5, and Vladimir Guerrero Jr.batting right behind him in the lineup, went 3-5 with 6 RBI’s off a 3-run homer and 3-run double.

At least Austin Wells hit a homer — it was a 9-1 game until his 2 run blast in the 9th.

On the other hill, Chris Bassitt survived a line shot off his elbow in the 1st inning by Aaron Judge, and proceeded to stifle the Yanks to 1 unearned run through 6 innings.

The Yanks were without Juan Soto in this game — out with a sprained wrist he suffered the night before sliding into home. And they could have used his lefty bat against righty Bassitt. Some good news: young lefty batters Wells and Ben Rice hit the ball hard off the Bassitt every time up — both going 2 for 4.

“From the beginning, (I) missed a lot of pitches, missed a lot of locations, and they put good swings on a lot of balls I thought were pretty well located,” said Nestor Cortes afterwards. “Just overall they’re swinging hot bats right now, but I have to do a better job and coming out in the 1st inning and putting pressure.”

“I feel like I could have picked up the intensity a little more; just going out there a little flat; didn’t have my best stuff today,” added Nestor. “It’s easy when we have our best stuff. These are the starts that you have to control damage as much as possible and get ready for the next one.”

NY falls to 53-32 and also fall out of 1st place — they are now 1 game behind Baltimore. Toronto improves to 38-44.

1. Cortes Pitches OK

Nestor Cortes was not as sharp as he had been in his prior few starts, and didn’t last the 5th.

Cortes allowed a 2-run homer to Vladimir Guerrero Jr.in the 1st inning, but rebounded to pitch a 1-2-3 inning in the 2nd and the 3rd.

Guerrero is Red Hot — it was his 3rd homer in 3 games against NY.

But he got into trouble in the 4th — a leadoff double to Josh Turner and walk to George Spriniger, then 1-out double to Alejandro Kirk made it 3-0 Toronto. Gleyber Torres helped Cortes get out of more trouble by snaring a line drive by Clement and firing to 3rd to catch the runner Springer for a double play to end the inning.

But a 1-out double by Bo Bichette in the 5th, and a single by Isiah Kiner-Falefa to put 1st and 3rd, 1 out — sent Cortes to the showers, down 3-1 in the 5th.

2. Cousins Cousin Is a Cousins

Jake Cousins came in and did a great job getting out of the inning — striking out Guerrero and getting Josh Turner to ground out.

Cousins is another pitcher unfamiliar to many Yankee fans as he was just called up from AAA — the Yanks purchased him from the White Sox just before the season started on March 31 after the White Sox had signed him as a free agent a few months earlier in December.

Cousins is a 29-year-old, 6’4 righty who had 3 pretty good years for Milwaukee from 2021-2023.

Rickie Riccardo on the radio said that Jake Cousin’s cousin is NFL quarterback Kirk Cousins. They both also have other cousins named Cousins.

In any case it was a 3-1 game after 5 innings, with Cortes gone.

2. Bassitt Stifles Yanks

The Yanks looked like they were going to knock Bassitt out in the 1st inning — figuratively if not literally. Ben Rice — batting 2nd because Juan Soto got the night off after spraining his wrist sliding into home the night before — singled. Aaron Judge followed Rice by Ripping a line shot up the middle, off Bassitt’s elbow for a single.

Toronto’s manager and trainers came out to aid Bassitt, and for a few minutes it looked like he might be pulled from the game as a nasty bump was already growing on his elbow. But he stayed in, and proceeded to stifle the Yanks with his assortment of pitches.

The Yanks finally got to him in the 5th, when Anthony Volpe reached on a high throw by 3rd baseman Pat Clement — causing Josh Turner to leap for the ball and collide into Volpe running down the line. The ball went into the dugout and Volpe took 2nd base.

Ben Rice hit a sharp grounder for out #2 but Aaron Judge ripped a single to center for a 3-1 game. It was Judge’s league-leading 80th RBI.

3. Bickford Bombed

And so it was a 3-1 game to the top of the 6th when Phil Bickford entered and the Yankee hopes went up in smoke.

  • George Springer singled,
  • Nick Varsho singled,
  • Alejandro Kirk singled in a run for a 4-1 Toronto lead.
  • Bickford got Clement and Kevin Kiermaier to fly out for 2 outs, then walked Bo Bichette to load the bases.
  • Bickford then got 2 strikes on Isiah Kiner-Falefa and was a strike away from getting out of a big inning.
  • But Kiner-Falefa singled in a run and it was 5-1 Toronto.

4. Ferguson & Holmes Ripped

Caleb Ferguson came in for Bickford with bases loaded in the 6th and 2 outs, and allowed a bases-clearing double to Vladimir Guerrero Jr.and it was 8-1 Toronto.

Ferguson rebounded with a shutout 8th but it was too late.

Clay Holmes got the first 2 outs of the 9th, then allowed a double (to Kiner Falefa) and a single (to Vladimir Guerrero Jr. for a run and a 9-1 game.

5. Wells HR’s in 9th

The Yanks couldn’t muster any offense against Toronto relievers Brendan Little and Zach Pop. But in the 9th, against Jose Cuas, Gleyber Torres led off with a single and Austin Wells hit a 381-foot homer to right center for a 9-3 game.

The Yanks went out 1-2-3 after that for the old ballgame.


Aaron Judge went 2-3 with a walk and is batting .313 — 2nd in the American League behind Luis Rengifo‘s .317.  Judge leads in Homers (30) and RBI’s (80).

The Boxscore



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