After the Blue Jays took game one from the Yankees to hold a 1.0 game lead in the Wild Card race ahead of the Tigers, they were set to face C.C. Sabathia. Sabathia has 15 wins in his career against the Jays and has been having a resurgent season as he adjusts to being a lower velocity pitcher. The Blue Jays were looking to keep rolling after scoring 9 runs off the Yankees in the first game. Marcus Stroman got the ball and hoped to continue his recent successes. He entered with four starts in September and had yet to allow more then three runs in a start. He was looking to grab his first win of the of the month and his first in six starts.
The Stro-Show was on full display over the first 2.0 innings. He shut down the Yankees’ hitters with a great fastball that was really moving today. All the movement was translating to ground balls early on and induced a pretty 3-5-3 double-play on a ball to Edwin Encarnacion to end the 2nd inning.
To lead off the bottom of the 2nd, Jose Bautista scorched a ball down the left field line for a double. Sabathia promptly walked Russell Martin on five pitches to follow. Troy Tulowitzki hit a hard hopper to 3rd which advanced Bautista to third but gave the Yankees a double-play. With two outs, Melvin Upton Jr. came to the plate looking to do some damage. Upton walked on five pitches to bring up Dioner Navarro. Navarro hit a flare that had a chance to find a hole but found the glove of Donovan Solano on a nice play.
Stroman continued to roll and allowed just one hit over the first four innings. After getting into some trouble in the top of the forth he turned things around and struck out the final two batters of the inning. He had four K’s through four innings.
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Encarnacion led off the bottom of the 4th with a hot shot up the middle for a single. Bautista followed with a fielder’s choice that erased Edwin. Martin came up with one out and lined a single through the right side of the infield. The Yankees shifted to cover the pull for Martin and he hit a typical shot to the right side with his nice opposite field stroke Once again Upton got the spotlight shined on him with two outs and this time he flew out to centre field.
The matchup of Stroman vs. Sabathia proved to be a duel. Neither pitched had gave in through five innings. At the start of the 6th inning both teams had combined for a total of just five hits and the Jays had four of them. Savbathia wiggled out of a few jams and Stroman was popping the mitt. Stoman allowed two walks during those innings but struck out four.
Stroman allowed his 3rd walk of the game with one out in the 6th. Solano took a four-pitch walk to turn the lineup over for the Yankees. Brett Gardner grounded to Stroman who threw into the ball to second to record the second out of the inning. On an 0-2 count to Jacoby Ellsbury, Gardner took off from first. Dioner Navarro threw a strike catch Gardner to close the inning.
Stroman was replaced to begin the 8th but was on the top of his game during this one. He allowed just one hit over 7.0 innings of work. He allowed three walks that got him into some trouble. He was able to offset those issues by striking out five.
Jason Grilli was the first pitcher out of the ‘pen and was looking to keep the game knotted at zeroes. Grilli got two outs quickly but then Ronald Torreyes lined a ball into right-centre field for a stand up triple. Billy Butler came in as a pinch hitter to face Grilli with two outs and a runner on third but Grilli escaped
In the bottom of the 8th, Josh Donaldson laced a ball to left field for a single with two outs. He was able to advance to second a few pitches later on a Tyler Clippard wild pitch. Clippard then walked Edwin Encarnacion to give Jose Bautista a shot. Bautista completely annihilated a 2-0 pitch from Clippard over the left field wall. The line-drive home run was even hit with Kevin Pillar’s bat and he was celebrating as much as Jose. The three-run home run put the Jays on top finally after a long pitcher’s duel.
Roberto Osuna came on to close out the game in the 9th. Now with the lead, Osuna was tasked with locking down a win. His mission was to retire the 9, 1, and 2 batters of the Yankees. The sure-handed Troy Tulowitzki recorded the first out on a ground ball. Brett Gardner was next and continued to be a thorn in the side of the Jays as he poked a single into left field. Ellsbury followed with a fly ball to Kevin Pillar in centre. Gary Sanchez was batting in the third spot as the DH for the Yankees. This match up of young talent had everyone in the ballpark on their feet. Osuna got the better of Sanchez and got him to fly out to centre.