TORONTO — The Yankees had champagne on ice Monday night in Toronto, ready to celebrate their first American League East division title in three years with a win.
That's until this Blue Jay said no way, not today.
Blue Jays first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. delivered a walk-off single to left field in the 10th inning, giving Toronto a 3-2 victory at the Rogers Centre.
New York was 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position in the loss, snapping a seven-game winning streak.
While the winning run was unearned, with Cavan Biggio starting on second base as the automatic runner in extra innings, right-hander Clarke Schmidt still took the loss, his fifth of the season.
Before first pitch, Yankees manager Aaron Boone said it felt like business as usual in the clubhouse when his team showed up to the ballpark. That focus on the task at hand translated to the field of play early on for the offense.
Aaron Judge set the tone with a leadoff single to right, met with a smattering of boos and applause as he continued to sit on 60 home runs. Judge didn't homer on Monday, but he continued to contribute out of the leadoff spot. After an Anthony Rizzo double, Judge waltzed home on a Gleyber Torres sacrifice fly to put New York ahead, 1-0.
The following inning, shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa put a charge into a poorly-located changeup from Blue Jays right-hander Kevin Gausman, belting his fourth home run of the year, a 404-foot blast to left.
New York was 3-0 before Monday in games where Kiner-Falefa left the yard.
Kiner-Falefa's high only lasted so long, though. With right-hander Luis Severino on the mound, making his second start since coming off the injured list (with a low grade right lat strain), the shortstop booted a double play ball with nobody out.
In Kiner-Falefa's defense, the two-hopper was scalded by Guerrero at 111.5 mph. It was ruled a single, but it was right at the shortstop. Kiner-Falefa will be the first to tell you he needs to make that play.
By the time he gathered and threw to first, Guerrero had beat it out. Three batters later, Teoscar Hernández crushed a fly ball off the very top of the outfield wall in center, beyond the outstretched glove of a leaping Harrison Bader. Two runs scored on the play, knotting the score at two runs apiece.
Over the next several frames, New York was held down offensively, slowly burning each of their best high-leverage relievers to keep the Blue Jays at bay. Lou Trivino, Scott Effross, Ron Marinaccio and Jonathan Loáisiga held down the fort, keeping the score at 2-2 entering the ninth. That's when both closers traded zeros. Jordan Romano struck out the side in the top half. Clay Holmes retired the side in order with a sharp frame of his own in the bottom to force extras.
In the top of the 10th, New York had runners on first and second with two men out. Toronto's manager John Schneider elected to intentionally walk Judge, loading the bases for Rizzo. Fans didn't love the move, but it worked out for the home team—Rizzo bounced softly to Guerrero at first to end the threat.
Schmidt came in to pitch the bottom of the 10th and even with an open base at first, pitched to Guerrero with two men out. Guerrero ripped the first pitch he saw into left for the game-winner.
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