New York Yankees third baseman Miguel Andujar sucked the oxygen out of the Rogers Centre on Tuesday night with one swing of the bat.
Andujar slammed his first ever grand slam in the seventh off Blue Jays reliever Seung-hwan Oh to put the Bronx Bombers ahead 4-1 – spoiling what was probably Marco Estrada’s best start of the season.
Andujar’s blast ended what had been up to that point an impressive pitching duel as the Yankees went on to a 7-2 victory.
The Jays have lost a franchise-record 10 straight games against left-handed starters, nine of their last 10 at home and have gone 31 games without consecutive wins. Manager John Gibbons was asked if playing a powerhouse outfit like the Yankees with his faltering team was akin to going to a gun fight with a knife.
“No, I don’t think that at all,” he said. “We still like our team. We’re not playing particularly well, obviously. No, I don’t view it that way.”
New York starter CC Sabathia cruised for most of the game and picked up the win, going seven innings while giving up only three hits (two of them solo home runs; in the sixth by Teoscar Hernandez and in the seventh by Kevin Pillar). He walked one. Estrada was pulled in the seventh after giving up a lead off single to Gary Sanchez. He was replaced by Oh, who promptly loaded the bases before giving up the grand slam, putting the Yanks up 4-1. Estrada went six plus innings, giving up six hits, one run while striking out six, using all four of his pitches and his change up, especially, to great effect.
“I’ll take it as a positive and move on,” said Estrada, who had lost four straight heading into Tuesday’s game.
Later, Oh was spotted in the dugout patting Estrada on the back as if to say he was sorry. Estrada returned the gesture and seemed touched that Oh would do that.
“I don’t expect any reliever to come up to me and pat me on the back. I feel worse than they do. Especially Oh. He’s a great guy and I feel bad for him that that happened in that inning. But those things happen and you just have to let it go.”
New York outfielder Aaron Hicks hit a three-run shot in the eighth off Aaron Loup.
Hernandez gave the Jays a 1-0 lead when he hit his ninth homer of the year, a towering shot to left. Sabathia gave up a single to the second Jays hitter of the game, Yangervis Solarte, in the first and then went five innings without allowing another hit, the home run by Hernandez.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone opted not to start all-star outfielder Aaron Judge who struck out a record eight times in Monday’s double header against Detroit.
LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON
In the future, the menu at the Rogers Centre may feature hamburgers off the grill, peanuts in the shell and chips off the old block.
The Blue Jays seem to be cornering the market on sons of former MLB players. In the second round of the MLB draft on Tuesday, Toronto drafted Duke University outfielder Griffin Conine, the son of long-time MLB outfielder Jeff Conine. The Jays organization that already has an expansive list sons of former big leaguers, including three in Double A New Hampshire: Third baseman Vlad Guerrero Jr., son of Hall of Famer Vlad; shortstop Bo Bichette, whose dad Dante played outfield in the bigs; and infielder Cavan Biggio, the son of former Houston Astros all-star Craig Biggio. And playing out of Class A Advanced Dunedin is infielder Kacy Clemens, the son of seven-time Cy Young Award winner and former Blue Jays Roger Clemens. The word is Vlad Jr. will get promoted to Triple A Buffalo within the month.
The Jays drafted shortstop Jordan Groshans 12th overall on Monday and selected his Magnolia High School teammate RHP Adam Kloffenstein in the 3rd round on Tuesday and then took RHP Sean Wymer of TCU with their 4th round pick. They also selected catcher Christopher Bec from the University of Maine-Orono in the 5th round and shortstop Addison Barger of C. Leon King HS in Florida in the sixth.
Third baseman Josh Donaldson (left calf tightness) continues normal hitting and throwing routines and will progress to running when his symptoms are gone … OF/IF Steve Pearce (left oblique strain) hit of a T on Tuesday and did some soft toss and felt good and will continue his hitting progression this week … RHP Marcus Stroman (right shoulder fatigue) threw live batting practice on Tuesday and felt “great”. The plan for him to get three innings of game action later this week (uncertain as to where) … Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki (right heel) continued jogging and fielding progressions … New Hampshire third baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (sore left leg) played on Tuesday night … Dalton Pompey (torn ligament left thumb) had thumb immobilized and will be re-evaluated after three weeks.
AROUND THE DIAMOND
According to the New York Post, the Yankees threatened to boycott ESPN over the network’s plan to have them play a July 8 Sunday game at 8 p.m. against the Jays – ahead of a Monday double header. ESPN caved and agreed to hold the game at 1 p.m.