Blue Jays look to play spoilers against Yankees

Pauline Gross
September 24, 2017

On Friday night, the Blue Jays rolled to an 8-1 victory as Ryan Goins hit a grand slam and also executed a hidden-ball trick in the infield to record an out.

But with the Yankees needing a win to stay on the Red Sox's heels, or possibly even clinch a playoff berth Friday, Tanaka picked a bad night to serve up long balls again. Biagini comes off of a 13-7 defeat at the Minnesota Twins with six runs (four earned) on five hits including two homers over 1.1 frames.

In Cincinnati, Rafael Devers belted a three-run homer and Boston extended its AL East lead to four games by overcoming Scooter Gennett's fourth grand slam of the season.

Aaron Judge, who went 2-for-2 with two walks, got the Yankees going in the right direction with a first-inning homer to left off Marco Estrada that measured at 469 feet.

The end result was an 8-1 thumping delivered by the Toronto Blue Jays, who are playing for pride but were the better team by a whole lot in this series opener.

Russell Martin hit a two-run home run shot for the Blue Jays in the fourth while Teoscar Hernandez added a solo homer in the third. But second baseman Starlin Castro was unable to handle Todd Frazier's throw. But after Tanaka quickly went up 0-and-2 with a slider-splitter combo, he threw another slider that had zero movement, just spinning on a tee, and Goins blasted it over the rightfield wall to put the Yankees to bed.

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The New York Yankees will make another effort to clinch a wild-card spot Saturday afternoon. The Yankees will send out right-hander Sonny Gray (9-11, 3.38 ERA) against Blue Jays right-hander Joe Biagini (3-11, 5.33).

The Blue Jays have shut down left fielder Steve Pearce for the remainder of the season following a lingering case of lower back stiffness.

"We absolutely want to ensure that our fans are safe when they come to the ballpark", Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins told Sportsnet's Ben Nicholson-Smith. "They've all seen him do it many a time". Pearce has not appeared in a game since September 8, when he was forced to exit in the first inning after experiencing back pain during his at-bat.

Severino is expected to start the AL wild-card game should the Yankees play in that matchup.

With the Yankees trailing 4-1, Tanaka walked Jose Bautista to start the sixth and gave up a single to Kevin Pillar. Tanaka has allowed seven earned runs five times this season, including twice in his last three starts.

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