“This is my house” — Vladdy walks off Yankees in series opener
Photo credit:© John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
By Evan Stack4 months ago
Entering a series with a bounty of storylines – the Yankees looking to clinch the AL East, the Blue Jays looking to clinch a playoff spot, and Aaron Judge eagerly searching for the single-season home run record – it might have been overlooked that one of the best players in the MLB still resides in the Toronto Blue Jays clubhouse.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. had a chance to walk off the Yankees in the bottom of the 10th tonight, and he came through for his third walk-off hit of the season. With the Blue Jays magic number getting smaller and smaller by the day, as well as their odds to perhaps steal the division from the Yankees, Guerrero’s clutch hit kept all of it alive. On top of it all, us fans were treated to several seconds of Vladdy walking off the field shouting “My house! This is my house!”
Guerrero’s walk-off hit, the bullpen, adjoined with some outstanding in-game management from John Schneider contributed to Toronto’s 3-2 win over New York on Monday night.
With the game tied at 2 entering the 10th inning, Schneider went to Anthony Bass to face the 7-8-9 section of the Yankees lineup with the ghost runner on second. Bass sandwiched a walk in between strikeouts of Harrison Bader and Jose Trevino, setting the stage for select strings for Schneider to pull. The interim Jays skipper decided to pull Bass in favor of Tim Mayza. Schneider then intentionally walked Judge to load the bases for Anthony Rizzo. It took the bat out of Judge’s hands, and opened up the left-on-left matchup for Mayza.
Rizzo grounded out, and the Blue Jays kept the game tied at 2. Yankees fans peppered throughout the Rogers Center boo’d the intentional walk, but the Blue Jays simply didn’t care. They’re trying to get in the playoffs, and that means that playoff-like decisions need to be made. The plan worked, and you know what happened next.
Kevin Gausman got the start for the Blue Jays, and he shook off a tough start to the game to fight through 6.1 IP, only allowing two runs. His seven strikeout night also featured his 200th strikeout of the season. Gausman allowed a run in each of the first two innings, but it was nothing but zeros after that.
The Blue Jays struck in the 4th inning, as Teoscar Hernandez drove in two runs with a loud double to center field with the bases loaded. Hernandez thought it was gone off the bat, as he stood to admire the hit for a little too long. Unfortunately, it stayed in the yard, as it was only a couple feet shy of going over the wall. Nonetheless, Hernandez was still able to stroll into second to tie the game.
The same kind of hit happened last September to Guerrero Jr. In a September 30th, 2021 matchup against the Yankees, Vladdy laced a double to straight-away center field off of Corey Kluber that hit the apex of the wall. Literally, another inch or two higher would’ve resulted in a 2-run home run.
Gausman was terrific, but the bullpen arms that followed him put up one of the best performances of the year. A combination of Cimber-Garcia-Romano-Bass-Mayza combined for zero hits and only two walks through 3.2 innings. Not only did they keep the Yankees from scoring, but multiple guys rebounded from recent tough outings.
Garcia had allowed seven runs over his last six outings, but he struck out two batters (with one of them being Judge) en route to a clean inning. Romano struck out the side, with all three put away pitches coming against his slider.
Barring the outcome of the Red Sox-Orioles game, the Blue Jays magic number is at 3. The also keep the Yankees from clinching the AL East, and gain a half game on the Rays and Mariners. Jose Berrios takes the bump tomorrow against Jameson Taillon, with the Blue Jays looking to take the series.
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