TORONTO — The first two games between the Yankees and Blue Jays featured 20 runs and what felt like just as many extra-curricular incidents. But both teams mostly stayed quiet at the plate and in the dugout Wednesday while Gerrit Cole and Chris Bassitt dueled on the mound.
The two sides had chances to score toward the end of regulation — 24 total runners were left on base — but no one crossed the plate until the 10th frame, when Danny Jansen crushed a three-run, walk-off homer against Wandy Peralta to left field. Just like that, an offensively starved game became a 3-0 win for Toronto.
Jansen’s blast ensured that Bassitt’s performance didn’t go to waste after he stifled the Yankees for seven scoreless innings. The right-hander only let up three hits and one walk while striking out seven over 97 pitches.
Prior to the game, Blue Jays manager John Schneider joked that Bassitt had 18 pitches to work with. While that was an exaggeration, the veteran’s deep arsenal and “unpredictability,” as Aaron Boone described it, certainly kept the Yankees off-balance.
Bassitt used his sinker 43% of the time, but he also incorporated sweepers, cutters, curveballs, four-seamers, changeups and traditional sliders.
“He’s really crafty. He made a lot of different pitches, gives you a lot of different looks,” Cole said of his pitching opponent. “Good velocity. Good execution. Gritty effort by him, for sure. Pitched well.”
Cole added that Bassitt’s gem pushed him during the game, and he was aware of the Yankees’ pen being depleted after Domingo German’s early ejection on Tuesday.
But the Bombers spoiled a hard-fought day from Cole, who faced trouble at the beginning and end of his start, though he came away unscathed in both scenarios.
Toronto’s first two batters of the game reached on errors from shortstop Oswaldo Cabrera and Cole, but the Yankees’ ace didn’t let the Blue Jays capitalize in the opening frame. Cole then allowed the first two batters to reach in the seventh, but Clay Holmes entered and snuffed out the Jays’ hope for a rally.
“I gotta be better there,” Cole said, adding that fatigue was not an issue at the end. “Thankfully Clay’s really, really good at his job and bailed me out there.”
All in all, Cole totaled six strikeouts, six innings and 104 pitches. The Blue Jays recorded seven hits, two walks and seven hard-hit balls off him, but they didn’t manage any runs.
“I thought Gerrit was good,” Boone said. “Even for being high pitch count there after six, I thought he was in pretty good shape. I thought he was executing. We didn’t make a couple plays that added some pitches to his overall night, but overall, I thought he threw the ball well.”
Anthony Volpe committed a third Yankees error in the 10th inning. While the play proved inconsequential with regards to the final score, the rookie shortstop also booted a ball on Tuesday. Boone didn’t want to make excuses for the 22-year-old, but the skipper suggested Volpe has been getting used to playing on turf more after series in Tampa and Toronto.
“It’s a play I should make,” said Volpe, who also pinch-hit but struck out with two out and the bases loaded in the eighth.
The Yankees will turn to Nestor Cortes in Thursday’s series finale. They’re hoping to see improvement from the lefty, as Cortes has allowed 15 earned runs and eight walks over his last three starts, a span of 14 innings.
Cortes, who owns a 5.53 ERA overall, most recently allowed six earned runs to the Rays at Yankee Stadium on May 13. The pitcher’s command faded in the fifth inning of that game, a theme for Cortes this season.
He’ll look to end that trend while Jose Berrios pitches for the Blue Jays. The righty has a 4.70 ERA this season, but he limited opponents to two earned runs in each of his last two starts.
The Yankees will take a break from divisional play on Friday when they begin a three-game series in Cincinnati. The Yankees plan on having Luis Severino start the final game of that series. It will be his season debut after he suffered a lat injury at the end of spring training.