NEW YORK -- Daniel Hudson needed to take a breather after Saturday’s 2-1 Toronto win came to an end at Yankee Stadium.
The Blue Jays brought the 32-year-old right-hander into the matchup with two outs and a two-run lead in the bottom of the eighth inning to take on the American League East division leaders, after four other relievers had already kept the Yankees off the board after starter Clayton Richard made an early exit with left lat tightness.
“Obviously what Huddy did is pretty special,” Blue Jays catcher Luke Maile said. “He’s been kind of thrown into the closer role, pseudo-eighth-inning-get-four-outs type of role. That’s not easy to do especially when it’s hot out and you’re facing this lineup, so he’s just one example, but again it’s just about doing your job and everyone did.”
The 10-year veteran fought through the ninth, walking the leadoff hitter and then allowing two two-out singles to the top of the order before recording the final out of the game to send the visitors to the clubhouse with the victory. But by the time it ended, Hudson needed a moment before he could join his teammates, staying in the dugout for several minutes after the win to decompress mentally and physically from the battle on the mound.
“It’s a grind of a lineup over there,” Hudson said. “One mistake, and that game is over. It just really takes a lot out of you, mentally more than physically. Obviously it’s hot out there, day game, in the middle of the summer, but mentally it takes a bigger toll on you, just throwing.
“I was just down there trying to cool off and mentally just relax for a second.”
Ahead of Saturday’s win in the Bronx, Hudson had stranded 21 of the 22 runners he inherited this season, first in the Majors. The run he allowed in the matinee was only the second in his last 14 appearances.
“He’s been great for us,” Toronto manager Charlie Montoyo said. “He’s taking the ball and he pitches every day. He’s been great. With that many pitches against that lineup, and he didn’t have his command and he battled to get that last out, he was outstanding. He deserves all the credit. With that heat out there too, yeah, he was awesome.”
Amid the impressive showing from the Blue Jays’ staff against New York, Randal Grichuk offered just what his team needed offensively and defensively to help them to the win.
The 27-year-old outfielder got Toronto on the board in the sixth inning. Grichuk drove in the Blue Jays’ only runs with a bloop single that fell into shallow right field at Yankee Stadium, bringing home Cavan Biggio and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. following a double steal that put them on second and third. respectively. The decisive blow from the Texan followed him robbing New York catcher Gary Sánchez with a bases-loaded diving catch to end the fifth and keep the Yankees off the board.
“Big hit and big stolen bases to get guys into scoring position,” Montoyo said. “That was a big run and that’s why we won, but it was a gutsy call by our coaches to send the guys who stole the bases. And the bloop single scored two runs, two big runs for us.”
“Clayton looked amazing the first two innings and unfortunately he had to come out which kind of puts the bullpen in a bind,” Grichuk said. “But they came through, all threw the ball well, I was hoping we could keep [the Yankees] off the scoreboard there and really show them kind of what the bullpen can do and needed to do, and they did a great job.”
Added Hudson, “Rich was throwing the ball great early. We weren’t really expecting that phone call in the top of the third, but we were able to pick him up and pick each other up and get out of here with a win, our first win here of the season at Yankee Stadium. It’s always good to kind of get that monkey off your back.”