NEW YORK -- It was bound to happen at some point, but the Blue Jays have finally lost their first series of the year.Toronto's strong start to the season hit a speed bump in the Bronx as the Blue Jays dropped three of four to see their record fall to
NEW YORK -- It was bound to happen at some point, but the Blue Jays have finally lost their first series of the year.
Toronto's strong start to the season hit a speed bump in the Bronx as the Blue Jays dropped three of four to see their record fall to 13-8. The latest setback occurred Sunday afternoon when lefty Jaime Garcia was charged with four runs over 5 1/3 innings in a 5-1 loss to the Yankees.
The loss meant the Blue Jays were unable to remain undefeated through their first seven series, which last happened in 1992. Toronto won its first World Series that year and went 5-0-2 in the first seven series, while the current squad dropped to 5-1-1. New York's victory also ensured the Blue Jays would not start the year with at least 14 wins in 21 games for the first time since 2009.
"We did have some opportunities, not so much today, but the first three games," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "They get some guys who can strike quick. But you know, hey, we hung in there today. [Luis] Severino, it was Severino's day today. You put up a lead for him, he's probably going to shut it down and go late into the game."
One of the main reasons behind the defeats has been Toronto's lack of offense. The lineup has been the Blue Jays' biggest strength during the early stages of 2018, but it combined to score just two runs on seven hits during the final two games in New York. The Blue Jays are a perfect 12-0 when scoring four or more runs this season, but they are 1-8 when scoring three or fewer. Toronto finished 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position in the series finale, though Severino and his seven strong innings with six strikeouts deserves the majority of the credit for that.
Garcia got himself into a lot of trouble in the first and second innings before he settled in and found a groove. In the first, Garcia surrendered a solo homer to Didi Gregorius, and in the second, he yielded a two-run double to Austin Romine. That was all the damage Garcia would allow until he departed in the bottom of the sixth with one out and runners on the corners.
"I feel, personally, I didn't get the job done today," said Garcia, who remains winless in four career starts at Yankee Stadium. "I take a lot of pride in that. I felt good today, I knew this would be a tough challenge against a good lineup, good team. Just a couple of pitches, three pitches pretty much, cost me the game, just got to do a better job than that."
Teoscar Hernandez was one of the only bright spots on offense for the Blue Jays, as he finished 2-for-4 with a home run and a double. It was just the second time this month Toronto's offense has been limited to one run, and both games have come over the past two days. The Blue Jays' record following a loss also dropped to 5-2, which snapped a previous five-game winning streak under those circumstances.
Toronto has now lost five of its past six road series at Yankee Stadium. The Blue Jays are 5-6 against the American League East this season, compared to 8-2 against the rest of the league. Last year, Toronto went 33-43 within the division, which was the worst among the five AL East teams.
"You know, we've been [playing] really well, really well lately," Garcia said. "The guys are swinging really amazing, the bullpen has been unbelievable and we as starting pitchers, we feel like we're going to take off. We believe in ourselves, we just got stay focused on the process, continue to compete, continue to give us a chance to win and in the long term, things will go that way."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Hernandez does it again: Hernandez continued to stake his claim to a starting job in the outfield with a solo homer in the top of the sixth inning. According to Statcast™, Hernandez's third home run of the season was projected to travel 408 feet and it left his bat at 106 mph. This marked just the third hit of the day surrendered by Severino, and while Justin Smoak followed with a walk, he was quickly erased on a double-play grounder off the bat of Yangervis Solarte.
"He's a really good pitcher, he's got pretty good pitches and we tried to go out there and get one pitch," Hernandez said of Severino. "Those guys don't miss a lot, you just get one or two chances to put good contact on it. We're going to keep battling, keep playing the way we've been playing, keep playing hard and next series, we'll get better results."
The add-on run: The Blue Jays had some renewed hope following Hernandez's home run in the sixth, but that proved to be short-lived. In the bottom half of the inning, Miguel Andujar hit an RBI double over the head of Kevin Pillar in center field. The double came off reliever Seunghwan Oh, but it was charged to Garcia, who departed with runners on the corners and one out.
"My goal is to make pitches until they take me off the mound and keep us in the ball game," Garcia said. "Today I knew it was going to be against a good team, but like I said, I gotta do a better job than that next time."
The Blue Jays are 5-11 in their past 16 games at Yankee Stadium after going 11-3 in the previous 14.
MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
The Yankees and the crowd thought Christopher Austin had an infield hit in the eighth inning Sunday, but first-base umpire Ted Barrett called him out. The Yankees asked for a replay review, believing shortstop Lourdes Gurriel Jr.'s throw had pulled first baseman Smoak off the bag. After review, the call was allowed to stand, causing Yankees manager Aaron Boone to raise his arms in the air and bringing loud boos from Yankees fans who believed the replay they saw showed Smoak's foot off the bag.
"He showed really good range, under control," Gibbons said of Gurriel. "The fans didn't like it. They didn't like the outcome, but I think they got it right."
The Blue Jays will enjoy a day off on Monday before opening a three-game series against the Red Sox on Tuesday night at Rogers Centre. Left-hander J.A. Happ will take the mound in the series opener, facing Rick Porcello, with first pitch scheduled for 7:07 p.m. ET. Happ is fanning more batters than ever. He has eight strikeouts in each of his past three starts and is averaging 12.7 K's per nine innings. He has never averaged double-digit strikeouts over the course of a full season.
Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays
for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his [podcast](https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/toronto-blue-jays-podcast/id902526346?