Yankees' streak ends at 9, but confidence stays at 10

NY hits five homers but two big hits by Blue Jays spell loss

June 20th, 2022

TORONTO -- “Our guys don’t go away.”

That was Yankees manager Aaron Boone’s main takeaway from his team’s 10-9 loss to the Blue Jays on Sunday, a game that will likely go down as one of the most intense, eventful matchups of the season and which denied New York its 50th win of the year.

Riding a nine-game winning streak and leading by five runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, the Yankees (49-17) watched a big lead turn into heartbreak in just a couple of swings at Rogers Centre. They scratched and clawed until the very last out but couldn’t come away with the series sweep.

“You’ve got to beat us,” said Boone after the game. “I’m sure the other side is like, ‘We know we’ve got to beat those guys.’ So I was really pleased with, after losing the big lead, the quality of the at-bats at the back end of the game.”

All things considered, though, it was a tough loss to swallow.

After missing his last start due to a non-COVID illness, Luis Severino exited Sunday’s game with two men on, nobody out and an 8-3 lead in the sixth, in line for a win despite allowing two home runs and four walks.

“He looked strong to me,” said Boone of Severino. “His stuff looked good. I thought he got a little bit better as he rolled along. He might have run out of gas a little bit, but I thought he looked pretty sound.”

Severino’s effectiveness paired well with an early offensive barrage, led by an elite day from Gleyber Torres, who homered, doubled and singled for his third straight multi-hit game and three RBIs. Josh Donaldson added a two-run blast in the third before Kyle Higashioka and Marwin Gonzalez went back to back in the sixth.

More often than not, that formula results in a dominant win for the hottest team in baseball and the American League East leader. It was the case in the first two games of this series, when the Yankees outscored the Blue Jays, 16-3, including a shutout of the home team on Saturday afternoon.

But even through the outpouring of runs and a solid, if not perfect, start from Severino, Sunday’s efforts fell inexplicably short.

“This was going to be an easy win. That’s what I thought,” said Severino. “You know, it’s not over until it’s over. They made a great comeback.”

A grand slam by Lourdes Gurriel Jr. off Miguel Castro brought the Blue Jays back within one run in the sixth. Teoscar Hernandez added a three-run blast against Wandy Peralta in the seventh to give Toronto a two-run lead.

Still, the Yankees kept going.

Anthony Rizzo’s day off was cut short, as he was called on to pinch-hit in the eighth inning, matching up against Toronto reliever Tim Mayza, who usually dominates left-handed hitters. He launched a solo home run to right field to get his team back within one run.

“We were right there,” said Rizzo. “And it just didn’t go our way.”

Rizzo and the Yankees couldn’t add another one, leaving men on second and third in the top of the ninth vs. Blue Jays closer Jordan Romano, who earned a five-out save.

The loss denied the Yankees their ninth series sweep of the season and a chance to widen the gap further against the Blue Jays in the divisional race. It also snapped New York’s second-longest win streak of the year as this team continues to make a habit of putting up lopsided numbers on a daily basis.

“For me, it’s going to be tough, because I feel like I could do more for this team,” said Severino. “I could have gone six, I could have gone seven.”

Severino’s statement seems characteristic of the Yankees as a group, highlighting the collective effort required to win in the Majors while not shying away from accountability when needed.

Days like Sunday should make for important lessons for a tightly knit group whose objective is as clear as it is ambitious.

“Through it all, whether it’s great times you go through that bring closeness or whether it’s challenging times -- if you can get through those, usually it makes you a little bit closer,” Boone said before Sunday’s game. “And there’s no question that this group is really tight.”