Safe to say this was not the way the Yankees were hoping to kick off the second half of the season.
Events unfolded about as terribly as one could imagine in Thursday night’s ballgame, as the Blue Jays scored eight times in the first inning and led 9-0 after two. Though the eight first-inning runs were Bartolo Colon‘s, he was only officially charged with three due to an Eduardo Nunez error (shocking!), and though Colon appeared to be getting somewhat squeezed by the home plate umpire he still didn’t pitch well and was yanked after only 2/3 of an inning. This was easily the shortest outing by a Yankee starter this season, and during the game speculation ran rampant that Colon either wasn’t fully healthy or perhaps re-injured himself covering first base. After the game Colon admitted that he’s preoccupied with his leg, and if Colon is less than 100%, it’s probably time for the Yankees to bring Ivan Nova back up and let Colon heal properly.
Not many teams can come back from a 9-0 deficit — the Blue Jays’ Win Expectancy after scoring their ninth run was 98.6% — but the Yankees, to their credit, didn’t go quietly. They scored four times in the third inning, and then rather improbably got back within two runs following Andruw Jones‘ second home run of the game in the sixth, a three-run shot that brought the Yankees’ WE from 89.5% to 77.5%.
Unfortunately Boone Logan had other ideas. Coming on in relief of Hector Noesi in the bottom of the sixth, Logan let both of his inherited runners score, pushing the Yankee deficit to four runs. Sergio Mitre then came in to do what he does best: dump metric tons of gasoline on a forest fire, and after the carnage was over the game was effectively out of reach again and for all intents and purposes over, with the Jays up 13-7 after seven innings and a Win Expectancy of 99.2%.
All told the Blue Jays pounded out 16 runs on 20 hits — season-high totals both for the Blue Jays offense and yielded by the Yankee pitching staff in one game. The nine-run margin of victory was also a season-high for a Yankee opponent. Per LoHud, eight runs was the most the Yankees had allowed in the first inning since June 18, 2000. It was the most allowed in any inning since 2009. The 16 runs allowed all night was the highest total allowed by the Yankees since April 25, 2009 (also 16).
Credit goes to the Yankee offense, who made a valiant attempt at what would have been the team’s first comeback from being down 9-0 since May 16, 2006 — one of my favorite and also one of the most absurd and improbable games of all time. It was friend-of-the-blog David Meadvin‘s birthday, and we were of course quite downtrodden after the Yanks gave up nine runs after two innings. However, the Yanks would end up rallying all the way back to take the lead 11-10 in the sixth; the Rangers would promptly answer with two runs of their own to take the lead back in the top of the 7th; the Yankees would then tie it in the bottom half of the frame; and then the Rangers took the lead back with yet another run in the top of the ninth inning. With the Yankees down to their last out, Johnny Damon on second and representing the tying run, Jorge Posada took matters into his own hands and hit a walk-off two-run home run off Akinori Otsuka to send the Yankees to a 14-13 victory and put a proper cap on a thoroughly exhausting night.
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