Miguel Andujar’s drive sailed into the seats for a grand slam , the crowd went crazy. But a furious rally quickly fizzled, and the questions remained for the New York Yankees.
CC Sabathia got clocked early and the Yankees, despite hitting four home runs during a late comeback, kept wobbling toward a playoff spot Saturday with an 8-7 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays.
“We have a group in there capable of turning this thing in a heartbeat,” manager Aaron Boone said before adding, “we’ve got to do better.”
New York, just 1.5 games ahead of Oakland for the top AL wild-card slot, is 6-7 this month and 8-10 over a longer stretch. The Yankees still don’t have injured slugger Aaron Judge back in the starting lineup.
“It’s just kind of getting everyone clicking,” Boone said. “I feel like we’re getting closer to that.”
Didi Gregorius hit a solo homer with the Yankees down 5-0 in the sixth inning. It was 8-1 in the seventh before Gregorius and Giancarlo Stanton went deep and Andujar launched his slam.
Randal Grichuk hit two homers and doubled, and Kevin Pillar also connected as Toronto ended a four-game losing streak. The Blue Jays exhausted their bullpen, using seven pitchers to hold on.
Sean Reid-Foley (2-3) struck out 10, giving up singles in five shutout innings . He got even for getting hit hard at Yankee Stadium last month, when Stanton homered off him.
In the fifth, the 23-year-old rookie threw a high-and-tight, tailing fastball that tied up Stanton. The slugger started to swing and went around as he spun out of the way, winding up face-first in the batter’s box, facing the backstop.
A frustrated Stanton slammed his right fist into the dirt – another punchout for Reid-Foley.
Reid-Foley said he didn’t see Stanton’s reaction.
“I actually didn’t. Actually, I completely missed my spot by about five feet, but I’ll take the out. Obviously, take the little victories,” he said
Ken Giles earned his 21st save , nine since being traded from Houston to Toronto. He struck out Gary Sanchez with a runner on second to finish the eighth and pitched a 1-2-3 ninth. On May 1 with the Astros, Giles allowed a tiebreaking, three-run homer to Sanchez and punched himself after he was removed from the game.
Stanton hit his 34th homer in the seventh. A batter later, Gregorius hit his 26th to break his own Yankees season record for home runs by a shortstop. Andujar’s second slam of his rookie season came against Tyler Clippard and made it a one-run game.
Grichuk hit a leadoff homer in the second . He hit his 23rd home run in the third and Kevin Pillar followed with a homer that finished Sabathia (7-7).
Sabathia walked off to boos down 5-0 after 2 1/3 innings, matching his shortest outing since 2015. The 38-year-old lefty has won only one of his last 11 starts.
“Just wasn’t sharp,” Sabathia said.
Boone said he’d feel confident putting Sabathia on the mound in a playoff game, especially if the 244-game winner can regain the touch with his cutter.
“Struggling to find that real good consistency,” Boone said.
Toronto manager John Gibbons was ejected for the second time in a month at Yankee Stadium. After catcher Luke Maile — who wasn’t in the game — began hollering from the dugout at plate umpire Roberto Ortiz and got tossed, Gibbons came out to take up the argument and also got ejected .
Prized Yankees pitching prospect Justus Sheffield could be on the verge of getting his first promotion to the majors. The 22-year-old left-hander allowed three unearned runs and got three outs Saturday as Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre lost to Durham in the deciding game of the International League playoff final.
“We’ll see,” Boone said.