The Yankees almost had a good day. But a grand slam by the suddenly rejuvenated Greg Bird, a fourth consecutive victory by starter J.A. Happ and a three-game sweep of the Blue Jays in which they scored 28 runs did not warrant a smile from Aaron Boone.
The manager had potentially disconcerting news after the 10-2 triumph at Yankee Stadium. Didi Gregorius, who left the game in the second inning after a nasty collision with Blue Jays first baseman Kendrys Morales in the Yankees’ six-run first, suffered what Boone termed “a pretty bad bruise” on his left heel.
“It’s something that we’ll kind of monitor over the next 24 hours, could potentially be a [disabled list] thing, so not great there,’’ Boone said. “Nothing broken or anything like that. He’s got a pretty significant bruise and there’s some swelling in there, so we’ll know a lot more [Monday], but it’s a possible DL situation.’’
With the score tied at 1-1 after Miguel Andujar’s RBI single in the first inning, Gregorius pulled a grounder into the hole. Second baseman Devon Travis’ off-balance throw from shallow rightfield forced Morales toward foul territory and into the path of Gregorius, who had nowhere to go. After they collided, he flipped over Morales’ right side and spun to the ground.
“Pretty good spill over there,’’ Boone said. “Don’t know if he jammed his heel into the ground or where exactly he did it. I haven’t run through that with him yet.’’
Gregorius — who was not made available after the game — wound up with an RBI infield single and scored when Bird hit the second bases-loaded home run of his career. It traveled 386 feet and landed in the second deck inside the foul pole in rightfield, giving the Yankees a 6-1 lead. It was their fourth straight hit after Blue Jays starter Ryan Borucki — who didn’t record his first out until his 37th pitch — walked Aaron Hicks and Giancarlo Stanton to start the game.
It was the first time in more than 21 years that the Yankees scored six runs six batters into a game, and it was all they needed to move 32 games over .500 for the first time since the end of the 2011 season (97-65).
Happ (14-6), facing his former team for the first time since his trade on July 26, gave up solo homers by Randal Grichuk (a 437-footer that cleared the Blue Jays’ bullpen) and Morales (a drive into the Jays’ bullpen) in his 5 1⁄3 innings. “It was strange. I think I could admit that,’’ Happ said of facing the Blue Jays. “I think I prefer not knowing the opposition the way that I know those guys, [but] we got through it and we had a big first inning. Good win for sure.”
The Yankees scored four runs in the sixth, capped by a two-out, two-run single by Kyle Higashioka after an RBI single by Stanton, whose thoughts were with Gregorius. “He’s got to be healthy and right,’’ he said. “What’s important is he gets himself right, all the time he needs. You never want that to happen, but he’s gonna get back as fast as he can.’’
Boone said Gleyber Torres will play shortstop in Gregorius’ absence, with Ronald Torreyes (three hits) and Neil Walker splitting time at second. If Gregorius goes on the DL, Tyler Wade likely will be called up and take on a utility role.
“It’s a different position, I mean, double plays and everything,’’ Torres said. “But I played shortstop before. I’m working every day in both positions. I feel comfortable in both positions. I mean, right now, second base is my position, I feel really good. If I play shortstop, I’ll try to be focused with my job and help my team.’’
Boone hopes Stanton, who has been the designated hitter while playing through a tweaked hamstring, can return to the outfield this week. The Yankees still do not have return dates for Gary Sanchez and Aaron Judge.
The Yankees are 9 ½ games behind the AL East-leading Red Sox and four games ahead of the A’s in the battle for the first wild card. Judge said it’s gratifying to see some of the team’s recent victories. “It shows the fight that we have,’’ he said. “We’ve had a little rough patch, but we just gotta keep fighting.’’
And now, maybe for an extended period without their shortstop.
Boone tried to sound optimistic: “We’ll make it work.’’