TORONTO — The Yankees’ winning streak ended at nine games Friday night with an 8-2 loss to the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre amid a flurry of home runs allowed by J.A. Happ, a ball lost in the sky and a case of mistaken identity.
The latter far and away was the most memorable, and entertaining, part of the night.
After Cameron Maybin was called out on strikes on a pitch that looked low for the second out of the fourth inning, Mike Tauchman took a pitch that also looked low and also was called a strike by plate umpire Chris Segal. Aaron Boone and bench coach Josh Bard chirped at Segal — Maybin did as well, screaming that Segal was “[expletive] terrible” — but it was Brett Gardner, seated on the bench behind Boone and Bard and near Maybin, who was ejected.
“As a bench, we erupted pretty quickly,” Boone said. “To just pick somebody out . . . If you’re going to do those kind of things, be correct in doing so.”
Upon learning of his ejection, Gardner had to be restrained by Boone and others from going after Segal — a minor-league call-up umpire — and it took several minutes before he left the field. Aaron Judge, initially given the night off, was pressed into duty.
“I told him that I didn’t say anything, that he got it wrong, and then he looked at me and told me that he saw me say something, which made me mad because he was lying,” a still-steamed Gardner said. “Because I didn’t say anything, and it’s all on video.”
Gardner did reverse jackhammer his bat into the roof of the dugout after Maybin was called out, something crew chief Dan Iassogna referenced as he tried to lead Gardner away. “Last time I checked, that wasn’t against the rules,” Gardner said.
Gardner lamented that “there’s not going to be [any] accountability whatsoever” for Segal. When he said that, he was unaware that Iassogna was in the process of declining to offer any insight about the ejection to a pool reporter. “I won’t comment on any ejection that happened out on the field,” Iassogna said. “It will be put in our report and we will put in what happened on the field, and we will watch the tape.”
Tauchman refocused and crushed a 1-and-2 changeup to right for his fifth homer in five games to cut the Yankees’ deficit to 3-1. But that deficit grew in the bottom of the inning
as the Blue Jays caught a couple of breaks and capitalized.
After Brandon Drury apparently made the third out when he tried to advance to third on a pitch in the dirt, a replay review indicated he had beaten Gio Urshela’s tag and the call was overturned. Derek Fisher walked, but when Happ got Danny Jansen to hit a foul pop to first, DJ LeMahieu appeared to lose the ball in the sky and it dropped. That proved costly. On the next pitch, Jansen crushed a down-the-middle fastball to center for a 6-1 lead.
It was the third homer allowed by Happ (9-7, 5.48), who has given up 29 this season in 120 innings. He allowed 27, which had represented a career-worst total, in 177 2⁄3 innings last season.
“Right now it seems like if it can go wrong, it will,” Happ said. “It’s frustrating. Certainly not feeling for myself. I have to find a way out of it . . . It’s on me to execute and find a way to get out of that inning.”
The Yankees outhit the Blue Jays 7-6, but the Jays had six extra-base hits. Teoscar Hernandez hit two homers, a solo shot off Happ and a two-out, two-run blast off Tommy Kahnle. Randal Grichuk hit a two-out, two-run homer off Happ in the first inning. All eight runs were the result of homers and seven of the runs scored with two outs.
Mike Ford homered in the seventh to bring the Yankees within 6-2, but it was a quiet night at the plate for a team that had set an MLB record with 19 homers in the previous four games.
With the Yankees trailing 6-1, Judge came up with runners on second and third and one out in the fifth but took a called third strike. After Urshela walked to load the bases, second baseman Bo Bichette laid out and made a backhand catch of Didi Gregorius’ liner to prevent the Yankees from getting back in the game.
The Yankees had a scoring chance early. LeMahieu, who had three hits Thursday night and two more on Friday to raise his AL-leading average to .340, led off the game with a single, and after Gardner and Urshela struck out, Gregorius lined a single to center to put runners at the corners. Maybin, who had been 15-for-37 since coming off the injured list, struck out to end the 27-pitch inning against Sean Reid-Foley.
The Blue Jays then jumped on Happ. Bichette, who entered the game on an 11-game hitting streak to begin his career — including doubles in nine straight games to set an MLB record — led off with a walk. Happ retired Cavan Biggio and Vlad Guerrero Jr. but threw an inviting 1-and-1 fastball that Grichuk ripped to left for his 20th homer.
Hernandez made it 3-0 to start the second, lasering a full-count fastball to left for his 16th homer.