DUNEDIN, Fla. – Gerrit Cole completely flummoxed what’s expected to be a potent Blue Jays lineup Monday night.
It was Toronto ace Hyun Jin Ryu’s turn Tuesday, the timing especially bad given Jameson Taillon didn’t provide much – either in quality or length – for the Yankees, who fell, 7-3, at TD Ballpark.
"They've had to pick up some innings for starters not named Gerrit a few times," Taillon said of the bullpen, which has been called on far too early in games far too often. "As starters, if our bullpen is going to pitch really well, not just now, but throughout the entire year, we need to optimize the way they're being used instead of just forcing them to run out there early in games."
Ryu, 0-1 with a 2.92 his first two starts of the year, allowed one run (unearned) and four hits over 6 2/3 innings, at one point retiring 12 straight. He walked one and struck out seven.
Taillon was not sharp in his second start as a Yankee, allowing five runs and eight hits over 3 2/3 inning in falling to 0-1 with a 7.56 ERA.
The Yankees (5-6), now 2-3 on this trip that concludes here Wednesday afternoon, were outhit by the Blue Jays (5-6), 10-8.
"Hitting’s hard," Aaron Boone said. "It's a game of failure and we haven’t, collectively, strung really good at-bats together like we're capable of yet, so it's frustrating anytime you're not scoring the way you’re capable of."
Trailing 6-0 in the seventh, the Yankees at last scored when Gary Sanchez reached on an error, the slumping Aaron Hicks (who had three hits) doubled and Rougned Odor brought the catcher in with a ground out.
The Yankees did make it interesting late against the Toronto bullpen, getting two runs off former Yankee David Phelps and Jordan Romano in the eighth, with Giancarlo Stanton’s two-run single making it 6-3. But Aaron Judge flied to right and, after Sanchez drew a walk and the hard-throwing Julian Merryweather came in to face Hicks, the catcher got caught in a rundown trying to advance on a pitch in the dirt for the third out. Boone said Sanchez saw Stanton hesitate before taking off for third, which was enough to get him caught in the rundown.
"It's important, obviously, not to run off the guy in front of you," Boone said. "But you just have to be heads-up and in a better position to take advantage of that."
Still, the bigger overall story was Ryu’s dominance coupled with the struggles of Taillon, who still is working his way back from the second Tommy John surgery of his career in August 2019. The positive? Taillon’s fastball velocity sat solidly in the mid-90s and all indications are he’s healthy.
That was all in the way of positives, with his night starting to come apart in a 34-pitch second.
Randal Grichuk led off the inning with a single. Taillon, who struggled putting hitters away, struck out Cavan Biggio swinging at a 95-mph fastball but he grazed Lourdes Gurriel Jr. with a pitch. Taillon recovered for the moment, striking out Rowdy Tellez swinging at a 94-mph fastball, but walked Danny Jansen, whom he had in a 1-and-2 hole, to load the bases. Josh Palacios’ two-run single made it 2-0.
Grichuk’s sacrifice fly in the third made it 3-0 and the Blue Jays drove Taillon from the game in the fourth, an inning the righty actually retired the first two batters.
But Marcus Semien’s homer made it 4-0 and Vlad Guerrero Jr.’s double later in the inning made it 5-0 and ended Taillon’s night. Rowdy Tellez’s homer off lefty Lucas Luetge, who took over for Taillon, in the fifth made it 6-0.
"I thought I got in a lot of good counts," Taillon said, "and then just didn’t use those counts to my advantage."