Guerrero Jr. secures walk-off win in 10th as Blue Jays contain Judge, beat Yankees
New York slugger singles, walks twice, strikes out twice; remains on 60 home runs
Interim manager John Schneider depicted the Toronto Blue Jays' series-opening win against the New York Yankees as a team effort on Monday.
The Blue Jays (87-67) stopped the Yankees (94-59) seven-game win streak with a 3-2 victory in 10 innings, thanks to Vladimir Guerrero Jr.'s walk-off single to left to score Cavan Biggio from second base with two out.
"It was such a team effort tonight," said Schneider, adding he was pleased to see Guerrero earn his third career walk-off hit as Toronto won its third in a row.
Guerrero and Teoscar Hernandez provided timely hitting before 34,307 at Rogers Centre. Starter Kevin Gausman and a rock-solid bullpen produced sound pitching. Schneider also employed some critical strategies in the 10th inning.
In the top of the inning, Aaron Judge came to the plate with runners on first and second and two out.
Judge, of course, is one home run shy of the AL record of 61, set by Roger Maris 61 years ago.
Schneider brought in lefty reliever Tim Mayza not to face Judge but to intentionally walk the slugger to load the bases. Mayza then induced Anthony Rizzo to a ground ball to Guerrero at first to end the inning.
Trending in USA: Walk<br>Trending in Canada: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WALKOFF?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#WALKOFF</a> 💥 <a href="https://t.co/QVZKVs4Y6a">pic.twitter.com/QVZKVs4Y6a</a>—@BlueJays
"With Judge coming up and knowing you got Mayza available with two outs to face Rizzo. We'd like that," Schneider said. "We had the top of the order coming up for us."
Mayza (8-0) notched the win, while Clarke Schmidt (5-5) gave up Guerrero's deciding hit.
"You have to find a way to get it done," Guerrero said.
The win from the home side prevented the Yankees from clinching the American League East Division title.
Te' game is TIED! <a href="https://t.co/bM9dF8yXbX">pic.twitter.com/bM9dF8yXbX</a>—@BlueJays
"We know they need to win one more, but hopefully we can win all three (in Toronto)," Gausman said.
Gausman departed with one out in the seventh inning after striking out Harrison Bader. The Blue Jays' starter surrendered six hits, two runs with seven strikeouts and a walk.
After a shaky two innings to start the game, Gausman settled down after walking Judge to begin the third inning. He coaxed Rizzo to hit into a double play and then retired the next eight batters.
Judge singled, walked twice and struck out twice to remain at 60 home runs.
The Yankees snatched a 2-0 advantage with runs in the first and second innings. Judge led off with a single to right field, advanced to third on Rizzo's double and scored on Gleyber Torres's sacrifice fly to right.
New York shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa drilled a two-out solo shot to left for his fourth.
Yankees' starter Luis Severino cruised through the first three innings without allowing a hit. But Bo Bichette greeted Severino with a sharp single to right field to lead off the fourth.
Guerrero followed up with an infield hit when Kiner-Falefa could not handle a hot shot. Alejandro Kirk was then issued his second walk to load the bases.
Hernandez missed a grand slam when his drive to straightaway centre field hit the top of the fence for a two-run double.
In the sixth inning, Rizzo and Torres knocked back-to-back, one-out singles. But Gausman ended the threat by striking out Josh Donaldson and Giancarlo Stanton.
✔️ 200th K<br><br>Back-to-back 200-strikeout seasons for <a href="https://twitter.com/KevinGausman?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@KevinGausman</a> 👏 <a href="https://t.co/RLLohdfgeI">pic.twitter.com/RLLohdfgeI</a>—@BlueJays
Bichette continued his outstanding September, going 2-for-5. But he grounded out to the pitcher with two out and runners on first and second to end the seventh inning.
With five games at the Rogers Centre remaining, the Blue Jays sport the fourth-best home record in the American League at 44-32, behind the Yankees (56-22), Tampa Bay (51-30) and Houston (50-23).
Jose Berrios (11-6) will make his team-leading 31st start for the Blue Jays in the second game of the three-game series against the Yankees' Jameson Taillon (13-5). Berrios has faced New York three times this season, all at Yankee Stadium, going 1-1 with a no-decision.
Toronto Maple Leafs superstar Auston Matthews will throw the first pitch on Tuesday.
Jays' Manoah honoured with sportsmanship award
Blue Jays right-hander Alek Manoah has been honoured with a sportsmanship award for defending teammate Kirk after the catcher was criticized online for his weight.
Manoah received a roughly $73,000 US sponsorship prize and immediately donated it to KidSport, a Canadian nonprofit that gives children the opportunity to participate in organized sports.
Earlier this month, Manoah reacted angrily when Montreal radio host Matthew Ross tweeted that Kirk was "embarrassing the sport" because of his weight and figure. Kirk, a first-time All-Star this season, is 5-foot-8 and 245 pounds, according to his bio on MLB.com.
Ross was responding to a video highlight of Kirk scoring from first base in a game Sept. 13 against Tampa Bay. Toronto won 7-2, splitting a doubleheader against the Rays.
Just step aside from the keyboard and let KIRK inspire those kids to continue to chase their dreams and chase greatness.—@Alek_Manoah6
Manoah, who has thrown to Kirk in all but one of his starts this season, fired back at Ross, urging him to " step aside from the keyboard."
"Go ahead and tell that 8 year old kid who is 10lbs over weight that he should quit now," he wrote. "Let KIRK inspire those kids to continue to chase their dreams and chase greatness."
Ross subsequently deleted the tweet and shut down his account before issuing a public apology for his remarks.
In a press release Monday, Dove Men+Care praised Manoah for "promoting body positive reassurance" and demonstrating "notable sportsmanship on a global stage." The company also announced Manoah's intention to donate the prize to KidSport.
Manoah, who debuted last season, is 15-7 for the Blue Jays, who lead the AL wild-card race. His 2.31 ERA is fourth-lowest in the major leagues. Manoah has a salary of $706,200 this season.
Now in his third big league season, Kirk is batting .293 with 14 home runs and 62 RBI in 132 games.
Manoah and Kirk were both selected to the AL All-Star team for the first time this season.
With files from The Associated Press