Torres tumbles, AL East champ Yankees fall to Blue Jays 4-3
New York Yankees second baseman Gleyber Torres sits on the ground after slipping while trying to field a ground ball during the fourth inning of the team's baseball game against the Toronto Blue Jays, Friday, Sept. 20, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Sarah Stier)
Ben Walker, The Associated Press
Published Friday, September 20, 2019 10:41PM EDT
NEW YORK -- Star second baseman Gleyber Torres prompted an audible gasp from the Yankee Stadium crowd when his right leg buckled while fielding a grounder and made an early exit Friday night as New York lost to the Toronto Blue Jays 4-3.
Torres said his lower legs felt weakness. Yankees manager Aaron Boone said he expects him to be OK but pulled him as a precaution. Torres leads the AL East champions with 38 home runs and is hitting .284 with 90 RBIs.
Aaron Judge and Tyler Wade homered for the Yankees a day after they clinched the division. New York is still competing for the best record in the majors and home-field advantage throughout the post-season -- the Yankees and Houston each began the day with 100 wins.
Justin Smoak hit a go-ahead, two-run homer in the seventh to help Toronto match a season high with its fifth straight victory. He connected off Tommy Kahnle (3-2) as the Yankees' bullpen wobbled in the late innings for the third time in a week.
Danny Jansen also homered for the Blue Jays. Jason Adam (2-0) won in relief. and Ken Giles closed for his 21st save in 22 chances.
Torres was shaken up in the fourth. With Cavan Biggio running from second, Torres skidded to stop Vladimir Guerrero Jr.'s grounder up the middle and sprung to his feet to throw home. But his plant leg gave way, and he went down hard as Biggio scored.
The awkward tumble prompted the crowd of 45,270 to gasp, and manager Aaron Boone and head athletic trainer Steve Donohue came out to check on Torres. After a few moments, Torres got up and stayed in through the sixth.
The Yankees have been beset by injuries this year, with several stars banged up heading into their Division Series opener Oct. 4.
Yankees starter J.A. Happ allowed two runs and four hits in 5 1/3 innings, giving up his 34th home run. He worked around an early triple on a flyball misplayed by right fielder Clint Frazier.
The Blue Jays claimed INF Breyvic Valera off waivers from the Yankees. He'll join his new team Saturday. RHP Ryan Dull, recently claimed from the Yankees, was designated for assignment.
Blue Jays: SS Bo Bichette is likely to miss this weekend series after being hit on the helmet by a pitch Thursday night in Baltimore. The 21-year-old rookie is batting .311 with 11 home runs in 46 games.
"It could be a few days, three days, a week," manager Charlie Montoyo said. "If I had to guess, Bo wants to play today but realistically ... I don't see him playing these three days."
Yankees: OF Giancarlo Stanton got a day off after playing two days in the field. He's set to start Saturday. ... Slugger Edwin Encarnacion (oblique) is expected to play next week, Boone said. C Gary Sanchez (groin tightness) is recovering more slow than Encarnacion, but Boone is "optimistic he'll be ready for the post-season."
Blue Jays: Rookie RHP T.J. Zeuch (1-0, 4.61 ERA) got his first MLB win in his previous outing, going 5 1/3 innings in relief vs. the Yankees last Sunday.
Yankees: LHP James Paxton (14-6, 3.88) has won a career-best nine straight starts. He beat Toronto last weekend in his most recent game and pitches this time on six days' rest.