Blue Jays silence Yankee Stadium, hand New York their first series loss

Stefan Luciani
FiredUp Network Sports Writer


Sunday, April 23, 2023

Kevin Gausman rebounded from a tough start in Houston with seven innings of scoreless ball as the Blue Jays took care of the Yankees 5-1.

NEW YORK – Vladimir Guerrero Jr. spent a good amount of time prior to Friday’s first pitch in the Bronx, sitting in the visitor’s dugout surrounded by phones, cameras, and recorders.


The 24-year-old had media members from both the Toronto, and New York markets wanting to get a quote regarding his stance on the Yankees.


A stance in which he has made very clear. 


Last season Guerrero Jr. stated he would never play for Toronto’s AL East rivals. And ahead of their first matchup of the season with microphones in his face, he doubled down.


“It’s a family decision.”


“Not even dead,” would he sign with the pinstripes the reigning Gold Glove winner said. But if the not-so-subtle words weren’t enough, he let his play back him up. 


Guerrero Jr. picked up the winning runs during Sunday afternoon’s rubber match in the Bronx. He finished 1-for-4 at the plate with the lone knock, a two-run shot off of Clarke Schmidt in the top of the sixth to help the Blue Jays to the 5-1 win over the Yanks. 


It was their fifth series win in their last six, and the first the Yankees have received all season.


Guerrero’s home run was one of the six hits the Blue Jays garnered in the contest that remained scoreless until then. It was immediately followed up with a Daulton Varsho solo shot for some added insurance. 


But Yankees fans don’t take too kindly to slandering of the coveted pinstripes, and they let Vladdy hear their disapproval with a shower of boos as he rounded the bases. Not just for today, but for the rest of Gurerro Jr.’s tenure in the bigs as the superstar has a .298 BA against New York with 45 RBI and 15 long balls.


"I mean, of course you hear it, but they're not going to take the home run away from me,” he said through interpreter Hector Lebron. “I'm just going to continue to run the bases and enjoy it."


"As Reggie Jackson said, they don't boo nobodies,” manager John Schneider added. “So I think Vladdy worked off of that a little bit. We all know the kind of hitter that he is. Big series from him.”


Kevin Gausman was on the bump for Sunday’s final contest, looking for a bounceback performance following a rough day at the office during his start in Houston. Redemption was exactly what he got, throwing seven scoreless innings while sitting down 11. Unlike his previous few outings that saw him incorporate more of his slider, this afternoon was vintage Gausman as just six of his 103 total pitches were sliders – the rest being just fastballs and splitters. 


His fastball velocity was also noticeably down in velocity, averaging just north of 92 mph relative to the almost 94 he’s averaged on the season thus far. The trend didn't seem concerning though as his trusted one-two punch generated a total of 52 swings and a combined 15% whiff rate. 


Making it look easy despite describing his performance as “a grind”. 


“I mean, obviously I'm happy with the outcome of the game and that we won most importantly,” he said. “But yeah, I wouldn't say I was as sharp as I have been in other games this year. But it worked out.”


The game and series wins improve the Blue Jays to 13-9 sitting just behind those very same Yankees in what is already looking like a warzone of a division battle. 


Toronto will take a quick flight home this evening to open up a quick five-game homestand that starts against the Chicago White Sox on Monday. They’ll then welcome the Mariners for two before heading back out on the road next week.