Blue Jays' bats come alive in beatdown of Yankees, while pitcher Bassitt overcomes line drive off forearm

Get the latest from Frank Zicarelli straight to your inbox

Article content

Pitching was front and centre Saturday at Rogers Centre when news began to make the rounds that Jordan Romano would be shut down for the time being and will visit an orthopedic guru in Texas next Tuesday to examine the Markham native’s elbow.

Advertisement 2

Article content

Long-time Blue Jays reliever Tim Mayza was designated for assignment after he failed to record an out in his past two appearances.

Enter Chris Bassitt, who became the centre of attention and unwittingly the centre of concern when he took a line drive off his forearm early in his latest outing.

Undeterred and unbowed, Bassitt went six strong innings and did not allow an earned run.

Blue Jays starting pitcher Chris Bassitt looks on after taking a line drive from Yankees batter Aaron Judge off his forearm in the first inning at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Saturday, June 29, 2024.
Blue Jays starting pitcher Chris Bassitt looks on after taking a line drive from Yankees batter Aaron Judge off his forearm in the first inning at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Saturday, June 29, 2024. Photo by Vaughn Ridley /Getty Images

Somehow, some way, the Jays quickly moved on from Friday night’s utter humiliation to play one of their best games in beating the New York Yankees, 9-3.

A win Sunday afternoon will give the Jays a series win over their AL East rivals.

Outside of a physical and mental mistake, the Jays were pretty clean Saturday, one day following their 16-5 embarrassment.

Advertisement 3

Article content

Bassitt set the tone, while Vladimir Guerrero Jr. ignited the offensive fuse by knocking in six runs.

Alejandro Kirk was good behind the plate in throwing out two runners and in front of it by recording two hits and knocking in two runs.

Loading...

We apologize, but this video has failed to load.

Isiah Kiner-Falefa showed his ex-teammates what he’s capable of producing by recording a four-hit game, a season-first for the first-year Blue Jay.

George Springer had another multi-hit game after he was forced to leave Friday when he was hit by a pitch, while Justin Turner continues to reach base.

This incredibly chaotic four-game set wraps up Sunday with all three previous games decided by lopsided margins.

The Jays took the series opener 9-2 followed by a 16-5 Yankees win.

All of a sudden, scoring runs is no longer an issue, primarily due to Vlad Jr.

Article content

Advertisement 4

Article content

The surprise remains Bo Bichette, who says he won’t be surprised if he’s dealt by the July 30 trade deadline.

Loading...

We apologize, but this video has failed to load.

In fairness, some encouraging signs have emerged, but Bichette, clearly, needs to be better in a lineup that is getting better based on the recent sample size.

Starting pitching remains good, but the sore spot can be found in the bullpen.

Kevin Gausman will face reigning Cy Young Award winner Gerrit Cole in the series finale.

It would shock many if this matchup of right-handers turns one-sided.

For the record, Jose Caus made his Blue Jays debut to begin the ninth inning Saturday and gave up a two-run homer.

Recommended from Editorial

Advertisement 5

Article content

RECORD RUN

Vlad Jr.’s torrid pace at the plate cannot be dismissed and nor should it be taken for granted.

It does illustrate how much of a presence he’s capable of emerging once Guerrero finds his groove.

In his first at-bat, he went deep for his 13th home run of the season, a two-run shot as the Jays took an early lead.

It was his sixth home run in the past eight games.

In his previous 65 games, he went yard a combined five times.

Vlad Jr. also set a club record by posting his sixth multi-RBI game in succession.

This scintillating six-pack began in Cleveland and it followed Vlad Jr.’s decision to cut his hair.

He entered the day having recorded 11 hits in his past five games, including eight for extra bases.

While not as proficient when it comes to power, IKF also continues to wield a hot bat.

Advertisement 6

Article content

IKF extended his hit streak to a baker’s dozen when he singled in the first and scored on Vlad Jr.’s blast.

IKF had a total of 17 hits in his past 12 games.

Following Saturday’s performance, he has 21 hits in 13 games.

JUAN AND DONE

Even fans of the local team must have bemoaned the news when Juan Soto was a late scratch from the Yankees’ lineup and immediately whisked away to have imaging done on a bruised right hand the star sustained Friday night when sliding into home plate in the fourth inning.

His wonky hand did little to prevent Soto from annihilating a ball deep into right field for a three-run homer, Soto’s 20th belt of the season, as the Yankees took the lead en route to their 11-run rout.

Earlier this season, Soto missed three games because of inflammation in his left elbow.

Advertisement 7

Article content

In Soto’s absence, the Yankees had Ben Rice in the No. 2 hole in the starting lineup.

Rice reached base on a sharply hit single into centre field in his first at-bat.

Up stepped Aaron Judge, who sent a 101.6 mph bullet up the middle that hit Bassitt flush on his forearm.

Bassitt did his best to get out the way, but the ball was hit so hard that Jays pitcher had no shot.

Swelling and bruising became visible.

After Bassitt was permitted to throw some warm-up pitches, he resumed his outing.

Bassitt struck out Alex Verdugo.

The inning ended on a challenge review at third after Rice was awarded the base on a steal attempt.

Toronto asked for a review and the play was overturned.

Replays clearly showed Ernie Clement applying the tag to Rice’s cleat.

Advertisement 8

Article content

When Bassitt started the second inning, he wore compression sleeves.

He also had a 2-0 lead, which makes any amount of bruising and swelling more tolerable, even if it was the result of a line drive by Judge.

Rice stroked a two-out double down the right-field line.

Rather than face Judge, the Jays decided to intentionally walk the slugger.

It was the logical move to make and it paid off when Bassitt induced Verdugo to pop out to end the inning.

Clement made a two-base throwing error in the fifth inning.

With the runner advancing to third on a groundout, the Jays decided to pitch to Judge with first base open and two outs.

This time, it bit the Jays as Judge singled up the middle to score a run as the Yankees trailed, 3-1.

Bassitt struck out Verdugo for the second time to end the inning.

In total, Bassitt would record eight strikeouts.

[email protected]

Article content