New York Yankees Game Recap: Carlos Beltran three-run homer puts Yankees in first place


The New York Yankees began a three-game series Friday night, visiting the Toronto Blue Jays with a chance to reclaim first place in the AL East, with Ivan Nova taking the mound against David Price in a rematch of Saturday’s matchup.

Although the Yankees threatened in each of the first three innings, leaving four runners on base, ultimately it was the Blue Jays who struck first in the bottom of the third.  After Nova hit Kevin Pillar, the second batter he hit on the night, Ben Revere moved Pillar to third with a hit-and-run single on an 0-2 count.  With runners on the corners and no outs, Troy Tulowitzki grounded into an RBI fielders’ choice, which deflected off Nova’s hand, giving the Blue Jays a 1-0 lead.

After a Josh Donaldson single, Jose Bautista ripped a line drive double, scoring Tulowitzki and extending the Blue Jays lead to 2-0.  Edwin Encarnacion followed with a sacrifice fly, and Nova was able to retire Justin Smoak, limiting the damage to three runs, but, facing Price, the Yankees had an uphill battle to fight.

After Alex Rodriguez flied out to begin the eighth inning, Mark Teixeira and Brian McCann followed with singles, and Chase Headley hit an RBI ground-rule double cutting the lead to 3-1, and knocking Price out of the game.

Trailing by two, with two runners in scoring position, Carlos Beltran came on to pinch-hit for Chris Young, with Aaron Sanchez taking the mound for Toronto.  Beltran turned a 97 mile per hour fastball into a three-run home run to deep right center, hit 11th of the season,  giving the Yankees a 4-3 lead.  The home run was Beltran’s biggest moment as a Yankee, and arguably the biggest moment of the 2015 season.  Price’s final line was 7 1/3 IP with 11 hits with three runs allowed and six strikeouts.

Beginning the bottom of the eighth, Dellin Betances replaced Nova to face Bautista, Encarnacion, and Smoak.  Nova left the game after throwing seven innings of three run ball, allowing just five hits and one walk, striking out three Blue Jays.  After striking out Bautista, Betances was able to get Encarnacion and Smoak to fly out to center field.

After Brett Cecil retired the Yankees in order, Andrew Miller came on to face the Blue Jays in the bottom of the ninth.  After retiring Russell Martin, Miller walked pinch-hitter Chris Colabello, who was replaced by Cliff Pennington as a pinch-runner.  Miller then allowed Pillar to single, and immediately followed with a wild pitch, giving the Blue Jays runners at second and third with one out.

Miller was able to battle back from the wild pitch, striking out Revere, bringing Tulowitzki to the plate with the game on the line.  On the 12th-pitch of the at-bat, Miller struck Tulowitzki out to give the Yankees a half-game lead in the AL East.