The Canadian Press
TORONTO–Kevin Pillar wasn’t making excuses after another loss for the scuffling Blue Jays last night.
The Toronto centre-fielder, speaking to media after a 3-0 defeat to the N.Y. Yankees in 13 innings, said the Jays’ 26-35 record is an accurate representation of how his team has played this season.
“We don’t deserve better,” Pillar said sternly. “If you want to deserve better, you go out and earn it.
“They say over the course of the year things even out but they really don’t,” he added.
“Our record is what our record is.”
Aaron Judge hit a two-run homer in the 13th inning after a masterful outing from Sonny Gray and the Yankees’ bullpen to sweep the two-game mini series against their division rivals.
Brett Gardner started the rally with a one-out single off Joe Biagini (0-5) before Judge launched his 17th of the season beyond the centre-field fence.
Giancarlo Stanton, who had been serenaded with chants of “over-rated” from a vocal pocket of fans at Rogers Centre, followed with a solo shot.
Aroldis Chapman then earned the save, working around a one-out double from Kendrys Morales in the bottom of the 13th.
The Jays have lost seven-straight divisional games to fall to 8-17 against AL East opponents this season.
The team also has lost 10 of its last 11 home games and 17-of-22 overall.
“It’s not a position we want to find ourselves in but it’s the reality of the situation,” Pillar said.
“We just gotta figure out a way to claw ourselves out of this.”
Gray was one of the main reasons for Toronto’s struggles last night. The Yankees’ right-hander pitched two-hit ball through eight scoreless frames, striking out eight and walking two over a 99-pitch effort.
He retired 12-straight at one point before a lead-off double by Justin Smoak in the fifth, then set down 10-consecutive batters to end his night.
“He was attacking the zone and he was throwing a couple different pitches for strikes,” Pillar noted.
“That’s kinda the recipe to be successful in the big leagues.”
Chad Green, Dellin Betances, and David Robertson also pitched scoreless innings of relief for New York (40-18).
The Jays spoiled a solid outing from right-hander Sam Gaviglio, who allowed just three hits and three walks while striking out four over seven innings.
Gaviglio, in his fourth start since being recalled from triple-A last month, didn’t surrender a hit until the fourth inning of the pitcher’s duel.
He had retired a string of six-straight batters before a two-out double from Gary Sanchez and capped his night by retiring seven in a row.
“I’m taking it one game at a time, not trying to do too much,” Gaviglio said. “Trusting what I’ve got, I think that’s a big thing.
“A little frustrated with some walks today but I was able to get through.”
Manager John Gibbons credited Gaviglio–and the rest of the bullpen–for keeping the Jays in the game.
“He was really, really good,” Gibbons said. “Really the whole pitching staff.
“They got us there in that last inning . . . it was great pitching on both sides.”
Toronto loaded the bases with one out in the fifth–with its first hits of the night on Smoak’s double and a single from Morales–but Gray got a double play to keep the game scoreless.
The Yankees loaded the bases in the top of the fifth on back-to-back two-out singles before a ground ball from Greg Bird ended the inning.
New York had the go-ahead run on second in the 10th inning after a lead-off double from Miguel Andujar off reliever Tyler Clippard.
Clippard retired the next two and Tim Mayza got the final out.
John Axford and Ryan Tepera also provided scoreless relief out of the ‘pen.
Devon Travis reached on a two-out single off Betances in the 11th–marking Toronto’s first hit since the fifth inning–but the frame ended with an Aledmys Diaz strikeout.
“You gotta ride it out,” Gibbons said of his team’s cold spell at the plate.
“We’ve got guys that can hit. They’re gonna hit,” he stressed. “But other than that there’s not a lot you can do.”
Elsewhere in the AL, Chicago beat Minnesota 5-2, Boston dumped Detroit 7-1, Texas bounced Oakland 8-2, Houston topped Seattle 7-5, and L.A. edged Kansas City 4-3.
Over in the NL, San Diego beat Atlanta 3-1, San Francisco edged Arizona 5-4 (10 innings), Pittsburgh outslugged L.A. 11-9, Colorado doubled Cincinnati 6-3, Chicago topped Philadelphia 7-5, and Miami dumped St. Louis 11-3.
Washington routed Tampa Bay 11-2, Baltimore shaded the N.Y. Mets 1-0, and Cleveland beat Milwaukee 3-1 in interleague play.