Blue Jays lose 2 to injury in brawl-marred loss to Yankees

September 27, 2016
New York Yankees pitcher Luis Severino approachesToronto Blue Jays' Justin Smoak after hitting him with a pitch during the second inning of a baseball game Monday, Sept. 26, 2016, in Toronto. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP)
New York Yankees pitcher Luis Severino approachesToronto Blue Jays' Justin Smoak after hitting him with a pitch during the second inning of a baseball game Monday, Sept. 26, 2016, in Toronto. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP)

TORONTO (AP) — The Toronto Blue Jays hope they don’t pay a high price for playing hardball with the New York Yankees.

Mark Teixeira hit a tying homer in the ninth inning, adding an uncharacteristic bat flip, and Aaron Hicks added a game-winning blast as the Yankees avoided a four-game sweep, beating the Blue Jays 7-5 on Monday night in a testy game that featured two benches-clearing incidents.

Toronto still leads the AL wild card race, one game ahead of Baltimore. The Orioles were off Monday.

Blue Jays relief pitcher Joaquin Benoit limped off with a sore left calf after the second melee, and infielder Devon Travis was replaced in the sixth because of a sore shoulder.

“In the pile (Benoit) did something to his calf,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. “He’s getting checked out.”

Gibbons didn’t know whether Travis was hurt while taking part in a shoving match.

“I’ve got no idea,” Gibbons said. “He came out of the game having trouble swinging the bat.”

With Toronto up 3-2 heading to the ninth, Gibbons called on Jason Grilli (7-6) to close it out because Roberto Osuna was unavailable after pitching the previous two days.

Teixeira tied it 3-all with a one-out homer. After pausing to admire his second-deck drive and casually flipping his bat, Teixeira yelled “Blown save!” at Grilli after returning to the dugout.

“Our team has been fighting all year,” Teixeira said. “We’re probably not going to make the playoffs. We’re just going to enjoy ourselves the rest of the year and keep fighting.”

Didi Gregorius singled and Hicks followed with a two-run homer.

New York scored five runs in a bat-around ninth, matching their total from the 35 previous innings in the series.

Four New York players and coaches were ejected following two scuffles in the first two innings.

New York starter Luis Severino was ejected in the second after hitting Justin Smoak, sparking the second melee.

That came after Toronto left-hander J.A. Happ threw consecutive inside pitches to Headley in the top of the inning, hitting him with the second. That led to a warning from plate umpire Todd Tichenor.

“If they feel like they need to protect their guys, I respect that,” Headley said. “But if you do that, you’re accepting the consequences.”

Yankees manager Joe Girardi was ejected for arguing the warning. New York pitching coach Larry Rothschild and bench coach Rob Thomson were ejected along with Severino following the second melee.

“I was mad because Happ hit him on purpose and he had one shot,” Girardi said. “You throw it behind the guy and you miss, I mean, he’s got to be tossed. That’s terrible, it’s terrible.”

Josh Donaldson, hit on the elbow by a pitch from Severino in the bottom of the first, walked in from his position and exchanged words with the New York dugout after Headley was hit.

“Some teams have been taking pot shots at us all year long and some guys just got tired of it,” Gibbons said.

Both benches and bullpens cleared that time, too, but no punches were thrown.

“I wasn’t trying to hit Chase but it happened,” Happ said. “They can say whatever they want. Eventually cooler heads prevailed.”

After Dellin Betances loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the ninth, Tommy Layne, the eighth Yankees pitcher of the game, came on and got Josh Donaldson to fly out. Edwin Encarnacion walked to drive in a run and pinch-hitter Dioner Navarro delivered a bloop single, making it 7-5. Layne forced Darwin Barney out at home plate on Russell Martin’s grounder, then wrapped up his first save by getting Troy Tulowitzki to foul out.

Adam Warren (7-4) worked two innings for the win.

New York’s late rally denied Happ his 21st win. Happ allowed two runs and six hits in 7 1-3 innings.


Toronto has lost 14 straight games in which it has not hit a home run.


Yankees: After sitting out the past seven games with a sore right hamstring, 2B Starlin Castro pinch hit for Ronald Torreyes in the eighth. Donovan Solano replaced Castro in the field. ... RHP Masahira Tanaka will be examined by team physician Dr. Christopher Ahmad when the Yankees return home Monday. Tanaka has not thrown in the past five days.


Yankees: LHP Luis Cessa (4-3, 4.30) starts against Red Sox LHP David Price (17-8, 3.91) as New York begins its final homestand of the season. Cessa has lost his past three starts and is winless since Aug. 26.

Blue Jays: RHP Aaron Sanchez (13-2, 3.12) starts Tuesday as Toronto opens a pivotal three-game series against wild card rival Baltimore. RHP Kevin Gausman (8-11, 3.57) starts for the Orioles. Sanchez has not received a decision in any of his past three starts, with the Blue Jays losing all three.