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Jansen lifts Blue Jays past Yankees as Bassitt delivers another masterful outing



TORONTO – The noise from the tumultuous start to this Toronto Blue Jays-New York Yankees series quieted Wednesday, the game on the field keeping a lid on the volatile mix of emotion, suspicion and mistrust lingering between the clubs.

Chris Bassitt, fighting through a sinus infection, was brilliant in duelling Gerrit Cole deep into the night, adding seven shutout frames to a scoreless innings streak now at 27 innings — third-longest in franchise history. Leverage relievers on both sides walked tightwires in and out of trouble until Wandy Peralta finally fell, knocked down by a Danny Jansen three-run homer in the bottom of the 10th for a 3-0 Blue Jays victory.

After Jordan Romano followed a clean ninth with another zero in the 10th, striking out Anthony Rizzo with runners at second and third to keep the game 0-0, Whit Merrifield opened the bottom half with a grounder up the middle that Anthony Volpe booted for New York’s third error of the night.

That left runners on the corners for Alejandro Kirk, who grounded into a five-man infield for the first out before Jansen, with his second walk-off hit of the week, sent Peralta’s first pitch over the wall in left to electrify a crowd of 27,431.


The win gives the Blue Jays a chance to split this four-game set Thursday when Jose Berrios starts against Nestor Cortes.

“It’s definitely an exciting feeling,” Jansen said of his homer, the only hit with runners in scoring position in a 1-for-17 night. “We knew coming in that it’s two good teams going at it. Every game is important, so you know it’s going to be a battle throughout. Try to build momentum off it.”

In that way, the game marked a return to relative normalcy after the heightened vigilance and scrutiny that followed when Sportsnet broadcast cameras captured both Aaron Judge and Jake Bauers taking sideways glances moments before Jay Jackson delivered in the eighth inning of Monday’s opener.

Tuesday’s 6-3 Yankees win was a total Gong Show, with coaches from both sides screaming at one another, Domingo German getting ejected after umpires found a foreign substance on his hand and Judge capping things off with a go-ahead two-run shot.

Blue Jays finally take advantage of Yankees fielding mistakes to pull out walk-off win

As intriguing as all that was, the baseball tribalism that flowed, as a result, was similarly compelling, from the rationalizers eager to rally behind Judge and excuse away his actions Monday to the angrily aggrieved ready to point out one side’s infractions while overlooking another’s.

One example came during John Schneider’s pre-game session, when he was asked if Jay Jackson’s admission to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic that he was tipping pitches changed his perspective on what happened, as if that’s supposed to negate the bigger-picture wrongs.

“No,” Schneider replied. “Not for me.”

For others, though, it did, and lost is how different things can be true at the same time.

The Blue Jays need to be tighter in what they’re doing on the field – the club immediately flagged Jackson’s tipping and doubled down on catcher positioning – and the Yankees’ base coaches shouldn’t be way down the lines peeking in on opposing pitchers and passing along what they see.

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Somewhat overlooked in the ensuing discourse is that while video of the sketchy peeks brought the Yankees’ shenanigans into the public eye, their actions are of little surprise within the game, the Blue Jays included.

The sport’s fraternity of players, coaches and executives is small and they talk. Bringing attention to the matter forced Major League Baseball to get involved and after some back and forth Tuesday, Yankees base coaches Travis Chapman at first and Luis Rojas at third were locked into the coaches’ boxes all night Wednesday without incident.

The focus may also lead to increased awareness by other clubs against the Yankees down the road, although their reputation for identifying tells and tendencies largely precedes them.

What transpired in Toronto this week will only turn up the heat between the clubs.

‘Just trying to hit something in the air’: Jansen on mindset before hitting walk-off homer

“Whenever there are two good teams that are familiar with one another, yeah, it can get a little competitive and heated at times, and probably do or say some things that you wouldn’t say if it wasn’t in the heat of the moment,” said Schneider. “You can say that about basically any team in our division right now.”

Sure, but about the Yankees more than anyone, which is what made Wednesday’s win so satisfying for the Blue Jays.

Bassitt was masterful from the first pitch onward, allowing two batters to reach only once, in the second. He allowed three hits, a walk and hit a batter – it was Anthony Rizzo, clearly by accident, in the sixth – while striking out seven.

That he put himself within seven innings of matching Dave Stieb for the longest shutout streak in team history while battling illness only underlines his toughness.




Dave Stieb



Roger Clemens



Chris Bassitt



Tom Henke



Scott Downs



Brett Cecil



Paul Quantrill



Mark Eichhorn



Ricky Romero



Roy Halladay



“He’s a total pro,” said Schneider.

With the Blue Jays already down Vladimir Guerrero Jr., day-to-day with right knee discomfort after an MRI revealed no structural damage, and Kevin Kiermaier unavailable battling the viral infection still lingering in the clubhouse, they couldn’t afford to lose Bassitt, too.

But that was never on the table, the right-hander saying, “if I don’t make a start, there’s something really wrong.”

So he took the mound with plan to cope with the head pressure amplified every time his heart rate rose, manipulating the pitch clock, even taking one violation intentionally, and strategically using mound visits to buy recovery time.

“Basically, I tried to pitch like a zombie today,” he quipped.

Whatever it is worked, as for the third consecutive start he flipped the Blue Jays’ fortunes, having already thrown seven shutout frames in Pittsburgh after a four-game sweep at the hands of Boston and throwing a complete-game shutout versus Atlanta coming off two losses in Philadelphia.

Blue Jays’ Bassitt implements clever game management to overcome sickness and Yankees

“I’ve been around long enough to not make a big issue out of just like, two losses,” Bassitt said of his work as stopper. “As dumb as it is, young me would have lost tonight’s game. I would have went in there, overthrown, walked guys, gave up hits and we would have lost. Being around long enough to not panic and just relax, we’ve got today’s game and that’s it. We can’t change the past. That was it.”

The same applied for the relievers behind him, Yimi Garcia and Tim Mayza dodging traffic in the eighth, Romano following with a clean ninth before getting Rizzo after an intentional walk of Judge in the 10th. Jansen then made it count.

“We’re battling,” said Bassitt. “Sickness-wise, we’ve got guys playing through some stuff. Seeing guys pick each other up is pretty awesome.”

For a Blue Jays team that needed a win on the field after so much energy expended in other ways, it very much was.


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Blue Jays’ Chris Bassitt announces birth of child to cap ‘perfect weekend’



The Toronto Blue Jays had a memorable few days in New York, thanks to a three-game sweep of the Mets, but that’s not the biggest reason starting pitcher Chris Bassitt is all smiles these days.

Bassitt and his wife, Jessica, welcomed their second child over the weekend, with the veteran right-hander reporting that both mother and baby are doing well.

“Perfect weekend complete,” Bassitt wrote on Twitter. “Momma and Colson are doing great.”

Jessica went into labour Friday, while her husband took his normal turn in the Blue Jays’ rotation. Bassitt channelled all of his “dad strength” in that outing against the Mets, firing 7 2/3 innings of shutout ball with eight strikeouts in a 3-0 Toronto win. In a cruel twist from the universe, the start of the game was delayed more than 90 minutes due to inclement weather.


Once his outing was over, Bassitt rushed back to Toronto via private plane to be with Jessica for Colson’s birth. He made it in plenty of time, tweeting Saturday morning that the baby hadn’t arrived yet.

The 34-year-old will now be able to enjoy a few days with his family, as the Blue Jays placed him on the paternity list Saturday. Reliever Jay Jackson took his place on the 26-man roster.

Blue Jays pitcher Chris Bassitt dominated the Mets in his outing Friday. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
Blue Jays pitcher Chris Bassitt dominated the Mets in his outing Friday. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)

Bassitt’s Blue Jays teammates gave him even more reason to cheer by eking out a 2-1 victory Saturday before getting the brooms out with a 6-4 win in the series finale.

Brandon Belt was the hero Sunday, connecting for a go-ahead, two-run home run in the seventh inning after Toronto squandered an early 4-0 advantage. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. also went deep for the Blue Jays, while Whit Merrifield delivered a two-run double in the second inning.

Next up, Toronto welcomes the Houston Astros to Rogers Centre for a four-game series that begins Monday. Bassitt is listed as the probable starter for Wednesday’s contest.



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Rory McIlroy (T-1) falls back on short game, stays positive with chance at Memorial



DUBLIN, Ohio – Rory McIlroy will set out Sunday afternoon at Jack’s Place looking to secure the second leg of the “Legends Slam” with a swing that’s well short of perfect and no shortage of would-be spoilers lurking.

He couldn’t be happier.

For the third consecutive day at the Memorial, McIlroy leaned on luck and grit to keep pace with the co-leaders – Si Woo Kim and David Lipsky – at 6 under par with 10 other players within two shots of the lead. Betting lines will undoubtedly favor the world No. 3 against the other contenders, but the truth is he has no idea what to expect when he sets out in the week’s final group.

Full-field scores from the Memorial Tournament


“I don’t think I hit a green from the eighth hole through the 14th hole, and I played those holes in even par,” McIlroy shrugged following his third-round 70. “Chip in on 12 [for birdie] and got it up-and-down from some tricky spots. I was really happy with how I scored out there and how I just sort of hung in there for most of the day.”

If McIlroy’s happy-to-be-here take doesn’t match with his world-beater persona, it’s the honest byproduct of a swing that he’s repeatedly said is a work in progress. Saturday’s round on a hard-and-fast course was the most-recent example of his very real struggle.

There was the chip-in for birdie at No. 12 from 25 feet and scrambling pars at Nos. 8, 11, 13 and 14. The major champion, whose career has been written with an overwhelming driver and sublime iron play, has now fully embraced the scrappy life.

“Embracing it,” he smiled. “There was a couple of shots out there when I missed the greens that I was sort of looking forward to hit. I think it’s embracing that challenge and embracing the fact that you’re probably not going to hit more than 12 or 13 greens out there. I think with how my short game’s been this week it’s something I’ve been able to fall back on, which has been great.”

To be fair, Rory is still Rory off the tee. He’s eighth this week in strokes gained: off the tee and second in driving distance, which at Muirfield Village is an accomplishment considering host Jack Nicklaus’ mission is to take driver out of the hands of the game’s top players.

Where the challenge has come is from the fairway and, despite his lofty status among the leaders, Saturday’s effort was his statistically worst of the week with just 7 of 18 greens in regulation and a loss to the field (1.71 shots) in strokes gained: approach the green.

Still, he’s the easy favorite with 18 holes remaining and for good reason. Other than Kim, who has four PGA Tour victories including the 2017 Players Championship, the next six players on the board have a combined four Tour victories.

“It’s a big tournament and I’ve got quite a bit of experience in that and you would like to think that gives you a little bit of an advantage,” McIlroy said. “Everyone’s going to go out there tomorrow and, regardless of where you are in the tournament, this golf course makes you a little uncomfortable anyway. So, everyone’s going to be feeling like that. With the way the leaderboard is and how bunched it is, it’s just going to come down to who can sort of hold their head the most coming down the stretch.”




Scottie Scheffler isn’t happy with what he’s been putting out on the course as of late, despite some solid results.


Considering his own assessment of his swing, keeping a positive outlook doesn’t seem to be a problem for McIlroy this week. It might have something to do with what has admittedly been a rough couple of weeks, which stretch back to his missed cut at the Masters. Or it might just be the opportunity.

When he won the Arnold Palmer Invitational in 2018, it was two years after that tournament’s host and legend had died. For a player who grew up idolizing The King, it was a bittersweet accomplishment and a part of why Sunday at Muirfield Village is likely to mean more than the sum of its parts.

“To be able to walk up that hill from 18 and get that handshake from Jack would be pretty nice,” he said. “I won Arnold’s tournament a few years ago, but he had already passed by that time. So it would be so nice to be able to do it and have Jack be there.”

It’s been an interesting year for McIlroy both on and off the course, which at least partially explains a lightness in his step that had been missing. There was also a message from his sports psychologist, Bob Rotella, last week that appeared to resonate with the 23-time Tour winner: “You are going to win your fare share of golf tournaments. You tee it up to see what your fare share is.”



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Vladimir Guerrero Drives Home Winning Run, Jays Beat Mets



Jays 2 Mets 1

Off the top, I’m pretty sure that’s the worst job we’ve seen from a plate umpire this year. He had no clue where the strike zone was. John Schneider got thrown out of the game after a particularly bad strike call on Vladimir Guerrero in the ninth.

Fortunately, Vlad still doubled down the third base line to bring in the winning run. Pretty amazing job after being down 1-2. George Springer had a one-out single and steal.

Our only other run came in the sixth. Brandon Belt led off with a double. Matt Chapman walked. Two outs later, Alejandro Kirk, singled home Belt.


We had the bases loaded in the first but couldn’t get a run in. There were other chances but no luck.

In all we had 10 hits. Springer, Bichette, Belt and Kirk had two each. Chapman, Merrifield and Kiermaier had the 0 fors.

Jose Berrios was terrific. 5 innings, 4 hits, 3 walks and 6 strikeouts. 1 earned, scoring in the second inning, when he gave up a single to Starling Marte and a double to Daniel Vogelbach. But then he got three quick outs, and the Mets didn’t do much against him the rest of the way.

Trevor Richards, Nate Pearson (getting the win) and Erik Swanson (save #1 of the season), each pitched a scoreless inning. I didn’t understand pulling Richards after the one inning, but it all worked out. I think Pearson would have stayed out for another inning if the Jays didn’t take the lead.

Jays of the Day: Vlad (.310 WPA), Belt (.222), Swanson (.177), Berrios (.164), Pearson (.098) and Richards (.082).

The Other Award: Merrifield (-.376 for his 0 for) and Kiermaier (-.175 for his 0 for).

Tomorrow the Jays go for the sweep with Yusei Kikuchi (6-2, 4.47) vs. Kodai Senga (5-3, 3.44). It is to be a 1:30 Eastern start, but then today’s was to be a 4:00 Eastern start but the Mets had Al Leiter talking for 30 minutes about how great he was.



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