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Gleyber Torres gets injury scare, Yankees lose to Blue Jays on night after clinching AL East title

NJ.com logo NJ.com 9/21/2019 By Randy Miller, nj.com

NEW YORK — The night after the Yankees celebrated clinching a division title that was won despite a record 30 players going on the injured list for 39 stints, they were dealt with another worry on Friday night at Yankee Stadium.

It didn’t look good when All-Star second baseman Gleyber Torres’ leg gave out in the top of the fourth as he attempted to make a throw from behind the bag after fielding an infield single off Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr.'s bat.

It looked worse when Torres stumbled to the ground and stayed down for about a minute, and not because it let the Jays score the first run of the game in what would become a 4-3 Yankees loss.

That Yankees have been losing key players all year – four-time All-Star reliever Dellin Betances suffered a season-ending Achilles tear last Sunday pitching in his first game - but they badly need Torres and his 38 homers in their lineup when they begin postseason play on Oct. 4.

Torres talked his way into remaining in the game, but he struck out swinging in his next at-bat in the Yankees sixth, then was removed for the start of the seventh due to weakness in his lower legs.

Asked if Torres is OK, manager Aaron Boone said, “We’ll see. Precautionary getting him out of there. Just in talking to him … he says he’s fine, but we’ll get him tested and everything.”

Beyond this scare, the biggest takeaway from this series-opening loss to the Jays is the Yankees need to get a couple of their high-leverage relievers straightened out before the playoffs.

Adam Ottavino followed a string of poor outings by striking out the only two hitters that he faced on Friday, but Tommy Kahnle’s second poor outing in his last four cost the Yankees the game.

With the Yankees leading 3-2, Kahnle (3-2) replaced Ottavino for the seventh, then walked Teoscar Hernandez with one out and Justin Smoak followed by blasting a two-run homer on a fastball that was left over the plate for a 4-3 Jays lead that held up.

This was a costly loss for the Yankees, who are trying to pass the AL West-leading Houston Astros for home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

The Astros began the weekend up a half game on the Yankees while also holding the tie-breaker.

The Yankees scored their three runs on two homers.

Aaron Judge led off the Yankees fourth with a 395-foot blast to left-center to tie the game at 1-1 and Tyler Wade turned a 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 lead with a two-run, 400-foot shot to right with two down in the sixth.

Left-hander J.A. Happ gave the Yankees a good start, allowing two runs on four hits over 5 2/3 innings. This was Happ’s first start since he got a cortisone shot this week to calm down biceps tendinitis that he’s been pitching with for a few starts.

NOTABLE

-- Judge was 2-for-3 with a homer, double and walk as the Yankees’ designated hitter. He sat out Thursday’s game after banging up a shoulder diving for a ball in right during Wednesday’s game.

-- Clint Frazier started in right field and had more defensive issues. Hernandez was gifted a second-inning triple after Frazier turned the wrong way and missed a flyball to the right-field wall that dropped next to him. Later, Frazier almost overran a shallow fly that was caught at the foul line behind first base. To his credit, Frazier played a ball off the ball well and made a good, strong throw to second to almost throw out Cavan Biggio.

-- Giancarlo Stanton was rested after playing two days in a row after returning from a June 25 right knee sprain. He’ll start in left field and get about three at-bats on Saturday, manager Aaron Boone said.

-- Yankees first baseman Luke Voit was 0-for-4 with four strikeouts, running his hitless streak to 18 at-bats over his last five games.

LOOKING AHEAD

Saturday: Toronto Blue Jays at Yankees, 1:05 p.m., YES. RHP T.J. Zeuch (1-0, 4.61) vs. LHP James Paxton (14-6, 3.88).

Sunday: Toronto Blue Jays at Yankees, 1:05 p.m., YES. RHP Trent Thompson (5-9, 4.93) vs. RHP Luis Severino (0-0, 0.00).

Monday: Off day.

Randy Miller may be reached at rmiller@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @RandyJMiller. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

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©2019 NJ Advance Media Group, Edison, N.J.

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