The Yankees beat the Blue Jays 1-0 on Sunday afternoon, with Bombers closer Aroldis Chapman completing the epic task of taking down Toronto’s highly touted youngsters for the final outs and the save. After Masahiro Tanaka allowed a leadoff single to Brandon Drury, Chapman came on to face three famous sons in a pinch-hitting Vlad Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, and Cavan Biggio. It was the first of those hitters who made the first two outs, but even through grounding into a double play, Vlad Jr. made an impression.
“I’ve never seen somebody hit a double-play ball and get a standing ovation from the fans,” said Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo.
Here’s what that looked like:
It’s not the double play ball itself that had Toronto feeling so appreciative, of course. It was everything that came before. After digging himself into an 0-2 hole with a pair of swings and misses on high fastballs, Vlad fought back to drag out his confrontation with Chapman all the way to 13 pitches, hitting seven foul balls while stretching the count full.
“I pitched him inside, I threw a slider, I threw a two-seamer and—nothing. It was just a good at-bat from him there,” Chapman said.
Only at the end did the veteran flamethrower get the better of the beefy rookie.
After Guerrero’s intense but fruitless at-bat nearly sunk their chances, Bichette stepped into the box and worked Chapman for an eight-pitch AB of his own, fighting back from 0-2 for a base hit before Biggio struck out to seal the loss. Chapman’s save salvaged a split and prevented the Blue Jays from taking the four-game series with the Yankees, but even in a game where they couldn’t score any runs, the Jays and their youthful hitters remain the most fun bad team in all of baseball.