NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Star second baseman Gleyber Torres prompted an audible gasp from the Yankee Stadium crowd when his right leg buckled while fielding a grounder and made an early exit Friday night as New York lost to the Toronto Blue Jays 4-3.
Torres said his lower legs felt weakness. Yankees manager Aaron Boone said he expects him to be OK but pulled him as a precaution. Torres leads the AL East champions with 38 home runs and is hitting .284 with 90 RBIs.
Aaron Judge and Tyler Wade homered for the Yankees a day after they clinched the division. New York is still competing for the best record in the majors and home-field advantage throughout the postseason — the Yankees and Houston each began the day with 100 wins.
That race with the Astros wasn’t helped by a woeful strike zone by veteran umpire Joe West Friday night.
Joe West has been pretty bad in every part of the zone tonight.
First image is for Jays pitchers, second for Yankees pitchers. pic.twitter.com/dX0bllWama
— John Metzler (@bluejaysbeat) September 21, 2019
The inconsistent and down-right incorrect zone altered several Yankee rallies throughout the game and quickly became the topic of conversation on social media, as fans on both sides pointed out West’s atrocious calls. One in the ninth inning to Brett Gardner was literally a foot outside of the strike zone.
Called strike on ball 4. Inexcusable. pic.twitter.com/KYwWxpfRnW
— John Ekdahl (@JohnEkdahl) September 21, 2019
Justin Smoak hit a go-ahead, two-run homer in the seventh to help Toronto match a season high with its fifth straight victory. He connected off Tommy Kahnle (3-2) as the Yankees’ bullpen wobbled in the late innings for the third time in a week.
Danny Jansen also homered for the Blue Jays. Jason Adam (2-0) won in relief. and Ken Giles closed for his 21st save in 22 chances.
Torres was shaken up in the fourth. With Cavan Biggio running from second, Torres skidded to stop Vladimir Guerrero Jr.’s grounder up the middle and sprung to his feet to throw home. But his plant leg gave way, and he went down hard as Biggio scored.
The awkward tumble prompted the crowd of 45,270 to gasp, and manager Aaron Boone and head athletic trainer Steve Donohue came out to check on Torres. After a few moments, Torres got up and stayed in through the sixth.
The Yankees have been beset by injuries this year, with several stars banged up heading into their Division Series opener Oct. 4.
Yankees starter J.A. Happ allowed two runs and four hits in 5 1/3 innings, giving up his 34th home run. He worked around an early triple on a flyball misplayed by right fielder Clint Frazier.
The Blue Jays claimed INF Breyvic Valera off waivers from the Yankees. He’ll join his new team Saturday.
OF Giancarlo Stanton got a day off after playing two days in the field. He’s set to start Saturday.
Slugger Edwin Encarnación (oblique) is expected to play next week, Boone said.
C Gary Sánchez (groin tightness) is recovering more slow than Encarnación, but Boone is “optimistic he’ll be ready for the postseason.”
LHP James Paxton (14-6, 3.88) has won a career-best nine straight starts. He beat Toronto last weekend in his most recent game and pitches this time on six days’ rest.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)