- Associated Press - Friday, September 22, 2017

TORONTO (AP) - Ryan Goins made Todd Frazier pay for what the New York Yankees infielder admitted was a “bonehead” blunder, then hit a big home run for the Toronto Blue Jays

Goins successfully pulled off a hidden-ball trick and hit his second career grand slam, leading the Blue Jays over Masahiro Tanaka 8-1 Friday night and ensuring New York had to wait at least one more day to clinch a playoff berth.

With Frazier on base following a leadoff double in the third, Jose Bautista made a running catch just in front of the right field warning track on Jacoby Ellsbury’s one-out drive. Goins caught Bautista’s throw while standing near second base, then pretended to toss the ball to pitcher Marco Estrada while slipping in into his glove.

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“Something told me just to do it,” Goins said. “Honestly, it was more to mess around. When it ends up working out, all you can do is smile.”

Goins turned his back to Frazier, who had returned to the base, and when Frazier briefly lifted his left foot off the base, Goins tagged him on the left thigh. Frazier insisted he had maintained contact with the base, but umpire Mark Carlson called him out to end the inning.

“Bonehead play by me,” Frazier said. “I thought the ball was thrown in.”

New York dropped four games behind AL East-leading Boston with nine games left, and the Yankees‘ lead over Minnesota for the top AL wild card was cut to 5½ games. The Yankees would clinch a postseason berth with one more win or one loss by both the Los Angeles Angels and Texas.

“We know we have a really good shot at making the playoffs, of course, but we still have an opportunity to win the division, so I think our mindset is still on that,” Frazier said.

Frazier’s gaffe denied Aaron Judge the chance to hit with a runner in scoring position.

“It could have changed the game. If I stay on the base, we’ve got Judge up and you never know what happens,” Frazier said. “Everything changed from there.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi was displeased with Frazier’s mistake and a first-inning fielding error by second baseman Starlin Castro that led to Toronto’s opening run.

“Those things can’t happen,” Girardi said. “We need to clean that up.”

Goins, Russell Martin and Teoscar Hernandez homered off Tanaka (12-12), who has allowed 35 home runs, one behind major league leader John Lackey of the Chicago Cubs.

“For whatever reason he’s been inconsistent this year,” Girardi said of Tanaka.

Tanaka gave up eight runs - seven earned - six hits and three walks in 5 2/3 innings, raising his ERA to 4.94. Tanaka has allowed seven earned runs five times this season, including twice in his last three starts.

“It’s very disappointing,” Tanaka said through a translator. “We’re here toward the end of the season and I understand how important these games are. You want to go out there and perform.”

Judge hit a solo home run, a drive that would have gone 469 feet unimpeded, his second-longest this season according to Major League Baseball’s Statcast.

“That was one of the hardest hit balls I’ve ever given up,” Blue Jays right-hander Marco Estrada said.

Judge leads the AL with 46 home runs, including nine in September.

Making his first start since agreeing to a $13 million deal with the Blue Jays for 2018, Estrada (10-8) allowed three hits in seven innings, improving to 5-0 in his last six starts. The Blue Jays are 37-23 against the Yankees since July 26, 2014.

Judge, who also walked twice, homered in the first. Bautista’s RBI grounder tied the score in the bottom half, Hernandez hit a solo homer into the third deck in the third, and Martin hit a two-run drive in the fourth.

Goins, who connected on an 0-2 pitch, hit his first career slam at Milwaukee on May 24. He is 10 for 14 with 20 RBIs with the bases loaded situations this season. His 10 hits matched Carlos Delgado’s 2003 team record.

Goins had been 0 for 22 against Tanaka before his grand slam.

“I figured it was a good matchup,” Girardi said. “It just didn’t work. He hung an 0-2 pitch.”


In the fourth, Bautista lined a foul ball that hit a female police officer stationed by the seats down the left field line.


Yankees: OF Brett Gardner was held out of the starting lineup. Gardner left Wednesday’s game after being hit on the back of his right shoulder by a pitch. He is expected to return to the lineup Saturday.

Blue Jays: OF Steve Pearce (back) will miss the remainder of the season. Pearce has been out since leaving a Sept. 8 game after one at-bat.


Yankees: RHP Sonny Gray (9-11, 3.38) starts Saturday and is 3-6 with a 3.29 ERA in nine outings since he was acquired from Oakland on July 31. Gray pitched four innings in a Sept. 17 loss to Baltimore, his shortest start of the season.

Blue Jays: RHP Joe Biagini (3-11, 5.33) allowed six runs - four earned - in 1 1/3 innings in his last start at Minnesota. Biagini has lost three straight decisions.


More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball

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