A disgusted Brett Gardner laments the walk that wasn’t

A disgusted Brett Gardner laments the walk that wasn’t

 

Toronto lefty reliever Aaron Loup, trying to protect a 3-2 lead, had just walked Yankees Brian Roberts and Francisco Cervelli in the bottom of the eighth inning. The next batter, Brett Gardner, took the first pitch.

The call went Loup’s way. But that was not the call that bothered Gardner most.

Loup survived the self-made jam by striking out Gardner on a 3-2 fastball. The pitcher said the pitch found the outside black of the plate, while the batter insisted it was off the mark. Wow, there’s something new: Pitcher and batter disagreeing. Real Democrat-Republican stuff.

“The ball’s off the plate. It’s a ball,” Gardner said of the decisive pitch that ended the eighth inning of Toronto’s eventual 6-4 victory Saturday. “The first pitch was a ball. The last pitch was a ball. That’s it.

“A fastball, a little two seam action backdoor, saw it away,” Gardner said. “It was a good pitch and he got the call.”

Had the call by home plate ump Alan Porter gone Gardner’s way, the Yankees would have had the bases loaded with Derek Jeter coming up.

The Blue Jays did tack on three runs in the ninth, but bottom line, Loup got the call.

“I didn’t want to walk another guy, I knew I had to throw a strike,” Loup said. “I … decided just to challenge him and go down and away. I figured that was the safest place, hopefully, and it ended up working out.

“I knew we had a one-run lead…and [Gardner’s] killed us the whole year. Really, the whole team,” said Loup, referring to the Yankees, who had beaten the Jays 17 straight times at Yankee Stadium before Saturday. “We needed a big out right there and I knew I didn’t want to walk him. So I went with my best pitch that I knew I could control and went with it and it ended up working out.”

Gardner thought it was off the plate. Loup thought it was “right on the black. A pitcher’s pitch. About as good as it gets, as good as I can throw it, anyway.”

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