It has been a brewing rivalry for a few years now, but Tuesday the Yankees and Blue Jays mixed in some bad blood before Aaron Judge crushed a three-run homer to walk off a 6-5 win over Toronto at the Stadium.
The Yankees (20-9) have won five of the eight games they have played against the Blue Jays (17-14) this season. It took Judge’s giant, second-tier blast to get them there, though.
“I look at them as one of the best teams that we play. Obviously they present a lot of challenges from a lineup standpoint. You know, they have a lot of guys that can really hurt you in some different ways. They’re athletic, they push the envelope on the bases a little bit and then have put together a really strong starting rotation, and I feel like their bullpen’s gotten a little bit better,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “So I mean, I look at them as a really good team that’s going to be really competitive in this division.”
The intensity went up a notch Tuesday night.
After Giancarlo Stanton tied the game in the sixth inning with a home run to right, Yimi Garcia hit Josh Donaldson on the arm with a 94-mph fastball. With Judge and other Yankees about to jump over the dugout fence, the umpires held a brief conference and without issuing a warning tossed Garcia. The right-hander had to be held back from crew chief Alfonso Marquez and when pitching coach Pete Walker got into the argument he was tossed too. That created a five-minute, on-field delay while the Blue Jays got another pitcher ready.
Chad Green gave up an RBI-double to Lourdes Gurriel Jr., scoring Vladimir Guerrero Jr. from first base. He then gave up a sacrifice fly to Alejandro Kirk.
For the second straight day, the Bombers were no-hit through five innings. DJ LeMahieu got the first hit off lefty Yusei Kikuchi, who had retired 12 in a row, to lead off the sixth inning. Judge reached on a hard-hit ground ball to third base that Matt Chapman dropped on the transfer. Stanton chipped his seventh homer of the season 331 feet the other way to tie the game.
“I think once things heats up, I do think the offense is going to start to flip probably even more so around the league,” Boone said of the sluggish offenses around baseball. “We were a little slow that first week getting rolling offensively, went through a pretty good stretch and then with the rainouts and stuff, really just had two days where we obviously didn’t punch through a lot these last few days. But I feel overall we’re in a pretty good spot.”
Except the skid started before the rainouts, when the Bombers managed just one run against the Blue Jays in a loss in Toronto on Wednesday night.
The Yankees are fifth in the majors in OPS (.717), third in the American League, 12th in the big leagues in runs scored (124) and fourth in the AL and third in the majors in homers (37) and second in the AL.
Perhaps more of a result of the weather and time off were the struggles of Luis Severino last night. The righthander allowed three runs on five hits. He walked two and struck out eight. That he was able to get through 4.2 innings was surprising.
Severino was pushed back because he hadn’t faced the Blue Jays last week and also because the Yankees want to find ways to keep his workload down this season since he spent most of the last three years on the injured list.
George Springer jumped on a 91-mph cutter for a leadoff home run. Kirk led off the second with a single and Chapman walked. Santiago Espinal hit a fly that bounced off the glove of Aaron Hicks on top of the left-field fence. Initially ruled a home run, it was overturned and called a two-run double.