It didn’t take long for the Yankees to get back to their homering ways. The Bombers crushed five home runs in their romp of the Toronto Blue Jays, and two came off the bat of both Brett Gardner and Aaron Judge. It was the first time all three outfielders hit homers since May 17, 2014, and the first time in 56 years Yankees outfielders have combined for five home runs. It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows, and I’ll get to those. But it was a win nonetheless, and it brings them even in the series.
Masahiro Tanaka was not the pitcher he was when he tossed a Maddux against the Red Sox in his last start, but he got the job done. Trouble began in the first when Kevin Pillar led the game off with a double, but a fly out, strikeout, and a pickoff at third ended the minuscule threat.
Then the Yankees offense got to work, albeit with a missed opportunity that ended up not mattering at all. Gardner, Chase Headley, and Matt Holliday started the inning with a double, single, and double, respectively, but an unlucky line out and a bizarre double play, where Didi Gregorius dribbled a ground out along the third base line and then Headley was thrown out at home, ended what could have been an explosive inning.
Luckily, the Yankees, unlike teams of the recent past, showed they wouldn’t make that inning a sticking point. In the second inning the Yankees scored four runs, thanks to two-run home runs from Aaron Hicks and Gardner.
After that, the game kind of went to auto-pilot. Judge hit his 11th home run of the year, right over the short porch, to give the Yankees a six-run lead in the third inning. Gardner hit his second home run of the game to give the Yankees yet another run.
Tanaka showed signs of tiring in the fifth. He let up a towering solo shot to Steve Pearce, and a Devon Travis double and Chris Coghlan single cut the Jays’ deficit to five. The Yankees would grab one of those back as Headley knocked in a run on an RBI single in the sixth. What was pretty bad in that inning was Austin Romine leaving the game after running between second and third and experiencing cramping in his right groin. Hopefully he isn’t out too long, because he’d still be a great backup even when Gary Sanchez returns.
Tanaka’s game would end in the seventh after allowing yet another home run to Pearce and a one-out hit to Travis, and he would finish with a respectable-but-not-great line: six and one-third innings, four earned runs, four strikeouts, and no walks.
Then things got a little bit weird. Tyler Clippard came in and allowed a single to Pillar and walked Bautista to load the bases. Dellin Betances entered the game and immediately got the yips as he balked a run in, and then walked Russell Martin to bring the tying run to the plate. Luckily for the Yankees, Betances regained form and struck out Kendrys Morales.
Then came the Judgment. The Jays may have made the game kind of close, but Judge smashed the gavel once more in the seventh. After a long, ten-pitch battle against Jason Grilli, Judge launched a three-run home run to left field to give the Yankees an 11-4 lead. He’s basically hitting like Babe Ruth, and I’m loving every second of it. He’s so, so awesome.
There’s not much more to report from there. Tommy Layne allowed a run in the eighth —his ERA is now a clean 6.00—and Jonathan Holder closed the game out in the ninth to give the Yankees the win. What a team this is.
The Yankees will try to grab the series win tomorrow night as CC Sabathia will take on Marcus Stroman at 7:05 PM EST. You can watch the game on YES, or nationally on MLB.tv or ESPN.