TORONTO — Aaron Judge hit the game-turning home run and a double Tuesday night. The Yankees slugger powered the Bombers to a 9-1 blowout of the Blue Jays, their division rival and a playoff contender. He helped the Yankees chase one of the best young starters in the game and extend their winning streak to 11 straight games.
During this winning streak, Judge is hitting .357 with eight home runs, two doubles and 17 RBI. The slugger hit his ninth homer of the season off Manoah in the sixth inning, it was his fifth homer in the last five games and he is now tied with teammate Anthony Rizzo for the most in the big leagues.
And then after, he looked at a group of reporters and pointed out he also struck out three times and said “We’re getting there guys.”
At least the Yankees are heading in the right direction.
The Yankees 11 straight wins are the longest streak in the big leagues this season and the most for the Bombers (18-6) since last season’s 13-game winning streak in August. They handed the Blue Jays (15-10) their first series loss of the season and also their first back-to-back losses of the season.
“We gotta keep pushing. Keep grinding them down and wait for the mistake,” Giancarlo Stanton said. “Sometimes it’s gonna be a mistake, sometimes when you keep pushing and grinding out at-bats. . . you get a timely hit. So we gotta keep grinding.”
That’s what the Yankees did Tuesday, kept grinding against Alek Manoah until they could get his pitch count up and get him out of the game. The young Blue Jays right-hander retired 15 straight Yankees from the first inning to the sixth.
And then Judge got things going.
“I’m just trying to do what I can for the team and everybody. The lineup is great, but we weren’t really putting up the numbers. Everyone was kind of grinding them out a little bit. We were just trying to get his pitch count up,” Judge said. “Luckily I was able to get one over the plate and do something with it.”
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Judge hammered a two-out, 427-foot solo shot to tie the game.
“I told you several days ago we’re kind of waiting for him to get going, even though the numbers were still pretty good. But yeah, there’s no question he’s really squaring up a couple really, really good every night. Tonight is no different,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “And then the double, they get some attack on runs. They’re just really good to see him getting really settled in and being the player we know he is.”
That homer got Manoah out after six innings and seven strikeouts, then the Yankees rallied for six more runs in the seventh. The key to that was a bizarre rundown that Marwin Gonzalez used not only to get the runners in scoring position, but to deke Blue Jays’ first baseman Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. and actually score a run.
“I don’t know how I did it,” Gonzalez said with a smile. “I was just trying to get the runners to advance and I don’t know how I did it.”
Stanton padded the Yankee lead in the top of the ninth with his fifth home run of the season, a two-run, 444-foot shot to the second deck in left field.
It was a shocking end to what had been a good pitchers duel. Not only was Manoah mowing down hitters, so was Jameson Taillon, who picked up his second win of the season. He allowed one run on five hits. He struck out four in six innings of work.
“It’s fun. I knew if I could just keep them in that game, those guys were gonna break out at some point,” Taillon said. “The offense has been really fun to watch for the last couple of weeks. They’re so deep and they feed off of each other. So once that (seventh) inning started, it was really fun to watch.”