Stanton HRs as Yankees beat Jays 7-2, extend wild card lead
TORONTO (AP) — Giancarlo Stanton hit a three-run home run, Aaron Judge homered and drove in two runs and the New York Yankees extended their lead atop the AL wild card standings by beating the Toronto Blue Jays 7-2 Tuesday night.
Gio Urshela added a solo homer and Anthony Rizzo had a pair of hits and drove in a run as New York (90-67) won its seventh straight and moved two games in front of Boston (88-69) in the wild card race with five games left. The Yankees took another injury hit when Jameson Taillon reinjured an ankle and left in the third inning.
Toronto (87-70) dropped three games behind the Yankees but remains a game behind Boston for the second wild card.
Stanton homered for the fourth straight game when he connected off right-hander Trevor Richards with two out in the seventh, driving the ball into the second deck in left. The homer was the 35th for Stanton, who leads the Yankees with 96 RBIs.
“We’re playing for keeps, we’re playing for a lot, and I think G is embodying that right now,” manager Aaron Boone said.
Stanton went 2 for 5 with a double. He’s batting .304 with 10 home runs and 25 RBI in 92 at bats this month.
Stanton became the first Yankees player with 13 or more RBIs in a four-game span in September since Paul O’Neill in 1999. It’s also the most RBIs in any four game span for Stanton in his 12-year career.
He became the seventh Yankees player with a pair of four-game homer streaks in a season after Babe Ruth (1930), Lou Gehrig (’31), Joe DiMaggio (’37), Yogi Berra (’56), Roger Maris (’61) and Alex Rodriguez (’07). Maris and A-Rod both did it three times.
“Like I say all the time, he’s a unicorn,” Boone said of Stanton. “We just kind of shake our heads sometimes.”
Stanton’s homer came on an 84 mph changeup that crossed the plate 1.26 feet off the ground. It’s the lowest pitch he’s homered on in his career.
“He threw me a couple that were in the vicinity,” Stanton said. “I just had to make sure I stayed inside of it and tried to scoop it. It was a bit in off the plate but, with that mentality, sometimes you’ll get to those.”
Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said he found Stanton’s homer hard to believe even after watching a replay.
“I don’t know how you can hit a ball like that,” Montoyo said. “That ball was almost in the dirt, and he went and hit it out.”
Judge’s solo homer off left-hander Hyun Jin Ryu (13-10) in the third gave the Yankees at least one home run in 19 consecutive games, extending their season-high streak. Judge’s homer was his 37th.
Urshela hit his 14th homer off Anthony Castro in the ninth.
Judge started in right field after dislocating his left pinky sliding into second base in Sunday night’s win at Boston. He went 2 for 2 with two walks and a sacrifice fly.
“I felt like it was going to be OK,” Boone said, “but to see him go out and have immediate success and hit the ball like he did, that was certainly encouraging.”
Activated off the injured list Monday after missing 19 games because of a right ankle injury, Taillon left one out into the third after aggravating the same injury. Taillon motioned for an athletic trainer to come out of the dugout, then walked off following a brief discussion. He was replaced by right-hander Michael King.
“I could tell right away that he had re-aggaravated it,” Boone said of Taillon. “It was a quick decision for me to get him out of there.”
Taillon allowed one run and one hit in 2 1/3 innings. He walked one and struck out two.
King (1-4) gave up one run in 2 2/3 innings for the second victory of his three-year big league career.
Clay Holmes pitched around a pair of walks in the sixth, Chad Green and Luis Severino each worked one perfect inning and Wandy Perlata finished.
Ryu allowed three runs and six hits in 4 1/3 innings, leaving after Rizzo’s tying single.
“He gave us a chance,” Montoyo said. “He did what we want him to do.”
Adam Cimber came on and gave up Judge’s go-ahead sacrifice fly, making it 3-2.
Ryu was activated off the 10-day injured list before the game after being out since Sept. 17 because of a sore neck. He went 2-4 with an 8.10 ERA in the eight starts prior to his injury.
Bo Bichette hit an RBI single off Taillon in the first and scored on Corey Dickerson’s RBI double off King in the third, but Toronto couldn’t hold on. The Blue Jays have lost five of eight.
Bichette’s multi-hit game was his AL-leading 54th.
7 & 7
This is the third time the Yankees have had both a seven-game winning streak and a seven-game losing streak in the same month. They also did it in June 1953 and September 1985.
OPEN AND SHUT
The Blue Jays have lost four straight series openers.
DRAWING A CROWD
Toronto drew 28,769 in its first home game since capacity at Rogers Centre was doubled from 15,000 to 30,000.
Blue Jays OF Lourdes Gurriel Jr. returned to the lineup after missing the past three games. Gurriel needed two stitches to close a cut on the back of his right hand after being stepped on by teammate Randal Grichuk. Gurriel went 0 for 4, grounding out to end the game. … Toronto activated INF Cavan Biggio (back tightness) off the 10-day injured list. The Blue Jays optioned LHPs Kirby Snead and Ryan Borucki to Triple-A to make space for Ryu and Biggio.
Blue Jays RHP José Berríos (12-9, 3.48) starts Wednesday against Yankees RHP Gerrit Cole (16-8, 3.08). Cole beat Boston last Friday for his AL-leading 16th win.
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