Bichette hits 2nd homer in 9th, Blue Jays beat Yankees 5-4
Members of the Toronto Blue Jays celebrate a game-winning home run against the New York Yankees during the ninth inning of a baseball game Wednesday, April 14, 2021, in Dunedin, Fla. The Blue Jays won 5-4. (AP Photo/Mike Carlson)
Mark Didtler, The Associated Press
Published Wednesday, April 14, 2021 4:30PM EDT
DUNEDIN, Fla. - Bo Bichette matched slugger Aaron Judge in the power department and got to take the final trot.
Bichette homered twice, including a game-ending drive leading off the ninth inning that lifted the Toronto Blue Jays over the New York Yankees 5-4 on Wednesday.
“I think I am just starting to heat up,” Bichette said. “I think I was grinding for a while. That's part of baseball, you fight until you start feeling good. It's good feeling now.”
Bichette drove a pitch from Chad Green (0-2) the opposite way to right-centre field as Toronto took two of three.
Bichette tied his career high with an 11-game hitting streak. He had three hits and also stole a base.
Alejandro Kirk also homered for the Blue Jays. Rafael Dolis (1-0) worked the ninth to get the win.
Judge hit two home runs for the Yankees, who went 2-4 on a road trip. New York also lost two of three at Tampa Bay.
“It's the little things,” Judge said. “I looked back, it's either baserunning mistakes, mistakes in the outfield, not coming up with just a clutch hit. There's a bunch of things. For me personally, a couple thing I need to work on to help put this team in a better position to come out with better outcomes.”
The Yankees scored 23 runs over the six games away from home.
“Inconsistent,” Judge said. “That's the word I keep coming back to. Not consistently having quality at-bats, put the ball in play when we need to, situational hitting.”
Toronto went 3-3 with one rainout in its first regular-season homestand at TD Ballpark, its spring training home.
The Blue Jays are playing their first three homestands through May in Florida because of COVID-19 restrictions in Canada. The team used its Triple-A stadium in Buffalo, New York, as a home base last year and could return there later this season.
Judge drove in the Yankees' first run during the first inning this season on a solo homer off T.J. Zeuch. They were the last big league team to score in the first.
Judge's second homer and a two-run single by Gio Urshela gave New York a 4-3 advantage in the fourth.
Kirk hit a two-run shot in the second and Bichette connected on a third-inning solo drive off Corey Kluber that put the Blue Jays up 3-1.
Kirk had been hitless in 13 at-bats this season.
Toronto had Cavan Biggio tagged out to end the fifth when he overran third base on a triple. The Blue Jays loaded the bases with no outs the next inning, but scored just once on a wild pitch.
Kluber, making his third start after being limited to one inning from May 2019 until this season by right forearm and shoulder injuries, allowed three runs and six hits in four innings.
Zeuch gave up four runs and four hits in four innings. He filled in for Ross Stripling, who was scratched due to right forearm tightness.
COLE AND THE QUESTION MARKS
The rotation behind Yankees ace Gerrit Cole was a concern entering the season and the overall numbers of the other starters have been suspect. They have a combined record of 1-4, and have allowed 28 runs and 48 hits over 36 2/3 innings in nine outings. Cole is 2-0 in three starts. He has given up three runs and 12 hits in 18 1/3 innings.
Yankees: SS Gleyber Torres (sore right ring finger) started after sitting out Tuesday's game.
Blue Jays: Closer Julian Merryweather went on the 10-day IL with a strained left oblique.
Yankees: New York has not announced its starting pitcher but options include RHPs Michael King and Deivi Garcia for Friday night's game against Tampa Bay.
Blue Jays: Toronto could start RHP Tanner Roark (0-1) or use a bullpen day against Kansas City' RHP Jakob Junis (0-0) on Thursday night.