Judge hits fourth homer of the series to lead Yankees over Blue Jays 4-2
New York Yankees designated hitter Aaron Judge (99) celebrates his two-run home run against the Toronto Blue Jays with teammate Anthony Rizzo (48) during first inning MLB American League baseball action in Toronto, on Thursday, May 18, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Gregory Strong, The Canadian Press
Published Thursday, May 18, 2023 10:02PM EDT
TORONTO - Aaron Judge and Anthony Volpe hit home runs and Yankees starter Nestor Cortes worked into the seventh inning as New York defeated the Toronto Blue Jays 4-2 on Thursday night at Rogers Centre.
Judge belted a no-doubt two-run blast off Jose Berrios in the first inning after Gleyber Torres led off the game with a single.
It was the 12th homer of the season for the Yankees slugger and sixth in his last six games. Volpe tacked on an insurance run in the ninth inning with a solo shot that hit the left-field foul screen.
Cortes (4-2) gave up a solo homer to Bo Bichette in the opening frame and departed after issuing a leadoff walk to Whit Merrifield in the seventh.
Ryan Weber, Albert Abreu and Ron Marinaccio - with his first save - worked in relief for the visitors, who won for the eighth time in 11 games. The Blue Jays have dropped three of four.
Bichette's homer was his ninth of the season. He had three of Toronto's six hits.
Berrios (3-4) was quick to settle in after the Judge blast, retiring 12 of the next 13 batters he faced.
He issued a leadoff walk to Volpe in the fifth and stayed in the game after being hit in the lower leg by a comebacker. Aaron Hicks reached on the play but Torres grounded into a double-play to end the threat.
Judge nearly hit another homer in the sixth inning but a video review determined it was only a double.
The ball hit the top of the wall in centre field and bounced back into play. Judge, who's on a six-game hitting streak, was left stranded.
New York (26-20) padded its lead in the seventh when Hicks drove in Oswaldo Cabrera, who led off the inning with a double. Berrios was replaced by Yimi Garcia, who fanned Judge with runners on the corners.
In the seventh, Danny Jansen greeted Weber with a single and Alejandro Kirk walked to load the bases.
Brandon Belt hit a shallow flyout before pinch-hitter Vladimir Guerrero Jr. brought home Merrifield with a sacrifice fly. George Springer lined out to end the inning.
Reliever Nate Pearson pitched a clean eighth inning for Toronto (25-19) before giving up Volpe's seventh homer of the year in the ninth.
Berrios allowed three earned runs, six hits and a walk while striking out eight. Cortes fanned six and gave up five hits, a walk and two earned runs.
Announced attendance was 33,290 and the game took two hours 29 minutes to play.
Guerrero was held out of the starting lineup for a second straight night due to a sore right knee.
The first baseman was hurt while fielding a bunt on Tuesday night and is considered day-to-day.
The Blue Jays will continue their 10-day, 10-game homestand Friday night with the opener of a three-game weekend set against the Baltimore Orioles.
Left-hander Yusei Kikuchi (5-0, 3.89 earned-run average) was scheduled to start for the Blue Jays against right-hander Kyle Gibson (4-3, 4.67).
The Yankees will wrap their seven-game road trip with a three-game set in Cincinnati.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 18, 2023.