Judge homers, Yankees use 7-run 6th to beat Blue Jays 9-1
NEW YORK (AP) — Aaron Judge's home runs are becoming the thing of legend to opposing pitchers. He can beat them in other ways, too.
Judge hit an early homer off respected Twitter rival Marcus Stroman, then scored on a disputed play during a seven-run burst in the sixth inning that sent the New York Yankees over the Toronto Blue Jays 9-1 Saturday.
"He wins so many pitches over the course of the game up there. You better execute when you're facing him or you're in trouble," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said.
Judge put the Yankees up 2-0 with his sixth homer, a two-run drive in the third that landed in the second deck in left field. It came after Stroman and Judge exchanged tweets at the end of last season during which the Toronto ace said their "future battles will be legendary."
"I made one bad pitch. It was a 3-0 pitch to Judge that kind of leaked back over the plate. He hammered it," Stroman said.
Cameras showed a young girl in the crowd ended up with the ball. She marveled at the souvenir as she and her brother passed it back and forth.
Judge is now 7 for 16 with four home runs against Stroman (0-2).
"I was just excited to get two runs on the board against a tough pitcher like Stroman. A guy like that you can't take any pitches off. You've just got to be ready to attack and don't miss a pitch," Judge said.
It was 3-1 in the sixth when the Yankees loaded the bases with no outs. Aaron Hicks hit a chopper up the first base line and Stroman made a backhanded toss to catcher Luke Maile, trying for a forceout.
The ball bounced off Maile's glove as Judge slid in safely. Blue Jays manager John Gibbons unsuccessfully argued with plate umpire Will Little that Maile had possession.
Rookie Miguel Andujar added a three-run double and Judge capped the inning with an RBI single. Andujar has eight extra-base hits in his last five games.
"They can burn you in a heartbeat," Gibbons said.
Jordan Montgomery (2-0) pitched six innings and allowed one run on four hits. He worked around three walks, and allowed the leadoff hitter on base in three consecutive innings.
Toronto loaded the bases in the third with one out before Montgomery was able to escape the jam with a strikeout and a popup.
"I've just got to be as aggressive as I can right there and not give in to anybody," Montgomery said.
Montgomery and two relievers combined to retire the last 15 Blue Jays batters.
Stroman, a prep star from Long Island, saw his ERA jump to 8.55. Six of the eight runs he surrendered in 5 1/3 innings were earned.
"When we're scoring a bunch, it's a good thing," Boone said.
Steve Pearce singled home Randal Grichuk in the fifth. Grichuk was walked twice by Montgomery despite beginning the game with an .088 batting average.
FASTER AND FASTER
Judge's home run was his 62nd in his 201st game, making him the fastest player to reach 62 home runs in major league history. He surpassed Mark McGwire, who did it in 205 games.
Blue Jays: 2B Devon Travis ran on the field prior to the game for the first time since fouling a ball off his left foot Thursday night. Gibbons said Travis was feeling better and would be given one more day off. ... C Russell Martin was given the day off after catching Friday night. Gibbons also opted to give 1B Justin Smoak a day off.
Yankees: Placed reliever Adam Warren on the 10-day disabled list with a right back strain and recalled right-hander Jonathan Holder from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Holder pitched two perfect innings and struck out two. ... C Gary Sanchez was given the day off after catching Friday night's game. Manager Aaron Boone said he is OK after getting hit with a foul tip behind the plate. ... A decision on activating INF Brandon Drury from the disabled list, possibly as early as next week, is really close, Boone said. Drury has been on the 10-day DL since April 7 with severe migraines and blurred vision. He said before the game that he's seeing improvement with his symptoms.
Blue Jays: LHP Jaime Garcia (2-0, 3.86) starts Sunday as Toronto tries to split the four-game series.
Yankees: RHP Luis Severino (3-1, 2.63) starts on extended five days' rest due to an off day Wednesday.