Aaron Judge hit another long home run and Matt Holliday hit a longer one. Still, it wasn’t the long ball that cemented the Yankees’ 8-6 comeback win against the Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday night.
It was a bloop after the blasts. And a grounder to the pitcher. And a bases-loaded walk.
The Yankees, after falling behind 4-0 in the first and 6-3 after an inning and a half, were trailing 6-5 in the seventh when Chris Carter blooped a single over drawn-in Toronto shortstop Ryan Goins to drive in Judge with the tying run.
Judge had singled with one out in the first three-hit game of his career. He also hit a 435-foot, two-run home run to center in the third, his major-league best 13th home run.
After Judge’s single, Chase Headley doubled to put runners on second and third and bring the Blue Jays infield in for Carter’s painfully (to Toronto) short single.
Pinch hitter Didi Gregorius then grounded a potential inning-ending double play ball that was deflected by Toronto reliever Joe Biagini (0-1), who lost sight of it before throwing late to first. The infield single allowed Headley to score the go-ahead run for the Yankees’ first lead of the night. Another run scored in the inning when Aaron Hicks walked with the bases loaded to make it 8-6.
“Even if we’re down four, fix, six, it doesn’t matter,” Judge said. “People are going to keep having quality at-bats. That’s what this team’s about. Picking each other up.”
Yankees manager Joe Girardi was ejected by home plate umpire Bill Welke after the first pitch was thrown in the bottom of the seventh. It was called a strike to Starlin Castro. The Yankees had been balking about Welke’s strike zone since all three batters were struck out looking by Biagini in the sixth.
Brett Gardner, who was the first punchout in that inning, was so incensed that he destroyed a blue plastic recycling garbage can with his bat after returning to the Yankees dugout.
“I was a little frustrated,” Gardner said. “Took it out on the recycling bin. Probably fine me 15 or 20 bucks. We won the game. It was a great game and some guys came through with some big hits.”
CC Sabathia, who gave up seven runs in 5 2⁄3 innings in his last start, was ineffective again. He allowed six runs in the first two innings and was pulled two batters into the fifth after a walk and single with the Yankees trailing 6-5.
“It feels good to have the team be winning,” Sabathia said. “But you want to be part of the win.”
The Yankees bullpen threw five scoreless innings and allowed only one hit. Dellin Betances (3-1) picked up the win with 1 2⁄3 perfect innings. Aroldis Chapman pitched a 1-2-3 ninth, striking out Russell Martin on a 100-mile per hour fastball to end it, for his sixth save.
The Blue Jays scored four in the first on Justin Smoak’s two-out RBI single and Steve Pearce’s ensuing three-run homer.
Holliday helped the Yankees get three runs back in the bottom of the first. He hit his fifth home run of the season and 300th of his career, a three-run shot off Medford native Marcus Stroman that traveled 446 feet to the netting above Monument Park.
But the Blue Jays scored two more runs in the second to make it 6-3. Sabathia’s final line: four-plus innings, seven hits, six runs, four walks, five strikeouts.
Judge’s two-run blast in the third brought the Yankees to within a run at 6-5. Earlier in the day, he was named AL Rookie of the Month for April. He has hit three home runs in May.
Asked if he’s even been this hot, Judge said: “Maybe tee-ball.”