The ball came off the barrel of Aaron Hicks’ bat like a laser. The Yankees centerfielder turned on a 93-mph fastball from Toronto’s Aaron Sanchez and sent it to deep rightfield in the fifth inning Monday night at the Stadium.
It had plenty of carry. Enough to clear the wall for a three-run homer and erase a two-run deficit. Enough to get the Yankees rolling back toward the win column after Sunday’s loss ended an eight-game winning streak. Enough to make a little more history for baseball’s most decorated franchise.
Hicks’ fifth home run was the turning point in a 10-8 victory over the Blue Jays before 37,204. It also gave the Yankees 27 straight games with a homer, tying the major league record. The Texas Rangers did it from Aug. 11 through Sept. 9, 2002.
“We’re aware of it because it’s kind of what we do,” Hicks said. “We hit home runs here . . . That’s how we score our runs.”
Hicks’ homer put the Yankees up 3-2. CC Sabathia got a strikeout with two on and a standing ovation to close the Toronto sixth and complete one of his most effective outings of the season. The Yankees scored seven in the bottom of the frame, including a tremendous three-run shot by Giancarlo Stanton, to take a 10-2 lead.
Jonathan Holder, however, let Toronto get back into the game in the eighth. He faced five batters and gave up five hits, including a home run by Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and a grand slam by Freddy Galvis that cut the margin to 10-7. Chad Green and Adam Ottavino got the Yankees through the rest of the inning without allowing a run.
Holder, who has allowed six home runs and 13 runs in 5 1/3 innings in his last six appearances, was sent to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre after the game. “I thought it was embarrassing,” he said of his outing. "I'm definitely a better pitcher than that.”
Aroldis Chapman allowed an unearned run in the ninth and collected his 22nd save.
Stanton was playing only his fifth game after returning from a stint of more than 11 weeks on the injured list. His homer was a blast into the bleachers above the loading dock in left-center that came off the bat at 111 mph. It was estimated at 445 feet but seemed longer than that.
Luke Voit had a two-run double down the leftfield line in the seven-run outburst and DJ LeMahieu went 4-for-4.
LeMahieu homered on Sunday as the Yankees set a club record by going deep for the 26th consecutive game. Aaron Boone was asked about the chance to tie the 2002 Rangers before Monday night’s game and replied, “Any time you’re talking about something that’s never happened in the history of our sport . . . when those come up, it’s really impressive.”
Afterward, Boone said, “Nothing surprises me what they do. We have a lot of guys capable of hitting the ball out of the ballpark and I think they help strengthen each other. Collectively they are able to wear down pitchers. That eventually leads to more and more mistakes during the course of a night.”
Stanton wasn’t satisfied with the tie with the Rangers. “That ties it? OK, cool,” he said. “We need one more then.”
Sabathia equaled a season high with six innings and allowed two runs, six hits and two walks, striking out nine. He threw a season-high 104 pitches and recorded his 251st win, tying him with Bob Gibson for 47th place in MLB history.
He also faced the Jays’ Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Cavan Biggio, the sons of players he faced earlier in his career.
“When I am facing Cavan Biggio and Vlad Jr.,’’ he said, “I think it’s time for me to go home.”