The Yankees have made short work of hitting long homers, and Tuesday night they broke a major-league record in the process.
It took all of five pitches. The result? A 4-3 win over the Blue Jays at the Stadium, with all of the Yankees’ runs coming via the long ball.
DJ LeMahieu hit a leadoff homer, Aaron Judge hit another, and then Gleyber Torres added another (though that came much later, all the way in the second inning). The Yankees have hit homers in 28 consecutive games, breaking a tie with the 2002 Rangers for the longest such streak in baseball history.
“We were all kind of talking about it before the game,” Judge said. “ ‘Who’s going to do it?’ And Hicksy [Aaron Hicks] was like, ‘It’ll happen in the third inning, when I get there.’ [I said] ‘I don’t think it’s going to last that long. It might happen in the first.’
“You’ve got DJ and me going up there, and DJ stole the show. There’s no better person I want breaking that record.”
Said LeMahieu: “I probably wouldn’t have put money on me, that’s for sure.”
LeMahieu, whom Judge called the team MVP and a “fire starter,” smacked Clayton Richard's 2-and-2 slider to the stands in left, his 11th homer. Three pitches after that, Judge did the same, victimizing another slider, and depositing it in right, a 406-foot shot.
It was the 11th time in their history that the Yankees went back-to-back to start a game. It was also Judge’s first homer since returning from a two-month stretch on the injured list, thanks to a strained left oblique. He has six homers for the season.
With two outs in the second, Torres teed off on a 90-mph fastball up in the zone, hitting it to right. Edwin Encarnacion added a solo homer off Tim Mayza in the eighth. It was Encarnacion’s league-leading 24th, one more than Gary Sanchez.
The first three solo shots held up well early, thanks to Chad Green and Nestor Cortes Jr. They combined for another effective night using an opener, though Cortes did stumble in the sixth.
That’s when Freddy Galvis singled to lead off, Danny Jansen doubled him to third, and Eric Sogard drove in Galvis with a sacrifice fly. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hit an RBI single to make it 3-2 and end Cortes’ night. Tommy Kahnle allowed a single to Lourdes Gurriel Jr. but struck out the next two batters to retain the lead.
The Blue Jays rallied again in the ninth when Gurriel Jr. hit a leadoff single, moved over on a wild pitch, and Cavan Biggio reached on catcher’s interference. Aroldis Chapman struck out the next two batters, but Randal Grichuk’s single trimmed it to 4-3. Chapman got Galvis to ground out to end it.
The Yankees have hit 132 home runs, fourth in baseball and second in the AL. That’s been despite lengthy stints on the injured list for a number of their biggest boppers, including Giancarlo Stanton and Judge. Stanton exited in the fourth inning with a right knee contusion, possibly the result of a headfirst slide into third base in the first. He’ll have an MRI.
Miguel Andujar (27 home runs last year) has been shut down for the season, while Hicks and Torres have been shelved for stretches as well. The Yankees have scored 439 runs this season, second only to the Twins.
“I’ve heard players comment on [the record] and they’re very aware of it,” Aaron Boone said. “It’s impressive to me. It’s a tribute to having a lot of really good hitters and guys that can hit for power. I think, now we’re seeing as we get more whole, I think they protect each other, and when you look at our lineup, it’s really tough for an opponent to navigate through.
“I think they all benefit from each guy being a really good hitter and making the pitcher work really hard.”
When DJ LeMahieu went deep leading off the game Tuesday night, he extended the Yankees’ streak of games with a home run to 28, breaking the Texas Rangers’ MLB record set in 2002. Breaking down the streak:
Gary Sanchez 8
Gleyber Torres 7
DJ LeMahieu 7
Brett Gardner 4
Aaron Hicks 4
Cameron Maybin 4
Gio Urshela 4
Luke Voit 4
Edwin Encarnacion 2
Clint Frazier 2
Didi Gregorius 1
Aaron Judge 1
Austin Romine 1
Giancarlo Stanton 1
HRs by Game
1-HR Games 13
2 HRs 10
3 HRs 2
4 HRs 2