NEW YORK (AP)Aaron Judge hit a mammoth three-run drive in the ninth inning for his first walk-off home run in the major leagues to give the New York Yankees a 6-5 comeback victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday night.
Giancarlo Stanton tied it with a modest three-run shot in the sixth, and the Yankees rallied for their 14th victory in 16 games after three Toronto ejections left the angry Blue Jays seeing red.
New York overcame a shaky start from Luis Severino and improved to 21-8, the best record in the majors.
George Springer launched a leadoff homer for Toronto, and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. hit a tiebreaking double in the eighth that helped the Blue Jays take a 5-3 lead.
No. 9 batter Jose Trevino and DJ LeMahieu drew consecutive one-out walks in the ninth from Jordan Romano (1-2) before Judge sent a hanging 1-2 slider 450 feet into the second deck in left field. The big slugger, who hit a walk-off drive from Double-A Trenton in Apri 2015, did a little dance as he approached the plate and was swarmed by excited teammates.
Judge and Stanton have homered in the same game 20 times, including the postseason, and the Yankees have won 19 of those games.
It was the second blown save in 14 chances this season for Romano, who began the night leading the majors in saves.
Wandy Peralta (1-0) pitched a hitless ninth for the win.
Santiago Espinal had an early two-run double – originally ruled a home run – as Toronto quickly built a 3-0 lead against Severino, who started on eight days’ rest.
Yusei Kikuchi pitched five hitless innings before Stanton tied the score in the sixth with a three-run homer off reliever Yimi Garcia that cleared Yankee Stadium’s short right-field porch by just a few rows. The 335-foot drive would not have been a home run in any other big league ballpark, according to Statcast.
That’s when the fireworks really started.
Garcia hit the next batter, Josh Donaldson, just around the left elbow pad with a 94 mph fastball on an 0-1 count.
Players on the New York bench didn’t like it, but Donaldson calmly went to first base and the umpires convened on the infield grass.
After a long discussion, crew chief Alfonso Marquez ejected Garcia, enraging the pitcher and several Blue Jays who came spilling out of the dugout. In the heated exchange, Marquez then tossed pitching coach Pete Walker as well.
And when Yankees reliever Jonathan Loaisiga brushed back Bo Bichette with a 97 mph fastball in the seventh, plate umpire Lance Barrett heard something from the Blue Jays bench and ejected flabbergasted manager Charlie Montoyo.
Toronto regained its composure and put together a two-run rally in the eighth. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. drew a leadoff walk from Loaisiga and raced all the way home from first with a headfirst slide on Gurriel’s line-drive double to left field off Chad Green.
Gurriel advanced to third on the throw home and scored on Alejandro Kirk’s sacrifice fly.
Toronto has lost three straight and six of eight.
Springer’s fourth leadoff homer this season was the 47th of his career, tying Curtis Granderson for fifth.
Rookie right-hander Luis Gil will be called up from the minors to start for the Yankees on Thursday night at the Chicago White Sox. The 23-year-old Gil is 0-3 with a 9.53 ERA in five starts at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre after going 1-1 with a 3.07 ERA in six big league starts for the Yankees last year, with 38 strikeouts in 29 1/3 innings. New York needs a spot starter after two rainouts last weekend forced a doubleheader Sunday against Texas and a makeup game Monday.
Blue Jays: LHP Hyun Jin Ryu (forearm inflammation) joined the team and is expected to come off the injured list to start Saturday at Tampa Bay. … C Danny Jansen (left oblique strain) was set to begin a rehab assignment at Class A Dunedin. … INF/OF Cavan Biggio, on the COVID-19 injured list, was scheduled to be the DH at Triple-A Buffalo.
Yankees: OF Joey Gallo was rested against the left-hander even though he’s 3 for 9 with two home runs and a walk off Kikuchi. Gallo drew a one-out walk as a pinch-hitter in the seventh. OF/DH Giancarlo Stanton will probably get Wednesday off, manager Aaron Boone said.
Blue Jays: RHP Jose Berrios (2-1, 5.34 ERA) pitches Wednesday when the teams wrap up a two-game series with a 12:35 p.m. matinee. Berrios is 2-2 with a 4.83 ERA in six career outings against New York – he gave up three earned runs over five innings at Yankee Stadium on April 13.
Yankees: RHP Jameson Taillon (2-1, 2.84) starts on seven days’ rest after throwing six sharp innings last Tuesday in a 9-1 win at Toronto.
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