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Yankees score four runs in ninth for win over Jays

TORONTO – A thin bullpen proved costly for the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday in a 6-4 loss to the New York Yankees at Rogers Centre.

With closer Jordan Romano and setup men Yimi Garcia and Chad Green unavailable, the Blue Jays could not line up their usual high-leverage options and the powerful New York offence took advantage.

Giancarlo Stanton homered in the ninth inning and Aaron Judge added a go-ahead two-run double as the Yankees scored four times in the frame to prevent a three-game sweep.

“The guys in front of me were having great at-bats to kind of lead to that moment and get us in that situation,” Judge said. “Once you step in there, just have some fun and take a good swing.”

Blue Jays reliever Erik Swanson (0-1) made his season debut in the ninth but gave up a leadoff homer to Stanton, who launched a 1-1 pitch an estimated 437 feet into the 200-level seats.

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“He damn near hit it out of the stadium,” Judge said. “I think that’s what got everybody going.”

Tim Mayza came on with one out and gave up an RBI single to pinch-hitter Jose Trevino that tied the game. After Juan Soto drew a two-out walk to load the bases, Judge lashed a full-count pitch down the left-field line that scored Trevino and Alex Verdugo.

Victor Gonzalez (1-0) got the last out of the eighth inning for the win. Clay Holmes earned his seventh save.

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Daulton Varsho hit two homers for the Blue Jays (10-9), who had their four-game winning streak come to an end. New York outhit Toronto 11-9.

The Blue Jays went 6-3 on the homestand after starting the regular season with a 4-6 road trip.

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“Today it’s a sour taste when you’ve got an off-day (Thursday) and stuff,” said Toronto manager John Schneider. “You have a sweep right there against a really good team and didn’t get it done. But it was still a really good homestand.”

Garcia and Romano both pitched on Tuesday while Green was dealing with shoulder soreness from his last appearance, Schneider said. Trevor Richards pitched the sixth inning for Toronto and Genesis Cabrera handled the seventh and eighth.

Varsho’s two-run shot in the second inning came off starter Marcus Stroman. He added a solo shot off Caleb Ferguson in the seventh.

“He’s got a lot of potential,” Schneider said. “We’re seeing that right now. He hits the ball really hard.”

Starter Kevin Gausman threw five effective innings for Toronto. Soto hit a solo homer in the eighth inning for the Yankees (13-6), who ended a three-game losing skid.

Gausman loaded the bases in the first inning on two walks and a single but escaped by fanning Gleyber Torres.

In the second, Davis Schneider singled before Varsho turned on a 1-2 pitch for his third homer of the season.

Gausman’s fastball velocity — which had dipped at times this month — was at its usual mid-90s level. He gave up his lone earned run in the fifth when Soto’s two-out double scored Oswaldo Cabrera.

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Gausman struck out Judge to complete his 101-pitch outing. The veteran right-hander gave up four hits, three walks and had six strikeouts.

“I was still attacking the zone the whole game,” he said. “I thought we did a good job of mixing (pitches).”

Stroman, who was drafted by Toronto in 2012 and spent parts of six seasons with the team, nearly gave up a homer to Bo Bichette to lead off the sixth but the ball hit the top of the wall.

Justin Turner’s slow chopper moved Bichette to third base and ended Stroman’s afternoon. Ferguson struck out pinch-hitter Ernie Clement and got Schneider on a flyout to deep centre field.

Varsho sent Ferguson’s first pitch of the seventh inning over the wall for his second career multi-homer game. He has four home runs on the season.

Kevin Kiermaier scored on Bichette’s sacrifice fly later in the inning. Announced attendance was 30,233 and the game took three hours 10 minutes to play.

COMING UP

Both teams have off-days Thursday.

The Blue Jays will kick off a three-game weekend series at San Diego on Friday night. Yariel Rodriguez (0-0, 2.45) was tabbed to start for Toronto against fellow right-hander Matt Waldron (0-1, 3.14).

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The Yankees will return home to begin a three-game weekend set against the Tampa Bay Rays.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 17, 2024.

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