NEW YORK – Aaron Judge hit his fifth home run, David Robertson pitched out of an eighth-inning jam and the New York Yankees overcame some shaky defence on a chilly night to beat the Toronto Blue Jays 4-3 on Thursday night.
Judge lofted a solo shot to make it 4-2 in the seventh. He turned on a 3-2 splitter from Tyler Clippard, spoiling the reliever’s first outing at Yankee Stadium since New York traded him to the White Sox last July.
Robertson loaded the bases with consecutive walks with no outs the next inning but limited Toronto to one run on pinch-hitter Curtis Granderson’s RBI single. Robertson struck out two and got a flyout from Luke Maile to hold a one-run lead.
CC Sabathia allowed two unearned runs over 4 1/3 innings and 71 pitches in his first start since straining his right hip on April 6. He is 9-0 with a 1.88 ERA in his last 13 regular-season starts following a Yankees loss.
Chad Green (1-0) retired five straight batters, Dellin Betances pitched a perfect seventh and Robertson delivered a lead to Aroldis Chapman, who struck out the side on 12 pitches for his third save, twice topping 100 mph.
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Aaron Sanchez (1-2) held New York to three runs over six innings. He allowed seven hits, one start after no-hitting Baltimore into the eighth inning.
Toronto was coming off a three-game home sweep of Kansas City.
Moved from cleanup to the three-spot and flipping slots with struggling slugger Giancarlo Stanton, Didi Gregorius put New York ahead 3-2 with an RBI single in the fifth. Gregorius entered leading the majors in OPS (1.268) and tied for second in the AL with 16 RBIs.
Stanton followed with an infield single to snap an 0-for-15 skid. He was 1 for 3 with a walk and is 4 for 38 with 20 strikeouts at Yankee Stadium this season.
Neil Walker sparked New York’s two-run second inning by snapping an 0-for-16 skid with a double off the right-field wall. He scored on a single by Ronald Torreyes.
New York entered tied for the AL lead with 17 errors and struggled defensively once again.
Gary Sanchez let in Toronto’s first run when the catcher let Sabathia’s fastball clank off his mitt with a runner at third. Sanchez had another passed ball in the fifth, his third of the season. He tied for the major league high with 16 last year.
The next inning, Torreyes misplayed a hot shot to third by Yangervis Solarte, then bounced a casual throw that first baseman Neil Walker couldn’t pick. Solarte scored when Maile’s grounder bounced between diving infielders Gregorius and Tyler Wade.
Before the game, manager Aaron Boone said New York was planning a defensive practice session Friday, something that’s been in the works for about a week.
“It’s something that needs to improve, and I’m confident we’ll continue to improve,” Boone said.
Blue Jays: 3B Josh Donaldson (right shoulder) played catch in Dunedin, Florida, and “felt great,” according to manager John Gibbons. There’s still no timetable for Donaldson’s return. … OFs Dalton Pompey and Anthony Alford were activated from the DL and optioned to Triple-A Buffalo.
Yankees: Reliever Tommy Kahnle will be shut down for 10 days and likely miss a few weeks after an MRI revealed biceps and shoulder tendinitis. … OF Clint Frazier (concussion) was set to take batting practice and do outfield work with Class A Tampa and could play in a game soon. … INF Brandon Drury (severe migraines) took batting practice with New York. … 1B Greg Bird (right ankle surgery) ran on the field, played catch and hit.
New York’s Sonny Gray (1-1, 6.20 ERA) opposes Toronto’s Marco Estrada (1-1, 4.24) on Friday. Gray struck out eight over four innings against the Blue Jays on April 1 but got a no-decision.
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