NEW YORK – Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey, the pubs and the double-decker buses, there’s plenty to see in London.
To Aaron Judge, there’s an even more enticing sight: The 385-foot fence in centre field at the soccer stadium where his New York Yankees will play this weekend.
“I don’t mind that at all,” he said, smiling.
Europe, you’re up.
The Yankees hit two more big flies before jetting off to visit Big Ben and the British capital, beating the Toronto Blue Jays 8-7 Wednesday.
Didi Gregorius and DJ LeMahieu connected as the Yankees extended their major league record to 29 straight games with a home run. Gleyber Torres won it with an RBI single in the ninth inning.
The AL East leaders overcame two homers and a double by Lourdes Gurriel Jr., plus an early 5-0 deficit, to finish a power-packed 9-1 homestand.
Now, they’ll head straight from Yankee Stadium to England, where they’ll enjoy two days off before playing the Boston Red Sox on Saturday and Sunday at London Stadium in the first major league games in Europe.
“It’s different, for sure. It’s unique, obviously,” LeMahieu said. “To some of the guys it feels like we’re going on a field trip.”
Manager Aaron Boone was among several Yankees set for “the flight across the pond” to explore London for the first time. He said his family is already overseas and had sent him pictures of a red phone booth, a popular bridge and Heathrow Airport.
“I got some work to do to figure out some touristy things to do,” Judge said.
This was New York’s final home game until after the All-Star break, on July 12 against the Blue Jays. During a break before the bottom of the eighth, the stadium sound system blared “London Calling” by The Clash.
Zack Britton — pronounced “Britain,” in fact — wasn’t so great in giving up Cavan Biggio’s RBI single in the ninth that made it 7-all. But Britton (3-1) wound up with the win to close out a three-game sweep.
Gregorius got an infield hit off Nick Kingham (3-2) with one out in the ninth, Aaron Hicks walked and Torres followed with his hit.
LeMahieu stretched his streak to 10 games of getting a hit and scoring a run, the team’s longest such string since Johnny Damon’s 10-gamer in 2009.
Gurriel hit a three-run homer in the first and a solo drive in the fifth for a 6-5 lead. Danny Jansen also connected for the Blue Jays.
Gregorius homered off Trent Thornton and Judge had three hits.
“Every single one of those guys can run the ball out of the yard, especially at a park like this,” Thornton said. “So that’s when it comes down to really executing your pitches and slowing the game down and getting ahead in the count and making them hit your pitches.”
The Champions League trophy — albeit, a replica — was on the field to promote a July 24 friendly between champions Liverpool and Sporting Lisbon at Yankee Stadium. Former Liverpool captain John Barnes posed with the trophy, as did Tommy Kahnle, Austin Romine and Kyle Higashioka of the Yankees.
Blue Jays: 3B Brandon Drury banged his knee trying to make a sliding catch on a foul ball in the seventh. He was checked and stayed in.
Yankees: Slugger Giancarlo Stanton (strained knee) went back on the 10-day injured list. Boone said it’s likely Stanton will be sidelined for longer than 10 days. OF Mike Tauchman was called up from Triple-A.
Blue Jays: After a day off, Toronto opens a four-game series at home against Kansas City. Manager Charlie Montoyo was still putting together his pitching plan for the opener.
Yankees: RHP Masahiro Tanaka (5-5, 3.21 ERA) will pitch the opener of the London series on Saturday. Boone said the Yankees will use a combination of relievers on Sunday.
© 2019 The Canadian Press