TORONTO – Canadian James Paxton didn’t have his best stuff on Saturday. But with all the run support, it didn’t really matter.
Paxton started on just four days rest, and got some help from five home runs and a 19-hit attack to earn his career-best ninth win in a row as his mighty New York Yankees beat the Toronto Blue Jays 13-3.
“I didn’t have a lot in the tank today, didn’t have the best stuff but was able to make pitches when I needed to get out of innings,” said the 30-year-old lefty from Ladner, B.C.
“It took a lot of effort to make pitches today. It didn’t come as easy as some other days. You have days like that, and luckily we put a whole bunch of runs of the board and the bullpen came in and did a great job, too.”
Still, the power pitcher was solid enough to continue his win streak. He hasn’t lost since a 6-5 defeat to the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on July 26.
“Just going to try and keep it going and ride it into the post-season,” Paxton said.
Paxton (14-6) exited after 102 pitches and three hits in five innings. He was solid through four innings, allowing only a one-out double to left field from Toronto’s Lourdes Gurriel Jr. in the first inning.
But the Yankees starter ran up his pitch count in a troublesome fifth inning. Paxton yielded an infield hit to Brandon Drury, who advanced to second base after a throwing error from shortstop Gleyber Torres.
Drury then reached third on Jansen’s hit that Gardner snagged with a dandy catch against the wall, and scored on Bo Bichette’s sacrifice fly to right field.
“I don’t think he had his greatest stuff today,” said Yankees (98-52) manager Aaron Boone said. “The fastball was a little down. He’s still James Paxton, he’s still got a good fastball, breaking ball, that cutter.
“He didn’t have his electric stuff with him today. It just goes to show he can still go out there and pitch at a very high level even when he doesn’t have his best stuff.”
This is Paxton’s first season as a Yankee. He was traded last fall to the Bronx Bombers after a season with the Seattle Mariners in which he no-hit the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre on May 8, 2018.
On his most recent trip to Toronto (58-91), veteran outfielder Brett Gardner made life easy for Paxton with two homers, a double and a five-RBI outing.
Gardner reached base six times against Blue Jays (58-91). He followed up a solo blast in the fourth inning off Toronto starter Jacob Waguespack (4-5) with a three-run shot in the fifth inning.
The centre fielder also doubled home Luke Voit in the second inning, reached base for a fourth time on a Vladimir Guerrero Jr. error and a force out in the eighth inning.
“He is killing it,” said Paxton, now 4-1 in six career starts in Canada. “He’s been great for us all year long, in the outfield and at the plate. Really, he’s doing it all.”
After Gio Ursula singled in the eighth inning, Gardner drove a hard smash at Blue Jays reliever Jordan Romano. The Markham, Ont. pitcher knocked the ball down and recovered in time to throw out Urshela at second. But with Gardner standing on first Romano left the game after rolling his right ankle to make the play.
Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo later revealed Romano suffered a sprained right ankle.
“He’s a tough Canadian, getting the out, and then he went down,” Montoyo said.
Notes: Montoyo confirmed southpaw reliever Tim Mayza tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow after a pitch in the 10th inning on Friday. Mayza, 27, will undergo Tommy John surgery and is expected to miss most of next season … Blue Jays third-string catcher Luke Maile (oblique) was activated before the game.