Judge homers again as Yanks top Blue Jays 4-2

TORONTO – Missed opportunities proved costly for the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday night as Aaron Judge and the New York Yankees took full advantage.

One night after leaving 14 men on base in a walkoff win, the Blue Jays squandered several good chances in a 4-2 loss at Rogers Centre.

“You’ve got to have consistent at-bats one through nine,” said Blue Jays manager John Schneider. “I think that over the course of the first part of the year here, it’s been a little bit inconsistent with everybody.”

Toronto loaded the bases with nobody out in the seventh inning but settled for just one run.

Brandon Belt hit a shallow flyout before pinch-hitter Vladimir Guerrero Jr. brought home Whit Merrifield with a sacrifice fly. George Springer lined out to end the threat.

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“We didn’t really get the big hit this whole series with guys on base,” Schneider said. “Bases loaded there with nobody out, you probably want to get a little bit more than one. It ebbs and flows.

“I think right now just give credit to them. Good pitching staff and they made pitches, we didn’t get the hits.”

Judge and Anthony Volpe hit home runs and Yankees starter Nestor Cortes worked into the seventh inning. New York (26-20) has won eight of its last 11 games.

“We did a pretty good job of blocking out all the noise and distractions the whole series,” Judge said. “We just went out there and took care of our business.”

Ryan Weber, Albert Abreu and Ron Marinaccio — with his first save — worked in relief for the visitors, who won three of four in the series.

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Judge belted a no-doubt two-run blast off Jose Berrios in the first inning after Gleyber Torres led off the game with a single.

It was the 12th homer of the season for the Yankees slugger and sixth in his last six games. Volpe tacked on an insurance run in the ninth inning with a solo shot that hit the left-field foul screen.

“Usually when you leave pitches in the middle of the plate to him, he does damage,” Schneider said. “That’s what he did this whole series.”

Judge was 6-for-14 (. 429) in the series with four homers, seven RBIs, five walks and a 1.357 slugging percentage.

Cortes (4-2) gave up a solo homer to Bo Bichette in the opening frame and departed after issuing a leadoff walk to Merrifield in the seventh.

“I thought he had a presence everywhere in the strike zone,” said Yankees manager Aaron Boone.

Bichette’s homer was his ninth of the season. He had three of Toronto’s six hits.

Berrios (3-4) was quick to settle in after the Judge blast, retiring 12 of the next 13 batters he faced.

He issued a leadoff walk to Volpe in the fifth and stayed in the game after being hit in the lower leg by a comebacker. Aaron Hicks reached on the play but Torres grounded into a double-play to end the threat.

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Judge nearly hit another homer in the sixth inning but a video review determined it was only a double.

The ball hit the top of the wall in centre field and bounced back into play. Judge, who’s on a six-game hitting streak, was left stranded.

New York padded its lead in the seventh when Hicks drove in Oswaldo Cabrera, who led off the inning with a double. Berrios was replaced by Yimi Garcia, who fanned Judge with runners on the corners.

Reliever Nate Pearson pitched a clean eighth inning for Toronto (25-19) before giving up Volpe’s seventh homer of the year in the ninth.

Berrios allowed three earned runs, six hits and a walk while striking out eight. Cortes fanned six and gave up five hits, a walk and two earned runs.

Announced attendance was 33,290 and the game took two hours 29 minutes to play.


Guerrero was held out of the starting lineup for a second straight night due to a sore right knee.

The first baseman was hurt while fielding a bunt on Tuesday night and is considered day-to-day.


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The Blue Jays will continue their 10-day, 10-game homestand Friday night with the opener of a three-game weekend set against the Baltimore Orioles.

Left-hander Yusei Kikuchi (5-0, 3.89 earned-run average) was scheduled to start for the Blue Jays against right-hander Kyle Gibson (4-3, 4.67).

The Yankees will wrap their seven-game road trip with a three-game set in Cincinnati.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 18, 2023.

Follow @GregoryStrongCP on Twitter.

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