NEW YORK -- Aaron Judge started his afternoon with a long batting practice drive that destroyed a flatscreen television, then went deep twice in game action to claim the Major League home run lead as the Yankees flexed their muscles in an 11-5 victory over the Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium.
Brett Gardner homered twice off Mat Latos and Aaron Hicks added a two-run blast as the Yanks matched their season high with five homers, pounding out a season-high 16 hits to help Masahiro Tanaka win his fourth straight start and snap Toronto's three-game winning streak.
"Everybody is really contributing," Gardner said. "It's a lot of fun when things are going well. We'll try to keep it rolling as long as we can. We've been scoring a lot of runs, so hopefully tomorrow we'll come out and get a lead and win the series."
Judge claimed the American League lead with a solo shot in the third off Latos, then muscled past Eric Thames and Ryan Zimmerman with homer No. 12, a three-run shot in the seventh off Jason Grilli. The twin blasts came hours after Judge displayed his strength by reaching the new social gathering areas beyond the center-field wall.
"They were wearing me out today about that; said they were going to take it out of my check," Judge said. "Tonight we bounced back after the tough loss yesterday. That's what we've got to look for. That's what great teams do, they bounce back and they battle back and that's what we did tonight."
Latos was thumped for seven runs and 10 hits in four innings, while Tanaka was charged with four runs and eight hits over 6 1/3 innings. Steve Pearce enjoyed the fifth multi-homer game of his career in a 4-for-4 game, and Chris Coghlan logged an RBI single off Tanaka, who walked none and struck out four.
"It's never easy to play a game here, you're always staring down that short right-field wall," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "They have a good team. They have a real good balance, they've got some sluggers. But, you know what? We gave up too many, too early. With Tanaka on the mound, although I thought we battled him, just too much to overcome. He's not going to give that up."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED All rise: The Yankees' outfield combined for five homers for the first time since May 30, 1961, when Yogi Berra, Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris did it in a 12-3 victory over the Red Sox. Judge stole the show by barreling his seventh-inning drive off Grilli, which sizzled off the bat at 108.8 mph and traveled a projected 384 feet, per Statcast™. It was the conclusion of a hard-fought 10-pitch battle that saw Judge foul off six pitches before finally launching a slider to deep left.
"I think if you just watch the at-bat, you separate all that he's done and just watched the at-bat, the at-bat in and of itself is impressive," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "Fouling off pitches. I think he ends up hitting a slider finally. Being patient, hitting his pitch. That was really important, because they were scratching back. They have the ability to do that. And I thought that was a big hit tonight." More >
Walk on the wild side: Tanaka limited the Blue Jays to a pair of runs through six innings before Toronto rallied in the seventh, cracking into the bullpen after Pearce's second homer. Kevin Pillar singled and Jose Bautista walked against Tyler Clippard, and Dellin Betances awkwardly balked on his first pitch to Russell Martin, forcing home a run. Martin walked to load the bases again, but Betances pumped a 98.8-mph fastball past Kendrys Morales for a called third strike.
"I think it's been like that for us all year," Pearce said of bringing the tying run to the plate in the seventh before eventually rolling over. "All the games we've lost, we've literally been in the game the whole time. We just haven't had the big hit, but we're starting to come around, starting to swing the bats better and we're starting to look like the Blue Jays of old."
"Just, finally hit the barrel. I was beginning to question my bats, wondering if they had a barrel on them. But I felt good running around the bases. It's been a month of grind, grinding every single day. It felt good to finally put a good at-bat together." -- Pearce, on hitting his first home runs of the season
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Latos is the second pitcher in Blue Jays history to allow at least four home runs in the Bronx. Steve Parris also allowed four during a start on July 23, 2001.
WHAT'S NEXT Blue Jays: Right-hander Marcus Stroman (2-2, 2.97 ERA) will take the mound when the Blue Jays wrap up their three-game series vs. the Yankees on Wednesday night at Yankee Stadium. The finale, which is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. ET, will represent a homecoming of sorts for Stroman, who grew up in nearby Medford, N.Y. Stroman has allowed two earned runs or fewer in four of his five starts this season..
Yankees: Left-hander CC Sabathia (2-1, 4.34 ERA) will attempt to bounce back from a pair of subpar outings on Wednesday as the Yankees conclude their three-game set with Toronto. Sabathia was hit for seven runs in 5 2/3 innings his last time out, though the Yankees took him off the hook by rallying for a wild 14-11, 10-inning victory over the Orioles.