Judge sizzles, but Yanks fall to Jays, slip in East
By Gregor Chisholm and Keegan Matheson
TORONTO -- In what was likely the final home game of Jose Bautista's career with the Blue Jays, the franchise icon helped lead a 9-5 win over the Yankees in the series finale at Rogers Centre on Sunday afternoon.
In the top of the first inning, Bautista's teammates stayed in the dugout as he took the field alone to a standing ovation. He received the same welcome from the 47,394 fans in all five of his plate appearances, going 2-for-4 with an RBI and a walk. With one out in the ninth inning, manager John Gibbons removed Bautista from the game for one final ovation and a curtain call in front of the Blue Jays' dugout.
"A lot of feelings," Bautista said after the game. "It's probably hard to narrow down just one or the one that stuck out the most. There were a lot of things that go through your head quickly at that moment. I don't quite remember exactly all of the things that I was thinking about. It was kind of a blur to me, but I enjoyed it."
Aaron Judge did everything in his power to steal the spotlight, with home run Nos. 47 and 48 marking the sixth multihomer game of his career. That puts the Yanks slugger within one of the rookie home run record of 49, set by Mark McGwire in 1987, with seven games remaining on the Yankees' schedule.
"The biggest thing is winning ballgames," Judge said. "This is the right time to get hot. It's coming down to the wire, and I'm going to try to do whatever I can to help the team be in a good position going into October."
The Yankees clinched a postseason spot on Saturday with their 5-1 win, but with Boston's win over Cincinnati on Sunday afternoon, New York has fallen to five games back in the American League East race.
"It's getting fairly large with seven games to go," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "Obviously, we're going to keep playing, but I think you start to think ahead a little bit, too, as you move forward and try to set up what possibly could be us playing [in the AL Wild Card Game]."
Marcus Stroman ran onto the field prior to first pitch wearing a black No. 19 Bautista jersey from his 2010 and '11 seasons, when Bautista hit a combined 97 home runs with 227 RBIs. Stroman has been a teammate of Bautista's since entering the big leagues in '14. The right-hander lasted 5 2/3 innings on Sunday with three runs allowed on five hits and four walks to bring his ERA to 3.06.
New York starter Jaime Garcia struggled with his control, throwing 33 balls and 27 strikes before being pulled after 2 1/3 innings. A midseason acquisition from the Twins, Garcia's spot on the postseason roster could be in jeopardy. He allowed five runs on four hits with three walks and four strikeouts before the bullpen took over.
"I just couldn't get a good rhythm going," Garcia said. "I couldn't execute the strike zone like I usually do and want to. It was just one of those days. I haven't had one of those in a while. You've just got to turn the page."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Teoscar times three:Teoscar Hernandez went deep for the third consecutive game, making him the first rookie in Blue Jays history to do so. Hernandez turned on the second pitch from Garcia and sent it 420 feet to left field with an exit velocity of 102.5 mph, according to Statcast™.
Martin clears the bases:Russell Martin delivered the big blow in the bottom of the third, extending Toronto's lead to 5-0 at the time with a three-run double into the right-center-field gap. Justin Smoak and Bautista were followed home by Kendrys Morales, who rounded the bases from first and slid in just ahead of the throw.
"The focus was Jose today -- what he's done in this town, for this organization and really the country. He helped rebuild the team. He was the face of the franchise for a number of years, and he did it the right way." -- Gibbons, on Bautista
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Blue Jays' pitchers set a new franchise record with 1,320 strikeouts on the season, surpassing their old record of 1,314 set in 2016.
The Yankees were threatening in the top of the fourth after an RBI single from Didi Gregorius. With none out and runners on first and second, Starlin Castro grounded to Ryan Goins, who stepped on the bag at second and fired to first to complete the double play. The Yankees challenged the call at first, which was overturned.
After hitting his bases-loaded single in the fourth, Bautista tried to score all the way from first on a Morales single. He slid headfirst and tried to reach around to tap home plate with his left hand, but he was called out on the play as it appeared he couldn't get his hand around Austin Romine's foot. The call was confirmed after a challenge from the Blue Jays.
WHAT'S NEXT Yankees: The Yanks return home to take on the Royals on Monday at 1:05 p.m. ET, making up a May 25 rainout. Left-hander CC Sabathia (12-5, 3.81 ERA) heads to the hill coming off a victory over the Twins in which he allowed two runs on six hits over six innings. Right-hander Jakob Junis draws the start for Kansas City.
Blue Jays: Left-hander Brett Anderson (3-4, 7.15 ERA) will take the mound when the Blue Jays begin their final road trip of the year with a game against the Red Sox on Monday night at Fenway Park. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. ET with lefty Drew Pomeranz getting the call for Boston. Anderson could not make it out of the second inning during his last start as he allowed eight runs on seven hits and a pair of walks.