Judge’s 13th home run helps Yanks rally past Jays

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - RON­ALD BLUM

NEW YORK — Aaron Judge hit an­other long drive for his ma­jor league-lead­ing 13th home run, sin­gled to start the go-ahead rally and had the first three-hit game of his big league ca­reer, help­ing the New York Yan­kees rally from an early deficit to beat the Toronto Blue Jays, 8-6, in Amer­i­can League base­ball ac­tion Wed­nes­day night.

Matt Hol­l­i­day hit his 300th home run, a three-run shot in the first, and pinch-hit­ter Didi Gre­go­rius drove in the go-ahead run in a three-run sev­enth in­ning with a come­backer that could have been an in­ning-end­ing dou­ble play but instead bounced off the glove of re­liever Joe Bi­agini for an in­field sin­gle.

Steve Pearce’s third homer in two days, a three-run shot, helped Toronto take a 4-0 lead against CC Sa­bathia after 16 pitches. The Blue Jays led 6-3 be­fore Judge’s two-run homer in the third, a 435-foot drive into the net­ting above Mon­u­ment Park be­hind the cen­tre­field wall.

Se­lected the AL Rookie of the Month for April, Judge raised his av­er­age to .330 and has six homers in his last six games for the AL East lead­ers.

He also has hit the sec­ond-most home runs through 26 games in Yan­kees his­tory, one be­hind Alex Ro­driguez in 2007.

Judge sparked the sev­enth-in­ning burst with a one-out sin­gle against Bi­agini (0-1), who had struck out his first five bat­ters. Judge took third on Chase Headley’s dou­ble and scored the ty­ing run on Chris Carter’s bro­ken-bat sin­gle to short left over a drawn-in in­field.

Tyler Clip­pard (1-1) pitched 1 2/3 score­less in­nings, and Aroldis Chap­man got three outs for his sixth save.

Blue Jays starter Mar­cus Stro­man left after three in­nings be­cause of what ap­peared to be tight­ness in his right armpit. He al­lowed five runs and six hits in his short­est start since the Chicago White Sox chased him after two outs on Aug. 15, 2014.

Last in the AL East at 9-19, Toronto al­ready is miss­ing start­ing pitch­ers Aaron Sanchez (split fin­ger nail) and J.A. Happ (el­bow sore­ness). Sa­bathia gave up six runs, seven hits and four walks in four-plus in­nings. His ERA has risen from 2.25 to 5.45 in his last three out­ings.

Both teams were un­happy with the wide strike zone of plate um­pire Bill Welke. Brett Gard­ner, Aaron Hicks and Hol­l­i­day took called third strikes from Bi­agini in the sixth, and Yan­kees man­ager Joe Gi­rardi was ejected for ar­gu­ing a called strike to Star­lin Cas­tro lead­ing off the sev­enth. After he was called out, Gard­ner took out his frus­tra­tion by re­peat­edly slam­ming his bat against a blue re­cy­cling con­tainer in the Yan­kees dugout.

Gi­rardi’s ejec­tion was his 36th, in­clud­ing 33 as a man­ager. Thirty-one of them have come while man­ag­ing New York.

Gard­ner walked on a close 3-2 pitch from Joe Smith in the sev­enth, and Hicks fol­lowed with a walk on a 3-1 of­fer­ing that forced in a run and gave the Yan­kees an 8-6 lead.

STILL SEARCH­ING

Rookie Kyle Hi­gash­ioka took a called third strike from Bi­agini in the fifth, strand­ing the bases loaded. Hi­gash­ioka was 0 for 3 with two strike­outs, drop­ping him to 0 for 18 in the big leagues, and he likely will be sent to the mi­nors later this week when start­ing catcher Gary Sanchez comes off the dis­abled list.

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