Gleyber Torres and Anthony Rizzo also connected with Blue Jays starter Robbie Ray, and Brett Gardner added a solo homer as New York (91-68) narrowed its magic number to take the postseason spot to two. . The Yankees will host AL East-champion Tampa Bay in their final series of the regular season.
“We’re just getting started,” manager Aaron Boone said. “We still have a lot to do. It makes getting on the plane home faster, but we have business to take home tomorrow.”
The Yankees are two games ahead of Boston and idle Seattle, both 89-70, after beating the Red Sox in last place in Baltimore 6-2 on Thursday. Toronto passes New York three games.
“We’re just going to have to go one game at a time and win every game now, for sure,” Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said. Toronto hosts the Orioles in the final weekend of the season.
New York won eight out of nine but the situation could have been better. First baseman Luke Voit went on the injured list on Thursday with a left knee injury, and infielder DJ LeMahieu was substituted in the bottom of the sixth inning due to pain in his right hip.
LeMahieu also missed Saturday’s game in Boston but came back on Sunday.
“I think it’s affecting him at the plate tonight,” Boone said. “Hopefully like last time, having just a little bit of treatment and management as best we can, we’ll see if he gets back there tomorrow or not.”
Michael King (2-4) put up 1 1/3 pointless innings for Corey Kluber’s relief win. Luis Severino worked a perfect seventh, Chad Green finished three straight after giving up a leadoff double in the eighth and Aroldis Chapman finished in the ninth.
“It’s not a posteason game, but it definitely has the atmosphere and feel,” Judge said.
New York’s first five hits were the home run. The Judge hit a 455-foot solo explosion at first that landed in an unused locker room under the scoreboard in the middle of the field. He hit another drive into the middle, a 441-footer in the batter’s eye, while the Yankees were given a homered three times in the sixth to erase a 2-1 deficit.
“Two amazing changes,” Boone said of Judge. “He plays like such a great player that he’s right now when we need him more.”
Surprisingly, the Judge said he wasn’t sure he would get enough contact with his first homer.
“I don’t know if I hit it right and it won’t come out,” he said. “I didn’t really enjoy it very much. I had to check the replay to see where it went. ”
For Judge, the home run was his 37th and 38th. It was his sixth multihomer game of the season and 16th of his career.
Ray (13-7) walked over to Giancarlo Stanton after Judge’s first blast but escaped further injury when Torres slipped off the warning track correctly.
Gary Sánchez walked away to start second, but Ray responded by retiring with 13 consecutive Yankees.
Rizzo finished that wheel with a one-out drive to the right in the sixth, his 21st. Judge followed with his second homer, Stanton walked and Torres ended Ray’s exit with a two-run shot to the left, his ninth.
Ray stumbled one last time to make his case for an AL Cy Young Award, allowing four hits, all home runs, and a high season match by giving up five runs to 5 1/3 innings. He walked three and hit four.
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“Their plan in the game against me was to try to kill the slider and get a fastball,” Ray said. “Running home, I think they’re all on fastballs. I’ll have to do a better job of getting that slider in early.”
Four home runs allowed to match Ray’s worst career, set for April 29, 2016 against Colorado while building for Arizona.
“I don’t think he has the best slider command right now,” Rizzo said of Ray.
Gardner made it 6-2 on homers from Julian Merryweather in the ninth, his 10th.
Toronto’s Corey Dickerson answered Judge’s first homer with a double RBI on Kluber in the second, and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. chased Kluber through a double RBI on the fifth bounce off the top of the center wall of the field.
Kluber allowed two runs and seven hits in 4 2/3 fumes. King arrives and walks Bo Bichette before dismissing Teocar Hernández.
The referee made a diving catch on Santiago Espinal’s sinking liner to end the second, leading to a runner at second base. Judge said he bruised the left pink finger he had removed in Sunday’s win in Boston when he arrived.
“That one doesn’t feel very good,” he said.
Marcus Semien’s solo in the third was the 1,000th hit of his career.
Yankees: Recall right-hander Albert Abreu from Triple-A Scranton / Wilkes-Barre. … Boone said Wednesday night’s tests showed no fracture for OF Joey Gallo, who left Wednesday’s game after being hit in the left arm by a pitch in the seventh. Gallo was held in the starting lineup but replaced Stanton in the LF in the eighth.
Blue Jays: OF Lourdes Gurriel Jr. was held in the queue after playing the previous two games due to pain in his right hand. Gurriel needed two stitches to close a cut on the back of his hand after being spiked by teammate Randal Grichuk in an out-of-country play on Thursday.
Blue Jays LHP Steven Matz (13-7, 3.88) starts Friday as the Blue Jays open a three-game home series against Baltimore. The Orioles were not named a starter. Matz is 1-1 with a 6.00 ERA in three starts against Baltimore this season.
Yankees: LHP Nestor Cortes (2-2, 2.85) starts Friday in the opening of a three-game home series against Tampa Bay. RHP Shane McClanahan (10-6, 3.44) is expected to start for the Rays.
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