Stanton starts, Judge completes Yankees' stirring comeback

Sluggers come through in a four-run ninth, ending New York's skid at three games

April 18th, 2024

TORONTO -- With the Yankees down to their final three outs and seemingly sleepwalking toward being swept in a three-game series, ’s long home run jolted their big bats back to life.

Stanton sparked a comeback by sending a drive rattling into the seats, and completed the rally with a two-run single as the Yankees stunned the Blue Jays, surging for four ninth-inning runs and a 6-4 victory on Wednesday afternoon at Rogers Centre.

“We look around this room every single day in this clubhouse, it’s a lot of ‘dawgs,’ like Dugey [Alex Verdugo] says,” Judge said. “Just guys that don’t quit. They have good at-bats all the way to the end. Guys come out of the bullpen and give us big outs. I think it’s just confidence in each other to get the job done.”

Off to a rough start offensively this season, Judge had been held hitless during the series before he worked the count full while facing left-hander Tim Mayza. Judge mashed a hard grounder inside the third-base line for a two-run single, giving the Yanks their first lead of the game.

Judge said that he felt his team’s bats had been “flat” for most of the afternoon. Juan Soto provided most of the offensive attack, responsible for a run-scoring double and a solo homer while reaching base in all five plate appearances.

“We have confidence; grinding every day, playing 27 outs,” Soto said. “I have really good confidence in this team. We all know what kind of players we have. I trust every single one of them.”

Three outs from what would have been New York’s fourth consecutive loss, Stanton sparked a rally with a Statcast-projected 437-foot home run off Erik Swanson -- a blast that prompted Judge to remark, “He damn near hit it out of the stadium.”

“It put us within a run,” Stanton said. “We’re one swing away now with three outs and a bunch of guys ready to have good at-bats, put the ball in play and make it tough. It definitely didn’t hurt.”

Gleyber Torres singled and Verdugo doubled, and after an out, Jose Trevino came off the bench to greet Mayza with a game-tying single over the drawn-in infield.

“It’s those little things that are why you keep playing; you keep chipping away,” manager Aaron Boone said. “[Trevino] was ready. I turned to him and he just smiled, like, ‘Let’s go.’”

In a 5-for-37 skid as he walked to home plate, Judge said that he was prepared for the Jays to summon right-hander Bowden Francis from the bullpen. To his surprise, Toronto stuck with Mayza, who surrendered Judge’s 61st home run on those same grounds on Sept. 28, 2022.

“Just leave it all out there,” Judge said. “Just take your swing. Trust your game plan, trust your approach. It doesn’t matter what happened before, if you had a good game, if you had a bad game. You can change the course of everything with just one swing.”

Said Stanton: “It’s the perfect situation for him. That’s the type of at-bat that gets him going, and that he doesn’t shy away from.”

Anthony Volpe put the finishing touches on the contest with a dazzling play on what appeared as though it would be a Vladimir Guerrero Jr. single, sliding in shallow center field and completing a strong throw to first base, steps ahead of the runner.

“What a play,” Boone said. “He is special out there.”

Daulton Varsho homered twice for the Blue Jays, with his second-inning blast representing Toronto’s only dent against Marcus Stroman. Pitching from the familiar mound where he toiled for the Jays from 2014-19, Stroman permitted two runs and six hits over 5 1/3 innings.

“I’ve always felt comfortable in Toronto,” Stroman said. “I love this city. I’ve spent a lot of time here.”

Stroman was watching from the clubhouse, deep into his post-start workout routine, when Varsho homered in the seventh off Caleb Ferguson. Even then, Stroman believed his team wasn’t out of the game -- and by the ninth, he was proven correct.

“That was pretty incredible,” Stroman said. “Early on in the game, I put a priority on limiting damage and doing as much as I can to keep the team in the game. I feel like this lineup is so potent that they can explode at any time.”