TORONTO -- Josh Donaldson homered twice to back Francisco Liriano's successful return to the rotation and the Blue Jays withstood Aaron Judge's Major League-leading 18th home run in a 7-5 victory over the Yankees on Friday evening at Rogers Centre.Justin Smoak hit a two-run homer for the Blue Jays, who
TORONTO -- Josh Donaldson homered twice to back Francisco Liriano's successful return to the rotation and the Blue Jays withstood Aaron Judge's Major League-leading 18th home run in a 7-5 victory over the Yankees on Friday evening at Rogers Centre.
Justin Smoak hit a two-run homer for the Blue Jays, who have won nine of their last 11 games. Donaldson went deep in the first inning off New York starter Michael Pineda for Toronto's first run, then notched his 11th career multi-homer contest by padding the lead with a sixth-inning solo shot off reliever Jonathan Holder.
"There's been some guys that have been doing that since before I even came [off the disabled list]," Donaldson said of Toronto's resurgent offense. "It's nice to be a part of it right now, and it's nice to see guys continue to have good at-bats and hitting balls out of the park."
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Judge hit a two-run, opposite-field homer to chase Liriano, who threw 81 pitches in his first start since May 10 following a stint on the disabled list with left shoulder inflammation. Liriano worked five-plus innings and permitted just four hits, walking two and striking out five. Starlin Castro added a two-run homer off Danny Barnes that brought New York within a run.
"Even when Judge hit the first one, we felt like we were in the game because our offense can be explosive," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "We just gave them a couple late and we missed some opportunities early."
Matthew Holliday doubled home a run in the seventh, but the Yanks were ultimately unable to recover from the early hole left by Pineda's rough outing, which snapped his string of nine straight starts permitting three earned runs or fewer. The right-hander was charged with five runs and 10 hits over five innings, walking three and striking out one.
"It's a little tough, because this is a good lineup," Pineda said. "You want to compete with your best stuff on the mound. For me today, I don't have my best stuff. I tried to grind on the mound and give the opportunity to my team. It happens sometimes."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Instant power: Pineda has permitted six first-inning home runs this season, which is tied with the Nationals' Giovany Gonzalez and the Mariners' Ariel Miranda for the most in the Majors. Donaldson barreled his homer with an exit velocity of 102.2 mph, traveling a Statcast-calculated 402 feet to left field. Smoak one-upped his teammate, belting a drive at 108.8 mph to the second deck, 410 feet away in right field.
It's under control: Liriano faced a significant challenge in the third inning after surrendering a booming leadoff double to Chris Carter, then issuing walks to Brett Gardner and Judge around a hard Gary Sanchez lineout. With the bases loaded and one out, Holliday smoked a ground ball to third base (106.9 mph), but Donaldson fielded it perfectly to turn a 5-4-3 double play that kept New York off the board. Those walks were the only ones Liriano issued; he had averaged 7.3 walks per nine innings coming into Friday's outing.
"Defense is still what wins it for you," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "There's never been a team that won anything, I don't think, that didn't play some kind of defense."
Blue Jays outfielder Ezequiel Carrera laid down a bunt with two out in the bottom of the second inning, forcing Pineda off the mound to field the ball up the first-base line. Carrera was initially called out on the throw, but after Toronto called for a review, he was ruled safe as the replay showed that he just beat out Pineda's throw.
In the bottom of the seventh, Smoak grounded deep into New York's shift on the right side of the infield and was called safe on Castro's throw to first. New York first baseman Carter did not set his foot on the bag and had to reach for it after the catch, and the call was ruled to stand after New York's challenge because it was not able to be determined whether Carter touched the base.
"I thought I touched the bag and threw it around," Carter said. "I felt it was going to be an easy one, then they ended up challenging it and said it was still safe."
Yankees: Left-hander Jordan Montgomery (2-4, 4.11 ERA) will make his 10th Major League start on Saturday as the Yankees continue their four-game visit to Rogers Centre at 1:07 p.m. ET. Montgomery is coming off the shortest start of his career, as the rookie was handed the loss at Baltimore on Monday after permitting three runs (one earned) and eight hits in 4 1/3 innings.
Blue Jays: Right-hander Joe Biagini (1-3, 3.64) starts the Saturday matinee on an extra day of rest and is coming off his deepest outing of the season. Last time out, Biagini threw 95 pitches over six innings, allowing just two earned runs on seven hits while striking out seven.
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Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch, on Facebook and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat.
Keegan Matheson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Toronto.