TORONTO -- From their positions in the field, the Yankees applauded Sonny Gray's confidence and efficiency through eight scoreless frames, then tried to push across a run that would reward his dominant effort. It took longer than anticipated, but Aaron Judge finally gave everyone in the visitors' dugout something to
TORONTO -- From their positions in the field, the Yankees applauded Sonny Gray's confidence and efficiency through eight scoreless frames, then tried to push across a run that would reward his dominant effort. It took longer than anticipated, but Aaron Judge finally gave everyone in the visitors' dugout something to cheer about.
Judge broke a scoreless tie in the 13th inning by mashing a floating Joe Biagini curveball for a two-run homer, and Giancarlo Stanton tacked on with the hardest-hit homer in the Majors this season, lifting the Yankees to a 3-0 victory over the Blue Jays on Wednesday evening at Rogers Centre.
"I was just thinking about trying to get on base for the guys behind me," Judge said. "That was the biggest thing for me. With the type of lineup we have, hitting is contagious. ... I just knew in the back of my mind, when I've faced [Biagini] in years past, he does have a big breaking ball. I was just trying to stay on something hard out over the plate."
• A young fan celebrated Judge's go-ahead HR
That team-leading 17th homer snapped a 15-at-bat hitless skid for Judge, who rested in Tuesday's series opener after going 0-for-9 with eight strikeouts in Monday's doubleheader against the Tigers. He returned as a hero, powering New York to its ninth victory in 12 games as the team improved to a season-high 22 games over .500.
"[Judge] commands his emotions so well," manager Aaron Boone said. "He's so mature, and he just deals with whatever comes his way as good as anyone I've been around. I never really get a sense that he's pressing, honestly. I think it's one of the traits that he has that's better than anyone. He handles this really well."
Two batters after Judge's drive, Stanton added a laser homer that sizzled off his bat at 119.3 mph for his hardest-hit blast since Statcast™ began tracking such data in 2015. Player Page for David Robertson picked up the victory in relief after delivering a scoreless 12th, and Albertin Chapman recorded the final three outs for his 15th save.
In his finest performance since being acquired last July, Gray seemed to be locked in, working efficiently as he limited Toronto to two hits over eight scoreless innings. The right-hander retired the first 12 men he faced and each of the final seven, putting the finishing touches on a 99-pitch gem that included two walks and eight strikeouts.
"Just get the ball and go. No thinking. No second-guessing," Gray said. "You just throw each pitch with conviction, and I was able to do that tonight."
As it had been numerous times during Gray's early tenure in New York, however, the Yankees' lineup was silenced. The vaunted order had no answers for right-hander Sam Gaviglio, who spun seven scoreless frames of three-hit ball in his fourth start since being traded to the Jays, pinning runners in scoring position to end the second, fourth and fifth innings.
"It was definitely a good one, especially when the other guy was putting up zeros as well," Gray said. "You know that a run was going to be extremely valuable tonight, so you want to go out and put up as many zeros as possible. It was definitely a good win."
Austin Romine was robbed of an RBI on a hard-hit ball up the middle in the second inning, with second baseman Devon Travis making a dazzling stop. New York left the bases loaded in the fifth when Greg Bird bounced out to first base, as Gaviglio retired his last seven men before handing the game off to the bullpen.
The Yanks didn't notch another hit until Didi Gregorius singled off Dennis Tepera with two outs in the ninth. Gregorius was erased on a caught stealing, ending the inning.
"That was tough," Judge said. "We wanted to try to scratch out some runs early. We had a couple of guys on and weren't able to get that big hit for [Gray]. Especially the performance he had, where he was just dialed in, making his pitches. He was ahead on every single hitter. It was quite a performance by him."
Gray cruised early until Justin Smoak doubled to open the fifth inning, followed by a Kendrys Morales hit that placed runners at the corners with none out. Third baseman Miguel Andujar alertly threw home on a fielder's choice that cut down Smoak at home plate for the first out.
A walk followed before Gleyber Torres and Gregorius teamed on a slick double play, one of two inning-ending twin killings that Gray induced as both clubs piled zeros across the scoreboard. After Gray's exit, Chad Green hurled a pair of scoreless innings and Dellin Betances worked a blank 11th before handing the ball to Robertson.
"Sonny set the tone, just filling up the strike zone early and often," Boone said. "He was able to put guys away, and the command all game long, it was a really impressive performance. The bullpen was terrific; came in, pounding the strike zone."
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The Yankees were awed by the sheer force of Stanton's homer, which at 119.3 mph is the third-hardest-hit homer recorded by Statcast™, behind a pair of Judge homers (121.1 mph and 119.4 mph). Boone believes it was "maybe the hardest ball I've ever seen hit."
"I'm not surprised by that," Judge said. "We had a good view for it, and he's been taking a lot of good swings. Whenever he connects with something like that, you know it's going to be hit hard. That got out in a hurry. We didn't even have time to celebrate or do anything. He swung and was halfway to first. That thing was already gone. Impressive."
Following an off-day on Thursday, the Yankees will cross borough lines on Friday for the opening of the Subway Series against the Mets, facing off for a 7:10 p.m. ET game at Citi Field. Right-hander Masahiro Tanaka (7-2, 4.79 ERA) has won five consecutive decisions and three straight starts, most recently defeating the Orioles in Baltimore. Right-hander Jacob deGrom (4-0, 1.49 ERA) will go for the Mets.
Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.