Voit takes MLB HR lead with 2 in rout of Jays

September 16th, 2020

NEW YORK -- The outcome of this game having long since been decided, there was laughter throughout the Yankees' dugout as hacked at a 48.7 mph floater from Blue Jays utility infielder Santiago Espinal, slugging an eighth-inning home run over the left-field wall that accounted for their 20th run of the evening.

It was the type of light moment that had eluded their grasp of late, but the Yanks believe they are clicking at just the right time. homered twice to claim the Major League lead with 18 homers, part of a five-RBI performance, leading his club to a 20-6 rout of Toronto on Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium.

"A couple of weeks ago, I don't think teams were scared of us," Voit said. "Now, we're back to being the Bronx Bombers. I don't think people want to play us in the playoffs."

Postseason play once again appears to be a given for the Yanks, who kissed the .500 mark before rattling off a six-game winning streak. Batting around in three consecutive innings to support right-hander , New York (27-21) leaped past Toronto (26-21) to claim second place in the American League East.

"It was a lot of fun," catcher said. "It's been a while since we've had that kind of a game, especially facing a team that was in second place. We want to keep having fun tomorrow."

Sánchez, and homered as the Yanks produced their first 20-run romp since Aug. 30, 2015, in Atlanta, where they trounced the Braves by the same 20-6 score. Tuesday marked the first time in franchise history that the No. 1 (LeMahieu) and No. 2 hitters (Voit) each had five RBIs.

Over their current winning streak, the Yankees have outscored opponents by a 48-11 margin. With their arms and bats rounding into form, they have assumed the No. 5 playoff seed and are within two games of catching the Twins for the fourth seed, which would host a first-round playoff series.

"I think that first series being at home would be huge for us," Voit said. "But I feel confident, whatever position we get into the playoffs, to make a run."

Eight days after the Yankees endured a season low point at Sahlen Field in Buffalo, N.Y., unable to stop the Jays from producing a 10-run inning, they more than returned the favor by batting around in three consecutive frames, beginning with a seven-run second inning.

Misplays by right fielder Derek Fisher sparked that big frame, in which right-hander Taijuan Walker was charged with seven runs (one earned). Voit and Hicks belted back-to-back homers to cap the inning.

"It was great," manager Aaron Boone said. "Last time out against Walker, we had a lot of good at-bats and put a lot of pressure on him, but we couldn't break through. Tonight, we were able to do that, and a lot of guys had a lot of good at-bats. It was good to see."

The first six Yankees batters reached in the third inning against right-hander Shun Yamaguchi. Three walks and two hit-by-pitches set the table for LeMahieu, who cleared the bases with a double. Sánchez connected for a three-run homer as part of a four-run fourth inning.

"DJ is the freaking best hitter I've ever played with, and he continues to keep raking," Voit said of LeMahieu, who raised his batting average to .363.

It was the first time that the Yankees had batted around in three consecutive innings since Aug. 25, 2011, when they set a Major League record by belting three grand slams in a 22-9 drubbing of the Athletics.

That was a truckload of support for the 21-year-old García, who handled the lengthy half-innings to register his second victory in as many starts. García limited the Jays to homers by Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Lourdes Gurriel Jr., scattering six hits over seven innings.

"I just wanted to stay focused," García said through an interpreter. "I was paying close attention to the game. I like that, when the offense goes out there and puts on a show. I enjoyed it."

Boone savored the slugfest, too, but he recognized that pitching has been the key to the Yankees' recent run -- especially important considering their postseason outlook. Over the club's past 10 games, its starting pitchers have compiled a 2.18 ERA, holding opponents to three earned runs or fewer in each contest.

"A handful of those days, the offense has really stepped up, but I think it has all started with the starting pitchers," Boone said. "I know we're capable of amazing things, and hopefully we're going to find that out."