NEW YORK — Gary Sanchez and Aaron Judge homered as the Yankees beat the Blue Jays, 5-3, in the nightcap. This was after being shut out, 2-0, for the first time in 40 games in the opening game of Thursday’s doubleheaders.
The Yankees (29-21) improved to 3-6 against the Blue Jays (25-24) this season, but with the loss in the afternoon they still dropped their third series to their American League East rivals this season. It was the first series the Yankees have lost in their last 11, dating back to April 16-18, when they were swept by the Rays.
Sanchez hit his first homer in 11 games in the fourth inning. He crushed it 444 feet into the visitors bullpen in left-center field. He also singled in the sixth for his fourth multi-hit game of the season and his second since April 7.
In the third inning, with DJ LeMahieu on and two outs, Judge smoked a 440-foot home run right into Monument Park to tie the game at 3-3. They scored their first run of the day, after being shut out earlier, in the first inning on Gio Urshela’s double. Judge brought home the fifth run with a sacrifice fly in the fifth.
It was at least an encouraging ending for the Yankees, who were looking for some offense after having been dominated by rookie right-hander Alek Manoah, who made his major league debut by throwing six scoreless against the Yankees.
The Yankees managed just two hits — Miguel Andujar had two hits in the opening game against Manoah. They could not get a runner into scoring position against him. He struck out seven and walked two with a loud and proud group of about 20 friends and family cheering him on.
“His fastball played up a little bit. It looked like he moved it around, mixed in a secondary well,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said of Manoah. “I thought the middle innings were a little bit challenging when the shadows rolled in for both sides, but he was in control the entire game. Four pitches for a walk to start the game and then he got his command in line and had three pitches going for him and we just obviously didn’t mount much.”
While Manoah was impressive, it was another red flag for the Yankees offense.
The Yankees have scored just 20 runs over their last eight games and have been desperately looking for some offensive help.
They’ve lost Aaron Hicks, who came into the season expecting to be the No. 3 hitter, likely for the rest of the season after surgery on his left wrist. They’ve had 2020 Home Run King Luke Voit for all of 12 games this season, after beginning the year on the injured list for knee surgery rehab and going back on it Thursday with an oblique strain.
The Yankees went into Thursday’s doubleheader with the worst OPS at center field (.585) and the lowest WAR among outfielders (0.1) in the big leagues. They were 28th in MLB at first base with a .544 OPS.
The Yankees have had a strong 13-5 run of late, largely on strong pitching. Domingo German gave them a solid start in the opener, allowing just back-to-back homers in 5 2/3 innings of work. He walked two and struck out five.
Jordan Montgomery wasn’t as sharp in the second game of the twin bill, allowing three runs on six hits. He walked two and struck out one over 4 2/3 innings.
The three runs came just after Urshela made a great double play to clear the bases for Montgomery in the third, but the lefty walked two straight and had to face Bo Bichette to get out of the inning. The Blue Jays shortstop crushed his second home run of the day, a three-run shot.