Torres provides offence as Yankees beat Blue Jays for 10th consecutive win
New York shortstop hits 2-run home run, adds RBI single in final inning
The Blue Jays are used to close calls this season, with their nine one-run victories the most in the majors.
But the New York Yankees, no strangers to tight games themselves, turned the tables Monday with a 3-2 victory over Toronto that stretched their win streak to 10 games.
Gleyber Torres hit a two-run homer and singled home the deciding run in the ninth as the Yankees (17-6) marked the eighth time in their storied franchise history that they have won at least 17 of their first 23 games. The 10-game winning run is tied for their second longest since 2006 behind only a 13-game streak in 2021.
After each team scored twice in the fourth inning to tie the game at 2-2, it came down to the bullpens. And it was Toronto that finally wobbled in the ninth after some sterling relief work before an announced crowd of 18,577 at the Rogers Centre.
David Phelps, Trevor Richards and Adam Cimber combined to dispatch 12 straight Yankee hitters in the wake of Toronto starter Ross Stripling, who exited after four innings.
Yimi Garcia (0-2) came on in the ninth for Toronto, yielding a leadoff single to Giancarlo Stanton to end the streak. Pinch-runner Tim Locastro stole second. After former Jay Josh Donaldson grounded out, Aaron Hicks struck out and Torres singled home Locastro for a 3-2 lead.
Have a night, Gleyber 👏 <a href="https://t.co/UbiHaix0qV">pic.twitter.com/UbiHaix0qV</a>—@Yankees
Chad Green pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for New York for his first save of the season. Reliever Clay Holmes (2-0) got the win.
"Great job again," Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said of his bullpen. "Again we had no room for error. We mapped it out great. Everybody did their job. And we were in the game until the end."
Toronto had two men on in the seventh and eighth but was unable to cash them in.
"I know they're going to hit," Montoyo said of his team, which left six players on base. "It just seems like the first month right now every game is close and we haven't really got it going offensively. But I believe we will. When that's going to happen I don't know but hopefully a couple of guys get hot and you know how we say hitting is contagious so hopefully that will get everyone going."
Seventeen of New York's 23 games this season have been decided by three runs or less.
"This was a really good win," said Yankees manager Aaron Boone. "We didn't generate a ton offensively tonight. Credit to them, they did a good job of kind of holding us down."
Yankees starter Jordan Montgomery gave way to hard-throwing Jonathan Loaisiga after yielding a single to Bo Bichette to open the sixth. Montgomery struck out five and gave up six hits and two earned runs in a 65-pitch outing.
Montoyo praises Yankees pen
Loaisiga, former Jay Miguel Castro, Holmes and Green blanked the Jays over four innings. Yankee relievers have not allowed a run in their last 14 innings.
"That's a good bullpen. That's why they're doing so well," said Montoyo.
The Yankees arrived having outscored Kansas City, Baltimore and Cleveland by a combined 67-28 in consecutive sweeps. New York, which has won 12 of its last 13, had not lost since April 21 when it was blanked 3-0 by Detroit.
The Jays (15-9) scored weekend victories over visiting Houston and had won three of their last four and nine of their last 12. Toronto has yet to lose a series this season (6-0-1) with the lone split a four-game series with the Yankees in the Bronx last month.
Torres put the visitors ahead in the fourth inning with a two-out, two-run blast that flew 376 feet in dropping over the right-field fence. Donaldson had singled to get on base.
Montgomery, making his fifth start of the campaign, was economical and effective for the first three innings. He gave up a single to George Springer to open the game, then retired the next eight batters before Springer singled again to open the fourth.
Bichette doubled home Springer for the Jays' first run. Matt Chapman then singled home Bichette to tie it at 2-2. Montgomery gave up two more singles with two out in the inning but escaped without further damage.
Toronto is on the board 🙌 <a href="https://t.co/gHiZ2Dm5Pp">pic.twitter.com/gHiZ2Dm5Pp</a>—@BlueJays
Stripling, in his fourth start of the season, delivered a 63-pitch outing that featured five hits, three strikeouts and two earned runs.
There was some good defence on display with Stanton climbing high to catch a Chapman blast to the right-field wall in the second inning. Earlier in the inning, Jays second baseman Santiago Espinal showed his fielding class, getting to a sharply hit Torres grounder.
Stripling, who showed some fielding chops of his own in the early going, survived the third when the Yankees had two men on with one out, striking out Aaron Judge and getting Anthony Rizzo to fly out.
It was a big sports night in Toronto.
Less than a kilometre to the east of Rogers Centre, the Maple Leafs opened the NHL playoffs by blanking the defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning 5-0.
Power vs. Power
Coming into the game, the Jays and Yankees led the majors with 31 home runs apiece. New York is 14-1 when hitting at least one home run.
Judge hit two homers in Sunday's 6-4 win over the Royals, including a 453-foot blast, to up his season total to eight. Judge arrived in Toronto on a roll, having homered in each of the previous three games and had five home runs in his last five games and seven in his last eight.
Rizzo came into play Monday leading the majors in homers with nine, seven of which have come at Yankee Stadium.
Judge and Rizzo are just the second pair of Yankee teammates to each hit at least eight homers in the first 22 games of a season. Yogi Berra (10 homers) and Mickey Mantle (11) did it in 1956.
Six-foot-six Jays right-hander Alek Manoah (4-0) is slated to face six-foot-five Yankee right-hander Jameson Taillon (1-1) on Tuesday.