TORONTO — Aaron Judge hit a go-ahead two-run homer in the eighth inning to lift the New York Yankees to a 6-3 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday night.
The no-doubt blast off reliever Erik Swanson travelled an estimated 448 feet to straightaway centre field.
Isiah Kiner-Falefa also homered for the Yankees, who lost starter Domingo German to a fourth-inning ejection after an inspection of his throwing hand.
German, who retired all nine batters he faced, is likely facing a 10-game suspension.
Kevin Kiermaier went deep for Toronto (24-18) and starter Kevin Gausman had 10 strikeouts over seven innings.
Ryan Weber (1-0) earned the victory and Wandy Peralta worked the ninth for his third save. New York (25-19) has won seven of its last nine games.
Tension was heightened at times during the game between American League East rivals.
The Blue Jays were in touch with Major League Baseball earlier in the day about the positioning of New York’s base coaches in the opener of the four-game series.
The issue was raised after Judge — who was heavily booed during each plate appearance — made a quick and unusual glance to his right before hitting a mammoth homer on Monday night.
Yankees third-base coach Luis Rojas had a lively discussion with the umpires early in Tuesday’s game, apparently for not standing within the confines of the coaching box. Members of both dugouts shouted words at each other.
In the fourth inning, first-base umpire D.J. Reyburn was the first to look at German’s hand as the pitcher came out of the dugout. Television replays appeared to show a dark substance on the side of the right-hander’s pants.
Umpires will occasionally check a pitcher’s hands and fingers during a game for foreign or sticky substances. It was the fourth ejection since MLB started cracking down on prohibited grip aids two years ago.
With New York up 2-0, Yankees reliever Ian Hamilton was pressed into service and loaded the bases with two outs. He left the game due to groin tightness but Ron Marinaccio came on and got Whit Merrifield to line out.
Kiner-Falefa hit his first home run of the season in the fifth inning but Kiermaier answered with his third homer to kick-start Toronto’s three-run frame.
George Springer singled and scored on a Bo Bichette double. A single by Vladimir Guerrero Jr. brought home Bichette with the tying run.
In the eighth, Judge turned on a slider for his 11th homer of the season. The ball left the park with a game-high exit velocity of 113.1 m.p.h.
The Blue Jays put runners on the corners in the bottom half of the inning but Clay Holmes struck out pinch-hitter Brandon Belt to end the threat.
Kiner-Falefa scored his third run of the game when he came across in the ninth on a Gleyber Torres sacrifice fly.
Gausman allowed two earned runs, five hits and a pair of walks. Swanson (2-2) absorbed the loss.
Announced attendance was 35,112 and the game took three hours two minutes to play.
Before the game, the Blue Jays recalled right-hander Thomas Hatch from Triple-A Buffalo.
Fellow reliever Jay Jackson was optioned to the Bisons.
Chris Bassitt (5-2, 3.49 earned-run average) was tabbed to start for the Blue Jays on Wednesday night. The Yankees were expected to counter with Gerrit Cole (5-0, 2.22).
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 16, 2023.
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Gregory Strong, The Canadian Press