Yankees 11 Blue Jays 5
TORONTO — Todd Frazier homered and drove in three runs and the New York Yankees added five late insurance runs for an 11-5 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday night.
The Yankees (60-52) reeled off two runs in the eighth inning and three in the ninth with Jays reliever Taylor Cole, in his major league debut, suffering the worst of it.
Led by Frazier, the bottom of the New York batting order did most of the damage with hitters No. 6 through No. 9 driving in nine runs on the night.
Frazier, Gary Sanchez and Didi Gregorius all hit early solo home runs off Jays debutant Nick Tepesch before 39,554 with the roof open at Rogers Centre. The Yankees added three more in the fifth for a 6-2 lead.
But, for a while, Toronto (53-60) kept chipping away despite being outhit 17-6.
Jose Bautista hit his 18th homer of the season to open the fifth for Toronto. Then Ryan Goins’ RBI double and Josh Donaldson’s RBI single cut the Yankee lead to 6-5 in the sixth.
The Yankees padded the lead in the eighth via Ronald Torreyes’ two-RBI single off Cole, the Jays’ sixth pitcher of the night. The 27-year-old, whose fastball hit 95 m.p.h., gave up a double, single, walk and single after inheriting a runner.
It could have been more but Torreyes was thrown out at home trying to score from second on a single. Cole ended the inning on a high note, striking out giant slugger Aaron Judge.
Cole loaded the bases on two singles and a hit batsmen in the ninth and the hits kept coming, producing three more runs.
Reliever Chad Green (2-0) got the win as the Yankees, who had lost six of their last nine, evened the three-game series at 1-1.
The Jays came into the game having won four of their last six and nine of their last 15.
Tepesch (0-2) left in the fifth following a one-out walk and double. After notching a strikeout, reliever Leonel Campos gave up three runs on back-to-back doubles by Frazier and Jacoby Ellsbury for a 6-2 New York lead.
Tepesch was filling in for the injured Cesar Valdez who in turn was filling in for the injured Aaron Sanchez. The 28-year-old right-hander, purchased from Minnesota on July 24, gave up five runs on eight hits with four strikeouts and one walk in a 81-pitch evening that included 54 strikes.
He was making his 42nd career major-league start but just his third since 2014. Toronto is his sixth major-league organization (Texas, Los Angeles Dodgers, Oakland, Kansas City, Minnesota and Toronto).
Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka threw a lot of pitches, having trouble finding the plate at times, but yielded just one hit and one run in his first four innings. He exited in the fifth after Bautista homered and Donaldson walked.
Tanaka walked five but gave up just three runs (two earned) on two hits with two strikeouts. He threw 88 pitches, 53 for strikes.
Sanchez (his 18th) and Frazier (19th) homered to open the second, the seventh time Toronto has conceded back-to-back blasts this season. Both home runs came off sliders in the low 80s.
Centre-fielder Kevin Pillar almost got to Sanchez’s 394-foot shot, soaring high but just missing the ball with his glove well above the top of the wall.
Toronto cut the lead to 2-1 in the second with a walk, Pillar double and Nori Aoki RBI groundout. Pillar almost scored one batter later, on a ground ball to third, but the Yankees finally got their act together to cut him down at home plate after an ugly rundown scored 5-2-6-2-6-1.
Gregorius’ homer (18th) came with two outs in the third.
The Jays loaded the bases with one out in their half of the third after Sanchez was dinged for catcher interference and Tanaka gave up two walks. But Toronto got just one run out of it on Steve Pearce’s sacrifice fly.
Catcher Raffy Lopez got his first start for Toronto. Pearce, who had his knee drained Tuesday, shifted to DH with Aoki making his second start in left field.
Judge recorded his 82nd base on balls, breaking Charlie Keller’s Yankees’ single-season rookie record.
Yankees outfielder Clint Frazier was a late scratch with oblique tightness.