On Tuesday, Luke Voit said the Bronx Bombers were back.
Voit made those comments after the Yankees hit six homers Tuesday and, after hitting seven homers Wednesday, New York goes for its season-high eighth straight win in the finale of a three-game series with the Toronto Blue Jays Thursday night at Yankee Stadium.
The Yankees (28-21) were 5-15 in a 20-game slide before getting a 7-2 win against Toronto in Buffalo on Sept. 9 and are outscoring opponents 61-13 in their run. The winning streak has elevated the Yankees to the fifth seed in the American League and within three games of the AL East-leading Tampa Bay Rays.
“There’s a lot of uplifted spirits right now,” Yankees outfielder Clint Frazier said. “Obviously, it was a tough stretch that we had whenever we lost however many consecutive games it was. It was just a matter of time before we did what we knew we were capable of and obviously we’ve got to continue to do that the last couple of games of the season.”
It is the closest the Yankees have been to Tampa Bay since they dropped the first game of a doubleheader against the New York Mets on Aug. 28. The Yankees have 13 homers in this series and are coming off consecutive games with at least six homers for the first time in team history.
Kyle Higashioka hit three homers, DJ LeMahieu homered twice, Voit upped his major league-leading total to 19 and Frazier homered after moving to left field to accommodate Aaron Judge’s return from a strained right calf.
“It’s just exciting,” Higashioka said. “We’re going out there excited to play every night. We’ve been swinging it well and the pitching has been awesome.”
During its second seven-game run of the season, the Yankees are batting .301 (69-for-229) with 21 homers.
New York also owns a 1.78 ERA during the streak after Gerrit Cole pitched seven innings of one-run ball.
Masahiro Tanaka (2-2, 3.16 ERA) will take the mound after allowing one run on three hits in five innings in the second game of Friday’s doubleheader against the Baltimore Orioles.
Tanaka has allowed two runs or less in six of his eight starts so far and is 13-5 with a 2.87 ERA in 21 career starts against Toronto.
The Blue Jays (26-22) are 1 1/2 games behind the Yankees and also a half-game ahead of eighth-seeded Cleveland.
Toronto has been outscored 40-10 in its past three games with the Yankees. The Blue Jays have lost four of their past six games and are getting outscored 58-11 in the defeats.
Toronto is assured of losing its first series since dropping two of three at home to Tampa Bay Aug. 14-16. The Blue Jays were 7-11 after that series and then went 19-9 in the next 28 games before allowing at least six homers in consecutive games for the first time in team history.
“We won the last nine series, we won or tied every series, so it’s bound to happen of course,” Toronto manager Charlie Montoyo said. “We’re trying to make the playoffs, we want to win every game but everybody knows that’s just going to happen. We just haven’t pitched good and they’ve swung the bats pretty good and they’ve pitched pretty good, that’s how you lose two games.”
The Blue Jays activated outfielder Teoscar Hernandez on Wednesday but he did not play. He could play Thursday after missing a little over a week with an oblique injury and Toronto is hoping to see the hitter who batted .308 with 14 homers and 27 RBIs before getting hurt.
Toronto also owns a 11.52 ERA in the last three games against the Yankees and hopes Chase Anderson (0-1, 5.81 ERA) can perform better than Taijuan Walker and Tanner Roark. Anderson is facing the Yankees for the first time and has allowed 10 runs in 6 2/3 innings over his last two starts.
–Field Level Media