Blue Jays fall to Yankees in rubber game as Toronto joker odds take a hit


The long ball proved costly for starter Robbie Ray and the Blue Jays on Thursday as the New York Yankees dealt a blow to Toronto’s playoff odds while consolidating their own.

Aaron Judge hit two of New York’s five homers in a 6-2 victory that strengthened the Yankees’ grip on the first-place wild card.

“They can hit. They’ve proven it all year round,” Ray said. “It’s a tough formation from top to bottom. They’re a good batting team for sure.”

The judge threw a gigantic solo shot in the opening frame and added another blast in New York’s sixth four-point inning as the Yankees won the critical three-game series rubber game.

Anthony Rizzo and Gleyber Torres, with a two-run homer, also went deep in Ray’s sixth. Brett Gardner added an insurance run with a solo shot in the ninth.

Closer Aroldis Chapman, fourth New York reliever of the evening, sealed the victory as the Yankees (91-68) won for the eighth time in nine games.

Toronto still in the race for a 2nd place in the wild card

The Blue Jays (88-71) lost three games to the Yankees but stayed within one game of Boston for second place with a wild card.

The Red Sox lost a 6-2 decision to Baltimore to be tied with the inactive Seattle Mariners at 89-70.

The judge’s first shot on Ray (13-7) almost hit the stadium’s big video screen well above the wall in the middle of the pitch. The bullet traveled approximately 455 feet with an exit speed of 114.6 mph

The Blue Jays equalized in the second set against Yankees starter Corey Kluber. Bo Bichette shot a single, stole second and scored on Corey Dickerson’s brace.

Toronto nearly scored another run, but Judge managed a good dive on Santiago Espinal’s flare to end the round.

The Blue Jays took the lead in the fifth after manager Charlie Montoyo challenged a decision that would have been a late-inning double play. Video review showed that a Marcus Semien beat the pitch at first base.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. then drove him with a brace that was an inch or two away from a home run. The ball hit the top of the wall in the middle of the pitch and somehow bounced backwards into the field of play.

Rizzo tied the game with a rainbow solo shot for his 21st homer of the season. Ray had struck out the previous 13 batters in order, coming back to a walked tee off at Gary Sanchez in the second inning.

Judge followed with his 39th home run of the year for a sixth multi-home game this season. Giancarlo Stanton walked before Torres ended Ray’s night with his ninth homerun.

“He ended up giving up four hits. It was just home runs,” Montoyo said of his starter. “You have to give them credit for hitting the ball.”

An announced crowd of 29,659 – a sold-out under new provincial capacity restrictions – did their best to boost the home team.

Late hope for the Jays

Bichette’s starting double in the eighth gave the crowd a jolt, but Yankees reliever Chad Green struck out the next three Blue Jays with strikeouts.

Reliever Michael King (2-4), who replaced Kluber in the fifth, worked 1 1/3 of an inning for the win. Toronto beat New York 10-6 but left nine runners on base against four for New York.

The Blue Jays end their regular season with a three-game home streak starting Friday against the Orioles in last place.

“We just have to play one game at a time and win every game now for sure,” said Montoyo.

The Yankees return home to face the Tampa Bay Rays.

“We have more to do,” said Yankees manager Aaron Boone. “It makes getting back on the plane a little more pleasant, but we have some business to take care of tomorrow.”

The Red Sox continue their road trip with a series of weekends in Washington while the Mariners finish against the LA Angels.

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