After their most explosive onslaught in five years, the Yankees found themselves somewhere they hadn’t been since Sept. 2: sole possession of second place in the AL East. Though it’s not where they expected to be at this point of the season, it looks a lot better than where they were just a week ago, …
After their most explosive onslaught in five years, the Yankees found themselves somewhere they hadn’t been since Sept. 2: sole possession of second place in the AL East.
Though it’s not where they expected to be at this point of the season, it looks a lot better than where they were just a week ago, when they were fighting for their playoff lives.
With their 20-6 romp over Toronto in The Bronx on Tuesday, the Yankees have now won six straight and moved half a game ahead of the Blue Jays, leaving them trailing just the front-running Rays in the division.
“It’s a hell of a lot of fun,’’ Luke Voit said of the team’s resurgence. “We’re clicking at the right time, right before the playoffs start.”
And it’s got Voit and the Yankees thinking big.
“It’s a pretty scary lineup,’’ said Voit, who hit two of the Yankees’ six homers and leads the majors with 18. “A couple weeks ago, I don’t think teams were scared of us. Now we’re back to being the Bronx Bombers and I don’t think people want to play us in the playoffs.”
The Yankees don’t just consider themselves an October threat because of the offense and the return of Giancarlo Stanton and Gio Urshela from injuries.
They also got another impressive outing from 21-year-old rookie Deivi Garcia, who threw seven innings for a second straight start and appreciated the support.
“When the offense goes out there and puts on that kind of a show, I enjoy that,” Garcia said through an interpreter.
He allowed three runs — and two homers — and pitched deep into the game as he builds experience with the postseason on the horizon.
“He’s fearless,’’ Gary Sanchez said through an interpreter. “It feels like he’s been in the league for years.”
The run support helped in the first of seven games remaining between the two teams.
The Yankees scored seven runs in the second, five in the third and four more in the fourth — batting around each inning- —to blow the game open.
Garcia allowed a solo shot to Vladimir Guerrero Jr. in the second that put the Blue Jays up, 1-0. That lead didn’t last long.
In the bottom of the inning, Urshela, in his first game back from a bone spur in his right elbow, doubled to left with one out to start a rally. Clint Frazier followed with a routine fly ball to right that was dropped by Derek Fisher — his first of several miscues of the night.
It led to RBI singles from Tyler Wade and DJ LeMahieu before Voit hit a three-run shot into the left-field bleachers.
Aaron Hicks then ended Taijuan Walker’s night with a homer into the second deck in right.
Walker’s replacement, Shun Yamaguchi, may have been worse, as he walked the first three batters in the third and then hit the next two to force in a pair of runs before LeMahieu hit a three-run double to extend to a 12-1 lead.
The final blow came from LeMahieu, who had four hits. He homered off infielder Santiago Espinal in the eighth, as the Yankees ended up scoring a season-high 20 runs, after the Mets beat Toronto 18-1 on Friday.
Garcia, who threw 95 pitches in each of his previous two starts, threw 88 pitches and struck out six.
“We’re starting to play well, getting healthy and playing with a lot of confidence again,’’ Aaron Boone said. “We’ll take our chances.”
“We want to play at Yankee Stadium and the top spot is still in reach,’’ Voit said. “I feel good about our chances. That first series at home would be huge for us, but we’re confident with whatever position in the playoffs to make a run.”