After spending three nights at Yankee Stadium getting whiplash tracking all the home runs they allowed, ask the Blue Jay pitchers if the Yankees rely on home runs too much.
The Yankees hit six homers Thursday night, when they continued to punish Blue Jays pitching on the way to a 10-7 victory that pushed their winning streak to a season-high eight games and upped the record to 29-21.
They trail the 31-21 Twins by a length for the best record among second-place finishers. The winner of that race will be the fourth seed and play all three games at home in the first best-of-three round in the postseason.
In the previous two beatings of the Blue Jays by a combined score of 33-8, the Yankees hit 13 homers.
The power outburst will surely lift expectations that the Yankees are a legitimate postseason threat. Yet, to Aaron Judge, nothing much has changed in that regard.
“I think they are the same as when the season started,’’ Judge said of the Yankees’ expectations. “I feel we have the best team out there. We had a lot of key guys miss some time. We are getting back to full strength at the right time, right at the stretch. This is the best time to be hot.’’
Five of the six Yankees homers were hit in the seven-run fourth and three by Brett Gardner, DJ LeMahieu and Luke Voit came on three straight first pitches from Chase Anderson. Giancarlo Stanton and Gleyber Torres also homered off Anderson. Voit’s blast was his league-leading 20th. Gary Sanchez added a solo shot in the seventh.
The five homers in an inning established a franchise record and tied the major league mark. Nineteen home runs in three straight games set a major league record.
In his second game back from the injured list, Stanton went 4-for-5 with two RBIs and was a triple shy of hitting for the cycle.
Masahiro Tanaka improved to 3-2 with his second straight win and third in four starts. He is 14-5 against the Blue Jays in 22 career starts. Tanaka gave up three runs, seven hits, didn’t issue a walk and struck out five.