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Yankees vault past Blue Jays in AL East with 20-6 rout

By Pete Caldera, The Record (Hackensack, N.J.) on

Published in Baseball

NEW YORK - In this unique 2020 MLB season, mutually acceptable means were designed to shorten extra-inning and doubleheader games.

Here's one they missed: The mercy rule.

On Tuesday, the Yankees held a 13-run lead against the Toronto Blue Jays after five-and-a-half innings, which would have been a fine time to call it a night.

A 10-run advantage would have sufficed.

But they played on at Yankee Stadium, where the Yankees' 20-6 win - their sixth straight victory - vaulted them past Toronto in the AL playoff pecking order by a half-game.

And with two more home runs, Luke Voit (3 for 5, 5 RBIs) moved his name up a bit higher in the AL MVP race; with 18 homers, he leads the majors.

DJ LeMahieu capped a four-hit, five-RBI night with a homer against Santiago Espinal, an infielder summoned to pitch the eighth inning.

Aaron Hicks, Gary Sanchez (4 RBIs) and Clint Frazier also joined Tuesday's homer party, before LeMahieu finished off his stellar night.

In all, it was payback with interest against the Blue Jays for their 10-run inning against the Yankees Sept. 7, arguably the club's lowest point of the season.

Though Giancarlo Stanton (0 for 4, walk) had a quiet night, his return after five weeks signaled the start of a more potent lineup down the final stretch.

Aaron Judge (strained right calf) could return as soon as Wednesday night's game, while Gio Urshela (bone chip, right elbow) came back swinging Tuesday.

"Came in today, checked with the trainers, heard the moves and I was pumped," Gerrit Cole said earlier Tuesday. "And I feel like everyone's feeling the same way.

"Just makes us a lot deeper, more versatile and adds some star power to the lineup," Cole said. "Anytime you're an opposing pitcher and you read those names, you know your mistakes have to be limited when you're in that part of the order."

 

Activated from the injured list before the game, Urshela (3 for 4, walk) doubled twice and scored three times as the Yankees batted around in three separate innings.

They hadn't accomplished that offensive feat since Aug. 25, 2011, when they batted around four times against the Oakland Athletics.

Batting cleanup at designated hitter for the first time since Aug. 8, Stanton (strained left hamstring) struck out twice and scorched a line out to shortstop in his final at-bat.

By then, the Yankees (27-21) had a double-digit lead against Toronto (26-21), whose starter didn't make it through seven-run inning.

All but one of those runs against Taijuan Walker was unearned, due to dropped flyball by right fielder Derek Fisher.

One batter later, Fisher made an awkward attempt at Brett Gardner's deep drive, generously scored an RBI single and symbolic of the Jays' nothing-went-right night.

And after consecutive hard-fought, two-out at-bats Tyler Wade and LeMahieu led to RBI singles, Voit's three-run homer and Aaron Hicks' solo shot came back-to-back for a 7-1 lead.

In all, it made for an easy night for rookie Deivi Garcia, who again lasted seven innings.

Garcia's sharp seven-inning performance last Wednesday against the Blue Jays, at Buffalo, turned the Yankees' fortunes at a critical time and started their current winning streak.

This time, pitching to the score, Garcia yielded three runs on six hits - including homers by Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Lourdes Gurriel Jr.

Meanwhile, Toronto reliever Shun Yamaguchi couldn't locate the plate in the third inning, walking the bases loaded and hitting two batters to force in runs before LeMahieu's three-run double.

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