Aaron Judge hit a two-run homer in the first inning and the New York Yankees beat the Toronto Blue Jays 4-2 on Thursday night to win for the 11th time in 16 games.
Nestor Cortes (4-2) allowed two runs and five hits over six innings to end a four-start winless streak. He struck out six and walked one.
“Just a great way to end what has been a really good streak for us,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said.
Anthony Volpe also homered for the Yankees, who took three of Toronto’s four. The rookie shortstop made it 4-2 with a solo shot on Nate Pearson in the ninth, his seventh of the season.
The Yankees have hit 33 home runs in 17 games this month.
Aaron Judge, right, celebrates his two-run home run against Toronto with Gleyber Torres (25)
New York Yankees pitcher Nestor Cortes works against the Toronto Blue Jays in the first
“I feel like we’re rolling now,” Cortes said. “I feel like we’re playing really good baseball. The dugout comes to life.
Ryan Weber worked an inning, Albert Abreu pitched the eighth and Ron Marinaccio finished for his first career save.
“We called Nestor and the Funky Bunch tonight,” Boone joked, acknowledging that the quartet of Michael King, Clay Holmes, Jimmy Cordero and Wandy Peralta were unavailable.
“It’s one of those days where a lot of your big boys are down and you just have to find a way,” Boone added.
Bo Bichette homered late in the first, but Toronto lost its first home series of the season after winning five straight.
José Berríos (3-4) allowed three runs and six hits in 6 2/3 innings, losing for the first time since April 19 at Houston. He walked one and struck out eight.
The judge connected on a 1-1 pitch from Berríos after Gleyber Torres led the game with a single.
“It was big, and then Nestor kind of took over,” Boone said. “AJ set the tone right out of the gate, it was good.”
The homer was Judge’s 12th of the season and sixth in six games. The reigning AL MVP has homered four times in the series, including twice from deep in Game 1 on Monday and a game-tying shot in the eighth inning of Tuesday’s 6-3 win.
Judge said his powerful streak was not driven by resentment after he was charged with sign theft on Monday when the Toronto show caught him looking away from home plate before hitting the Blue Jays reliever Jay Jackson. Jackson later acknowledged that he tilted his pitches.
“I’m just trying to do my job,” Judge said. “I was upset, but I can’t do anything about it. I still have to go and play.
Judge has six homers among his last nine hits. He came close to connecting for the second time in the sixth, but replay showed his deep drive hit the top of the wall in the middle, knocking the call downfield. The judge finished with a brace.
“For the past four days he has been locked up,” Berríos said.
New York chased Berríos and made it 3-1 in the seventh when Oswaldo Cabrera doubled and scored on a two-out single from Aaron Hicks, which went 3-for-4.
Held out of the starting lineup with right knee pain, Blue Jays slugger Vladimir Guerrero Jr. came off the bench to pinch the hit for Santiago Espinal with the bases loaded late in the seventh. Guerrero hit a sacrifice fly on the first pitch he saw from Weber to make it 3-2.
Cortes stumbles trying to field a bunt by Jays’ Daulton Varsho, who was safe at first base
CARDINALS 16, DODGERS 8
Willson Contreras hit two three-run homers, Nolan Gorman also hit two home runs, and the St. Louis Cardinals went deep seven times in a home game for the first time in 83 years, beating the Los Angeles Dodgers 16- 8 in a Thursday night slugfest.
Nolan Arenado added a two-run homer, and Juan Yepez and Paul DeJong each hit solo home runs for St. Louis.
The Cardinals, who have hit a season-high seven straight games, hit seven in a home game for the first time since May 7, 1940, when they did so against the Brooklyn Dodgers. Yepez, Gorman and DeJong hit back-to-back homers in the sixth inning.
Freddie Freeman hit a grand slam and Max Muncy added a solo homer for the Dodgers. It was the fourth Grand Slam for Freeman and his 300th career home run. Los Angeles leads the majors this season with five Grand Slams and ranks second with 74 home runs.
The teams’ combined nine home runs set a record for Busch Stadium.
Adam Wainwright (1-0) allowed five runs – two earned – and five hits in 5 1/3 innings for the win in his third start this season.
Dodgers starter Julio Urias (5-4) made his first career start against the Cardinals and it didn’t go well. He allowed six runs in three innings.
Juan Yepez of the St. Louis Cardinals throws his bat in celebration after hitting a solo home run in the third inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers Thursday, May 18, 2023 in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
ANGELS 6, ORIOLES 5
Shohei Ohtani homered in the first inning and hit a game-breaking single in the eighth, and Hunter Renfroe’s terrific defensive play in the ninth helped Los Angeles hold on for a victory over Baltimore.
Mike Trout also went deep for the Angels, and Anthony Santander and Adley Rutschman homered for Baltimore. Rutschman’s two-point shot in the seventh gave Baltimore a 5-4 lead, but it was short-lived.
Bryan Baker (3-1) was charged with the loss. Chris Devenski (1-0) picked up the win and Carlos Estévez pitched the ninth for his 10th save in 10 chances.
With an out in the ninth, Adam Frazier hit a line to the right, but Renfroe played the ball beautifully against the wall and made a great throw in the second to catch Frazier trying a double.
Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani heads the bases after hitting a home run
FOOD 3, SHELVES 2
Pete Alonso again homered and the Mets earned back-to-back victories for the first time in a month.
The game was tied at 2 before Tommy Pham left a third-row bouncer with one out in the sixth inning, trailing Jeff McNeil on the hit against Zack Littell (0-1).
Tylor Megill (5-2) worked six two-run innings for the win. David Robertson cleared Randy Arozarena’s double in the ninth before completing his eighth save.
The Mets won back-to-back games for the first time since April 20-21 in San Francisco. They won a series for the first time since winning two of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ three games April 17-19.
Josh Lowe homered for Tampa Bay, which lost four of six.
Mets first baseman Pete Alonso knocks out Tampa Bay Rays’ Harold Ramirez in the sixth
GUARDIANS 3, WHITE SOX 1
Cam Gallagher hit an RBI single in Cleveland’s seventh two-run deuce, and the Guardians beat Dylan Cease and the White Sox.
Gabriel Arias homered as Cleveland saved the three-game series finale. Nick Sandlin (2-1) had four outs for the win, and Emmanuel Clase worked the ninth for his 15th save.
Cleveland’s catchers were 0 for 44 with 26 strikeouts in May before Gallagher’s hit.
Luis Robert Jr. had two hits for Chicago, including a double. Seby Zavala hit an RBI single in the fourth.
Cease (2-3) was charged with three runs and five hits in 6 1/3 innings.
Cleveland Guardians pitcher Emmanuel Clase, left, claps the hands of receiver Cam Gallagher
MARLINS 5, NATIONALS 3
Eury Pérez threw five solid innings for Miami, earning his first major league victory in his second start.
Bryan De La Cruz homered for Miami in the second, extending his hitting streak to a career-high 12 games. Nick Fortes had two hits, including an RBI single in the eighth.
The Marlins extended their winning streak to four games.
Pérez (1-0), 20, allowed one run and three hits. He struck out six and walked one.
Dylan Floro threw a scoreless ninth for his fourth save of the season.
Jeimer Candelario scored for Washington. Trevor Williams (1-2) was charged with three runs and five hits in six innings.