For the last year, the rivalry has been building. The Blue Jays pushed the Yankees to the end of last season, just missing a chance to play them for a playoff spot. Tuesday night, they added some bad blood to the mix. In an intense and heated game that had three Blue Jays ejected and both teams on the verge of hopping over the dugout fences, Aaron Judge hit a three-run home run to walk off a 6-5 win over the Blue Jays at the Stadium.
Judge said he really got motivated after the Blue Jays hit Josh Donaldson on the arm with a pitch and the umpires ejected Toronto pitcher Yimi Garcia and pitching coach Pete Walker.
“They started off and then got an early lead and I think when Josh got hit, I think that kind of locked us in and gave us a sense of, ‘okay, let’s go,’” said Judge, who had one leg over the dugout fence as Donaldson walked down to first base holding his arm. “Especially me, it got me going a little bit.”
Garcia had just given up a game-tying, three-run home run to Giancarlo Stanton. Two pitches later, Donaldson was hit with a 94-mile an hour fastball. The umpires met and without warning ejected Garcia, which caused the Blue Jays bench to go crazy. That’s when Walker was ejected.
“Earlier in the game there were some words exchanged between Donaldson and Toronto’s catcher, so that definitely played into it. There were pretty strong words. Then you have a game-tying home run and the second pitch, which we deemed intentional, which was the reason for the ejection,” umpire crew chief Alfonso Marquez said. “All that really played into it. It had nothing to do with Donaldson’s reaction. It had everything to do with the game situations that led up to that specific incident.”
Donaldson said in his “heart of hearts,” he didn’t think it was intentional, but that he understood why the umpires saw it that way. The veteran third baseman, who played for the Jays, said that he did have a conversation with the Blue Jays catcher “about baseball.” And when asked if it was contentious, Donaldson said that they are out there to be competitive.
Later in the game, when Jonathan Loaisiga threw a little too close to Bo Bichette’s head — after warnings were issued to both benches — the Blue Jays went nuts. Toronto manager Charlie Montoyo was ejected after that.
“It wasn’t deemed intentional, it was just a pitch inside,” Marquez said.
The Blue Jays had jumped on Luis Severino early. George Springer hit a leadoff homer and the Blue Jays got a two-run double from Santiago Espinal in the second.
Stanton chipped his seventh homer of the season, 331 feet the other way to tie the game at 3-3. Immediately after that, Donaldson got hit. Chad Green gave up an RBI-double to Lourdes Gurriel Jr., scoring Vladimir Guerrero Jr. from first base. He then gave up a sacrifice fly to Alejandro Kirk to give the Blue Jays a 5-3 lead.
Judge hammered a slider that hung over the middle of the plate 455-feet to the second deck in left field. It was his first career walkoff homer and his second walkoff hit of any kind.
“I was just excited to get the team a win and help out a little bit, because I couldn’t really get anything going early on. We got no-hit for a while and then (Stanton), I think, had the biggest hit of the game, tying it up for us and giving us a fighting chance.”
With one out, catcher Jose Trevino worked a walk off Blue Jays closer Jordan Romano. DJ LeMahieu followed with another walk before Judge crushed his 10th home run of the season.
The Yankees (21-8) have won five of the eight games they have played against the Blue Jays (17-14) and the American League East rivalry is getting a little chippier. And every win against them will mean something as they both jockey for playoff positioning.
“They’re just a complete team and anytime we scratch out a win against them or scratch a series win against them is big time. So going back and fighting back, climbing back in and getting this win, it’s just gonna continue to keep setting us up.”