TORONTO — The Yankees showed up Monday night. After months of speculation and concern about whether the Yankees would be able to bring their entire roster through the strict Canadian COVID vaccine travel requirements for players, the first-place Bombers showed up Monday night with their entire roster. Gleyber Torres homered and singled in the Yankees’ entire offense as they edged out the Blue Jays 3-2 at the Rogers Center in the first of the three-game series.
Torres’ ninth-inning, RBI single gave the Yankees (17-6) their 10th straight win and their 12th of their last 13 games.
“It’s exciting, those situations. When we face really good teams, I have the opportunity to do something for my team and just try to be myself. Try to be in control. … . I don’t want to be super aggressive. I just want to put the ball in play and help my team,” Torres said. “I know the guys behind me. So mentally wise it’s really relaxing. If they don’t throw me anything fto hit, I know the guy behind me can do the job. So that is a plan for me. Every time I get up in that situation, I just simply try to do my thing.
“At the end of the day, I am just trying to help my team to win.”
Torres has driven in nine runs in his last six games and the three he drove in Monday night were huge, because they were against the Blue Jays (15-9), who the Bombers know they will battle all season long for the American League East opportunity.
Giancarlo Stanton led off the ninth with a ground-ball single up the middle. Running for the right fielder, Tim Locastro stole second to get in scoring position. Matt Chapman made a good grab of Josh Donaldson’s broken-bat, soft ground ball and checked Locastro back to second before getting the out at first. Aaron Hicks struck out for the third time for the second out before Torres brought LoCastro in on a line-drive single to right-center field to get back the lead.
“We’ve seen it all year — even when he struggled, he’s come up in those tight situations late, it’s almost like I feel like he’s been that way kind of his whole career too. He really fought and he has such an ability to use the entire field and to go the other way. And when he’s at his best, he does that,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “And I just think he turns up the focus a little bit in those situations. So when he walked up there I was thinking no one was better right now. And he put a great swing on it.”
Jordan Montgomery allowed two earned runs on six hits. He did not walk a batter and struck out five. He got 13 swings and misses, six each on his changeup and curveball and one on his sinker.
Torres gave the Yankees a 2-0 lead in the fourth. The second baseman lined an opposite-field home run into the visitors bullpen in right field. The 376-foot shot was Torres’ third home run of the season. It drove in Donaldson, who had reached on a single.
That’s all the run support he got, but Montgomery is used to it. He has gotten an average of 3.74 runs of support per start since the beginning of the 2021 season, fourth-lowest in the majors.
“I think that’d be pretty selfish for me to think like that,” Montgomery said of the lack of run support. “I’m out there trying my best. They’re all trying their best. They’re playing great defense. Stanton made a great play. A lot of ground balls that (Isiah Kiner-Falefa) made in the hole that were not easy. So I’m just trying to go out there and throw strikes and keep us in it.”
And despite giving those two runs right back in the bottom of the inning, Montgomery and the bullpen battled a dangerous lineup. George Springer led off with a single and scored from first on Bo Bichette’s double. Matt Chapman drove in the Blue Jays’ shortstop with a single.
Montgomery gave up a leadoff single to Bichette in the sixth and Boone went to get the lefty. Jonathan Loaisiga walked Vladimir Guerrero, Jr., the first batter he faced, before coaxing a double play ground ball from Lourdes Gurriel, Jr. He struck out Chapman to strand Bichette at third.
Miguel Castro came in to get two outs and then Clay Holmes threw 1.1 scoreless innings. Chad Green came in to close it out, earning his first save of the season.
There had been concern this spring about Canada’s strict vaccine requirements for foreign visitors for the Yankees, who had a few players still unvaccinated as of March. Monday, however, every player on the 26-man roster was in Toronto — meaning they were vaccinated — and available to play.
“This is obviously what I had hoped for. And fortunately that we’re in a position that we’re all able to be here,” Boone said before Monday night’s game.