August 18, 2018 09:43 PM
NEW YORK (AP) - Another day, another big swing for Giancarlo Stanton.
The slugger just loves this time of year.
Stanton hit one of New York's four homers, Luis Severino struck out eight while pitching into the sixth inning and the Yankees beat the Toronto Blue Jays 11-6 on Saturday.
Didi Gregorius, Miguel Andujar and Greg Bird also connected as New York moved 31 games over .500, matching a season high. Andujar had three hits and three RBIs and Gregorius also drove in three runs.
"We've just been a tough out," Stanton said. "One through nine has just been grinding the pitcher down and getting into good counts and doing damage."
Stanton belted a long drive for the second straight day, this time a 412-foot solo shot with two out in the fourth for his 32nd homer of the season.
The 28-year-old Stanton got off to a slow start in his first year with New York after he was acquired in an offseason trade with Miami. He hit just .198 with four homers and 12 RBIs in his first 20 games.
But those days seem like a long time ago now. He has seven homers in his last 12 games and is batting .323 (23 for 71) in August. He hit .349 with 18 homers for last August with the Marlins.
"I knew I had a big hole to dig out of," Stanton said. "But I don't ever doubt my craft or my work. Sometimes in this game, (it) takes longer than you expect or want."
Stanton has helped carry the load for New York while Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez have been sidelined with injuries. Stanton himself has been limited to designated-hitter duties because of a sore left hamstring, but he is hoping to return to the field during an interleague series at Miami on Tuesday and Wednesday.
"He's an elite-level slugger," manager Aaron Boone said. "He's a big reason why we've been able to continue to win games."
Toronto has lost three straight and four of six. Billy McKinney, who came over when the Blue Jays traded J.A. Happ to the Yankees last month, had two hits and two RBIs against his former team, but Sean Reid-Foley (0-2) was hit hard in his second major league start.
"There's a ton of talent," Toronto manager John Gibbons said of his young players. "They're just trying to harness it (and) put the whole game together."
The Yankees scored in each of the first five innings. Gregorius hit a two-run shot in the first for his 22nd homer. Andujar added a two-run double in New York's three-run third, and then hit a solo drive in the fifth for his 20th homer.
Reid-Foley was charged with eight runs, six earned, and seven hits in 4 1/3 innings. He struck out six and walked three.
Severino (16-6) won for just the second time in his last seven starts. The All-Star right-hander allowed two runs and six hits in five-plus innings, moving into a tie with Washington's Max Scherzer for the major league lead in wins.
Toronto took advantage of a pair of errors to score five times in the sixth. McKinney had a bases-clearing single, but was thrown out trying to reach third after right fielder Neil Walker mishandled the ball.
Bird homered in the eighth as the Yanks scored three times off two relievers to create a little breathing room. Nine different Yankees have at least 10 homers.
QUITE THE IMPRESSION
Toronto rookie Danny Jansen is the 11th player, and first catcher, in team history with at least one hit in each of his first four major league games. He doubled in the second inning against New York.
Yankees: C Austin Romine was hit by a Richard Urena foul tip in the fifth. The shortstop fouled off Severino's 98-mph fastball and knocked off Romine's mask. Plate umpire David Rackley prevented Romine from falling, holding him until he regained his footing. Romine initially remained in the game, but was replaced by Kyle Higashioka in the sixth.
Blue Jays: RHP Marcus Stroman (blister) expects to miss at least one start and a stint on the disabled list has not been ruled out. Stroman noted the blister is "really deep."
In a matchup of left-handers, Happ (13-6, 3.86 ERA) takes on Toronto's Ryan Borucki (2-2, 3.29 ERA) on Sunday. Happ has won each of his three starts with the Yankees.
By CHARLES O'BRIEN
Updated: August 18, 2018 09:43 PM
Created: August 18, 2018 07:11 PM
(Copyright 2018 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)