Judge, Gardner power Yankees past Blue Jays, 11-5

By MIKE FITZPATRICK

The Associated Press

NEW YORK — Yankees manager Joe Girardi recently compared Aaron Judge to Derek Jeter, noting their similar demeanor on and off the field.

In the batter’s box, Babe Ruth might be more like it.

Judge hit two more home runs after destroying a flat-screen television with a long drive during batting practice, and Brett Gardner also went deep twice to power the New York Yankees past the Toronto Blue Jays 11-5 on Tuesday night.

“It’s been extremely impressive,” Girardi said about Judge’s all-around game. “He’s just been a complete player.”

Injury substitute Aaron Hicks added a two-run homer, and Masahiro Tanaka (4-1) pitched into the seventh inning to win his fourth straight start.

Matt Holliday had three hits, including an early RBI double, as the Yankees jumped out to a 7-0 lead against Mat Latos and won for the 15th time in 20 games.

Before the game, Judge showed off his prodigious power with a shot to center field that smashed a TV in one of Yankee Stadium’s new social gathering terraces beyond the bullpens and Monument Park in center field.

“They were wearing me out about that,” Judge said. “They said they were going to take it out of my check.”

Steve Pearce went 4 for 4 with his first two homers for the Blue Jays, who had won a season-best three in a row. Latos (0-1) was ineffective in his third start with Toronto, allowing four homers and 10 hits in four innings.

Judge, the 6-foot-7 mountain of a rookie, took over the major league lead with his 12th home run — a three-run shot to left field on the 10th pitch of his at-bat in the seventh.

“He’s a big, strong boy,” Pearce said. “He’s a top-stepper. When he comes up to the plate you almost have to stop what you’re doing to watch.”

Last season, Judge batted .179 in the big leagues and struck out in half of his 84 at-bats.

“I thought he had some holes last year,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. “He’s had an amazing start to the season.”

Judge went the other way for a solo shot in the third, clearing the 314-foot sign in the right-field corner by a few rows with a pop fly that left a smiling Latos shaking his head and almost laughing behind the mound.

Estimated at 337 feet, the home run was the shortest of Judge’s big league career. He came in averaging 413 feet on his long balls this year, according to Major League Baseball’s Statcast system.

It was the second time in five games that Judge connected twice. He also drew two walks and has five homers in his last five games.

By Paul Wager

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