TORONTO (AP) — In a game between teams on extended home run binges, a well-placed chopper down the line proved pivotal.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hit a go-ahead, two-run triple in the seventh inning and the Toronto Blue Jays rallied to beat the Yankees 5-4 Saturday, handing New York its second straight loss following a season-high nine game winning streak.
“That was a big hit from Vlad today,” said manager Charlie Montoyo, whose Blue Jays have won nine of 13. “The last two days have been awesome for this team, for the young kids, playing the best team in baseball and fighting back.”
Guerrero Jr. leads all big league rookies with 26 RBIs since the All-Star break.
Gary Sanchez returned from injured list and hit a solo home run for the Yankees and Gio Urshela added a two-run drive.
The Blue Jays trailed 4-3 in the seventh when Bo Bichette drew a one-out walk from Adam Ottavino, Cavan Biggio singled and Guerrero Jr. hit an 0-2 grounder down the first base line and into foul territory. Right fielder Aaron Judge initially mishandled the ball against a side wall, and Guerrero slid in safely for the first triple of his career.
“I think it was a good pitch,” Sanchez said through a translator. “A defensive swing by him and he was able to put the ball in play. It stayed inside the line and went down the line. Part of the game. Sometimes those things are going to happen where the ball is not hit solid but still finds a hole.”
The Yankees had gone ahead on DJ LeMahieu’s sacrifice fly in the top of the inning, but Ottavino (5-4) couldn’t make it stand up. The right-hander allowed a run for the first time in 16 appearances, a streak that dated to July 2 against the Mets.
Ottavino put both hands on his head as he watched Guerrero’s roll past first base.
“By the time I looked up, I saw that the ball was over in that area,” Ottavino said. “I looked over, I saw (the umpire) call it fair. I was kind of in a little bit of disbelief.”
Teoscar Hernandez hit a three-run homer for the Blue Jays, who have gone deep in 15 consecutive games. It is Toronto’s longest such streak since a 19-game run in 2010. Blue Jays batters have hit 99 home runs since June 16. Only the Yankees (100) have hit more in that span.
The Yankees have hit multiple home runs in nine straight games, extending their season-best streak. New York lost for the ninth time in 61 games with multiple home runs.
Jason Adam (1-0) worked 1 1/3 innings for his first major league win and Derek Law got four outs for his third save in three opportunities. Five Blue Jays pitchers combined to hold the Yankees to five hits.
“Credit to them, they mixed and matched and held us down enough today,” manager Aaron Boone said.
Sanchez started in the cleanup spot after missing 16 games because of a strained left groin. He struck out swinging on three pitches against right-hander Wilmer Font in his first at-bat, then provided the first hit of the game with a one-out homer off righty Jacob Waguespack in the fourth. It was Sanchez’s 25th home run of the season and his first since July 4.
Sanchez later took a foul tip off the knuckles of his bare hand, but said it wasn’t serious.
Toronto got its first hit, and its first runs, in the fourth. Hernandez, who homered twice Friday, greeted righty Chance Adam with a three-run drive into the second deck, his 18th.
Urshela tied it at 3 with a homer into the center field party deck in the sixth, his 17th.
Urshela had back-to-back, two-homer games against Baltimore and Toronto on Wednesday and Thursday. Of his past 29 hits, 20 have been for extra bases.
The Yankees lost for the first time in 12 games this season when using an opener, with starter Chad Green pitching a scoreless inning. Six Yankees pitchers combined to walk eight and strike out 14.