Giancarlo Stanton launched his first homer since missing nearly three months to injury, James Paxton of Ladner, B.C., won his 10th straight start and the New York Yankees beat the visiting Toronto Blue Jays 7-2 Saturday.
Two years after leading the majors with 59 homers for Miami, Stanton hit just his second of the season leading off the sixth against reliever Brock Stewart. He also had an RBI double in the fourth. Stanton has only played 12 games this year due to biceps, shoulder, calf and knee injuries. He was replaced defensively in the seventh inning to manage his workload.
The American League East champions entered with a major league-leading 294 homers.
Toronto batters struck out 15 times, including on their last five outs and 10 of their final 11 as shadows extended between the plate and the mound.
5-game win streak halted
Boone watched nearly all of it from the clubhouse. The second-year manager shouted profanities from the dugout at plate umpire Jeremie Rehak — a call-up from Triple-A — after Stanton struck out looking against T.J. Zeuch to end the first inning. Crew chief Joe West quickly booted Boone from third base, and Rehak also tossed Yankees hitting coach Marcus Thames.
It was the fifth ejection this year for Boone, including his memorable “savages” tirade at rookie umpire Brennan Miller in July — Yankees players routinely wear T-shirts commemorating the rant. New York was already peeved with West over his strike zone Friday night, when Brett Gardner argued animatedly after a called strike in the ninth.
Toronto ended a five-game winning streak, which matched its best of the season.
Brandon Drury reached in the third when shortstop Didi Gregorius booted a grounder for an error, and Jonathan Davis followed with an RBI single.
New York slugger Aaron Judge doubled leading off the fourth and scored on Stanton’s two-base hit. Mike Ford drove in Stanton with a single two batters later for a 2-1 lead. Ford had three hits and two runs batted in.
Stanton’s homer sparked a four-run inning that included RBI hits by Clint Frazier and Kyle Higashioka.
Zeuch (1-1), a six-foot-seven sinkerballer making his fourth big league start, took advantage of Rehak’s low strike zone to rack up six strikeouts in four innings. He allowed two runs and four hits.
Proceed with caution
The Yankees will still be careful with Torres despite the encouraging diagnosis. The star second baseman slipped and fell awkwardly fielding a ground ball Friday night. Torres was not in the lineup Saturday, although Boone said Torres he feeling good.
The 22-year-old leads the team with 38 homers and is hitting .284 with 90 RBI and a .889 on-base-plus slugging percentage. The Yankees have six games remaining before their post-season opener Oct. 4.
The Yankees will honour retiring left-hander CC Sabathia with a ceremony prior to Sunday’s game. New York plans to put Sabathia in the bullpen for the post-season, and the 39-year-old is expected get a practice run with his second career relief appearance on Tuesday at Tampa Bay.
Yankees: Designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion (oblique) could return to the lineup during the upcoming midweek series against Tampa Bay. The ex-Blue Jays is a bit ahead of catcher Gary Sanchez (groin tightness), but Boone said Sanchez could be back for the final regular season series at Texas.
Yankees right-hander Luis Severino (0-0, 0.00) makes his second appearance after missing most of the season with a lat injury. He pitched four scoreless innings against the Angels on Tuesday in his season debut. Toronto will pitch rookie righty Trent Thornton (5-9, 4.93), likely after an opener.