Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez homers help Yankees salvage split

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For a few hours Thursday afternoon, Yankee Stadium sounded like the Rogers Centre — or TD Ballpark in Dunedin, Fla., or Sahlen Field in Buffalo.

The Blue Jays have been vagabonds since 2020 due to the pandemic, but they made themselves right at home in Game 1 of a doubleheader in The Bronx.

By the end of the night, though, the Yankees had reclaimed their stake with a much livelier offensive performance.

After being silenced in Game 1 by Alek Manoah in his MLB debut, the Yankees returned a punch in the nightcap with homers from Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez lifting them to a 5-3 win and a split of the doubleheader.

The early game featured a small crowd that consisted of a rowdy friends-and-family cheering section for Manoah. The 23-year-old gave them plenty to be loud about, striking out seven over six shutout innings in the Blue Jays’ 2-0 win.

Despite the split, the Yankees (29-21) lost the series — their first since being swept by the Rays on April 16-18. In between, they had won eight series and tied two more, which had vaulted them up the standings in the AL East, ahead of the Blue Jays (25-24).

After not even reaching second base in Game 1, the Yankees quickly broke the goose egg in Game 2. DJ LeMahieu led off with a single and eventually came around to score on an RBI double from Gio Urshela, though Judge was thrown out behind him trying to double the lead.

Jordan Montgomery ran into trouble in the top of the third when he walked No. 9 hitter Danny Jansen and Marcus Semien with two outs. It came back to hurt him when Bo Bichette crushed his second home run of the day to put the Blue Jays up 3-1.

However, the Yankees used two big thumps over the next two innings to reclaim their lead.

Judge got the green light on a 3-0 count and crushed a two-run home run 440 feet to tie it in the bottom of the third. Gary Sanchez one-upped him with a 444-foot solo shot in the fourth to put the Yankees ahead 4-3.

Judge added a sacrifice fly in the fifth inning to pad the Yankees’ lead and knock Blue Jays starter Robbie Ray out of the game.

Chad Green, not Aroldis Chapman, pitched the seventh inning to record the save. Chapman has not pitched since Sunday, when he allowed his first earned run of the season.

It was the Blue Jays who won via the long ball in Game 1. Back-to-back homers from Semien and Bichette off Domingo German were enough to sink the Yankees as Manoah handled the rest.

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