Yankees hope bats continue to come alive vs. Blue Jays

The visiting New York Yankees ended a four-game losing streak with a season-best offensive explosion against the Toronto Blue Jays that they will try to carry over to Saturday afternoon.

The Yankees hammered out 18 hits in a 16-5 victory over Toronto Friday night to gain a split of the first two games of the four-game series. It was the Yankees’ highest run total since they scored 16 against the Pittsburgh Pirates on July 6, 2022.

Juan Soto had a three-run home run for the Yankees to give him 20 for the season but more encouraging could be the two-run homer, two hits and three RBIs by second baseman Gleyber Torres.

Torres, whose homer was his eighth of the season, had been kept out of the previous two games because he was struggling offensively and defensively. He had just two hits in 29 at-bats in the prior nine games.

“Hopefully a little building block for him,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said after the game.

Before the game Boone said: “We all know what (Torres is) capable of, he knows what he’s capable of. That doesn’t mean you go out and get a result right away. It’s too fickle of a game in that way. Hopefully just in a good place physically and mentally to go out there and contribute to winning baseball.”

Another encouraging sign was DJ LeMahieu’s first extra-base hit of the season, an RBI double.

The Yankees are scheduled to start left-hander Nestor Cortes (4-6, 3.40 ERA) on Saturday. He is 2-2 with a 3.55 ERA in 11 career games (five starts) against Toronto.

The Blue Jays are scheduled to start right-hander Chris Bassitt (6-6, 3.45), who is 1-0 with a 1.42 ERA in one start against the Yankees this season. He is 2-0 with a 1.00 ERA in four career starts against them.

Toronto’s Isiah Kiner-Falefa had a single and a solo homer to extend his hit streak to 12 games. During the streak, he is 17-for-43 (.395) with three home runs and six RBIs and has been hit by pitches five times.

Toronto’s Vladimir Guerrero Jr. was 2-for-5 with a solo homer and two RBIs on Friday. His 12th homer of the season was his fifth in his past seven games. He has multiple RBIs in five straight games, matching Frank Catalanotto (2005) and Eric Hinske (2005) for the longest such streak in franchise history. He has 13 RBIs in his past five games.

Toronto’s George Springer had two RBIs Friday and has eight for the series. The second RBI on Friday came when he was hit by a pitch on the hand with the bases loaded. He left the game in the seventh inning with what was described as a left-hand contusion.

Toronto’s bullpen is suffering with Jordan Romano and Yimi Garcia out with elbow issues.

After allowing 12 runs (10 earned) Friday, the Blue Jays’ bullpen ranks 28th in the majors with a 4.78 ERA.

“You need everyone, really, and in isolation, tonight wasn’t ideal,” Toronto manager John Schneider said. “Just rewinding it a little bit, Yusei (Kikuchi) pitched too well to have that game end where it did. I think that before the sixth inning, there were spots where we could have added on runs or played a bit cleaner. I just hate to waste an outing like that.”

–Field Level Media