Blue Jays look to contain Judge, Yankees (Jul 05, 2017)

BY AP • July 5, 2017

NEW YORK -- The Toronto Blue Jays allowed Aaron Judge's latest home run Tuesday. Their pitchers also succeeded with some big pitches against the New York Yankees slugger.

The Blue Jays will attempt to keep Judge and the rest of New York's lineup quiet Wednesday afternoon when the American League East rivals conclude a three-game series at Yankee Stadium.

Judge hit his major-league-leading 28th homer and is within one of the Yankees rookie record set by Hall of Famer Joe DiMaggio in 1936. His latest homer only was a solo shot as Toronto evened the series Tuesday with a 4-1 victory by striking out Judge three times.

J.A. Happ fanned him with the bases empty in the first inning and with two on in the fifth. Ryan Tepera then struck Judge out for the first out of the eighth inning.

Those strikeouts helped Toronto (38-45) snap a five-game losing streak and win for only the third time in its last 12 contests since getting to one game under .500 two weeks ago.

"We're in a position to kind of break out of it," Happ said. "We just want to keep ourselves in those positions where the right things happen. If we just keep playing good baseball, then things will go our way. It certainly feels good. Now, we have to go get this one tomorrow, get this series and then go back home."

Jose Bautista recorded a three-hit game with singles in three consecutive at-bats as Toronto did enough offensively despite Josh Donaldson's hitless skid reaching 13 at-bats.

"We needed that," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "We've been scuffling."

Judge struck out three times for the seventh time this season. Five of those instances have occurred since June 13, when the Yankees began a stretch of 15 losses in 21 games after they were 15 games over. Since then, the Yankees (44-38) have lost Aaron Hicks, Matt Holliday and Starlin Castro to injuries, lessening the depth of a lineup that is hitting .267 with 126 homers this season.

"We started off hot," Judge said. "Everyone was healthy. We were firing all cylinders. Then a couple people went down. You've got to keep battling, keep fighting, and everyone is going to get healthy here sooner or later, and we'll be back to where we need to be."

After Happ stopped Toronto's skid, Marco Estrada (4-6, 4.86 ERA) takes the mound in search of his first win in more than a month.

Estrada is 0-4 with a 9.11 ERA in his past six starts since May 27. His skid started June 1 against the Yankees when he allowed seven runs and nine hits in 3 2/3 innings.

During the rough stretch, Estrada did not complete five innings in four starts, including a Friday no-decision against the Boston Red Sox. In that game, Estrada allowed two runs and two hits but issued a career-high seven walks in 4 1/3 innings.

"I didn't have a feel for anything," Estrada said. "I had no feel for the four-seam fastball, which rarely happens, and obviously everything comes off that, so every pitch (stunk). We had a great chance to win, the boys put up some runs early, and I let it get away, I guess."

Gibbons said, "I've never seen anything like that that, and I guarantee it's never happened to him. I don't think he had a real good feel; it looks he was rushing a little bit. Something was out of whack. He didn't give up any hits, that's for sure. He gave up all those walks. That's uncharacteristic for him."

Estrada has issued 18 of his 35 walks during the current skid. Another setback Wednesday would give him five straight losses for the first time since April 28-Aug. 5, 2012.

The right-hander is 4-3 with a 4.21 ERA in 12 appearances (11 starts) against the Yankees. In New York, he is 3-0 with 4.45 ERA in six appearances (five starts).

New York's Michael Pineda (8-4, 4.05 ERA) looks to inch closer toward posting double digits wins for the second time in his career when he pitches Wednesday. Pineda has allowed three earned runs or fewer in 12 starts, and the Yankees are 10-6 in his outings.

Pineda allowed three runs (two earned) and seven hits in six innings during a 13-4 victory at Houston on Friday. He rebounded nicely from a rough three-start stretch that saw him go 0-1 with a 7.47 ERA. Friday was the fourth time the Yankees scored double-digit runs in one of Pineda's starts.

Pineda faced the Blue Jays on June 2 in Toronto, when he allowed five runs and 10 hits in five innings of a 7-5 loss. He is 2-4 with a 3.52 ERA in 12 career starts against the Blue Jays, including a 1-0 mark with a 3.77 ERA in five home starts against them.



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