The Yankees (101-55) rebounded from Friday's 4-3 loss to open the three-game series over the weekend against the Toronto Blue Jays (63-92) for Saturday's 7-2 win at Yankee Stadium in New York. >> Box score
Five takeaways from Saturday's game...
1) LHP James Paxton (15-6, 3.73 ERA) is still on his second-half surge, which continued with win No. 10 since Aug. 2. He added to his 10-run over the past two months with one run on three hits and seven strikeouts to no walks in 6.0 innings. Paxton's career-best streak features a 2.40 ERA with 68 strikeouts to 20 walks.
2) Paxton's performance on the mound grabbed the headline, but LF Giancarlo Stanton was just as worthy. In his third game back from the 60-day injured list for a sprained right PCL from June 25's 4-3 win over the Blue Jays. After a 1-for-6 line with a double and a walk to three strikeouts Wednesday and Thursday, Stanton broke out with a 2-for-3 day at the plate.
Following a leadoff double to left-center field by RF Aaron Judge, Stanton duplicated the result two batters later and put the Yankees on the board for the 1-1 tie. Stanton, who batted from the cleanup spot, stepped back into the box in the bottom of the sixth inning and drilled a 420-foot solo shot deep to left-field bleachers. Only in his 12th game all year, outsides questioned Stanton's ability to step back into the lineup and contribute for the Yankees in the postseason, but he has quelled the noise thus far.
3) The next-man-up Yankees, who were without Gleyber Torres (hamstring) after Friday's sixth-inning dive in the hole and hope to return Edwin Encarnacion (oblique) following last Thursday's fifth-inning plate appearance, once again received production from whomever they insert into their lineup. Saturday's middle innings provided the latest instance, starting with Mike Ford's RBI single to center field in the bottom of the fourth inning, scoring Stanton and putting the Yankees ahead 2-1. After Stanton's solo shot in the bottom of the sixth inning, the Yankees piled on insurance runs to turn the 3-1 lead into the eventual rout.
Ford's ground-rule double to left field set the table for Clint Frazier's RBI double on a line drive to left field in the ensuing at-bat, stretching the Yankees' 4-1 lead. After the Blue Jays' mound visit, Tyler Wade's line-drive single to right field advanced Frazier to third. Kyle Higashioka's did the same to right field on a ground ball, scoring Frazier easily while Wade hustled from second. Ford turned up again in the bottom of the seventh inning, singling on a ground ball to right field and scoring LF Cameron Maybin, who entered for Stanton before the frame's top half.
4) Another economical effort by Paxton's 87 pitches (63 strikes) and the four-run sixth inning allowed the Yankees a chance for mop-up work from their bullpen, which they turned to two RHPs. Jonathan Loaisiga (4.25 ERA) overcame recent up-and-down appearances with 2.0 innings of one run on three hits with five strikeouts to no walks and pounding the zone through 25 strikes across 32 pitches. Chad Green closed the door with three strikeouts for a 1-2-3 ninth inning, attacking Blue Jays batters with 11 strikes over 15 pitches.
5) No one on the Yankees has taken the last 10 games and change of the regular season for granted. Since the Yankees dropped two of their three games the past weekend at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, they have gone 3-2 with two one-run losses. Perhaps manager Aaron Boone best displayed the Yankees' sense of urgency to end 2019 with homefield advantage, which the AL West-leading Houston Astros (101-53) hold before Saturday's 7:10 p.m. game against the Los Angeles Angels.
After Stanton's strikeout looking at the end of the first inning, Boone received his fifth ejection on the year. Whether or not the frustration was warranted -- Boone was fired up during Brett Gardner's at-bat during the bottom of the ninth inning in Friday's 4-3 loss to the Blue Jays -- the Yankees have not let the foot off the gas pedal, despite eclipsing the century mark and winning the AL East for the first time since 2012.
EV Unit. pic.twitter.com/J6gSwJjddQ- New York Yankees (@Yankees) September 21, 2019
The Yankees complete their three-game series against the Blue Jays with Sunday's 1:05 p.m. finale at Yankee Stadium in New York. RHP Luis Severino (0-0, 0.00 ERA) makes his second start of the season since he returned off the 60-day injured list in Tuesday's 8-0 win over the Angels, facing Toronto RHP Trent Thornton (5-9, 4.93 ERA). The Yankees then take Monday off before they finish off their regular season with a five-game road trip Tuesday against the Tampa Bay Rays at 7:10 p.m. from Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida.