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Aaron Judge continues hot streak with two home runs as New York Yankees beat Toronto Blue Jays

By Larry Fleisher, The Sports Xchange

NEW YORK -- The home runs are getting the acclaim but the at-bats are impressing the New York Yankees most about Aaron Judge.

With nobody out in the seventh inning, Judge found himself locked in a duel with reliever Jason Grilli. Ten pitches later, he sent another ball over the fence.

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Judge hit two more home runs, including a three-run blast, as the Yankees slugged five homers in an 11-5 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday night.

Judge homered on the first pitch he saw from Mat Latos (0-1) with nobody on and one out in the third by sending a pitch down the right field line. Two at-bats later, the right-handed slugger fell behind 0-2 on Grilli, reached a full count and fouled off three more pitches.

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He then ended the at-bat emphatically by driving a breaking ball into the left field seats, capping his second career multi-home run game and giving the Yankees an 11-4 lead.

"It was a battle," Judge said. "He gets up to 95. He's got a good slider he likes to go to. I was just trying to get a pitch I can handle. He kept throwing me a fastball up in the zone. I kept fouling it off and then I finally was able to get a barrel on one."

Judge is 8-for-16 with five home runs, 10 RBIs and eight walks on the homestand. He leads the team with 26 runs scored, 25 RBIs and moved ahead of Washington's Ryan Zimmerman and Milwaukee's Eric Thames for the major league lead in home runs.

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Judge's latest big game raised his average to .313, his on-base percentage to .424 and his on-base-plus-slugging percentage to 1.219.

"It's been extremely impressive, and you know along with the power also goes the walks," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "Getting on base and running the bases and all the things that he did. The throw he made last night, the catches that he's made, I mean he's just been a complete player."

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He also is the youngest Yankee to hit 12 home runs through the first 25 games of the season and joined Hall of Famer Babe Ruth (12 in 1921) and Alex Rodriguez (14 in 2007) as the third player in team history to get at least 12 through this point of a season.

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"I liked a lot of things about him last year," Toronto manager John Gibbons said. "I thought he had some holes last year. He's had an amazing start to the season."

Judge's latest big showing capped a day where he broke a television in the center field bar area with a batting practice home run and also heard "MVP" chants from fans in the right field seats.

"It's great," Judge said. "The fans are excited. They're going crazy out there."

Judge's showing capped a highly productive night for New York outfielders. Left fielder Brett Gardner homered twice and Aaron Hicks hit a two-run homer.

Along with Judge, Yankee outfielders were a combined 7-for-13 with five home runs, nine RBIs and seven runs scored. It marked the first time each Yankee starting outfielder homered since May 17, 2014, vs. Pittsburgh and the first time two players produced multi-homer games at home since Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson on Oct. 3, 2012, against Boston.

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"What a day," Judge said.

The Yankees reached double digits in runs for the fourth time, homered five times for the second time and set a season-high with 16 hits. Beside the home runs, Matt Holliday and Chase Headley added RBI singles as the Yankees rebounded from two straight losses.

Steve Pearce went 4-for-4 and homered twice but it was not nearly enough for the Blue Jays, who were unable to win a fourth straight game and dropped to 9-18 for the first time since 2004.

Chris Coghlan added an RBI single and Toronto's other runs occurred when Devon Travis scored on a balk by Dellin Betances in the seventh and a groundout by Ryan Goins in the eighth.

New York's Masahiro Tanaka (4-1) followed up his 97-pitch three-hitter in Boston by allowing four runs and eight hits in 6 1/3 innings.

Latos was rocked for seven runs and 10 hits in four innings. It was the second time in his career he allowed at least four home runs.

NOTES: 1B Greg Bird (bone bruise right ankle) was placed on the 10-day disabled list Tuesday and the Yankees said he will be shut down for 7-to-10 days without any baseball activities. ... The Yankees recalled IF/OF Rob Refsnyder and LHP Chasen Shreve from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre while optioning RHP Luis Cessa there. ... Toronto manager John Gibbons said the team might use a spot fifth starter in the second or third game of next week's home series against the Cleveland Indians. Gibbons also said he's "guessing and hoping" SS Troy Tulowitzki (strained hamstring) and 3B Josh Donaldson (strained right calf) would be ready to return by the next homestand. Along with LHP J.A. Happ (left elbow inflammation), they are rehabbing at the team's minor league complex in Dunedin, Fla. ... New York C Gary Sanchez (biceps) went 2-for-4 with a home run and an RBI double in his first rehab game with Scranton/Wilkes Barre.

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