TORONTO — As Blue Jays reliever Max Castillo closed out Toronto’s win over the visiting Tampa Bay Rays, thousands of fans at Rogers Centre started singing “O Canada.”
The spontaneous patriotic gesture moved Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo, who was relieved that his team cruised past Tampa 9-2 on Friday in the Blue Jays’ first home game on Canada Day since 2019.
Canada’s only Major League Baseball franchise played in Dunedin, Fla., and Buffalo, N.Y., for most of the 2020 and 2021 seasons due to COVID-19 regulations.
“This is one of those things that reminds you how great is to play for Canada,” said Montoyo. “To play for a country is awesome.”
Bo Bichette, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Alejandro Kirk hit three consecutive doubles in a five-run third inning as the Blue Jays (44-33) slashed a total of five doubles in the game.
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. belted a solo home run in the seventh and George Springer batted two runs in with a single in the sixth.
Cavan Biggio, who played for the Jays in the 2019 Canada Day game, said Friday’s sold-out crowd of 49,445 was a reflection of how far the Blue Jays have come in the past three years.
“In 2020 and 2021 we definitely missed this place,” said Biggio, who reached base four times and scored twice in the win.
“Being finally back and experiencing that energy that we’ve all been looking forward to on a nightly basis is special, to say the least”
Rogers Centre was decked out for Canada Day, with red and white bunting hanging from the second deck and all scoreboards in national colours.
The first 15,000 fans through the gates received free red Blue Jays jerseys with Springer’s name on the back, which added to the stadium’s celebratory feel.
José Berríos (6-4) allowed two runs on eight hits and two walks over five innings. He had three strikeouts.
Trent Thornton, Sergio Romo, Max Castillo came on in relief for the Blue Jays.
Berríos pitched in Toronto on Canada Day for the first time in his career. He was touched by the crowd’s energy.
“I’ve been hearing about this day a lot but being here, to get the opportunity to pitch this day, it was a little bit emotional,” he said.
Designated hitter Harold Ramirez had an RBI double as Tampa Bay (40-36) dropped its fourth game in a row.
Corey Kluber (3-5) lasted only three innings, giving up five runs on seven hits and two walks.
Phoenix Sanders and David McKay, who gave up four runs, came out of the Rays’ bullpen. Right-fielder Brett Phillips pitched Tampa’s final frame.
The Rays opened the scoring in the second inning when catcher René Pinto grounded out, but gave Ramirez time to score.
Bichette came to the plate in the third inning with the bases loaded and banged a double off the right-field wall to score Gurriel and Biggio.
On the next pitch, Guerrero doubled down the left-field line to bring in Springer and Bichette.
Guerrero’s double brought Kirk up to the plate with fans chanting “M-V-P” for the top vote-getter among American League catchers in all-star balloting.
His hit also went down the left-field line to cash in Guerrero for a 5-1 lead.
“Our pitching gives us a chance and our offence is going to go, even against a pitcher like Kluber,” said Montoyo.
“That’s exactly what happened. Berríos kept us in the game and then the offence got going.”
Ramirez chipped away at Toronto’s lead in the fifth, doubling to deep left-centre field to give Kevin Kiermaier enough time to score from first base.
Springer tacked on more runs for the Blue Jays in the sixth inning when his hit eluded Rays third baseman Yandy Diaz and dropped for a single.
That scored Gurriel and Santiago Espinal for a 7-2 lead.
Guerrero’s groundout brought home Biggio from third for the Toronto first baseman’s third RBI of the game.
Gurriel came to the plate in the eighth inning with two outs and no one on.
He took McKay’s 79.4 m.p.h. curveball to left-centre field for the game’s final score.
MARTIN HONOURED — Former Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin threw out the opening pitch. Born in Toronto and raised in Montreal, Martin earned four all-star appearances over his 14 years in Major League Baseball. He played four seasons with the Blue Jays, including the team’s post-season runs in 2015 and 2016.
UP NEXT — Kevin Gausman (6-6) will take the mound for Toronto in Saturday afternoon’s first game of a doubleheader with Tampa Bay. Shane McClanahan will get the start for the Rays.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 1, 2022.
John Chidley-Hill, The Canadian Press
Yankees star Judge hits 62nd homer to break Maris’ AL record
By Stephen Hawkins in Arlington
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Aaron Judge took a smooth, mighty swing, then broke into a big smile as he trotted around the bases. Heading home, his teammates backed away, letting him touch the plate alone.
At last, the New York Yankees slugger had the American League home run record all to himself.
Judge hit his 62nd home run of the season Tuesday night, breaking Roger Maris’ AL record and setting what some fans consider baseball’s “clean” standard.
“It’s a big relief,” Judge said. “Everybody can finally sit down in their seats and watch the ballgame. It’s been a fun ride so far, getting a chance to do this. … Getting a chance to have your name next to someone as great as Roger Maris and Babe Ruth and those guys is incredible.”
Judge said he felt “quite a few emotions” after connecting, thinking about his family and fans and supporters. He said it would probably be after the season until he’d truly soak in and appreciate the significance of his achievement.
“In my book, it’s just another day,” the stoic Judge said.
After slamming his helmet in a rare show of frustration when he went without a homer in the first game of the doubleheader against the Rangers in Texas, Judge hit the third pitch of the nightcap into the first row of seats in left field.
That trip around the bases after a long chase was certainly a mixture of pure joy and relief for No. 99, whose only homer in the previous 13 games had been when he tied Maris’ 61 last Wednesday in Toronto.
Judge did it just in time, too, homering on the next-to-last day of the regular season.
Barry Bonds holds the major league record of 73 home runs, set with the San Francisco Giants in 2001.
Judge’s milestone ball was caught by Cory Youmans of Dallas, who was sitting in Section 31. When asked what he was going to do with the ball while being taken away with security to have the ball authenticated, Youmans responded, “Good question. I haven’t thought about it.”
Asked after the 3-2 loss if he’d gotten the ball, Judge said, “not yet.”
“I don’t know where it’s at. It’d be great to get it back,” he said.
Judge also praised the fan for making a “great catch” and said the man had every right to keep the prized souvenir.
Another fan was escorted away after leaping over the rail into a gap between the seats and the left-field wall. The crowd of 38,832 was Texas’ third sellout of the season.
Almost as soon as Judge connected on a 1-1 slider from right-hander Jesús Tinoco, his Yankees teammates streamed out of the dugout to celebrate with him. But they stayed away from home plate — leaving him to step on it before sharing hugs and high-fives.
“You never know how you’re going to react in the moment. And it was just so, so very cool,” manager Aaron Boone said.
Gerrit Cole, who set a Yankees single-season strikeout record in the same game, said he didn’t know if Judge was pressing as of late, but chuckled when saying everybody else on the team was.
“Just wanted it to happen so bad,” Cole said. “So I don’t know if that’s pressing, or it’s just hoping hard. We were all just hoping really hard I think … He’s not trying to get the record for himself. He’s trying to get the record for his teammates, and for the Yankee fans.”
New York wound up losing the second game after winning the opener 5-4. With one game left in the regular season, the split left the Yankees with a fitting 99-62 record — Judge’s number and his home run total.
Judge’s mother and father were in the stands to see the 30-year-old outfielder end a five-game homerless streak, including the earlier game Tuesday when he was 1 for 5 with a single.
The Maris family wasn’t in Texas after following Judge around for a while, but Roger Maris Jr. tweeted, “Congratulations to Aaron Judge and his family on Aaron’s historic home run number 62! It has definitely been a baseball season to remember. You are all class and someone who should be revered. For the MAJORITY of the fans, we can now celebrate a new CLEAN HOME RUN KING!!”
When the top of the first ended, and Judge went to take his place in right field, he carried the glove and cap of first baseman DJ LeMahieu, who patted him on the back.
The fans in right field cheered Judge loudly while he warmed up by tossing a ball back and forth with center fielder Harrison Bader. Judge then provided another souvenir ball when he tossing the one he had warmed up with several rows deep.
Judge, eligible to become a free agent after this season, struck out on a full-count pitch when batting again in the second.
He took his spot right field in the bottom of the inning before Boone pulled him from the game. Oswaldo Cabrera, who had been at second base, moved to right field and the slugger got another loud ovation as he jogged back to the Yankees dugout on the third base side.
Reaction quickly came from far beyond the ballpark.
“History made, more history to make,” President Joe Biden posted on Twitter.
Tweeted former Yankees star Derek Jeter: “Congrats @TheJudge44 on 62! Postseason next!!!”
Former President Bill Clinton also tweeted congratulations, as did former MLB players like Paul O’Neill, Dwight Gooden, Dave Winfield and Ryan Howard.
Maris’ 61 for the Yankees had been exceeded six times previously, but all were tainted by the stench of steroids. Along with Bonds’ record, Mark McGwire hit 70 for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1998 and 65 the following year. Sammy Sosa had 66, 65 and 63 for the Chicago Cubs during a four-season span starting in 1998.
McGwire admitted using banned steroids, while Bonds and Sosa denied knowingly using performing-enhancing drugs. Major League Baseball started testing with penalties for PEDs in 2004, and some fans — perhaps many — until now have considered Maris as holder of the legitimate record.
A Ruthian figure with a smile as outsized as his body, the 6-foot-7 Judge has rocked the major leagues with a series of deep drives that hearken to the sepia tone movie reels of his legendary pinstriped predecessors.
The doubleheader nightcap in Texas was his 55th game in row Judge had played since Aug. 5.
Boone initially said Judge earned himself a day off Wednesday, but then said he would speak with the slugger who had already said he hoped to play in the regular season finale, before the AL East champion Yankees have five days until the AL Division Series.
“We’ll have a conversation and see what makes the most sense,” Boone said. “And I’ll try and lead him in a certain direction, maybe he’ll lead me back in the other direction.”
Judge had gone 3 for 17 with five walks and a hit by pitch since moving past the 60 home runs Babe Ruth hit in 1927, which had stood as the major league record for 34 years. Maris hit his 61st off Boston’s Tracy Stallard at old Yankee Stadium on Oct. 1, 1961.
Judge likely will come up short of becoming the first AL Triple Crown winner since Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera in 2012. He leads the AL with 131 RBIs and goes into the final day of the regular season trailing Minnesota’s Luis Arraez, who was hitting .315. Judge was at .311, right where he had started the day.
Judge’s accomplishment will cause endless debate.
“To me, the holder of the record for home runs in a season is Roger Maris,” author George Will said earlier this month. “There’s no hint of suspicion that we’re seeing better baseball than better chemistry in the case of Judge. He’s clean. He’s not doing something that forces other players to jeopardize their health.”
AP Baseball Writer Ronald Blum contributed to this report.
More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
Home run hands! Dallas fan catches Judge’s 62nd homer on fly
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — As he walked through a concourse in the outfield at Globe Life Field, high-fiving with fans and surrounded by a sea of cameras, it was almost as if Cory Youmans had hit a huge home run.
Instead, he hit the jackpot.
Youmans made the catch of a lifetime Tuesday night, snagging the ball New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge launched for his American League-record 62nd homer.
The historic souvenir came sailing into the front row of section 31 in left field, a drive Judge hit to lead off the second game of a day-night doubleheader against the Texas Rangers. Youmans snared it on the fly.
Youmans, from Dallas, works in the financial world and there’s no telling yet what the ball could be worth. With security personnel around him as he took the ball to be authenticated, he was asked what he planned to do with the prize.
“Good question. I haven’t thought about it,” he said.
After the Yankees lost 3-2, Judge said he didn’t have possession of the home-run ball.
“I don’t know where it’s at,” he said. “We’ll see what happens with that. It would be great to get it back, but that’s a souvenir for a fan. He made a great catch out there, and they’ve got every right to it.”
Soon after a local TV station posted a brief interview with Youmans in a walkway, Bri Amaranthus tweeted: “THIS IS MY HUSBAND.”
Amaranthus works in local media and identifies herself in her Twitter bio as an alum of ABC’s “The Bachelor.”
Youmans was among the crowd of 38,832, the largest to watch a baseball game at the 3-year-old ballpark.
Many fans came clad in Yankees caps, T-shirts and pinstripe jerseys.
Some came to watch Judge make history. Some came just for the history. Some traveled a long way.
The latter two categories included Jimmy Bennicaso of Norwalk, Connecticut.
“I’m a Met fan, actually,” Bennicaso confessed. “Cowboy and Met fan – a rough combo.”
Bennicaso was home in Connecticut on Monday night having watched Judge fail to homer in the first of four games against the Rangers in three days. He ran an idea past his girlfriend — what if he headed to Texas to take in Judge’s chase in person?
“She said, ‘Yeah, go for it,'” he said.
Bennicaso caught a morning flight to Texas. Being self-employed in real estate investments helped, he said.
Bennicaso stationed himself in the lower deck of the right-field stands in hopes of grabbing an opposite-field homer, certainly a possibility given Judge’s spray chart.
Instead, Judge pulled a home run that broke the AL record set by Roger Maris in 1961.
Empty-handed, Bennicaso planned to return home Wednesday morning.
“It was worth it,” he said. “I gave it my best shot.”
More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
National awards for two teachers from Glendale Sciences and Technology School
Community Better Celebration October 15th, 2022
Nobel season is here: 5 things to know about the prizes
WHL Roundup: Rebels continue hot roll by pouncing on Pats
Community2 days ago
Community Better Celebration October 15th, 2022
Sports2 days ago
Blue Jays earn top wild card, beat Os 5-1 as Guerrero homers
International2 days ago
3 physicists share Nobel Prize for work on quantum science
Community1 day ago
Take the Family Friendly Challenge to help your kids grow up great!
Alberta1 day ago
Former head of Alberta Human Rights Commission suing justice minister over dismissal
Opinion13 hours ago
Reminder to the Mayor and City Council; 97,216 residents do not live downtown.
conflict2 days ago
Musk’s plan to end Russian war infuriates Ukraine on Twitter
National22 hours ago
MPs call for tight federal restriction on use of facial recognition technology