TORONTO — There was no chest-thumping as the Yankees arrived at Rogers Centre on Monday, carrying the Majors’ longest winning streak in their back pockets. The Blue Jays present too much of a challenge, a battle for the top spot in the American League East that figures to continue all season long.
But they should strut a little now. This latest round went to the visitors: Gleyber Torres capped a three-RBI performance by knocking in Tim Locastro with the go-ahead run in the ninth inning, helping the Yankees celebrate their 10th consecutive victory with a 3-2 win over the Blue Jays in Toronto.
“It’s special,” Torres said. “Every time when I do my little things and help my team to win, that is great to me. I just grab every opportunity I have and try to do the best I can for the team.”
It has already been an eventful season for Torres, sometimes the odd man out in a crowded infield mix and still working to raise his numbers after a slow start. The infielder continues to show promising signs of late; Torres slugged a two-run homer in the fourth inning that — just like the deciding hit — traveled to the opposite field.
“This was a really good win against a really good team,” manager Aaron Boone said. “In that spot right there, that’s when Gleyber is at his best.”
Torres’ ninth-inning knock was delivered off Yimi Garcia, coming after Locastro entered to pinch-run for Giancarlo Stanton. Most of the crowd in Rogers Centre (at least, those not tuned to the NHL playoff game taking place up the street) should have anticipated that Locastro’s mission was to steal second base.
The Blue Jays certainly did, yet they were unable to stop Locastro, who successfully moved into scoring position by breaking on García’s fourth pitch to Josh Donaldson.
“It’s fun, but I’m not in that situation without Giancarlo getting a hit and then Gleyber getting another hit, and our pitching staff keeping us in every single game,” Locastro said. “It’s a total team effort, and team wins throughout this whole stretch.”
Locastro is correct in that win No. 10 marked another example of how this Yankees club has rattled off victories in different ways — following a high-octane homestand in which they mostly outslugged the Guardians and Orioles, the Yanks tried their hands at some small ball during a weekend polishing of the Royals in Kansas City. That proved to be good practice for their arrival in Toronto.
“Here in May, we’re trying to rack up as many wins as we can,” Boone said. “Any time you play well and you’re playing an intradivision game, it counts a little bit more — especially with a team that you think you might be competing against for something more. These are doubly important.”
Though left-hander Jordan Montgomery received some long-awaited run support, he had to settle for his fourth no-decision of the year. Bo Bichette and Matt Chapman stroked run-scoring hits in the fourth inning off Montgomery, who worked five-plus innings, scattering six hits.
“I think this was probably the best my stuff has been in a really long time,” said Montgomery, who walked none and struck out five, tossing only 65 pitches. “It’s kind of unfortunate that they got a lot of soft-contact hits, but they’re good hitters. To get them out, I need to make a little bit better of a pitch.”
The highlight of Montgomery’s effort came when Stanton made a tremendous leaping catch against the right-field wall in the second inning, robbing Chapman of an extra-base hit.
“Off the bat, I was like, ‘I can’t let him barrel it up like that,’” Montgomery said. “I thought for sure it was a homer, and then Stanton pulled it back. It was a really good play.”
The Yankees have won 17 of 23 games for the eighth time in franchise history; the club won the World Series in five of the previous seven occasions (1928, ’32, ’39, ’58 and ’98).
“We’re happy; we’re on the same page right now,” Torres said. “Mentality-wise, it’s just, continue to do that and continue to win the most games possible.”
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