Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton homer early as Blue Jays’ Kevin Gausman can’t stop bleeding vs. Yankees

NEW YORK — Juan Soto walked so that Aaron Judge could jog.

That was how the Yankees scored their first two runs in a 9-8 win over the Blue Jays on Saturday night, as Soto shuffled his way to a free pass before Judge launched his second home run of the season. The 425-foot blast to left served as the opening act for Kevin Gausman’s forgettable performance.

Giancarlo Stanton then took Gausman just over the right-field fence for a solo home run. After a replay review, the porch shot gave the Yankees a 3-0 lead.

Stanton has gotten off to a poor, strikeout-heavy start. However, he went 3 for 4 on Saturday and picked up his 500th hit as a Yankee.

The Bombers doubled their lead in the third, as Anthony Volpe reached on catcher interference to start the inning. Austin Wells walked and Oswaldo Cabrera singled before a Gleyber Torres sacrifice fly made it 4-0. Wells proceeded to score on a passed ball before an RBI single from Soto knocked Gausman out of the game.

Gausman’s velocity was significantly down during Saturday’s chilly start. His four-seam fastball, splitter and slider were 3.3-5.7 mph down from his first outing.

Lacking his best stuff, the 2023 Cy Young finalist totaled just 1 1/3 innings, four hits, six runs (five earned), two walks, zero strikeouts and 51 pitches.

The Yankees added another homer in the fifth when Anthony Rizzo doinked a two-run shot off the right-field foul pole for his first home run of the year. Toronto’s Mitch White gave it up.

Soto added an RBI single in the sixth.

While Gausman hit the showers early, Clarke Schmidt lasted 4 1/3 innings in his second game of 2024. The righty held Toronto to two earned runs, but three walks contributed to a high pitch count.

Schmidt tallied six hits, four strikeouts and 91 pitches.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. tagged the Yankees’ Luke Weaver for a solo homer in the seventh. Daniel Vogelbach then picked up an RBI double before an Ernie Clement sacrifice fly gave the Jays a fifth run. Toronto scored again in the ninth on a Davis Schneider double, a groundout and Cavan Biggio single, but their comeback came up a run short.

With the series knotted up, the Yankees and Blue Jays will play a rubber match on Sunday afternoon.

Luis Gil will take the ball for the Yankees. The righty is fresh off his first major league start since 2022. Gil looked electric against the Diamondbacks in that April 1 start in Arizona, striking out six and permitting one earned run while regularly pumping high-90s heat over 4 2/3 innings.

Bowden Francis will start for Toronto. The right-hander got knocked around in his first start against the Astros on April 1, allowing seven earned runs over 5 1/3 innings.