Giancarlo Stanton grand slam helps power Yankees past Blue Jays for series win

NEW YORK — With the Yankees in Arizona and Giancarlo Stanton leading the American League in strikeouts, Aaron Boone insisted that the former MVP still had the physical tools necessary to produce.

“The life is there,” the manager said last week. “The juice is there. It’s just a matter of getting him going. And even when G is at his very best, sometimes the outs aren’t always the prettiest. But as long as he’s healthy and firing, I feel like the bat speed and everything’s where it needs to be. It’s just about getting on time.”

Those comments and others defending Stanton drew some ridicule, as the slugger slashed .202/.286/.442 with a league-average 100 OPS+ from 2022-2023 while being hindered by lower-body injuries. The 34-year-old reshaped his physique over the offseason in an effort to stay healthy, but his strikeout-heavy start to the season discouraged viewers.

Then came Stanton’s 3-for-4 performance in Saturday’s win over the Blue Jays, which featured the 500th hit of his Yankees career and a solo homer.

That dinger, a right-field porch shot, was nothing compared to the missile that Stanton launched in Sunday’s 8-3, series-clinching win over Toronto.

With the bases loaded and the game tied at one in the third, Stanton drilled a Bowden Francis fastball into the Poland Spring sign that hangs from Yankee Stadium’s second deck in left field. The designated hitter watched as the ball traveled 417 feet at 110.6 mph before rounding the bases and faking a handoff as he passed third.

As Stanton neared home plate, Aaron Judge flashed a wide smile and shook his head in approval while the crowd cheered.

Stanton ended up going 1 for 4 with two strikeouts. Prior to his blast, the Yankees scored their first run when Anthony Rizzo drew a walk with the bases full. The Blue Jays did the same in the top of the frame.

Aided by Stanton’s slam, Luis Gil enjoyed another solid start. While a high pitch count and four walks cut his day short, the fire-balling righty allowed two earned runs while working around Blue Jays baserunners (and home plate umpire Angel Hernandez).

Gil totaled 4 1/3 innings, two hits, two earned runs, eight strikeouts and 95 pitches.

Gil’s second run came from a Bo Bichette double, which Jake Cousins served up with a man on second.

The Jays scored again in the sixth on a Vladimir Guerrero Jr. groundout. However, the Yankees plated another run in the bottom of the inning when Anthony Volpe scored on a wild pitch. Then, in the eighth, Volpe swiped two bags before Oswaldo Cabrera singled him home.

Juan Soto ended the scoring with a line drive sac fly.

Fresh off another series win, Stanton and the Yankees will host his former team, the lowly Marlins, on Monday. Nestor Cortes will square off against Jesús Luzardo.