Yankees takeaways from Thursday’s 4-2 win over Blue Jays, including a quality start from Nestor Cortes

May 18, 2023; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; New York Yankees starting pitcher Nestor Cortes (65) throws a pitch against the Toronto Blue Jays during the first inning at Rogers Centre.
May 18, 2023; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; New York Yankees starting pitcher Nestor Cortes (65) throws a pitch against the Toronto Blue Jays during the first inning at Rogers Centre. / Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

Nestor Cortes had a quality start and the Yankees‘ got just enough offense to beat the Blue Jays, 4-2, and win the four-game series.


Aaron Judge continued to mash against the Jays on Thursday night, hitting a two-run shot after a Gleyber Torres leadoff single in the first inning to get the Yankees on the board, 2-0. It was Judge’s 32nd career home run (102 career games) against Toronto, the most by any Yankee. He surpassed Jorge Posada who hit 31 homers in 186 career games against Toronto. It’s also Judge’s fourth home run in his last four games.

Leading off the sixth inning, Judge launched one to center field again, but this time it was near the high part of the wall in right-center. It hit the top of the wall and came back in with Judge on second. The umpires gathered and called it a home run. The Jays would challenge and it was overturned. Judge would be stranded on second. He finished the game, 2-for-4.

-Cortes had a rough start to the game. He gave up a solo shot to Bo Bichette after the Yankees had given him a two-run lead to start the evening. Matt Chapman almost followed suit with a long fly out to right field that landed in the glove of Oswaldo Cabrera on the warning track.

Cortes would get through the Jays lineup twice with minimal damage, but after a walk to Whit Merrifield to lead of the seventh, Aaron Boone would relieve Nestor for Ryan Weber.

Cortes’ final line: 6+ IP (91 pitches/64 strikes), five hits, two runs, one walk and six strikeouts.

– Again, the bullpen was asked to put in some work. Weber came in for Cortes in the seventh and promptly gave up a single and a walk to load the bases with no one out. He would get Brandon Belt to fly out to Aaron Hicks, whose arm forced Merrifield to not go for home. Vladimir Guerrero Jr.– who missed Wednesday’s game with an injury — pinch-hit and got a sac fly to cut the Yankees lead to 3-2. George Springer lined out to end the threat.

Albert Abreu came on in the eighth and got a 1-2-3 inning with two strikeouts. Ron Marinaccio came on in the ninth to get the Jays in order to pick up his first save of the season.

Here’s how the bullpen broke down:

  • Weber: 1 IP, one hit, one walk

  • Abreu: 1 IP, two strikeouts

  • Marinaccio: 1 IP

-For the Jays, Jose Berrios was on the mound coming off two solid starts in a row. After giving up the Judge homer, the 28-year-old cruised until the seventh inning. He gave up a leadoff double to Cabrera — the second straight inning the Yanks got the leadoff man on — but Berrios was close to getting out of the jam, getting the next two batters out. But Hicks hit a 3-2 sinker into right field for a single to put the Yankees up, 3-1.

Thursday was Hicks’ first start since Monday and he went 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI. Anthony Volpe would tack on an insurance run in the ninth inning after hitting a solo shot over the left-field wall. It’s Volpe’s seventh home run of the season and is now second behind the Rangers’ Josh Jung (8 HRs) for most by a rookie this season.


What’s Next

The Yankees start a three-game series with the Reds on Friday night starting at 6:40 p.m. in Cincinnati.

Clarke Schmidt is scheduled to pitch against Ben Lively.

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