Chapman, Bradley go deep, Blue Jays outslug Phillies 18-11

Toronto Blue Jays v Philadelphia Phillies
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PHILADELPHIA – Toronto interim manager John Schneider walked out of the clubhouse after his team scored in all but one inning and – this was almost as big as its 10 extra-base hits – had fans inside Philadelphia’s ballpark chanting “Let’s go, Blue Jays!” and simply deadpanned: “Pitchers’ duel.”

Not quite.

Matt Chapman hit a three-run homer in the first inning, Jackie Bradley Jr. added a three-run shot in the ninth and the Blue Jays used 21 hits to rough up the Phillies 18-11 on Tuesday night in a matchup of teams headed in opposite directions as they play for wild-card berths.

The Blue Jays are in better shape, not only as winners of five of seven games, but with a firm grip on the top wild-card spot in the American League. The Phillies, who suffered a three-game weekend sweep at Atlanta, lost their fifth straight game.

Philadelphia kept a 2 1/2-game lead (plus the tiebreaker) over the Milwaukee Brewers for the final National League wild-card spot. The Mets beat the Brewers 7-5.

Kyle Schwarber hit his NL-best 40th homer of the season for the Phillies in the eighth, a three-run shot that made it 14-10. He became the first Phillies slugger to hit 40 since Ryan Howard did it from 2006-2009.

J.T. Realmuto hit his 20th homer and went 5 for 5 for the Phillies, driving in two runs and scoring twice.

Raimel Tapia and Danney Jansen each had three RBIs for the Blue Jays. Toronto scored in every inning but the fourth. Jansen, though, struck out against backup catcher-turned-reliever Garrett Stubbs in the ninth to chants of “Stubbs! Stubbs! Stubbs!”

The Phillies have 15 games left, including five more on this final homestand of the season. Toronto has 14 more to go and just opened a six-game road trip.

“You go through lulls in the season and this isn’t the greatest spot to go in, right?” 2021 NL MVP Bryce Harper said. “We lost but I think it’s a stepping stone into tomorrow and hopefully the offense can show up, defense can show up and pitching, as well. We’re going to need that down the stretch and into the postseason.”

Harper stuck an optimistic tone with his postseason talk. But they’re not going to get there – or last long if they do – with the way they played against the Blue Jays; the crucial mistakes in the middle innings, first when Harper was doubled up to end a rally in the fifth and then shortstop Bryson Stott‘s two-base error in the sixth that led to an unearned run.

Trailing 7-1 in the fifth, the Phillies broke though against Toronto starter Ross Stripling. Dalton Guthrie made it 7-2 on a solo shot for his first big league homer. Rhys Hoskins had a run-scoring double and Harper and Realmuto added consecutive RBI singles that made it 7-5.

Blue Jays reliever Zach Pop (3-0) helped them escape the inning when he retired Stott on a flyout to center and George Springer caught Harper at second to end the threat.

“We just have to get back to winning and if we keep playing the way we’re playing, we’re going to do that,” Phillies interim manager Rob Thomson said.

Stripling gave up nine hits and five runs in of four-plus innings, ending a streak of 16 straight starts of allowing three or less earned runs, one shy of tying the franchise mark.

“It wasn’t a good day to be a pitcher on either team, for sure,” Stripling said. “But we kind of showed our strength today which is the ability to pour it on at times. We really showed that off today.”

Kyle Gibson (10-7) couldn’t get it done and was left in to get battered around for seven runs and 12 hits over five innings. His trouble started early when Chapman’s 27th homer on a drive into the left field seats made it 3-0 in the first inning. The Blue Jays scored two in the second and tacked on single runs in the third and sixth to get the run-scoring rolling.

“You kind of knew it was one of those nights around the third or fourth inning,” Schneider said.

The Blue Jays fell shy of the 29 hits and 28 runs they scored against the Red Sox in July.

BATTER UP

The Blue Jays hit five leadoff doubles and seven overall. Toscar Hernandez had four hits and set a career high with 30 doubles. Vlad Guerrero Jr. extended his hitting streak to 13 games (.316 over that span).

TRAINER’S ROOM

Phillies CF Brandon Marsh left after the third inning with a left knee contusion after running into a wall trying to make a catch. Phillies OF Nick Castellanos could begin a rehab assignment this week as part of his return from a strained oblique. Castellanos has only 13 home runs and 61 RBIs in the first season of a $100 million, five-year contract.

UP NEXT

The Phillies send RHP Zack Wheeler (11-7, 3.07 ERA) to the mound against RHP Kevin Gausman (12-10, 3.45). Wheeler, the 2021 NL Cy Young Award runner-up, will make his first start since Aug. 20. He missed with five starts with right forearm tendinitis.

Yankees star Judge hits 61st home run, ties Maris’ AL record

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TORONTO — Aaron Judge tied Roger Maris’ American League record of 61 home runs in a season, hitting a tiebreaking, two-run drive for the New York Yankees in the seventh inning against the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday night.

The 30-year-old slugger drove a 94.5 mph belt-high sinker with a full-count from left-hander Tim Mayza over the left-field fence at Rogers Centre. The 117.4 mph drive took just 3.8 seconds to land 394 feet from the plate, and it put the Yankees ahead 5-3.

Judge watched the ball clank off the front of the stands, just below two fans who reached over a railing and tried for a catch. He pumped an arm just before reaching first and exchanged a slap with coach Travis Chapman.

The ball dropped into Toronto’s bullpen and was picked up by Blue Jays bullpen coach Matt Buschmann, who turned it over to the Yankees.

Judge’s mother and Roger Maris Jr. rose and hugged from front-row seats. He appeared to point toward them after rounding second base, then was congratulated by the entire Yankees team, who gave him hugs after he crossed the plate.

Judge moved past the 60 home runs Babe Ruth hit in 1927, which had stood as the major league mark until Maris broke it in 1961. All three stars reached those huge numbers playing for the Yankees.

Barry Bonds holds the big league record of 73 for the San Francisco Giants in 2001.

Judge had gone seven games without a home run – his longest drought this season was nine in mid-August. This was the Yankees’ 155th game of the season, leaving them seven more in the regular season.

The home run came in the fourth plate appearance of the night for Judge, ending a streak of 34 plate appearances without a home run.

Judge is hitting .313 with 130 RBIs, also the top totals in the AL. He has a chance to become the first AL Triple Crown winner since Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera in 2012.

Maris hit No. 61 for the Yankees on Oct. 1, 1961, against Boston Red Sox pitcher Tracy Stallard.

Maris’ mark has been exceeded six times, but all have been tainted by the stench of steroids. Mark McGwire hit 70 home runs for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1998 and 65 the following year, and Bonds topped him. Sammy Sosa had 66, 65 and 63 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 the holder of the “clean” record.

Among the tallest batters in major league history, the 6-foot-7 Judge burst on the scene on Aug. 13, 2016, homering off the railing above Yankee Stadium’s center-field sports bar and into the netting above Monument Park. He followed Tyler Austin to the plate and they become the first teammates to homer in their first major league at-bats in the same game.

Judge hit 52 homers with 114 RBIs the following year and was a unanimous winner of the AL Rookie of the Year award. Injuries limited him during the following three seasons, and he rebounded to hit 39 homers with 98 RBIs in 2021.

As he approached his last season before free agent eligibility, Judge on opening day turned down the Yankees’ offer of an eight-year contract worth from $230.5 million to $234.5 million. The proposal included an average of $30.5 million annually from 2023-29, with his salary this year to be either the $17 million offered by the team in arbitration or the $21 million requested by the player.

An agreement was reached in June on a $19 million, one-year deal, and Judge heads into this offseason likely to get a contract from the Yankees or another team for $300 million or more, perhaps topping $400 million.

Judge hit six homers in April, 12 in May and 11 in June. He earned his fourth All-Star selection and entered the break with 33 homers. He had 13 homers in July and dropped to nine in August, when injuries left him less protected in the batting order and pitchers walked him 25 times.

He became just the fifth player to hold a share of the AL season record. Nap Lajoie hit 14 in the AL’s first season as a major league in 1901, and Philadelphia Athletics teammate Socks Seabold had 16 the next year, a mark that stood until Babe Ruth hit 29 in 1919. Ruth set the record four times in all, with 54 in 1920, 59 in 1921 and 60 in 1927, a mark that stood until Maris’ 61 in 1961.

Maris was at 35 in July 1961 during the first season each team’s schedule increased from 154 games to 162, and baseball Commissioner Ford Frick ruled if anyone topped Ruth in more than 154 games “there would have to be some distinctive mark in the record books to show that Babe Ruth’s record was set under a 154-game schedule.”

That “distinctive mark” became known as an “asterisk” and it remained until Sept. 4, 1991, when a committee on statistical accuracy chaired by Commissioner Fay Vincent voted unanimously to recognize Maris as the record holder.