Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton homer as Yankees nip Blue Jays

A night that featured three homers, an early six-run lead and a late seven-run advantage sure seemed like a recipe for an easy Yankee victory.

But it turned into a nailbiter when the bullpen faltered and the Blue Jays ended up with the tying run on base in the top of the ninth.

Clay Holmes, though, struck out George Springer to end a 9-8 win at a chilly Yankee Stadium.

Aaron Judge belts a two-run homer in the first inning of the Yankees’ 9-8 win over the Blue Jays. Jason Szenes for the New York Post

Aaron Boone said the Yankees had to “hang on for dear life at the end” and Anthony Rizzo acknowledged that taking the series from Toronto will be a little bit more difficult after having to turn to Holmes for a save when it looked like the closer would get the night off.

Still, it was the power of Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton early, as well as Rizzo later, that gave the Yankees the cushion necessary to still hold on and improve to 7-2 on the season.

“It was good to kind of break through there on a cold night,” Boone said. “It was good to see us pile on. I hope it sparks us.”

“We needed every last one,’’ said Stanton, who had his first three-hit game in two years.

They have seven wins in their first nine games for just the second time since 2004.

Even with the early offense, the game came down to Ian Hamilton faltering in the ninth.

The right-hander allowed three runs in the top of the ninth, knocked out by Davis Schneider’s RBI double.

Holmes came on to give up a run-scoring groundout by Alejandro Kirk and an RBI single to Cavan Biggio that made it a one-run game before the whiff of Springer finally ended it.

Clay Holmes celebrates with Austin Wells after picking up the save in the Yankees’ one-run win. AP

The night started promisingly, as Judge and Stanton both went deep in the bottom of the first.

Rizzo also homered for the first time this year, as the Yankees scored their most runs of the young season.

Facing right-hander Kevin Gausman, whose velocity was down throughout his short outing, the Yankees scored three runs in the first and the second after the lineup was blanked for the second time of the season in Friday’s loss.

After Juan Soto drew a one-out walk in the bottom of the first — reaching base for the first of four times on the night — Judge followed with a 425-foot blast into the visitor’s bullpen in left-center.

Stanton, with one out, sent one out to right field for his second home run.

Giancarlo Stanton belts a solo homer in the first inning of the Yankees’ victory. Jason Szenes for the New York Post

For Stanton, it broke an 0-for-11 skid. He had been just 3-for-24 on the season.

Anthony Volpe opened the bottom of the second by reaching on a catcher’s interference and then stole second.

Austin Wells walked and Cabrera singled to load the bases.

A Gleyber Torres sacrifice fly scored Volpe and sent Wells to third.

Wells scored on a passed ball before Soto’s single to right drove in Cabrera to make it 6-0 and end Gausman’s miserable evening.

Aaron Judge (right) celebrates with Anthony Rizzo after belting a two-run homer in the first inning of the Yankees’ win. Noah K. Murray / NY Post

Clarke Schmidt gave up two runs in 4 ¹/₃ innings, removed with one on and one out in the fifth, having thrown 91 pitches.

He was replaced by Luke Weaver, who faltered in the seventh, when he allowed three runs before Victor Gonzalez entered and got the final two outs of the inning.

Hamilton finished the eighth, but got into trouble in the ninth, when Justin Turner and Daniel Vogelbach reached base to start the inning.

But the Blue Jays left the slow-footed Vogelbach in the game and he was forced out at second, which helped the Yankees escape.

Regardless of how messy it was at the end, the Yankees will take it.

“It doesn’t always go according to plan,’’ Boone said. “But shaking hands [after a win] sure solves a lot.”


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