Anthony Rizzo delivers the Yankees’ knockout blow again

TORONTO – On Thursday night, Anthony Rizzo homerated to end the match.

On Friday night, he did practically the same thing – in the fifth round.

Rizzo broke a grand slam to end an eight-run frame as the Yankees ran away with a 12-3 victory over the Blue Jays in the series opener at Rogers Center.

After his walk-off homer on Thursday gave the Yankees a 2-1 win over the Rays, Rizzo left no doubt with his round-tripper against the Blue Jays, hitting it an estimated 435 feet to the front over the second deck of the right field. It gave the Yankees a 10-1 lead in the fifth inning, all but putting their eighth straight victory on ice.

“It’s a kind of knockout blow right there,” said manager Aaron Boone.

It was Rizzo’s sixth home run in his last 13 games as he continued to mash the ball in June. He teased nine home runs in his first 20 games, then beat only two in the next 30 games before his last hot series.

Anthony Rizzo celebrates in the Yankees’ dugout after his grand slam.
Getty pictures

Rizzo, who went 2-for-3 with a hit from pitch and walk at night, has also hit the ball well lately, even when he is not humming. During his last 14 fights, he hits .291 (16-for-55) with .989 OPS and 18 RBI.

“Only high tide of the season,” said Rizzo, who is also 8-for-14 with runners in scoring position during that stretch. “Just working through cracks and always trying to find the right position to be in. … When I get hit by the lanes, I feel like it really locks me in more, just keeping me on the ball.”

True enough, Rizzo was hit by a pitch on the left thigh to lead the decisive fifth inning on Friday.

Later in the frame, the Blue Jays intentionally walked away Aaron Judge to load the bases with one out for Josh Donaldson, who struck out. But Rizzo did not let them off the hook, wiping out a hanging basket ball from Trevor Richards for his sixth career grand slam and the Yankees’ third home run of the inning.

Anthony Rizzo
Anthony Rizzo delivered an emphatic homer for the second night in a row.
AP

“The bases are loaded, they go Judgey and just to get through there – our MVP gets trampled, we all just want them to pay, at all times, when someone is trampled on on purpose,” Rizzo said. “But the year [Judge] has, we just always want his back. Grand Slam is the best way you can do that.

After seeing Rizzo quarrel in May with a .167 / .268 / .313 slash, Boone is happy to have him back on track.

“It’s been good because he painted there that month,” Boone said. “He still had some big fights, but he painted his way through it. It’s nice to see him, over the last week or 10 days, really start to – the quality of his contact is getting really good now. “