CINCINNATI — With the potential high for a hangover on Friday as they came off an intense four-game series with their division rival Blue Jays, the Yankees powered through.
If anything, their series opener against the Reds played back some hits from the series in Toronto: an Aaron Judge home run, an apparent sticky-stuff controversy and an offense that stayed on the attack.
In the end, though, it was enough for the Yankees to secure a 6-2 win over the Reds at Great American Ball Park.
Unbothered by a little more drama — though far less than what they experienced in four games north of the border — the Yankees (27-20) won for the ninth time in their past 12 games.
The controversy on Friday involved Clarke Schmidt, who cruised through four scoreless innings before getting held up by a foreign-substance check before he got to the mound for the bottom of the fifth.
Third-base umpire Nestor Ceja appeared to take issue with something on Schmidt’s left hand, and after the rest of the umpires convened to pat it down, the right-hander jogged into the clubhouse, seemingly to wash his hands.
Schmidt returned to the field and was cleared by crew chief Brian O’Nora, much to the displeasure of Reds manager David Bell — who was eventually ejected after arguing.
Judge, who was the center of attention during the Blue Jays series, remained red-hot.
He went deep on right-hander Ben Lively in the top of the first inning — 431 feet, to be exact — for his seventh home run in his past seven games.
Anthony Rizzo later joined Judge in the power department, crushing a two-run homer 424 feet to give the Yankees a 3-0 lead in the sixth inning.
But Schmidt and Jimmy Cordero gave those runs back in the bottom of the inning.
Schmidt gave up back-to-back hits to begin the frame, at which point manager Aaron Boone went to the bullpen.
Cordero entered and immediately gave up a two-run double to Jake Fraley that cut the Yankees’ lead to 3-2.
A stolen base and a walk later, the Reds had runners on the corners with no outs.
But Cordero was able to wiggle out of the jam, retiring the next three batters in order on a groundout and two strikeouts looking to keep the lead.
After Albert Abreu worked a scoreless eighth inning, the Yankees got some breathing room in the ninth with a two-run double from Kyle Higashioka and an RBI single from Harrison Bader.
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