Alejandro Kirk hit a two-run double off Gerrit Cole to highlight a four-run fifth inning as the visiting Toronto Blue Jays beat the slumping New York Yankees 5-2 on Saturday afternoon.
The Blue Jays won their fourth straight and moved within seven games of the first-place Yankees in the American League East. It is the closest they have been to first place since also being seven out on June 8.
New York is 3-14 in its past 17 games and 12-25 since holding a 15 1/2-game lead on July 8. The Yankees also have been held to three runs or fewer 13 times in the past 16 contests.
Jackie Bradley Jr. hit a go-ahead two-run double after Santiago Espinal’s double gave Toronto its first hit off Cole (9-6).
After Andrew Benintendi could not coral the hit by Bradley, the left fielder struggled to get Kirk’s double.
Kirk hit a line drive to left-center field and Benintendi ran back to attempt a diving catch. The ball skipped past him to center fielder Estevan Florial, who was backing up the play and allowed Bradley and Raimel Tapia to score for a 4-1 lead.
Florial prevented a fifth run from scoring when he threw out Vladimir Guerrero Jr. trying to score from first base. Guerrero reached on an infield hit when Cole slightly slipped in front of the mound and was ruled safe when the Blue Jays challenged the original call.
Matt Chapman added a solo homer as Toronto won for the 13th time in 19 games in New York since the start of last season.
Florial hit an RBI single in the second and Gleyber Torres opened the eighth with his 18th homer.
Cole allowed four runs on five hits in six innings to fall to 0-3 in six starts since the All-Star break. He struck out five, walked two and was aided by defensive plays from right fielder Aaron Judge and rookie third baseman Oswaldo Cabrera in the first four innings.
After the fifth ended, Cole heard boos walking off the mound. Television cameras then picked up Cole punching the dugout roof with both hands while yelling in frustration.
Toronto’s Mitch White allowed one run and seven hits in four innings. Adam Cimber (9-4) was awarded the win after striking out two batters in one inning, and Yimi Garcia worked the ninth to secure his first save.
–Field Level Media