By LARRY FLEISHER, Associated Press
NEW YORK (AP) — Yankees ace Gerrit Cole twice banged on the dugout roof, shouting in frustration and getting booed as scuffling New York lost for the 15th time in 19 games, beaten by the Toronto Blue Jays 5-2 Saturday.
The AL East-leading Yankees fell to 9-20 since entering the All-Star break with a 64-28 record. After holding a 15 1/2-game bulge on July 8, their margin over second-place Toronto is down to seven games.
The Yankees have lost six straight series for the first time since 1995, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Toronto will try for a four-game sweep on Sunday.
Cole (9-6) hadn’t allowed a hit before the Blue Jays scored four times in the fifth. After he issued a walk and misplayed a grounder, Alejandro Kirk capped the burst with a two-run double that left fielder Andrew Benintendi couldn’t quite catch.
When the inning ended, fans booed Cole and television cameras picked up the right-hander, yelling, and punching the bottom of the dugout roof with both hands.
The reaction from portions of the crowd of 45, 538 were similar to Cole with boos increasing after Toronto went ahead and intensifying after the final out.
Jackie Bradley hit a two-run, go-ahead double down the left-field line, the ball bouncing off the wall and past Benintendi when he tried to field the carom. Bradley delivered after Santiago Espinal got Toronto’s first hit, a double two pitches after missing on a close two-strike pitch.
Raimel Tapia reached on an infield hit by beating shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa’s throw and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. reached when Cole slightly slipped in front of the mound fielding the ball. Cole’s misstep allowed Guerrero to beat the throw and the original call was overturned when Toronto challenged.
Kirk then gave the Blue Jays a 4-1 lead when he lined a double to left-center. Benintendi was playing slightly in, raced back, attempted a diving catch and the ball eluded his glove before center fielder Estevan Florial fielded it and threw out Guerrero to prevent a third run from scoring.
Matt Chapman added a solo homer in the ninth as the Blue Jays won their fourth straight. Toronto is 13-6 in the Bronx since the start of last season.
Florial hit an RBI single in the second and Gleyber Torres homered in the eighth as the Yankees got nine hits but went 1 for 8 with runners in scoring position. New York has managed just 21 runs in its last 11 games.
Before allowing four runs, Cole allowed two baserunners through the first four and was aided by defensive plays from Aaron Judge in right and rookie third baseman Oswaldo Cabrera.
Judge made a running catch to prevent a double by Bo Bichette in the second with his left shoulder crashing into the fence. Cabrera dove face first into the tarp in foul territory to snag Bradley’s popup and completed the play after his head hit the padding along the side wall.
Toronto starter Mitch White allowed one run and seven hits in four innings. Adam Cimber (9-4) was awarded the win and Yimi García got his first save.
Blue Jays: OF/DH George Springer didn’t play for the second straight game after fouling a ball off his knee while going 5 for 5 in Thursday. Springer was available as a pinch-hitter and hopes to play Sunday. … RF Teoscar Hernández was lifted after fouling a ball off his foot in the eighth.
Yankees OF/DH Giancarlo Stanton (left Achilles tendinitis) was expected to get three to five at-bats in two rehab games for Double-A Somerset on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon. Stanton could return as the DH as soon as Tuesday after facing RHP Luis Severino (right lat strain) in live batting practice. … 3B Josh Donaldson (stomach bug) was a late scratch from the lineup. … RHP Clay Holmes (back) played catch for the first time since going on the IL Wednesday and said he is feeling better. … Severino threw 25 pitches in a bullpen session after throwing 30 pitches Thursday.
Toronto RHP Alek Manoah (12-6, 2.71 ERA) opposes New York LHP Nestor Cortes (9-4, 2.74) on Sunday. It will be a special day at Yankee Stadium when former star outfielder and current team announcer Paul O’Neill has his number retired during an on-field ceremony.
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