By LARRY FLEISHER, Associated Press
NEW YORK (AP) — The offensively challenged New York Yankees made a lot of noise on Saturday.
But not with their bats.
Ace Gerrit Cole hit the roof of the dugout twice, screaming in frustration and getting booed after a tough inning. After a 15th loss in 19 games, 5-2 against Toronto, manager Aaron Boone beat the podium with his right hand while talking about the difficulties of his team.
“We can ask all these questions regarding (our crisis) until we’re blue in the face,” Boone said. “We have to go out and do it. I have to stop answering questions about this date and this perplexity. We have to play better, period. And the big thing is right in front of us. It’s right here and we can fix it.”
“It’s there and we can run away with this stuff and we put the guys in there to do it and we have to do it,” he said.
The AL East-leading Yankees are down 9-20 since entering the All-Star Break with a 64-28 record. After holding a 15½-game bulge on July 8, their margin over second-placed Toronto has shrunk to seven games.
The Yankees have lost six straight series for the first time since 1995, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Held to just 21 points in its last 11 games, New York will look to avoid 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 walking a walk to Danny Jansen and misplaying a ground shot, Alejandro Kirk capped off the flurry with a two-run brace that left fielder Andrew Benintendi didn’t quite make up for.
As the round ended, fans booed Cole and TV cameras captured the right-hander, yelling and punching the bottom of the dugout roof with both hands.
Cole blamed himself for the walk and the foul on the field.
“I feel bad about it if we weren’t in the rut we were in, but I would still feel bad about it,” he said.
The reaction from parts of the crowd of 45,538 was similar to Cole’s, with the boos increasing after Toronto took the lead and escalating after the final.
“We’re not winning,” said slugger Aaron Judge, who hit third for the fourth time this year. “I think every time you don’t win the boos are warranted.”
Jackie Bradley hit a two-run brace 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 two-pitch double after missing on tight ground by two strikes.
Raimel Tapia reached on a hit by beating out the pitch from shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. reached when Cole slipped slightly in front of the mound while routing the ball. Cole’s misstep allowed Guerrero to beat the pitch and the initial call was overturned when Toronto challenged.
“Obviously I think I’m trying to think double-handed,” Cole said. “I’m not 100% sure, but I should at least try to take a look. “
Kirk then gave the Blue Jays a 4-1 lead when he lined up a brace to left center. Benintendi was playing lightly, ran back, attempted a diving catch and the ball slipped out of his glove before center fielder Estevan Florial lined it up and threw down Guerrero to prevent a third-point scorer.
Matt Chapman added a solo homer in the ninth as the Blue Jays won their fourth straight game. Toronto is 13-6 in the Bronx since the start of last season.
“He was distributing, no-hitter up to four, and then I think we crushed him well enough to make his pitch count and kind of chain it there,” Toronto interim manager John said. Schneider.
Florial hit an RBI single in the second and Gleyber Torres homered in the eighth as the Yankees had nine hits but went 1 for 8 with runners in scoring position.
“You just have to have a little more energy in the dugout to push each other a little bit,” Judge said.
Before allowing four runs, Cole allowed two base runners in the first four and was helped by defensive plays from right umpire and rookie third baseman Oswaldo Cabrera.
The judge made a running catch to prevent a brace from Bo Bichette in second with his left shoulder crashing into the fence. Cabrera dove headfirst into the tarp in foul territory to catch Bradley’s popup and finished the game 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) picked up the win and Yimi García got his first save.
Blue Jays: OF/DH George Springer did not play for the second game in a row after fouling on a knee ball when it was 5-for-5 on Thursday. Springer was available as a hitter and hopes to play Sunday. … RF Teoscar Hernández was lifted after fouling a ball from the 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 a DH as soon as Tuesday after facing RHP Luis Severino (right side strain) in a live batting practice. … 3B Josh Donaldson (stomach bug) was a late roster scratch. … RHP Clay Holmes (fullback) played for the first time since joining IL on Wednesday and said he felt better. … Severino threw 25 pitches in a bullpen session after throwing 30 pitches on Thursday.
Toronto RHP Alek Manoah (12-6, 2.71 ERA) takes on 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 21 retired in an on-field ceremony.
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