NEW YORK — Yankees ace Gerrit Cole hit the dugout roof twice, screamed in frustration and was booed as New York lost for the 15th time in 19 games, being beaten 5-2 by the Toronto Blue Jays on Saturday.
The AL East-leading Yankees have fallen to 9-20 since entering the All-Star break with a 64-28 record. After a 15½-game lead on July 8, their lead over second-place Toronto is down to seven games.
New York manager Aaron Boone, who showed some frustration in his post-game press conference after Friday’s loss, took it to another level on Saturday as he assessed where his team stands.
“We have to play better. Period,” he said, banging on the table his microphone was on. “And the great thing is, it’s right in front of us. It’s right here and we can fix it.”
The Yankees lost six straight series for the first time since 1995, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Toronto will be looking to pull off a four-game sweep on Sunday.
“We’re not happy about that,” Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge said. “If you lose a game or lose 10 games, you’re not happy at all. But if we sit here and stay frustrated about one game, it will lead to the next game.
“So it’s about picking ourselves up and not forgetting that we’re the New York Yankees. And we have to go out there and show people that.”
Cole (9-6) hadn’t conceded a hit before the Blue Jays netted four in the fifth. After issuing a walk and misplaying a grounder, Alejandro Kirk capped the burst with a two-run double that left fielder Andrew Benintendi couldn’t quite catch.
“Look, we just have to play tight,” said Cole. “We started so well.”
When the inning was over, fans booed Cole and TV cameras caught the right-hander screaming and slamming both hands on the dugout roof floor.
The reaction from sections of the 45,538 crowd was similar to Cole’s, with boos increasing as Toronto advanced and intensifying after the finale.
“It’s there and we can outrun this thing,” Boone said. “And we have the guys in there to do it. But we have to do it. If we don’t score, it’s hard to win.”
Jackie Bradley hit a two-run go-ahead double on the left field line, the ball bounced off the wall and past Benintendi as he tried to set up the carom field. Bradley delivered a double two pitches after Santiago Espinal scored Toronto’s first goal after missing on a close two strike pitch.
Raimel Tapia got an infield hit by beating shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa’s throw, and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. came to base when Cole slipped slightly in front of the mound catching the ball. Cole’s misstep allowed Guerrero to hit the throw and the original decision was overturned when Toronto challenged.
Kirk then gave the Blue Jays a 4-1 lead when he put down a brace down center left. Benintendi, playing slightly inside, ran back, attempted a dive catch and the ball escaped his glove before midfielder Estevan Florial set it up and threw 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 have been 13-6 in the Bronx since the start of last season.
Florial hit an RBI single in the second and Gleyber Torres hit a homer in the eighth as the Yankees hit nine but went 1-on-8 with runners in goal position. New York has only managed 21 runs in their last 11 games.
“The good thing is that we come first,” Boone said. “We write the rest of the script. Nobody else can get in our way when we play our game.”
Before allowing four runs, Cole let two baserunners through the first four and was helped by defensive plays from judge at right and rookie third baseman Oswaldo Cabrera.
The judge made a running catch to prevent a double from Bo Bichette in the second, crashing his left shoulder into the fence. Cabrera dove face-first into the tarp in Foul Territory to grab Bradley’s popup and ended the game after his head hit padding along the sidewall.
Toronto starter Mitch White allowed one run and seven hits in four innings. Adam Cimber (9-4) was awarded the win and Yimi Garcia made his first save.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
https://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/34431294/fiery-aaron-boone-implores-new-york-yankees-play-better-losing-15th-19-games Fiery Aaron Boone implores New York Yankees ‘to play better’ after losing for 15th time in 19 games