Gausman pitches Blue Jays past Yankees 6-1 to maintain slim lead for 2nd AL wild card
Mike Fitzpatrick, The Associated Press
Published Wednesday, September 20, 2023 10:53PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, September 20, 2023 10:53PM EDT
NEW YORK (AP) - Kevin Gausman tossed six shutout innings, outpitching Michael King as they traded strikeouts all night, and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the New York Yankees 6-1 on Wednesday for their fifth consecutive victory.
Locked in a heated playoff race, the Blue Jays scored five times in the final two innings and stayed a game ahead of Texas and Seattle for the second of three American League wild cards. Toronto hasn't lost since getting swept at home in four games by the Rangers last week.
Spencer Horwitz had three RBIs, Bo Bichette drove in two runs and the Blue Jays drew five walks in the eighth from two relievers - including four in a row and two with the bases loaded.
That made a hard-luck loser of King (4-7), a converted reliever who set career highs across the board with 13 strikeouts over seven innings on 101 pitches in his seventh start this season. The lone run he allowed came on Bichette's infield hit that glanced off his glove in the third, the last of three straight two-out singles by Toronto.
It was the most strikeouts for a Yankees pitcher since Gerrit Cole whiffed 14 against Minnesota on Sept. 7, 2022.
But without much offensive support, New York (76-76) lost its third straight and fell back to .500 as its improbable postseason hopes keep slipping away. The Yankees have mustered only four runs during their skid - and manager Aaron Boone wasn't around for much of the latest loss after getting ejected in the second inning.
Plate umpire Lance Barrett tossed Boone for arguing balls and strikes, Boone's seventh ejection this year - tied with David Bell of the Cincinnati Reds for most among major league managers. Boone has been tossed 33 times in six seasons as a big league skipper, all with New York.
Gausman (12-9) bounced back from a wild outing last week, when he walked six over 4 2/3 innings in a loss to Texas. This time, he struck out 10 and walked three while scattering three harmless hits.
The right-hander joined Pedro Martinez (2001) and Chris Sale (2017) as the only pitchers since 1970 with three double-digit strikeout games against the Yankees in one season.
Chad Green, Jordan Hicks and Erik Swanson closed it out for Toronto.
Rookie catcher Austin Wells doubled off Gausman and launched his first major league home run into the second deck in right field off Swanson in the ninth.
Blue Jays: DH Vladimir Guerrero Jr. was a late scratch from the lineup because of right knee discomfort. Toronto manager John Schneider said Guerrero's sore right knee has been “barking” for a couple of days and he's been “grinding” through it, but there's nothing structurally wrong. ... Schneider said LHP Yusei Kikuchi was feeling good and is expected to take his next scheduled turn with a pretty normal routine between starts. Kikuchi was removed from Tuesday night's outing in the sixth inning as a precaution because of a left upper trap muscle cramp.
Yankees: Rookie OF Jasson Dominguez had Tommy John surgery on his throwing elbow performed by Dr. Keith Meister in Arlington, Texas. The team said the procedure included the addition of internal bracing, and the recovery process is expected to take 9-10 months. ... LHP Nestor Cortes (strained rotator cuff) threw in the outfield on the second day of his throwing program. “Continuing to build him up to see where we're at heading into the winter,” Boone said. “That's what this latest round hopefully will tell us. Like, if he can now build up like normal, that should let us know that we're in a good spot.”
Toronto selected the contract of speedy outfielder Cam Eden from Triple-A Buffalo and optioned INF Ernie Clement to the same affiliate. SS Mason McCoy was designated for assignment.
Eden, looking to make his major league debut, was 53 for 57 on stolen base attempts at Buffalo this year.
In a matchup of All-Star pitchers, Blue Jays right-hander Jose Berrios (11-10, 3.49 ERA) starts the series finale Thursday night against Cole (13-4, 2.81), perhaps the frontrunner for the AL Cy Young Award. Cole has finished in the top five in Cy Young voting five times, including runner-up twice, but has never won the prize.