Blue Jays surge past Yankees for 6th straight win

Marcus Semien homered again, Alejandro Kirk went deep twice and the surging Toronto Blue Jays beat the skidding Yankees 5-1 on Tuesday night after New York ace Gerrit Cole exited early with a hamstring injury.

Semien extends career-high with 38th home run, 7th against Yankees this year

Blue Jays' Alejandro Kirk rounds the bases after hitting one of his two home runs in the second inning of a 5-1 win over the Yankees on Tuesday in New York. (Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

Marcus Semien homered again, Alejandro Kirk went deep twice and the surging Toronto Blue Jays beat the skidding Yankees 5-1 on Tuesday night after New York ace Gerrit Cole exited early with a hamstring injury.

Cole (14-7) was pulled in the fourth inning with left hamstring tightness after allowing a sacrifice fly to Reese McGuire that gave the Blue Jays a 3-1 lead. After the throw from center fielder Aaron Judge deflected off his glove, Cole motioned to the dugout and was checked out by trainer Tim Lentych.

Yankees manager Aaron Boone said Cole was not headed for an MRI and the right-hander said it was too early to determine if he would miss his next scheduled start.

"I want to make sure that I am good if I'm good or if I need a few extra days, but I was sitting out there for a couple of pitches weighing the pros and cons and I just wasn't quite sure I was going to be able to get through the inning and get some treatment on it to get back out," Cole said. "So unfortunately, I just had to pull the plug."

Cole allowed three runs, two earned, and five hits in 3 2/3 innings. After striking out 15 on Wednesday against the Angels, he threw 70 pitches as Toronto put together several long at-bats against the star right-hander.

"He didn't look different to me," Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said. "You've got to give our hitters credit because we were having good at-bats against one of the best pitchers in baseball."

Semien extended his career high with his 38th homer and seventh against the Yankees this year when he connected off Albert Abreu to open the fifth for a 4-1 lead. It was the sixth homer in six games for Semien, whose previous career best was 33 for Oakland in 2019.

Kirk went deep in the second off Cole and connected again in the eighth as Toronto won its sixth straight and for the ninth time in 10 games.

The Blue Jays moved within 2 1/2 games of the Yankees for the first AL wild card, and two back of Boston for the second. Toronto and Boston are tied in the loss column.

"Pitching, defense and hitting โ€” we're doing it all right now," Montoyo said.

Lourdes Gurriel Jr. hit a go-ahead sacrifice fly in the fourth on a night when slugger Vladimir Guerrero Jr. had his career-high hitting streak stopped at 14 games.

Steven Matz (11-7) allowed one run over six innings and matched his career high for wins. He struck out six, walked none and withstood several long outs to the warning track in his second win in New York this season.

"We're having fun, we're playing good," Matz said. "You can kind of sense it. We're playing important baseball in September and that's what we want to do."

Anthony Rizzo hit an RBI single for New York, which dropped its fourth straight. The Yankees remained a half-game ahead of rival Boston, which lost to Tampa Bay, for the first AL wild card. New York lost for the eighth time in 10 games since a 13-game winning streak Aug. 14-27.

The Yankees were held without an extra-base hit or a walk for the second straight game. According to the YES Network, that last happened in June 1962.

"We had some guys that hit the ball OK today compared to yesterday, but the bottom line is we've got to be better," Boone said. "We've got our guys now and if we're going to be the team we hope to be, our offense has to carry that freight for us. So we've got to get it rolling."

Joakim Soria got a double play to end a scoreless seventh, Tim Mayza pitched the eighth and Jordan Romano finished up for the Blue Jays.

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