Guerrero, streaking Jays drop sliding Yanks from top WC spot

AP Sports

Toronto Blue Jays’ Vladimir Guerrero Jr. runs up the first base line after hitting a home run against the New York Yankees during the ninth inning of a baseball game on Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2021, in New York. The Blue Jays won 6-3. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

NEW YORK (AP) — Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hit his 41st home run and the streaking Toronto Blue Jays knocked the slumping Yankees out of the AL’s top wild-card spot, beating New York 6-3 Wednesday night.

The Yankees have lost five straight and nine of 11 since winning 13 in a row. This latest defeat dropped them a half-game behind Boston for the first wild-card slot.

Teoscar Hernández hit a go-ahead single in the seventh inning and Guerrero connected off Aroldis Chapman to begin the ninth as the Blue Jays won their seventh in a row. Toronto moved within 1 1/2 games of the Yankees.

Guerrero padded Toronto’s lead when he hammered a fastball several rows back in the left field seats. He is three shy of Hall of Fame father Vladimir Sr.’s career high set in 2000 for the Montreal Expos.

“He’s a stud man,” Blue Jays rookie starter Alek Manoah said. “Just everything he’s doing for our team and the way he’s been able to battle even through some down stretches throughout the year, he’s finding ways to stay together and keep the team together and keep some positivity.”

“So it’s not only the bat that he brings to the plate. It’s his attitude in the locker room, his positive attitude in the dugout, it just brings a lot of life to our team,” he said.

Guerrero reached three times a night after his career-high 14-game hitting streak ended. Toronto won for the 10th time in 11 games. He leads the AL with a .320 batting average and his average has been above .300 after all but one game this season.

Marcus Semien hit a two-run single during a three-run fourth. He scored the go-ahead run on Hernández’s hit off Clay Holmes (6-3), which came shortly before Boston secured a 2-1 win over AL East-leading Tampa Bay.

Jake Lamb added a sacrifice fly in the eighth on a night in which Toronto set a season high with 11 walks, including a 13-pitch free pass by Hernández in the fifth. It was Toronto’s most walks since also getting 11 at Texas on Aug. 26, 2015.

“The whole is team is doing a great job, pitching, defense and our lineup has been outstanding,” Toronto manager Charlie Montoyo said. “Our lineup is hot.”

Brett Gardner hit a tying, three-run homer in the fifth. It was New York’s first extra-base hit since Gary Sánchez’s two-run homer in the sixth inning of Sunday’s 8-7 loss to Baltimore.

“We know we have the guys capable but we got to get it done,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “It’s a little bit of a broken record this week, I understand that, but this is the group that we absolutely believe in and we got to get thing turned around and (I) believe we will, but it’s certainly been a frustrating several days for us on the offensive side.”

Manoah allowed three runs and five hits in 5 2/3 innings in his second career start at Yankee Stadium. His first start in New York was May 27 in his major league debut when he allowed two hits in six innings in the opener of a doubleheader.

“These games mean a lot more than my debut, so I’ll just continue to go out there and give it my all,” Manoah said. “It doesn’t matter what day it is.

Trevor Richards (6-2), who pitched for Tampa Bay and Milwaukee before joining Toronto, tossed 1 2/3 innings for the win.

Adam Cimber fanned Anthony Rizzo with two on to end the seventh to preserve a 4-3 lead and tossed a scoreless eighth. Jordan Romano worked a 1-2-3 ninth for his 16th save in 17 chances.

Rookie Luis Gil returned to New York’s rotation and allowed the first three runs of his career and one hit in 3 1/3 innings. He struck out six and walked seven.

The 23-year-old righty made his major league debut last month and had not permitted a run in 15 2/3 innings over three starts until facing the surging Blue Jays.

EYES ON JETER

The big screen on the center field scoreboard showed Derek Jeter’s Hall of Fame speech. As the former Yankee captain spoke, Yankee players loosening up in the outfield stopped to watch the speech.

“I thought it was great,” Boone said. “I thought he touched on a little bit of everything, shared some really cool little stories, people that obviously impacted his career, getting to see his family out in the crowd was cool and getting to witness another Hall of Famer I got to play alongside of.”

During the game, the scoreboard played several notable highlights of Jeter’s 20-year career that ended in 2014 and several No. 2 jerseys were spotted in the stands.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Blue Jays: Montoyo said DH George Springer (left knee contusion) is feeling better. He fouled a ball of his left knee in the eighth inning on Monday and was on the injured list Aug. 15-29 with a sprained left knee. … RHP Ross Stripling (strained left oblique) made a rehab start Tuesday for Triple-A Buffalo and could start one the games in Saturday’s doubleheader at Baltimore.

Yankees: RHP Gerrit Cole (left hamstring tightness) was encouraged by his condition according to Boone. Cole exited his start Tuesday with two outs in the fourth inning. As of now, Cole is not getting an MRI. … RHPs Domingo Germán and Luis Severino threw bullpen sessions Tuesday that Boone said went well. Germán has been on the IL since Aug. 1 with right shoulder inflammation and could progress to facing live hitters next. Severino is recovering from a tight right shoulder sustained in his rehab from March 2020 Tommy John surgery.

UP NEXT:

RHP José Berríos (7-5, 3.48) starts for Toronto against RHP Nestor Cortes (2-2, 2.67) in Thursday’s series finale. Berríos is 3-2 with a 3.79 ERA in seven starts since being acquired from Minnesota on July 30.

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