(Photo credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)
Gerrit Cole retired the first 16 hitters he faced and pitched eight dominant innings as the host New York Yankees recorded a 5-3 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday night.
Cole (14-4) yielded a run and two hits in his longest outing since pitching a two-hitter in a 2-0 win against the Minnesota Twins on April 16. He struck out nine, walked none and permitted two baserunners while lowering his AL-best ERA to 2.75.
Cole won his fourth straight decision since allowing six runs in a loss to Boston on Aug. 19. He also allowed two runs or fewer for the MLB-best 25th time this year.
Jake Bauers hit a three-run homer four batters in against Toronto's Jose Berrios (11-11). Aaron Judge and Estevan Florial contributed RBI doubles and the Yankees (77-76) avoided a three-game sweep.
Toronto (85-68) had its five-game winning streak stopped and is a half-game ahead of Texas and Seattle for the second of the American League's three wild-card spots. The Blue Jays visit the Tampa Bay Rays for a three-game series while Seattle visits Texas on Friday.
Cole needed 36 pitches to get through the first time through the lineup and lost his perfect game bid when Alejandro Kirk stroked a double to right-center with one out in the sixth. After allowing the hit on his 69th pitch, Cole fanned Kevin Kiermaier and retired former Houston teammate George Springer.
Cole got two more strikeouts in the seventh by fanning Bo Bichette and Davis Schneider to end the inning at 89 pitches. He lost his shutout bid when Matt Chapman opened the eighth with a double and scored on a wild pitch two batters later.
Holmes loaded the bases in the ninth and allowed two runs before finishing it.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. entered the game as a pinch-hitter and grounded into a run-scoring fielder's choice. Bo Bichette then scored on Gleyber Torres' throwing error from second base before Spencer Horwitz grounded out to end the game.
Trying to avoid their first losing season since 1992, the Yankees moved above .500 with nine games remaining and snapped a three-game losing streak.
Berrios allowed four runs and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings. He was unable to win a third straight start and fell to 3-6 in 11 career starts against the Yankees.
--Field Level Media