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Yankees 4, Blue Jays 6: Strong outing from Cortes wasted, Yanks swept

This might be the lowest point in a season of many.

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at New York Yankees Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

A four-game series sweep to the team chasing you in the Wild Card race. Six losses in a row. A total 10 losses in their last 12 games. This is everything that the Yankees accomplished tonight in a 6-4 defeat at the hands of the surging Blue Jays.

I wanted to write something positive here. I really did. But there just isn’t anything positive to say about this team right now. The bats aren’t hitting. The decisions being made are confounding at best. The bullpen is not pitching well. The players look completely lifeless. Nothing is going right.

It was more of the same tonight for the New York Yankees as they continued their most recent abysmal stretch. Competitive at-bats from Yankee hitters were rare, defensive miscues and baserunning mistakes were plentiful, and the Yankees wasted another strong start from Néstor Cortes Jr. as they fell to the Blue Jays, 6-4.

The night got off to an auspicious start when Bo Bichette led off the game by drilling a home run off of Cortes before the left-hander pitched around a couple base hits — with the assist of a gift strike three call on Lourdes Gurriel Jr. — to get out of the first inning jam.

After a loud top of the first, things quieted down for both teams until the top of the fifth, when Randal Grichuk connected for a hard hit solo shot to left to give the Jays a 2-0 lead. Thankfully for the Yankees, Cortes was able to bear down and get out of the inning — thanks in part to a nifty play from Gio Urshela on a hard hit groundball — without any further damage. The bottom half of the inning started with Gary Sánchez getting hit by a pitch, but the promising start fizzled out after Tyler Wade struck out and Urshela grounded into a double play.

José Berríos cruised through the first five innings of the game, but fortunes began to turn in the sixth inning when Aaron Judge hit a check-swing grounder that bounced fair off of third base. Two pitches later, Anthony Rizzo promptly tied the game at two with a 409-foot home run to right field.

Cortes’ evening was over after a relatively quiet sixth inning. He was the stabilizing presence on the mound the Yankees needed tonight. Despite two mistakes that Bichette and Grichuk didn’t miss and some loud contact, Cortes had a solid night as he attacked the strike zone and was able to work himself out of some sticky situations. In six inning, he gave up six hits, surrendered two runs, struck out five, and did not walk a batter.

Sal Romano, the latest not-so-new addition to the Yankees bullpen, came on in relief of Cortes in the seventh and got two quick outs. The wheels started to fall off, however, after he gave up a two-out double to Danny Jansen and plunked pinch-hitter Jake Lamb with a fastball. Bichette then jumped on the first pitch he saw from Romano and hit a go-ahead single. After walking Marcus Semien, Romano was pulled in favour of Wandy Peralta, who entered the game with the bases loaded and two outs to face Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Peralta, who probably should’ve been pitching the entire inning to begin with, got Guerrero to strike out, stranding the bases loaded and keeping the score at 3-2.

After 6.2 strong innings, Berríos was pulled in favour of Joakim Soria, who promptly struck Urshela out on three pitches. In the top of the eighth, the Blue Jays once again loaded the bases after a brutal defensive miscue from Tyler Wade on what should’ve been a routine play and Peralta responded by walking Jansen, one of the weakest hitters in the league, with the bases loaded. He was able to escape the massive inning by striking out Lamb and getting Bichette to ground out.

Tim Mayza entered the game in the eighth and the Yankees promptly got things cooking with back-to-back singles to pinch hitter DJ LeMahieu and Judge to start the inning. After a fielder’s choice from Rizzo, Mayza got Giancarlo Stanton to bounce into yet another back-breaking double play to end the inning. Not great, Bob.

In the ninth inning, Andrew Heaney was brought into the game for some reason and Guerrero effortlessly deposited one into the right field seats to give the Jays some breathing room with a 5-2 lead. A few pitches later and the Jays’ lead was up to four runs, which is basically insurmountable at this point.

In the bottom of the ninth, Sánchez and Luke Voit both hit solo shots off of Nate Pearson. It was a classic case of “Too little, too late,” especially after Heaney had been allowed to make a mess of things.

With the Yankees’ sixth loss in a row, the Blue Jays now sit just half a game behind them in the Wild Card chase. The idle Red Sox moved a full game in front of New York for the top spot.

The Yankees will once again desperately try to save their season tomorrow, as they kick off a three-game set against the New York Mets. Jordan Montgomery will square off against Tylor Megill at 7:10 p.m ET.

Box Score