NEW YORK (AP) — 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Slumping slugger Joey Gallo was rested by the Yankees after going 0 for 4 with four strikeouts Monday.
Gallo is 1 for 19 over his last five games. The one hit was a tying, two-run homer in the eighth inning that broke an 0-for-17 slide on Saturday against Baltimore.
“Hopefully just a day for him to kind of catch his breath a bit and hopefully something he can really benefit from,” manager Aaron Boone said.
Gallo is hitting .130 (16 for 123) with six homers and 13 RBIs in 35 games since being acquired from Texas on July 29. He also has struck out 61 times with the Yankees and 186 times overall, 21 shy of his career high set in 2018.
Blue Jays: DH George Springer (bruised left knee) was held out of the lineup and is day-to-day. He fouled a ball off his left knee in the eighth inning Monday and was on the injured list Aug. 15-29 with a sprained left knee.
RHP Alek Manoah (5-2, 3.63 ERA) starts for Toronto against New York RHP Luis Gil (1-0, 0.00). Manoah allowed two hits over six scoreless innings in a memorable major league debut May 27 at Yankee Stadium. Gil has tossed 15 2/3 scoreless innings in his first three starts.
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Larry Fleisher, The Associated Press