Yankee freefall continues with sixth straight loss

By Sean Farrell

NEW YORK – The Yankees' freefall in the standings has reached a new low.

Because of it, their playoff hopes now hang in the balance.

The surging Blue Jays beat the Yankees, 6-4, on Thursday and finished off a four-game sweep before 30,112 frustrated fans in The Bronx.

The Yankees (78-62) have now lost a season-high six straight games and 10 of their last 12. Their offense had little to show for before Gary Sanchez and Luke Voit crushed back-to-back homers in the ninth.

"We have guys in that room right now who are capable of getting this done," manager Aaron Boone said before the game. "That's our expectation."

"We know we need to turn it around and start playing well and better. But absolutely feel like we're in a position to do that."

With the Red Sox (80-62) idle on Thursday night, the Yankees moved to a game behind Boston for the first AL wild card spot. The Blue Jays closed to a half-game back of the Yankees after notching their eighth straight victory.

"You just got to keep showing up every day and put your head down and play the game," outfielder Joey Gallo said. "At some point, things will turn."

Struggles continue

Anthony Rizzo brought the Yankee Stadium crowd to life with a game-tying, two-run home run in the sixth.

But the Blue Jays took the lead back an inning later after the Yankees called on the recently-activated Sal Romano from the bullpen. The move quickly backfired as Romano allowed a double to Danny Jansen and an RBI bloop single to Bo Bichette (3-for-5).

Wandy Peralta cleaned up the mess two batters later by striking out Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to leave the bases loaded.

Yet the Blue Jays added an insurance run in the eighth with the help of a defensive miscue. Second baseman Tyler Wade flubbed a potential inning-ending double play when he dropped the relay from short. The Blue Jays took advantage soon after when Jansen walked with the bases loaded.

Nasty Nestor

Yankee starter Nestor Cortes went six innings and allowed two earned runs on six hits. He struck out five Blue Jays before exiting after 103 pitches. It was a welcome change of pace for the Yankee bullpen, which had thrown a combined 11 innings during the previous two nights.

Cortes pitched from behind throughout the night after allowing a home run to Bichette to lead off the game. Bichette worked a nine-pitch at-bat before turning on a fastball on the inside corner.

The Blue Jays doubled their lead in the fifth inning on Randal Grichuk's solo shot to left.

Guerrero clubbed the Blue Jays' third home run in the ninth to send the fans to the exits.

The loss added insult to injury for the Yankees, who placed Jameson Taillon on the IL with a partial tear in his right ankle tendon. They also learned that All-Star reliever Zack Britton could miss the entire 2022 season after having reconstructive elbow surgery.

Now the Yankees head across town to Citi Field without much breathing room.

"We've got a tough group, a resilient group," outfielder Brett Gardner said. "Hopefully in a month or so, we'll look at back on these (downturns) as just another obstacle, another thing to make us stronger to where we want to be at."

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