New York Yankees right-hander Gerrit Cole will be out to defeat the host Toronto Blue Jays for the second straight start Tuesday night in the second game of a four-game series at Buffalo.
Cole (6-3, 3.00 ERA) held the Blue Jays to one run and three hits while striking out eight in seven innings last Tuesday in New York.
After being swept in a three-game series last week in New York, the Blue Jays gained some revenge Monday night with an 11-5 victory in the series opener. Catcher Alejandro Kirk, 21, playing in his sixth major-league game, was 4-for-4 with a homer and a double.
The Blue Jays will start right-hander Tanner Roark (2-2, 6.41).
The Yankees, who clinched a playoff spot when the Seattle Mariners lost to the San Diego Padres on Sunday, have given Cole and Masahiro Tanaka an extra day between starts this week to set them up for the postseason.
The Yankees had a subdued celebration Sunday night after clinching.
“We had a glass of champagne together in the lobby … and just celebrated the accomplishments and acknowledged that there’s more work to do,” Cole said.
Cole is 2-0 with 3.50 ERA in three career starts against the Blue Jays.
Roark has allowed eight runs in eight innings against the Yankees this season, allowing six home runs. He is 1-2 with a 5.75 ERA in four career starts against them.
“I’m just proud of the fact that we’re back to the dance,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “What’s been a challenging and crazy year for everyone involved and you know that we know what our goals are, we know what our expectations are. And let’s go do it.”
The Yankees’ fortunes have soared since they were in Buffalo two weeks ago. After losing the first two games of a three-game series to the Blue Jays Sept. 7-8, their record had fallen to 21-21 and New York had lost 15 of 20 games. The Blue Jays had moved ahead of the Yankees into second place in the American League East.
The Yankees took the series finale to start a 10-game winning streak that has returned them to second in the division. They have lost their past two games, including Monday, and are still trying to improve their seeding.
“We’re here and we’ve been grinding the whole year,” Yankees reliever Adam Ottavino said. “It’s going to be different in the playoffs, with more rounds and different hurdles, but we want to win it. We’re here to win. That’s the goal.”
The Blue Jays, who have won two in a row after a six-game losing streak, can clinch a playoff spot this week.
Toronto is still trying to sort out its rotation for the potential playoff appearance beyond Hyun Jin Ryu and Taijuan Walker.
Matt Shoemaker could provide an answer. He allowed one run in three innings in his start Monday, his first outingsince Aug. 21. Shoulder inflammation had put him on the injured list.
“I felt phenomenal,” Shoemaker said. “I’ve been working hard to get back quickly and safely. When you’re out there on the mound, it’s where you belong, right? It’s so exciting, I’m so thankful to be back. Just ready to go.”
Shoemaker could start again Saturday.
Blue Jays closer Ken Giles will have Tommy John surgery and reliever Julian Merryweather was put on the injured list with elbow tendinitis.
–Field Level Media