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.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone said Cole was not headed for an MRI and the right-hander said it was too early to determine if he would miss his next scheduled start.
“I want to make sure that I am good if I’m good or if I need a few extra days, but I was sitting out there for a couple of pitches weighing the pros and cons and I just wasn’t quite sure I was going to be able to get through the inning and get some treatment on it to get back out,” Cole said. “So unfortunately, I just had to pull the plug.”
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.
“He didn’t look different to me,” Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said. “You’ve got to give our hitters credit because we were having good at-bats against one of the best pitchers in baseball.”
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.
The Blue Jays moved within 2 1/2 games of the Yankees for the first AL wild card, and two back of Boston for the second. Toronto and Boston are tied in the loss column.
“Pitching, defense and hitting — we’re doing it all right now,” Montoyo said.
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 in his second win in New York this season.
“We’re having fun, we’re playing good,” Matz said. “You can kind of sense it. We’re playing important baseball in September and that’s what we want to do.”
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.
The Yankees were held without an extra-base hit or a walk for the second straight game. According to the YES Network, that last happened in June 1962.
“We had some guys that hit the ball OK today compared to yesterday, but the bottom line is we’ve got to be better,” Boone said. “We’ve got our guys now and if we’re going to be the team we hope to be, our offense has to carry that freight for us. So we’ve got to get it rolling.”
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 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,” 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 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.
After the game, the Yankees optioned RHP Brooks Kriske to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
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.
More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
Blue Jays beat Twins; stay two back in AL wild-card race – TSN
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Teoscar Hernández, Marcus Semien and George Springer homered, and the Toronto Blue Jays held their position in the playoff chase by beating the Minnesota Twins 6-1 Saturday night.
Robbie Ray (13-6) scattered three hits in six innings as the Blue Jays ended a three-game slide.
Toronto stayed two games behind Boston and New York in the AL wild-card race with seven games remaining.
Semien hit his 43rd home run in the sixth for a 3-1 lead. That tied him with Dave Johnson of Atlanta in 1973 for the most home runs in a season by a second baseman.
Springer snapped an 0-for-16 skid with a two-run shot in the seventh. It was his 18th of the season and first since Sept. 11.
Ray, who leads the AL with a 2.68 ERA and tops the majors with 244 strikeouts, gave up one run and fanned six.
Minnesota scored on a sacrifice fly in the first and had runners on in four of the next five innings. Ray escaped a two-on, one-out jam in the sixth, ending his outing by getting Miguel Sanó to foul out and Nick Gordon to line out. The Twins were 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position.
Hernández homered and Santiago Espinal scored on a double by Randal Grichuk, coupled with an error by right fielder Brent Rooker, for a 2-1 lead in the second.
Out since Sept. 14 with a left abdominal strain, Minnesota starter John Gant (5-10) came off the 10-day injured list and allowed two runs — one earned — in three innings.
Former 1B Justin Morneau was inducted into the Twins Hall of Fame.
The native of New Westminster, British Columbia, hit .278 in 11 years with the club. Morneau ranks second on the Twins all-time list in games played at first base (1,124), third in home runs (221), sixth in RBI (860), and eighth in hits (1,318) and walks (501). The American League MVP in 2006 also was a four-time All-Star. He finished his 14-year career with stints in Pittsburgh, Colorado and with the White Sox, and was inducted in the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in 2020. He remains with the Twins as a special assistant to baseball operations and part-time analyst on the team’s television broadcasts.
Blue Jays: RHP Joakim Soria was placed on the COVID-related injured list and LHP Kirby Snead was recalled from Triple-A Buffalo. … Manager Charlie Montoyo said OF Lourdes Gurriel Jr. might not return to the lineup until Tuesday. Gurriel’s hand was stepped on by a teammate during an outfield play Thursday and he received stitches in his middle finger.
Twins: To make room for Gant, RHP Joe Ryan was placed on the family medical emergency/bereavement list.
Toronto RHP Alek Manoah (7-2, 3.36) and Twins RHP Griffin Jax (3-4, 6.75) are Sunday afternoon’s scheduled starters. Manoah has allowed just two earned runs and six hits over 14 innings across his past two starts.
More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
Canadiens @ Maple Leafs recap: Most certainly a pre-season game – Habs Eyes on the Prize
After what felt like an eternity, the Montreal Canadiens were back on the ice for a game. The team they faced was the club they embarrassed in the first round of the 2021 NHL playoffs, the Toronto Maple Leafs. Sure, Toronto blew a 3-1 series lead in the post-season, but it’s a new (pre-)season now and the Canadiens are a much different club.
Of course, this is also the first game of the pre-season, so it’s not like we were seeing the final product for Montreal or Toronto. However, this game was a chance to see the return of the Tyler Toffoli, Nick Suzuki, and Cole Caufield line. It also saw Alexander Romanov playing alongside Jeff Petry, in addition to the debuts of Mathieu Perreault and Cedric Paquette for the Habs after signing in the off-season.
Toronto came out with the early chances, including William Nylander dangling around Gianni Fairbrother, but Cayden Primeau stood tall to deny the chance in tight before the Canadiens drew the game’s first power play.
The man advantage was far from finely tuned, but the top line created a few looks as Toffoli and Caufield worked into the inner slot against the Leafs’ penalty kill. A few errant passes kept the Habs from establishing any sort of real zone time. Toronto continued to amp up the pressure at even strength, but some heady defensive work from Brandon Baddock helped to defuse the Toronto attack.
A Rich Clune hit from behind on Lukas Vejdemo sent Montreal to another power play and Vejdemo to the Habs’ locker room. Dominique Ducharme opted to just roll his lines as the man advantage took effect, but there were no goals to find.
As the play once again returned to five-on-five, Toronto’s top line got a favourable matchup against Montreal’s third pair and took full advantage. Arber Xhekaj drifted off his assignment behind Xavier Ouellet, leaving a swath of open ice for Nylander to feed a pass to a pinching Jake Muzzin. The veteran defender had all day to uncork a laser shot past Cayden Primeau and give the Leafs the lead.
Muzzin nearly added another goal late in the period as he drew out Primeau from his net, but overhandled the puck before firing a weak wrist shot right into Primeau’s pads.
Montreal’s best look came off a big rebound from Michael Hutchinson that Mathieu Perreault swatted back on net. The period ended with Toronto still leading, and the game clearly being the first in a long time for both sides.
The second period start was far from what the Canadiens wanted as Paquette was called for a hook in the offensive zone. On the ensuing power play, it took the Leafs 10 seconds to score on a John Tavares tip in front of the net to double the Leafs’ lead.
Kurtis Gabriel brought the temperature of the game to a mild simmer as he drilled Brandon Baddock with his head down in the offensive zone. Baddock didn’t take kindly to the hit, springing up and tossing Gabriel to the ice along with his gloves, and for his trouble was given an extra stay in the penalty box.
The Habs were able to fend off the power play, but it wasn’t long before a J.-C. Beaudin slash sent them right back to the penalty kill. Primeau did well to fend off a strong Toronto attack, but by the time the kill was over the shot advantage had grown to 19-5 for Toronto.
Montreal made a switch in net at the game’s midpoint, giving Michael McNiven some well-earned game time. McNiven was tested immediately as Toronto nearly bounced a shot off the end boards and then the back of McNiven’s pads, but the netminder was able to flop back and stop the puck.
Not long after that, Michael Bunting broke in alone, but McNiven tracked him well and denied the forward with a nice pad stop. The Habs somehow managed to find themselves in a three-on-zero situation shortly thereafter. Cole Caufield fired his shot, but wide of the net.
With that miss the Canadiens went to the second intermission trailing by three and looking to find a few positives in the final 20 minutes.
The start to the third was much better than the previous 40 minutes. Toffoli fed a perfect cross-zone feed to Caufield, but new goalie Ian Scott was able to get across and blocker the puck out of play.
Montreal as a whole was much stronger as it peppered Scott with chances, but the young goalie stood tall on all of them. Then, with was later revealed to be a groin injury, Scott left the game, with Hutchinson once again popping up in the net.
At the other end, McNiven put together a highlight reel of great saves. Josh Ho-Sang was able to sneak behind the defence on a breakaway, but McNiven met his challenge with a shoulder save to keep Toronto’s lead at three.
Then it was Jake Muzzin finding space in front of the net again, but McNiven got his blocker on that for another outstanding stop on the Leafs’ veteran blue-liner. Unfortunately for McNiven, he also ended up with the biggest blooper of the night when he came out to play the puck, but set it up on a tee for Gabriel. The Leafs’ tough guy had no issue launching it into the open cage to put the game well out of reach late in the third period.
Montreal was able to get themselves on the board late in the game thanks to Toffoli. Romanov fired a pass from his own zone that Suzuki bumped along to Toffoli. The Habs’ leading goal-scorer from last year buried it past Michael Hutchinson to break the shutout bid.
That was the only goal the Canadiens ended up scoring, as Toronto saw the game out in Montreal’s zone. The Leafs also “won” the post-game shootout for the fans as Ilya Mikheyev bested McNiven in the fourth round, while Mathieu Perreault could not solve Hutchinson at the other end.
The Habs have their annual Red vs. White scrimmage today at 3:00 PM EDT, and their next actual preseason game is a rematch against Toronto on Monday evening.
Lewis Hamilton wins 100th GP, becoming first F1 driver to hit century mark – Sportsnet.ca
SOCHI, Russia — Lewis Hamilton became the first Formula One driver to win 100 races with victory in the Russian Grand Prix on Sunday to retake the championship lead from Max Verstappen.
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) September 26, 2021
Hamilton dropped to seventh place when he was boxed in at the first corner but fought back and passed Lando Norris for the win when the McLaren driver stayed out on slick tires in late rain and slid off the track.
“It’s taken a long time to get to 100 and at times, I wasn’t sure it would come,” Hamilton said. It was Hamilton’s fifth win of the season and his first since the British Grand Prix in July.
Hamilton turned Verstappen’s five-point championship lead into a two-point lead of his own as the Dutch driver finished second after a dramatic drive from last on the grid. Carlos Sainz was third for Ferrari.
Verstappen started last after a penalty for an engine change in his Red Bull but sliced through the field and had Hamilton in sight by the halfway stage. Hamilton’s Mercedes worked better on the hard tires in the second half of the race and Verstappen’s charge seemed to have stalled when he was overtaken by the Alpine of Fernando Alonso and stuck in seventh.
But then the rain came and Verstappen switched to intermediate tires early, allowing him to claim an unexpected podium finish and limit the damage to his hopes of a first title.
“We didn’t lose so many points today, so that’s really, really good,” Verstappen told his team over the radio.
Norris trailed in seventh after his gamble to stay on dry tires against the advice of his team failed. If not for the rain, Hamilton said, “it would have been tough to get past Lando. He had great pace.” Norris had been aiming to give McLaren back-to-back wins after Daniel Ricciardo took victory at the last race in Italy when Hamilton and Verstappen collided.
Hamilton has now won the Russian Grand Prix on five of eight occasions, and his victory Sunday continues a clean sweep of victories in Russia for Mercedes cars.
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