TORONTO — The Force was not with them.
The Yankees bats went quiet Wednesday night and the Blue Jays shut down the longest winning streak in baseball this season at 11 straight games, delivering the Bombers a 2-1 loss at the Rogers Centre on Star Wars night.
It was the Bombers’ first loss in 12 games, dating back to April 21, ending the longest active winning streak in baseball this season and finishing just short of the Yankees 13-game winning streak last August. The Yankees (18-7) won the best-of-three game series on Tuesday night, but this was the first series they did not sweep in their last four. It was also the first series loss of the season for the Blue Jays (16-10).
The Yankees had one last chance to keep the streak alive on Giancarlo Stanton’s one-out single in the ninth, followed by a Josh Donaldson single to put the tying run on second base. Blue Jays closer Jordan Romano struck out Aaron Hicks and then walked Joey Gallo.
With the bases loaded and two outs, Isaiah Kiner-Falefa grounded out to third base.
Manager Aaron Boone wasn’t too interested in winning streaks or the superstitions that go with them.
“I do some routine things that maybe have a speck of superstition to them but, I try not to fall into anything because inevitably things get thrown out of whack,” Boone said before the game, “schedules get thrown out of whack, you gotta be able to adjust them. So don’t want to be tied to anything. I feel like it’s in the way of what we have to do. Nothing’s ever perfect.”
The Yankees were not perfect Wednesday night.
Joey Gallo, back in the lineup after missing three games with a tight left groin, homered off Yusei Kikuchi in the third inning to tie the game. That was one of just three hits the Yankees got off the Blue Jays’ lefty. He went six innings, walking one and striking out seven.
Aaron Judge went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts. Anthony Rizzo went 0-for-4 and stranded three batters. Giancarlo Stanton singled in the ninth after going 0-for-3 earlier in the night.
Boone was ejected in the top of the eighth inning after arguing low strike calls on Judge all night. The Yankee skipper came out of the dugout, tossed his gum and got into a very heated argument with home plate umpire Marty Foster.
Nestor Cortes struggled with command of his fastball, needing to work with his slider and cutter more Wednesday night. Cortes managed four innings, allowing two runs on four hits and four walks. He stuck out three.
It was the second straight start that Cortes was not quite as dominant as he was in his first three starts. Friday, Cortes allowed two runs, one earned, on eight hits.
“I thought he actually did a good job of making an adjustment within the game and kind of started working the ball away. He wasn’t getting the ball in as well as he normally does in his last start Boone said of that Friday game. “He left some pitches on the plate but they were able to put in play, but you know, he’s still navigated, pitched well and gave us a really good chance to win.”
And Cortes did that again Wednesday night. He left with the Yankees trailing by a run. He gave up a solo home run to Matt Chapman in the second inning. Bo Bichette doubled off him in the fourth and scored on Vladimir Guerrero Jr.’s single.
Cortes still has the best ERA (1.82) of the starting rotation. He has struck out 31 over 24.1 innings pitched.
Michael King continued to dominate. The right-handed swing man out of the bullpen pitched three scoreless innings, striking out three to keep his streak alive. King has pitched 13.1 scoreless now and owns a scrawny 0.31 ERA. Clay Holmes added another scoreless inning and the Bombers’ bullpen extended their scoreless streak to 21 straight innings.