TORONTO (AP) — Gerrit Cole pitched a two-hitter to near his second AL ERA title, Aaron Judge homered twice and the New York Yankees beat the Toronto Blue Jays 6-0 Wednesday night to ensure they won’t finish with a losing record.
Cole (15-4) faced two batters over minimum, allowing a single and double to Brandon Belt. He struck out five and walked none, throwing 72 of 105 pitches for strikes. Cole finished his season with 222 strikeouts in 209 innings.
A top candidate to win the AL Cy Young Award, Cole lowered his AL-leading ERA to 2.63. Minnesota’s Sonny Gray is second at 2.80 and is scheduled to make his final regular-season start on Thursday. He needs to pitch 12 scoreless innings to lower his ERA below Cole’s.
Toronto was shut out by the Yankees for the second straight night. The Blue Jays began Wednesday in position for the second AL wild card, 1 1/2 games ahead of Houston and two games ahead of Seattle.
Making his 300th start, Cole pitched his fifth career shutout and eighth complete game. His other complete game this year was a two-hit shutout of Minnesota on April 16.
The 33-year-old right-hander was 5-0 with a 1.29 ERA in his last seven starts. He won the 2019 AL ERA title at 2.50 with Houston.
Cole improved to 8-2 in 16 starts against Toronto, including 2-0 with a 0.31 ERA in four starts this season.
New York (81-77) started 36-25 and dropped to 62-68, then won 19 of 27. Boston's loss assured the Yankees will not finish in last in the AL East.
Back in the lineup after a day off Tuesday, Judge hit his 36th and 37th home runs. The reigning AL MVP homered to right field off José Berríos (11-12) in the fourth, then hit a second-deck drive to left off Trevor Richards in the seventh. Judge had his 34th multihomer game, including seven this season.
Giancarlo Stanton doubled the lead with a two-run single in the fourth.
Berríos (11-12) lost to the Yankees for the second straight start, allowing four runs and five hits in six innings. He struck out a season-high 10.
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Ian Harrison, The Associated Press