NEW YORK — Every fifth day, the Yankees have enjoyed the luxury of watching Gerrit Cole at work, witnessing an ace in the prime of his career. It has been a campaign in which the right-hander has seemingly put it all together, a season that likely will be celebrated with his first Cy Young Award.
As Cole made his final Yankee Stadium start of the year on Thursday night, his dominant eight-inning effort quieted any remaining debate over Cole’s front-running status for that honor. He struck out nine, walked none and permitted only two hits in a 5-3 victory over the Blue Jays.
Working aggressively and efficiently, Cole retired the first 16 Toronto batters before Alejandro Kirk’s double with one out in the sixth inning broke up his bid for a perfect game.
Cole, who has allowed just one run in three starts against the Blue Jays this season (19 2/3 innings), leads the American League in ERA (2.75), innings pitched (200), starts (32) and WHIP (1.02). The Yankees have won each of his past six starts — dating to Aug. 25 — and 22 of his 32 starts this year.
Jake Bauers gave Cole an early lead, connecting for a three-run homer in the first inning. Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Estevan Florial added back-to-back doubles in the sixth inning and Aaron Judge contributed with a late RBI double, helping the Yanks snap a three-game losing streak.