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Red-hot Aaron Boone implores New York Yankees ‘to play better’ after losing for 15th time in 19 games

NEW YORK — Yankees ace Gerrit Cole hit the dugout roof twice, yelled in frustration and booed as New York lost for the 15th time in 19 games, a 5-2 defeat on Saturday to the Toronto Blue Jays.

The AL East-leading Yankees fell to 9-20 since entering the All-Star break with a 64-28 record. After celebrating a 15 1/2 game bulge on July 8, their lead over second-place Toronto has shrunk to seven games.

New York coach Aaron Boone, who showed some frustration after Friday’s loss in his postgame press conference, took it to another level Saturday when he assessed where his team is at.

“We’ve got to play better. Period,” he said, banging on the table that housed his microphone. “And the best thing is, it’s right in front of us. It’s right here and we can fix it.”

The Yankees have lost six straight for the first time since 1995, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Toronto will attempt a four-game sweep on Sunday.

“We’re not happy about it,” Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge said. “If you lose one game, or if you lose 10, you’re not happy at all. But if we sit here and we’re frustrated by one game, it takes us to the next one.

“So, it’s about us pulling together and not forgetting that we’re the New York Yankees. And we’ve got to go out there and show people that.”

Cole (9-6) had not allowed a hit before the Blue Jays scored four times in the fifth. After issuing a walk and fouling out, Alejandro Kirk capped the outburst with a two-run double that left fielder Andrew Benintendi couldn’t finish.

“Look, we’ve just got to play crisp,” Cole said. “We’re off to a great start.”

As the inning ended, fans booed Cole, and television cameras caught the right-hander screaming and hitting the bottom of the ceiling with both hands.

The reaction from parts of the crowd of 45,538 was similar to Cole’s, with boos that rose after Toronto went ahead and intensified after the end.

“It’s there and we can run away from this thing,” Boone said. “And we have the guys there to do it. But we have to. If we don’t score, it’s hard to win.”

Jackie Bradley hit a two-run, go-ahead double down the left-field line, the ball bouncing off the wall and past Benintendi as he attempted to carom. Bradley delivered after Santiago Espinal got Toronto’s first hit, a two-pitch double after fouling out on a two-strikeout pitch.

Raimel Tapia got an infield hit by beating shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. got on base when Cole slipped slightly in front of the mound throwing the ball. Cole’s misstep allowed Guerrero to beat the throw and the original call was overturned when Toronto challenged.

Kirk then gave the Blue Jays a 4-1 lead when he lined a double to left center. Benintendi, playing lightly, ran back, attempted a ground catch and the ball slipped out of his glove before center fielder Estevan Florial scooped it up and threw out Guerrero to prevent a third run from scoring.

Matt Chapman added a solo homer in the ninth as the Blue Jays won their fourth straight. Toronto is 13-6 in the Bronx since the start of last season.

Florial hit an RBI single in the second and Gleyber Torres homered in the eighth as the Yankees had nine hits but went 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position. New York has scored just 21 runs in its last 11 games.

“The great thing is we’re in first place,” Boone said. “We’ll write the script the rest of the way. Nobody else can stand in our way if we’re going to play our game.”

Before allowing four runs, Cole allowed two baserunners in the first four and was helped by the defensive plays of Judge in right and rookie third baseman Oswaldo Cabrera.

Judge made a running catch to avoid a double by Bo Bichette at second with his left shoulder crashing into the fence. Cabrera dove face-first into foul territory to hook Bradley’s popup and completed the play after his head hit the sidewall padding.

Toronto starter Mitch White allowed one run and seven hits in four innings. Adam Cimber (9-4) got the win and Yimi Garcia picked up her first save.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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