Gerrit Cole goes 5 strong as Aaron Judge, Yankees overpower Blue Jays for series split

After lacking velocity and struggling with walks and the longball his last time out, Gerrit Cole looked like himself against the Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday.

The reigning Cy Young winner, making his third start of the season, completed five innings for the first time in the New York Yankees’ 8-1 series-splitting win over Toronto. Cole, still building up after being sidelined by elbow inflammation, also threw a season-high 90 pitches while limiting the Jays to three hits, one earned run, one walk and six strikeouts.

Toronto’s lone run off Cole came on a Justin Turner RBI single in the third inning.

Cole’s fastball lacked life after the first inning of his second outing, which came against the Mets. Afterward, he and Aaron Boone said that the pitcher made an intentional choice to dial things back after hitting 97 and 98 mph in the first inning.

On Sunday, Cole’s heater maxed out at 97.6 mph and averaged 95.8. He averaged 95.4 mph against the New York Mets, but Sunday’s performance did not feature a precipitous drop-off after the first inning.

Cole’s final pitch clocked in at 96.5 mph, resulting in a looking strikeout for Spencer Horwitz.

While Cole delivered the best start of his young season, Aaron Judge got the Yankees on the board with a homer in the first inning. The two-run shot gave the All-Star 31 homers for the season, putting him halfway toward his American League record before July began.

When Judge totaled 62 home runs in 2022, he had 31 after 86 games. Sunday marked Judge’s 83rd game of the 2024 campaign.

While Judge, who now has 82 RBI, continued his dominance at the plate, DJ LeMahieu and Gleyber Torres kept showing encouraging signs.

LeMahieu knocked an RBI single in the second and an RBI double in the fifth. Torres, meanwhile, picked up his third straight multi-hit game since a two-game benching.

Juan Soto, a late addition to the lineup after the Yankees deliberated how to handle his bruised right hand, forced a run in with a walk in the second.

Trent Grisham ripped a two-run double in the fifth, while Ben Rice added his own RBI double in the sixth.

While the Yankees notched a four-game split in Toronto, they will return to the Bronx without a series win in their last five tries. They will look to end that drought against the fourth-place Cincinnati Reds, who will visit the Bronx following a Monday off day.

Luis Gil is scheduled to start the series-opener on Tuesday. Graham Ashcraft will start for Cincinnati.