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Cole, Sánchez, Chapman come through as Yanks edge Blue Jays

Gerrit Cole pitched eight effective innings, pinch-hitter Gary Sánchez connected for a two-run homer and Aroldis Chapman dodged trouble in the ninth as the New York Yankees held off the Toronto Blue Jays 3-2 on Wednesday night.

Sánchez’s 10th homer of the season in the seventh gave the Yankees back-to-back wins behind key pinch hits, following Clint Frazier’s go-ahead double in the eighth inning of Tuesday’s 6-5 victory.

Chapman allowed hits to the first two batters in the ninth, putting runners at second and third, but escaped for his 14th save. Cole (8-3) held the Blue Jays to four hits.

New York Yankees Gary Sanchez celebrates his two-run home run during the seventh inning of the team's baseball game against the Toronto Blue Jays, Wednesday, June 16, 2021, in Buffalo, N.Y. (AP PhotoJeffrey T. Barnes)

Marcus Semien and Cavan Biggio homered for Toronto, which has lost three straight and five of seven. Ross Stripling (2-4) limited New York to three hits and two walks over 6 1/3 innings and tied a season high with nine strikeouts.

In the ninth, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. led off with a single and Teoscar Hernández followed with a double to right field. After striking out Randal Grichuk, Chapman fielded a comebacker and started a play in which Sánchez threw out Guerrero, who was trying to retreat to third base. The call was upheld after a 70-second video review.

Chapman then got Lourdes Gurriel Jr. to fly out to end the game.

New York Yankees relief pitcher Aroldis Chapman throw to a Toronto Blue Jays batter during the ninth inning of a baseball game Wednesday, June 16, 2021, in Buffalo, N.Y. (AP PhotoJeffrey T. Barnes)

Plate umpire CB Bucknor was hit in the mask by Chapman’s first pitch to Gurriel, a ball Bucknor ruled was fouled off by Gurriel. However, Bucknor didn’t immediately signal foul ball as he staggered from being struck, and Hernandez came almost all the way home before being stopped.

Replays showed Gurriel may not have made contact with the pitch. Toronto manager Charlie Montoyo argued for a review. The umpires convened, affirmed among themselves it was a foul ball, and informed Montoyo the play was not reviewable.

The ninth-inning drama overshadowed a fine pitching duel between Cole and Stripling.

New York Yankees relief pitcher Aroldis Chapman, right, celebrates the team's 3-2 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays with catcher Gary Sanchez, center, and pitcher Gerrit Cole, left, in a baseball game Wednesday, June 16, 2021, in Buffalo, N.Y. (AP PhotoJeffrey T. Barnes)

After the Yankees scored a first-inning run, Stripling set down 18 of 20 batters and allowed no hits until Miguel Andújar singled leading off the seventh, the precursor to Sánchez's homer, which elicited chants of “Gary! Gary!” from a Yankees-centric crowd of 7,271 at Toronto’s temporary home in western New York.

Cole, meanwhile, retired 22 of his last 25 batters, with the only blemishes being a two-out walk in the second inning, Biggio's fifth-inning homer, and Hernández reaching on an error in the sixth.

Toronto reliever Rafael Doliz, who replaced Stripling, left the game with an apparent injury after issuing a four-pitch walk.

New York Yankees Gary Sanchez, right, celebrates his two=run home run with Miguel Andujar during the seventh inning of the team's baseball game against the Toronto Blue Jays, Wednesday, June 16, 2021, in Buffalo, N.Y. (AP PhotoJeffrey T. Barnes)

ADDING UP THE STRIKEOUTS

With his first-inning strikeout of Grichuk, Cole broke a tie for the most punchouts by a Yankees pitcher over the first 14 starts of a season. Cole entered the game tied with Masahiro Tanaka, who had 113 in 2014.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Ross Stripling throws to a New York Yankees batter during the fifth inning of a baseball game Wednesday, June 16, 2021, in Buffalo, N.Y. (AP PhotoJeffrey T. Barnes)

Yankees: RHP Corey Kluber (shoulder strain) is on a throwing program, playing catch from 60 feet. ... RHP Darren O'Day (strained rotator cuff) threw a bullpen and could begin a rehab assignment this weekend. ... Yankees manager Aaron Boone said 1B Luke Voit (strained oblique) is doing well in his rehab and could return within the next week.

Blue Jays: RHP Carl Edwards Jr., who left Tuesday's game after five pitches with a left oblique strain, was placed on the 10-day injured list. ... RHP Patrick Murphy (strained right A/C joint) was reinstated from the 60-day IL. ... LHP Travis Bergen (left shoulder impingement) was reinstated from the 10-day IL and optioned to Triple-A Buffalo.

UP NEXT

Toronto Blue Jays Cavan Biggio rounds the bases after hitting a home run off New York Yankees pitcher Gerrit Cole during the fifth inning of a baseball game Wednesday, June 16, 2021, in Buffalo, N.Y. (AP PhotoJeffrey T. Barnes)

The series concludes Thursday night with New York RHP Michael King (0-3, 3.77 ERA) facing RHP T.J. Zeuch (0-2, 6.75), who will be promoted from Triple-A Buffalo for the start.

More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Randal Grichuk makes a diving catch for the out on New York Yankees' Dj LaMahieu during the fifth inning of a baseball game Wednesday, June 16, 2021, in Buffalo, N.Y. (AP PhotoJeffrey T. Barnes)

New York Yankees Brett Gardner dives back safely as Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. awaits the throw during the fifth inning of a baseball game Wednesday, June 16, 2021, in Buffalo, N.Y. (AP PhotoJeffrey T. Barnes)

New York Yankees third baseman Gio Urshela watches his throw to first for the out on Toronto Blue Jays' Bo Bichette during the eighth inning of a baseball game Wednesday, June 16, 2021, in Buffalo, N.Y. (AP PhotoJeffrey T. Barnes)