NEW YORK — Rather than break out, Aaron Judge and the New York Yankees were shut out.
Kevin Gausman and the Toronto Blue Jays became the latest team to blank the Yankees, holding the AL East leaders to four measly singles Friday night in a 4-0 win
The Yankees didn’t get a runner beyond second base as they lost for the 14th time in 18 games.
New York have been shut out three times in the last six games and five times in the last 13. Judge and his teammates were shut out just six times in their first 107 games.
“I feel like we’re pressing a little bit,” Yankees infielder DJ LeMahieu said. “Ticked off, frustrated, all of it.”
New York saw its lead over second-place Toronto shrink to eight games, its smallest since June 13.
“We can talk about that — eight, nine, seven, 10 — we need to play better. If we play like this, it’s not going to matter anyway,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said.
The Blue Jays won their third in a row. In that span, their starting pitchers have combined to allow only one earned run in 20 innings.
Gausman allowed four hits in seven innings, striking out seven with one walk. He pitched after Ross Stripling carried a perfect game into the seventh inning Wednesday and after Jose Berrios opened the Yankees series by giving up two runs in 6 2/3 innings.
“We say hitting is contagious, pitching can be, too,” interim manager John Schneider said. “You watch ‘Strip’ and you watch Jose and then Kevin’s about as good of a competitor as there is. So he kind of wanted to come out and kind of make a statement and keep the ball rolling.”
It was the third scoreless effort in four starts for Gausman (9-9), a span in which he has a 1.75 ERA.
“Kind of sounds bad to say, but we’re always trying to pitch better than the guy the night before,” Gausman said.
The right-hander issued a one-out walk to Judge in the first and gave up a two-out single to Josh Donaldson before retiring 10 in a row.
Gausman induced Isiah Kiner-Falafa to hit into a double play in between fifth-inning singles by Gleyber Torres and Oswaldo Cabrera and struck out Donaldson to strand Anthony Rizzo following a two-out single in the sixth.
“At times when the offense is struggling, we have a lot of guys who can put runs on the board with one swing, so I think at times we can get a little — I feel like we need to play the hero a little bit too much,” Yankees catcher Kyle Higashioka said.
Yimi Garcia threw a perfect eighth and Jordan Romano tossed a hitless ninth in a non-save situation.
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. had an RBI groundout in the third before Alejandro Kirk led off the fourth by singling against Jameson Taillon (11-4). Teoscar Hernandez followed with a long homer to left-center — the 14th surrendered in the last 11 starts by Taillon, who gave up just six homers in his first 12 starts.
Danny Jansen had a sacrifice fly in the ninth for the Blue Jays, who have outscored the Yankees and Baltimore Orioles 19-3 over the last three games.
Taillon allowed six hits and walked none with five strikeouts over five-plus innings. He has a 5.35 ERA since carrying a perfect game into the eighth inning against the Los Angeles Angels on June 2.
CABRERA’S BIG CATCH
Cabrera made an immediate impression in his first big league start in right field by leaping at the eight-foot wall and robbing Gurriel of a homer on the first pitch of the game by Taillon.
The rookie punctuated the catch by flexing and yelling before firing the ball back into the infield and exchanging an enthusiastic hand slap with Judge, the center fielder.
It was just the fourth professional start in right field for Cabrera, whose versatility — he is the first player in Yankees history to make his first three starts at three different positions, he started at third base and shortstop earlier this week — and energy has already impressed manager Aaron Boone.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who turned 23 on March 16, collected his 500th career hit by doubling to lead off the sixth. His Hall of Famer father had 305 hits prior to turning 24.
Blue Jays: OF/DH George Springer didn’t play after fouling a ball off his knee while going 5-for-5 in Thursday’s win. … LHP Tim Mayza (dislocated right shoulder) will begin a rehab assignment at Triple-A Buffalo Saturday. He was injured Aug. 6 following a collision at home plate with the Minnesota Twins’ Nick Gordon.
Yankees: OF/DH Giancarlo Stanton (left Achilles tendinitis) worked out prior to the game and is expected to begin a rehab assignment with Double-A Somerset on Saturday. Boone said Stanton could return as the Yankees’ DH as soon as Wednesday. … RHP Luis Severino (right lat strain) threw 30 pitches Thursday and is scheduled to throw again Saturday before throwing batting practice against Stanton on Tuesday.
Blue Jays: RHP Mitch White (1-3, 3.72 ERA) will make his third start since being acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Yankees: RHP Gerrit Cole (9-5, 3.30 ERA) is 0-3 with a 4.35 ERA in five starts since the All-Star break.