TORONTO (AP) Rookie catcher Austin Wells hit a two-run home run in the ninth inning and the New York Yankees beat the Toronto Blue Jays 2-0 on Tuesday night.

Michael King and two relievers combined on a three-hitter to help the Yankees improve to a major league-best 18-9 since Aug. 28.

Facing Blue Jays closer Jordan Romano (5-7), Gleyber Torres singled to begin the ninth. Wells followed with a first-pitch drive into the left-field bullpen, his third home run.

“Coming in here and getting to have a hit like that in the late innings is what you play the game for,” Wells said. “It felt good.”

Wells has 11 career hits, seven of them for extra bases. He homered against Toronto for the second time.

“He’s looking good,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “It’s been fun to watch him get more and more settled in every day.”

Wells wasn’t sure his opposite-field drive had enough to clear the fence.

“I knew I hit it good and I lost it in the crowd,” he said. “I was just running until someone slowed me down.”

Romano, who blew his first save opportunity since May 20 on Saturday at Tampa Bay, took the loss for a second straight outing.

“I thought his stuff was good,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said. “Gleyber is having a good year and you can’t throw fastballs down to Wells. They’re young dudes and they’re trying to get the ball in the air. He just missed his location there.”

Jhony Brito (9-7) pitched two innings for the victory and Clay Holmes finished for his 23rd save in 26 chances.

Toronto came in 1 1/2 games ahead of Houston in the AL wild-card standings, but the Blue Jays couldn’t improve their postseason chances.

The shutout was New York’s seventh. Toronto was held scoreless for the 10th time. The Blue Jays were held to three or fewer hits for the ninth time.

Boone gave slugger Aaron Judge and shortstop Anthony Volpe the day off in the opener of the three-game series.

Toronto loaded the bases with two out in the third. King fell behind 3-0 against Vladimir Guerrero Jr., but came back with three straight strikes to escape the jam unscathed, catching Guerrero looking to end the inning.

“That’s Kinger,” Boone said. “He’s not afraid and he’s not going to give in, and he shouldn’t.”

Blue Jays right-hander Kevin Gausman allowed three hits in seven shutout innings. He walked two and struck out five, raising his AL-leading total to 237.

Gausman didn’t allow a hit until outfielder Estevan Florial singled to begin the sixth. DJ LeMahieu followed by grounding into a double play.

Giancarlo Stanton hit a one-out double in the sixth and advanced to third on Isiah Kiner-Falefa’s single. Oswaldo Cabrera followed with a grounder to short, but Blue Jays shortstop Bo Bichette threw Stanton out at home plate. Oswald Peraza flied out to end the inning.

King allowed just one hit in six scoreless innings. He struck out five and walked five, one more than he’d walked over seven previous starts combined.

King also walked five in an Aug. 8, 2020, outing against Tampa Bay.


Yankees: Boone said Judge is not expected to need offseason surgery on the toe injury that caused him to miss 42 games this season.

Blue Jays: Toronto activated DH Brandon Belt (back spasms) off the 10-day IL and optioned INF Spencer Horwitz to the Florida Complex League. Belt went 0 for 3 with a walk.


Toronto recalled RHP Jay Jackson from Triple-A Buffalo and optioned RHP Nate Pearson to the Florida Complex League.


Yankees SS Peraza went deep in the hole and made a strong throw to first base to retire Blue Jays catcher Alejandro Kirk in the fifth.

“He made that play like he was bored, and that’s a special play,” Boone said. “That’s what he is defensively.”


The Yankees are 38-38 away from home with five road games remaining.


The Blue Jays are 19-28 against AL East opponents.


Blue Jays RHP José Berríos (11-11, 3.58 ERA) was expected to start Wednesday against Yankees RHP Gerrit Cole (14-4, 2.75).



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