September 24, 2020 | 10:21pm | Updated September 24, 2020 | 11:33pm
So much for that 10-game winning streak turning around the Yankees’ season.
With Thursday’s 4-1 loss to Toronto in Buffalo, the Yankees have lost four of their past five as they head into their final series of the regular season against the Marlins in The Bronx.
After Wednesday’s wipeout, which featured four errors, the offense couldn’t figure out left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu and dropped five of their seven games at Sahlen Field this season.
The Blue Jays clinched a postseason berth with the victory — and cost the Yankees a chance to secure second place in the AL East. Instead, there’s still a chance they could finish as low as seventh in the AL seeding.
And it showed again how vulnerable the Yankees are when they’re not in The Bronx. They finished this abbreviated season 11-18 away from Yankee Stadium — somewhere they won’t be after Sunday.
“We’re gonna have to do better than that,’’ Aaron Boone said of their performance on the road. “I do know if we’re playing at our best, I don’t give a crap where it is. We’ll get it rolling. We’ve got to get ourselves in order and start playing good baseball to give ourselves a chance. It doesn’t matter where it is.”
Brett Gardner admitted their lack of success away from home is a concern.
“It is,’’ Gardner said. “We always seem to play well at home. On the road is a little more of a challenge. We’ll probably be playing on the road and then head to the West Coast hopefully. We definitely have to turn the page and try to block it out and play our best baseball no matter where we’re at.”
Shut down for most of the game, the Yankees scored a run in the eighth before Gary Sanchez, his full-time spot behind the plate in question for the postseason, pinch-hit for Kyle Higashioka with the bases loaded, two out and the Yankees trailing by three runs.
He sent a 1-2 pitch from Rafael Dolis out to deep center, but Randal Grichuk tracked it down at the wall for the final out of the inning.
Boone said he thought it was gone when Sanchez hit it, but the wind might have stopped it from going out.
“Good to see him get a good swing off in a big spot,’’ Boone said. “Unfortunately, it was short.’’
Jordan Montgomery, whose role in the playoffs is undetermined, helped his cause, allowing three runs in 5 ¹/₃ innings, striking out eight.
He gave up a homer to Vladimir Guerrero Jr. in the second, as the Toronto first baseman continued his dominance over the Yankees and gave the Blue Jays a 1-0 lead.
Consecutive two-out doubles by Cavan Biggio and Bo Bichette in the third made it 2-0.
Luke Voit led off the sixth with a single, and Aaron Hicks followed with a broken-bat hit through the right side of the infield. Giancarlo Stanton struck out and Gleyber Torres flied to right to send Voit to third.
But the hot-hitting Gio Urshela grounded to second to end the threat.
Montgomery gave up a one-out single in the sixth before Adam Ottavino entered and allowed another hit to Guerrero and a two-run double to Alejandro Kirk to give Toronto a 4-0 lead.
The Yankees finally broke through in the eighth against right-hander Anthony Bass.
After Hicks and Stanton walked with one out, Torres grounded into a forceout to put runners on the corners for Urshela, whose infield single drove in a run. Clint Frazier followed with a walk to load the bases for Sanchez.
The Yankees failed to rally against Dolis in the ninth.
“Anytime you’re not playing your best baseball and the postseason is right around the corner, it needs to be corrected rather quickly,’’ Gardner said. “Anybody can get hot at any time. Usually the team that gets the hottest and plays the best at the end of the season and postseason wins.”