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Bautista, Blue Jays edge playoff-bound Yankees 2-1 in finale


NEW YORK — While the next step for the New York Yankees is a must-win playoff game, Jose Bautista's immediate future is not so certain.

Bautista singled off the left-field wall and hit a sacrifice fly in perhaps his final game with Toronto, and the Blue Jays edged the playoff-bound Yankees 2-1 in their regular-season finale Sunday.

Standing at his locker afterward, Bautista slipped on his backpack and accepted goodbye hugs from teammates. Wearing a black baseball cap, he said this one wasn't as emotional for him as Toronto's final home game last Sunday.

"On the road, it's much different. Much easier to handle today," Bautista said. "It felt good to contribute to today's victory. Other than that, no different than any other game."

Matt Holliday homered for the Yankees in a tuneup for the AL wild-card game Tuesday night at home against Minnesota. The winner faces AL Central champion Cleveland in a best-of-five Division Series beginning Thursday.

New York swept a three-game series at home against the Twins from Sept. 18-20 and won the season series 4-2.

"I think they're similar to us where they have a lot of young players mixed with some veterans that have quite an influence on their clubhouse," manager Joe Girardi said. "I think it's a great matchup.

"I think our club is confident going into it, but I'm sure their club is, too. So it comes down to a one-game shootout."

Girardi rested several regulars, including slugger Aaron Judge, and removed a handful of others early. The Yankees finished 91-71, a seven-game improvement over last year and their best record since 2012.

Toronto snapped a three-game slide and ended its disappointing season 76-86 after going 89-73 a year ago. The Blue Jays finished fourth in the AL East, one game ahead of last-place Baltimore, for their highest spot in the standings all season.

Coming off consecutive trips to the AL Championship Series, where they lost both times, the Blue Jays never recovered from a 10-20 start.

"It was a frustrating year," catcher Russell Martin said. "I like what our team's made of. We just didn't perform like we should have."

After starter Brett Anderson threw five shutout innings, Danny Barnes (3-6) won in relief despite giving up Holliday's 19th home run. Roberto Osuna pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his 39th save in 49 chances, ending a swift game that took 2 hours, 28 minutes.

Toronto scratched across the tiebreaking run against Domingo German (0-1) in the eighth on Ryan Goins' RBI dribbler in front of home plate.

Bautista went 1 for 1 with an RBI in two plate appearances before he was pulled for a pinch-hitter in the seventh.

"I talked to him," manager John Gibbons said. "I figured that was good."

The longtime slugger, who turns 37 this month, batted .203 with 23 homers and 65 RBIs. Toronto appears unlikely to exercise its half of a $17 million mutual option.

"I don't really look at the numbers too much," said Bautista, committed to playing next year. "All I can do is get ready for next season and be ready to contribute for the team that I'm with at that time. Right now, I'm a Toronto Blue Jay. That hasn't changed. I've said it all along: This is where I want to be and finish my career. But we'll see what happens in the future. It's out of my control now."


Yankees rookie Jordan Montgomery allowed one run and two hits in 5 1/3 innings. "We're real encouraged by what he's done and the progress he's made," Girardi said. "I thought he had an impressive year."


Eleven days after a young girl was injured by a foul ball at Yankee Stadium, New York said it plans to expand protective netting at its home ballpark and spring training complex next year. Since the girl was injured Sept. 20 by a line drive off the bat of Todd Frazier, several teams have announced they plan to add more netting to better protect fans.


Before the game, Judge was presented with a Waterford Crystal "gavel" for setting the franchise record for home runs by a rookie. Judge broke Joe DiMaggio's mark when he connected on his 30th of the season July 7. He was rested against Toronto and finished his outstanding season with 52 home runs , a major league record for rookies.


Yankees home attendance rose to 3,146,966 for 79 dates from 3,063,405 for 81 dates last year. Average home attendance rebounded to an AL-best 39,835 after falling from 41,995 in 2014, Derek Jeter's final season, to 37,820 in 2016.


Blue Jays: Martin and 3B Josh Donaldson sat out the finale.

Yankees: RHP Adam Warren worked a hitless inning in his first outing since coming off the disabled list Friday. The reliever had been sidelined since Sept. 3 because of a lower back spasm.


Blue Jays: Open next season at home March 29 against the Yankees.

Yankees: Following a workout Monday at Yankee Stadium, RHP Luis Severino (14-6, 2.98 ERA) starts the wild-card game Tuesday night against Twins RHP Ervin Santana (16-8, 3.28).


More AP baseball:

Mike Fitzpatrick, The Associated Press

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