NEW YORK—While the next step for the N.Y. 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 as the Blue Jays edged the playoff-bound Yankees 2-1 in their regular-season finale yesterday afternoon.
Standing at his locker afterward, Bautista slipped on his backpack and accepted good-bye 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 noted.
“It felt good to contribute to today's victory," he added. "Other than that, no different than any other game.”
Matt Holliday homered for the Yankees in a tuneup for the AL wild-card game tomorrow 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,” Yankees' 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,” he added.
“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 season and their best record since 2012.
Toronto, meanwhile, snapped a three-game slide and ended its disappointing season 76-86 after going 89-73 a year ago.
The 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 Jays never recovered from a 10-20 start.
“It was a frustrating year,” said catcher Russell Martin.
“I like what our team's made of," he added. "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 just two hours, 28 minutes.
Toronto scratched across the tie-breaking 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,” he reasoned.
"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,” Bautista added.
“But we'll see what happens in the future. It's out of my control now.”
Elsewhere in the AL, Minnesota beat Detroit 5-1, Tampa Bay blanked Baltimre 6-0, Houston edged Boston 4-3, Oakland downed Texas 5-2, L.A. upended Seattle 6-2, and Cleveland shaded Chicago 3-1.
Over in the NL, Milwaukee beat St. Louis 6-1, Philadelphia bombed New York 11-0, Pittsburgh topped Washington 11-8, San Francisco edged San Diego 5-4, Atlanta dumped Miami 8-5, L.A. doubled Colorado 6-3, and Cincinnati downed Chicago 3-1.
Arizona routed Kansas City 14-2 in interleague play.