If any of the 42,169 fans that showed up at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday afternoon had been expecting a pitcher’s duel they were sorely disappointed.
Yankees starter Gerrit Cole was shellacked for six runs on seven hits as New York dropped the series finale with the Seattle Mariners 7-3. The Yankees registered five hits and picked up their 36th loss of the year.
“It took (Cole) a minute to find his secondary pitches while also really dialing in command of the fastball,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “Just a tough inning where he was struggling to I think just find his command and his rhythm and getting all his pitches. Unfortunately, we’re behind the eight ball there and then obviously (he) pitched really well from there.
“We gotta find a way when you’re going through a little struggle there to obviously limit some damage and that’s hurt us from time to time here with some of our start.”
Prior to Wednesday afternoon, the Yankees had dropped 31 of their 35 losses by three runs or fewer. It marked the first time that the Yankees had surrendered seven runs since the second game of a doubleheader with the Houston Astros on July 21.
The matchup had been an anticipated one with Cole going head to head with Mariners’ ace Luis Castillo. The Yankees had been linked to Castillo before the trade deadline and earlier this week he confirmed that New York was one of the teams that had been bidding on his services before Cincinnati ultimately traded him to the Emerald City.
Castillo got the better end of the meeting, pitching 6.2 innings allowing three runs on five hits and striking out eight. Cole’s day ended after the sixth inning and he finished the game striking out eight batters as well.
It was the second consecutive game that Cole had surrendered at least five runs and it marked his fourth loss of the season. It was his fifth start where he’s allowed five or more runs as well.
The Yankees starter allowed just two hits after the disastrous first inning, but the damage had already been done to New York.
“There were some bad pitch selections, there were some bad pitches and we got punished for it again,” Cole said about his outing. “We come out with a well-executed first batter and the second batter I think between (Jesse) Winker and (Carlos) Santana there were some non-competitive pitches but there were a handful of pitches that were very close that were not getting reactions that we were anticipating on.”
The Mariners jumped on Cole early on Wednesday afternoon hitting three home runs in the first inning. Adam Frazier singled to center field to kick off the game and then Jesse Winker walked on five pitches.
Eugenio Suarez then came to the plate and sent a first-pitch slider 390 feet to left field to give Seattle a 3-0 lead. Carlos Santana extended the lead in the next at-bat when he hit a solo shot to center field.
The onslaught continued after J.P. Crawford singled to reach first, which set up a two-run home run by Jarred Kelenic to put the Mariners up by six.
The Yankees managed to get one run back in the bottom of the second when Isiah Kiner-Falefa hit an RBI single to score Andrew Benintendi from third.
Winker scored the Mariners’ seventh run of the game when he hit a solo home run in the seventh inning after Wandy Peralta took over for Cole to start the inning. Jonathan Loaisiga took over for Peralta and managed to get Suarez to ground out to end the inning.
New York did put two more runs on the board in the bottom half of the inning. Kiner-Falefa hit a two-out single on the ground that got deflected by Seattle’s first baseman and ended up in right field.
Kyle Higashioka then sent a first-pitch slider to left field for a two-run homer to cut the deficit to 7-3.
The Yankees gave slugger Aaron Judge the day off after the team played a four-hour game the night before and an off day coming up on Thursday. Boone said that it was part of the team’s plan to try and keep Judge as healthy as possible with two months left in the season.
Though, Boone admitted he does wrestle with the decision to rest him at times.
“Anytime I have him out that’s always hard when he’s as great as he is,” Boone said before the eventual Yankees loss. “But also there’s no question in my mind taking these occasional spots make him that much better moving forward. That’s not only good for him, but obviously good for us.”
Wednesday’s game wrapped up a seven-game homestand for the Yankees and was the second loss they’ve suffered since the trade deadline on Tuesday. New York will now begin a nine-game road trip that will take the team from St. Louis to Seattle to Boston before returning home.