It was safe to say that Gerrit Cole made up for the last time he took the mound for the New York Yankees.
The Yankees ace held the Tampa Bay Rays to six scoreless innings and the New York offense backed him up with a pair of runs in the bottom of the fourth in a 2-0 win on Tuesday. The victory was the Yankees’ fifth straight and extended their stranglehold on the AL East with a division rival in town.
New York also brought their home winning streak to 12 games and brought their home record, which is the best in the league, to 24-4.
Tuesday marked a stark difference from the start that Cole had had in Minnesota where he gave up a career-high five home runs. Cole had a strong bounce-back performance against the Rays, going six strong innings and striking out seven.
The Yankees starter registered six of the seven strikeouts through the first three innings of the game. And he worked his way out of two jams in the fifth and sixth innings to prevent Tampa Bay from scoring.
“Command, location, thought he made a lot of really good pitches and stayed away from just the heart of the plate a lot Boone said of Cole. “Seemed like he didn’t make a lot of mistakes. I didn’t think his stuff was necessarily overwhelming like we see a lot, but I thought he executed a lot. Even most of their hits were soft contact where they couldn’t do much with it. Just a strong bounce-back for him to start off a big series for us.”
Wandy Peralta and Michael King came into the game in relief and Clay Holmes closed things out in the ninth.
“Just on the corners a lot. Unpredictable a lot, but throwing four just pitches well-executed (and) well located,” Cole said about what he did well.
The Bombers had entered Tuesday night’s game having allowed just 180 runs this season, which is the fewest in Major League Baseball through the first 60 games. The win marked the 10th time this season that the Yankees had held an opponent without a run through a full game.
New York backed up Cole’s outstanding effort through the first four innings with a two-run bottom of the fourth. Giancarlo Stanton walked to start the inning and then a pop-up by Gleyber Torres was mishandled by Rays’ right fielder Manuel Margot, which allowed the Yankees’ second baseman to reach base.
It was Isiah Kiner-Falefa that finally drove in the Bronx Bombers’ only runs of the game on a single to left field. Stanton scored and a throw to the plate sailed over the head of catcher Francisco Mejia allowing Torres to score as well and Kiner-Falefa to reach second.
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After allowing the first two batters on to start the top of the fifth, Cole got Isaac Paredes to fly out and then he struck out Mejia. Cole wrapped things up by getting Tyler Walls to ground out to second base.
The Rays found themselves with the bases loaded and only one out an inning later, but the Yankees ace managed to get Randy Arozarena to ground into a double play on a first-pitch slider. Manager Aaron Boone took Cole out to start the next inning.
Matt Carpenter was back in the Yankees lineup again with Josh Donaldson serving his one-game suspension for the incident last month with Chicago White Sox’s Tim Anderson. Carpenter went 0-for-3 and struck out once in his 11th game with the Bombers.
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Jose Trevino returned behind the plate on Tuesday as well after dealing with a back issue that kept him out of Sunday’s win over the Chicago Cubs. Boone told reporters before the game that he wasn’t too worried about it and that the team will continue to monitor it.
“I felt like he probably could have played Sunday but with the off day felt like it was the right thing, especially coming off that night game,” Boone said.