Nestor Cortes throws one-hit gem in New York Yankees win over Texas Rangers

New York Yankees
New York Yankees starting pitcher Nestor Cortes (65) delivers against the Texas Rangers during the second inning at Yankee Stadium.
Jessica Alcheh-USA TODAY Sports

Nestor Cortes worked his magic from the mound and Anthony Rizzo drove in the New York Yankees’ lone run of the game in a 1-0 win over the Texas Rangers on Monday to take the three-game series at Yankee Stadium. 

Cortes did his part for the Bombers in an outing that set a new career-high for the 27-year-old in innings pitched. The lefty took a no-hit bid into the eighth inning before Eli White recorded the Rangers’ first hit of the game on a line drive to right-center field. 

“It’s just who he is,” Rizzo said of Nester’s performance on Monday. “He’s been throwing like that since I’ve gotten here the last year. He’s very confident and he has a very relaxed demeanor about him where he just comes in and does his work, and he’s a great teammate the days he’s not pitching. … He’s a quick tempo and he’s fun to play behind.”

The New York Yankees starter had been looking for New York’s first no-hitter since Corey Klueber recorded one against the Texas Rangers on May 19 last season. Manager Aaron Boone said after the game that he never felt conflicted about leaving Cortes in the game for as long as he did and would have let him keep going if the no-hitter had stayed intact. 

Cortes ended up throwing 7.1 innings while striking out 11 batters and giving up just one hit in the 103-pitch effort. It was in the fifth inning that he realized just what was going on in the game. 

Clay Holmes came into the game to close out the inning without giving up a run. 

“I felt early on I was attacking the zone really well,” Cortes said. “I feel like you never know how long you can go without giving up a hit. After the fifth inning, it felt kind of special and I was just trying to maintain (the no-hitter).” 

Rizzo drove in the only run of the game on an 0-2 double to left field that drove in Aaron Judge from first base. Rizzo was called out as he tried to extend the double into a triple. 

Aroldis Chapman closed the game out in the ninth, earning his seventh save of the season. Holmes was credited with the win for the Bombers. 

Cortes made quick work of the Rangers early on in the game, retiring the side in order in four of the first five innings on Monday afternoon. The lone blip in that stretch came when he walked Jonah Heim to start the second inning.

A White walk in the sixth was the only miscue for Cortes in that inning and he was able to close out the sixth by striking out Adolis Garcia on three pitches. 

New York Yankees
A general view of Yankee Stadium from the field level before the game between the New York Rangers and Texas Rangers.Jessica Alcheh-USA TODAY Sports TEST.

Texas came close to ending the no-hit bid in the seventh when Cortes walked Corey Seager and Heim made it on base on a force out at second. Nick Solak walked to put runners on first and second, but Cortes managed to work out of the jam by striking out Andy Ibanez and getting Kole Calhoun to ground out. 

“He got right back on the attack with Ibanez and got himself to 0-2 and was able to get him,” Boone said about the seventh. “Then Calhoun got a decent piece of it, but got him to put it on the ground. I  just thought following the two walks for him to get right back into the strike zone and gain some leverage with Ibanez was big for him.” 

The Yankees looked as though they’d break the game open in the fifth inning after they loaded the bases with just one out — Joey Gallo got the game’s first hit off a line drive to right field.

After Brock Burke came into the game in the middle of the fifth for Texas Rangers starter Jon Gray, Jose Trevino lined to left to put runners on first and second. DJ LeMahieu was then walked to load the bases for Aaron Judge. 

Burke worked Judge to a full count before getting him to bite on a 94-mph sinker for the second out of the inning and Rizzo struck out looking after a six-pitch at-bat. 

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Gray exited the game in the middle of the fifth after a team trainer came out to look at him. The New York Yankees mustered just two hits off of Gray before the Rangers made the change.