Yankees ace Gerrit Cole went 7 full innings without giving up a hit on Monday night, before losing his potential no-hitter in the 8th during the team’s 4–2 win against the Tampa Bay Rays.
The righty’s would-be triumph was lost on a breaking ball to Isaac Paredes, who singled up the middle and rained on Cole’s parade in the road game.
The next batter saw Rays’ left fielder Brandon Lowe drive a ball to deep-center field, but slugger Aaron Judge made a dramatic catch against the walk on the warning track.
Yankee skipper Aaron Boone pulled Cole from the game after that at-bat after Cole’s 111th pitch, which was just shy of his season-high 114, which came against the Rangers in early May.
Cole left the game to a standing ovation from the Tampa Bay crowd with 12 strikeouts, while giving up 1 hit and 3 walks.
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Closer Clay Holmes took over on the mound after Cole, and quickly found himself in trouble after surrendering a double to Francisco Mejía, which put the tying run in scoring position. An infield pop-fly saw Paredes cross the plate to bring the score to 2–1, and an infield single from Manuel Margot along the 3rd base line tied the game.
That marked Holmes’ first earned run since opening day, and brought his 31-inning ERA-less streak to an end.
Holmes eventually got out of the inning, and the 2 divisional rivals headed into the 9th inning tied in Tampa Bay.
Heading into the final inning, the Bronx Bombers had a comparatively quiet night at the plate, seeing their only 2 scores when Anthony Rizzo homered in the 1st inning, and the red-hot Gleyber Torres, who doubled and crossed the plate on a Rays error.
Luckily for Yankee fans, the recently-struggling combination of Josh Donaldson and Aaron Hicks managed to put the Bombers back up on the scoreboard — first when Donaldson single to left field, followed by a triple from Hicks that saw Margot crash into the right field wall attempting to make the catch.
The clearly shaken-up Margot left the game on a medical cart.
The next at-bat saw a sacrifice fly from Jose Trevino off Rays reliever Jason Adam to score Hicks, and bring the team to a 4–2 lead.
Reliever Wandy Peralta took the mound in the bottom of the 9th inning, and gave the team another scare, as baserunners reached 1st and 2nd on a single, along with an errored throw from DJ LeMahieu — but the team eventually shut down the would-be rally to secure the victory.
While the game marks the Yankees’ MLB-best 50th win of the season, the valiant effort from their starter will not see a recorded win for Cole, as the Rays eventually temporarily tied the game.
Had he completed his no-no, Cole’s performance would have been just the 2nd such solo outing by a pitcher in the MLB this season, after Angels lefty Reid Detmers denied Tampa Bay batters a hit last May (a group of 5 Mets pitchers tossed a combined no-hitter against the Phillies in April).
Cole would have become the 12th Yankee to toss a no-hitter in the franchises’ 119-year history. The most recent Pinstripe player to deny a hit to the opposing lineup came from Corey Kluber in May of 2021 in a road game against the Rangers.
Yankee starters have had 4 no-hit bids through 6 innings this season, including a previous performance from Cole.
The righty had struggled early in the season to live-up to his role as the ace in the Bronx bullpen, but has caught fire in recent weeks. Heading into the game, the 10-year veteran of the MLB had posted a 3.33 ERA through 13 games, while giving up 11 homers and striking out 91 hitters.
Cole joined the Pinstripes in 2019, when he signed a nine-year, $324 million contract after a stint with the Houston Astros — marking the most lucrative contract for a pitcher in MLB history at the time.
The win on Monday marks the opening salvo of the Yankees’ series against the Rays, with their next matchup coming on Tuesday night. Nestor Cortes Jr. will take the mound for that contest.
The Pinstripes, with their 50–17 lead the AL East, find themselves 11.5 games ahead of the Blue Jays, and 14 games ahead of the Rays.