Cole scores twice as the Yankees beat the Rays 2-0

Yankees vs. Rays

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Gerrit Cole bounced back from a career-worst thrashing, as well as the major league-leading New York Yankees opened a crucial span against their top AL East foes by extending their division lead.

Cole pitched out of a bases-loaded jam inside the sixth inning to retain a shutout before giving off to another bullpen, and the Yankees beat the Tampa Bay Rays 2-0 Tuesday night.

The AL East-leading Yankees managed to win their fifth straight game against third-place Tampa Bay in the first of game 6 in nine days. New York moved ten games ahead of the multiple defending division champions and nine games ahead of the Blue Jays, who were defeated by the Baltimore Orioles. This weekend, the Yankees will visit Toronto for three games.

Despite only five hits, New York improved to 45-16, the best 61-game begin in baseball since Seattle in 2001.

The Yankees were missing third baseman Josh Donaldson, who was suspended for one game by Major League Baseball for statements he made to White Sox star Tim Anderson about Jackie Robinson. On appeal, Donaldson’s ban was upheld.

Cole (6-1) allowed a career-high five home runs in his previous outing against Minnesota, but rebounded with the mostly stress-free start. The right-hander did strike out seven batters, walked one, and allowed five singles.

Ex-Yankee Corey Kluber (3-3) pitched 6 innings, allowing the two unearned runs, four hits, and a walk while striking out three batters.

Clay Holmes pitched a goalless ninth inning for his tenth save, capping off the Yankees’ six-hitter and tenth shutout. According to Baseball-Reference, it was Holmes’ 27th straight goalless appearance, the second-longest streak in league history underneath Mariano Rivera’s 28-game streak in 1999.

The Rays committed 2 errors in the fourth inning, giving New York a 2-0 lead.

Right fielder Manuel Margot decided to drop Gleyber Torres’ regular popup near the foul line after Giancarlo Stanton’s one-out walk. Kiner-Falefa followed with a multiple single, and Arozarena had an opportunity to throw Stanton out at the plate. Stanton scored easily on Arozarena’s high throw, and Torres was capable of following him home.

This season, Tampa Bay has permitted 40 unearned runs, which ranks second in the majors only to the Chicago White Sox.

Cole bemoaned trying to throw too several pitches right through the middle against the Twins last week. He adjusted by essentially rejecting his cutter on Tuesday, throwing it only three times all season.

He mostly cruised until the bases were loaded with one out in the sixth, when he caused a 6-4-3 double play from Arozarena to retain the shutout. Cole managed to skip off the mound, pointing to his infielders in the middle.

Torres made a great play earlier in the inning at second base, keeping his foot on the bag after Cole’s errant throw on a low grounder. Kiner-Falefa also made an important play earlier in the inning, catching Ji-Man Choi’s grounder up the field to prevent a run from scoring.

On the play Torres made, Yandy Daz was initially ruled safe, as well as the Yankees were amazed when referee altered the call via video review.

Kiner-Falefa struck out from shortstop in the seventh inning after Kevin Kiermaier’s grounder was nudged by reliever Wandy Peralta. Kiner-Falefa swerved, barehanded the ball among second and the first base, and beaten up it over for the out.


Rays LHP Shane McClanahan (7-2, 1.87) and Yankees LHP Nestor Cortes (5-2, 1.96) face off in a showdown of surprising early season Cy Young Award contenders.

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