Yankees’ offensive collapse hands Gerrit Cole his first loss in 2023


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As the Yankees hosted the Red Sox on Friday at Yankee Stadium, everyone expected Gerrit Cole to continue his winning streak. The Yankees ace started well carrying those expectations until the team’s offensive meltdown forced him to suffer his first loss of the 2023 season.

Despite showing some signs of life towards the end of the game, the Yankees’ offense was relatively lackluster, with the exception of Josh Donaldson‘s solo home run. Their performance fell short in a 3-2 defeat against the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium.

Despite Boston’s recent struggles, having lost five of their last six games and residing in the competitive AL East, the Red Sox managed to dampen the spirits of the sellout crowd of 46,007 on this particular night.

Gerrit Cole started well

On Friday, Gerrit Cole bid farewell to his pristine record, yet his performance on the mound remained commendable despite lacking support from the Yankees’ offense.

Throughout his start, Gerrit Cole adeptly handled baserunners, inducing groundballs that led to crucial double plays, ultimately preventing significant scoring opportunities for the opposing team. Despite conceding a lone run in the fourth inning and another through a solo home run in the sixth, Gerrit Cole admirably kept the Yankees in the game.

With sheer determination, the Yankees’ ace persevered through six innings, unleashing a total of 101 pitches with 68 strikes. Along the way, he allowed seven hits and a solitary walk, resulting in two runs while impressively striking out six batters.

In the initial three innings, Gerrit Cole navigated through singles allowed, effectively evading any runs for the Red Sox. However, in the fourth inning, Boston managed to break through and put a run on the board against him. Rafael Devers smashed a ground-rule double to the gap in right-center field and Triston Casas followed up with a sharp line drive single to right field allowing the Red Sox to secure a 1-0 lead. During the sixth inning, Devers swiftly reacted to a low changeup and launched it with immense power into the Red Sox bullpen, extending their lead to 2-0.

Devers’ blast in the game marked his seventh career home run off Cole, which is the highest number of home runs any batter has hit against the Yankees’ ace, out of the nine hits he has surrendered to Devers overall.

In the seventh inning, Gerrit Cole was replaced by Albert Abreu, who allowed a solo home run to Enrique Hernandez, extending the Red Sox’s lead to two runs. The consequences of that decision came back to haunt the Yankees in the subsequent bottom of the inning.

New York Yankees starting pitcher Gerrit Cole leaves the field after the top of the sixth inning of the team's baseball game against the Boston Red Sox on Friday, June 9, 2023, in New York.
AP Photo/Frank Franklin II

Yankees’ offense failed to take off

Ahead of the initial matchup between the Yankees and Red Sox this season, there were discussions surrounding the potential decline in intensity within the long-standing rivalry. However, it was the Yankees’ offense that struggled the most on Friday night, lacking the necessary spark and energy.

In the bottom of the ninth inning, the Yankees made a final attempt to stage a comeback. With two outs, Billy McKinney (later replaced by Oswaldo Cabrera) and Gleyber Torres delivered consecutive singles against Red Sox closer Kenley Jansen.

In his inaugural experience of the intense rivalry, Anthony Volpe electrified the crowd by launching a deep fly ball down the left-field line that ultimately curved foul. However, on the very next pitch, the young rookie popped up, bringing an end to the game.

The Yankees (37-28) lost for the second time in five games since Aaron Judge sustained a toe injury last weekend in Los Angeles, despite a good outing by Gerrit Cole, who allowed just two runs in six innings.

Garrett Whitlock, a former Yankees prospect, gave only two runs (one earned) across 6 ¹/₃ innings in his first start against his old club, and the Yankees offense had a hard time scoring against him.

Amidst his recent struggles, DJ LeMahieu, who had been in a slump, managed to make an impact as he was given a chance in the leadoff position. He responded with two consecutive singles in his initial two plate appearances.

Both times, though, the Yankees were unable to score, leaving LeMahieu stranded at third in the first inning and first in the third.

To start off the sixth inning, Donaldson blasted a home run into Monument Park, narrowing the gap to 2-1. Since returning from the injured list last week, Donaldson has hit four home runs in five consecutive starts.

AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews

Isiah Kiner-Falefa kick-started the inning with a single, swiftly stole second base, advanced to third on an errant throw, and eventually crossed the plate on a wild pitch, narrowing the Yankees’ deficit to 3-2. However, Torres, who drew a walk during the wild pitch with one out, resulting in Whitlock’s exit from the game, remained stationed at first base and did not progress any further.

Nick Pivetta was summoned by the Red Sox and successfully induced a pop-out from Volpe and a groundout from LeMahieu, effectively extinguishing the Yankees’ scoring opportunity.

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