Yankees make a winning start against Pirates

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New York Yankees 7, Pittsburgh Pirates 5

PITTSBURGH — On Roberto Clemente Day, Aaron Judge and Gleyber Torres crossed home plate, capitalizing on a game-altering error that transformed what could have been a game-ending double play. This turn of events propelled the New York Yankees to a remarkable comeback, ultimately defeating the Pittsburgh Pirates with a score of 7-5 on Friday night.

In the ninth inning, the Yankees were down by two runs, but they seized the opportunity to capitalize on Colin Holderman’s (0-3) inconsistent pitching and the Pirates’ lackluster defensive performance.

New York closed the gap to just one run when Holderman issued a bases-loaded walk to Estevan Florial with only one out remaining. The momentum shifted as Holderman induced a ground ball from Anthony Volpe, directed towards Pittsburgh’s shortstop, Liover Peguero. Peguero executed a quick flip to second baseman Ji Hwan Bae for the first out, but Bae’s throw towards first baseman Connor Joe took an unfortunate deflection off Joe’s glove. This mishap allowed Torres and Judge to sprint home, propelling the Yankees into the lead.

Oswaldo Cabrera‘s third hit, an RBI single, provided the Yankees with a comfortable cushion. Clay Holmes, once a Pirate, closed out the game with a flawless ninth inning, securing his 20th save of the season as New York claimed victory. This win marked the Yankees’ fourth triumph in their last five games, allowing them to elevate their record to two games above .500 (75-73) for the first time in a month. Nick Ramirez (1-2) notched the win by delivering 1 1/3 innings of spotless relief pitching.

Ke’Bryan Hayes had an impressive three-hit performance, highlighted by a crucial two-run single in the sixth inning for Pittsburgh.

Notably, Hayes’ hit occurred shortly after New York reliever Anthony Misiewicz was forced to exit the game due to a frightening incident. He was struck in the face by a line drive off the bat of Bae. Misiewicz fell to the ground as the ball deflected into right field, but he eventually managed to stand up on his own and was subsequently carted off the field.

Zach McAllister entered the game to take over for Misiewicz but faced a challenging start, hitting Bryan Reynolds with his very first pitch, loading the bases. Hayes then hit a sharp ground ball up the middle, which slipped under the glove of New York’s second baseman, Torres, and found its way into center field. This hit brought home both Bae and Josh Palacios.

Meanwhile, Aaron Judge had an impressive three-hit performance, contributing an RBI for the Yankees. D.J. LeMahieu also played a pivotal role with two hits, including a leadoff single in the ninth inning that ignited the New York rally.

Gerrit Cole, the star pitcher for New York, faced a challenging outing during his return to PNC Park. It’s worth noting that the Pirates originally selected Cole as the first overall pick in the 2011 draft, and he made his Major League debut in 2013. He played a crucial role in the team’s rotation during the Pirates’ impressive streak of three consecutive playoff appearances from 2013 to 2015. However, he was eventually traded to the Houston Astros in January 2018.

Back in those days, Cole was in the early phases of his baseball career. Fast forward to the present, he has evolved into one of the premier pitchers in the game. However, his quest for his inaugural Cy Young Award might have hit a minor setback following his briefest performance since June 25. In this recent outing, Cole conceded two runs, yielded six hits, issued three walks, and recorded four strikeouts.

In the opening inning, he delivered 29 pitches, and throughout the game, he threw a total of 93 pitches, managing to secure only 15 outs. Consequently, his earned run average (ERA) inched up slightly to 2.81, placing him just ahead of Sonny Gray from the Minnesota Twins, who has an ERA of 2.83. It’s noteworthy that Gray is scheduled to take the mound for the Twins in Sunday’s game.

The Pirates paid tribute to their Hall of Fame right fielder, Clemente, who tragically lost his life in a plane crash on New Year’s Eve in 1972 while on a humanitarian mission to deliver supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua. To honor his legacy, the team organized a day of service, during which nearly 50 individuals from the organization, including several players, actively engaged in community outreach efforts.

Each player on the Pirates’ roster donned Clemente’s legendary No. 21, a gesture echoed by Judge, New York’s designated hitter Giancarlo Stanton, and catcher Kyle Higashioka. Additionally, the No. 21 was visibly marked on the outfield grass in right field, right in front of the iconic 21-foot-high Clemente Wall.

Despite their efforts, Pittsburgh fell short of hitting anything over the imposing wall. All of their ten hits in the game were singles.

UP NEXT

The series will proceed with the next game scheduled for Saturday, set to kick off at 6:35 p.m. EDT. As of now, neither team has disclosed the starting pitcher for the matchup.

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