Yankees sail to victory as Gerrit Cole breathes fire to sink Mariners

Yankees ace Gerrit Cole silenced the Mariners on June 20, 2023, at Yankee Stadium.
Michael Bennington
Wednesday June 21, 2023

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Gerrit Cole left an indelible mark on Tuesday night’s game, as his masterful pitching silenced the Mariners and ensured a 3-1 victory for the Yankees. The win put a break on the team’s four-game losing streak.

Though it was his emphatic gesture, repeatedly pointing his finger toward the Seattle dugout in the seventh inning that set social media abuzz, Geeerit Cole’s performance can’t be ignored.

While the Yankees adapt to playing without Aaron Judge, who is sidelined with a sprained toe, Gerrit Cole ensured that the team’s three runs were enough to secure the victory.

Gerrit Cole’s brilliant pitching performance

Continuing his remarkable streak, Gerrit Cole delivered another outstanding performance, marking his fourth consecutive stellar outing. Over the course of his last four games, he has only allowed a total of five runs in 25 and 1/3 innings pitched.

In the seventh inning, the Yankees ace showcased his dominance by striking out all three batters he faced, including Jose Caballero. However, there was some drama as Gerrit Cole appeared perturbed by the Seattle second baseman’s actions during the pitch clock countdown, leading to a wild 0-2 pitch that sailed past the catcher.

Above all, he confidently walked off the mound after striking out Caballero to conclude the inning and put an end to the Mariners’ chances of coming back at Yankee Stadium.

Gerrit Cole humorously commented on the situation: “Sometimes a high fastball can be a really effective pitch; you’ve got to change eye levels.”

He explained that his gesture of wagging his finger towards the Seattle dugout was a response to some “choice words” directed at him by Mariners manager Scott Servais. According to Gerrit Cole, Servais was also wagging his finger toward him, prompting his own playful retaliation.

Yankees ace Gerrit Cole wags his finger at the Mariners dugout on June 20, 2023, at Yankee Stadium.

“I didn’t say anything to him, either. I just saw him wag his fingers,” Gerrit Cole said. “That’s the first time an opposing manager has ever wagged their finger at me.”

The Yankees ace acknowledged Caballero’s behavior, noting that it seemed to be the way he typically played the game.

“It wasn’t easy, I can tell you that,” Cole said. “They put some balls in play and hit some balls hard that went our way. But they fought us all night. The best thing that we did was stay in command of the strike zone, move the fastball around and throw a lot of quality pitches.”

Caballero stated that he was not offended by the incident. The Mariner commented on his battle with Gerrit Cole, mentioning that the Yankees starter didn’t appreciate his manipulation of the pitch clock. However, Caballero viewed Gerrit Cole’s reaction as mere excitement, which he considered positive.

Yankees manager admitted that “Gerrit Cole’s pitch over Caballero’s head raised [Seattle’s] antenna.”

Starter gave the Yankees an important win

Amidst the incident, the Yankees’ victory held significant importance as they had recently suffered a sweep in Boston. The day began with general manager Brian Cashman stepping up to defend the offense, which has struggled to produce without the presence of Judge.

On Tuesday, the Yankees managed to provide sufficient run support for Gerrit Cole, who delivered an impressive performance by surrendering only one run in 7 and 1/3 innings. This victory propelled his record to 7-0 with a stellar 1.87 ERA in seven starts that followed previous Yankees losses.

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The batting order contributed with an RBI double from Anthony Rizzo, who broke out of a slump by collecting three hits in the game after struggling with a 4-for-48 stretch. Additionally, Billy McKinney added a crucial two-run home run to bolster the team’s offensive output.

With the aid of Seattle’s inconsistent defense throughout the game, the Yankees managed to seize a 1-0 advantage in the opening frame. Despite Teoscar Hernandez having a chance to make an inning-concluding catch, Anthony Rizzo hammered a ball to the right-center track with Gleyber Torres on first and two outs. However, Hernandez failed to make the catch, resulting in Torres scoring all the way from first on what was deemed a double, much to the confusion of many.

Rizzo expressed his gratitude that Hernandez did not make the catch.

In the second inning, Gerrit Cole issued a walk to Jarred Kelenic with one out, and Eugenio Suarez hit a shallow single to right field. However, the Yankees ace managed to escape the jam by inducing a flyout to left field from Cal Raleigh and striking out former Yankee Mike Ford to extinguish the scoring opportunity.

McKinney added to the lead in the second inning.

After Harrison Bader, who recently returned from the injured list, singled through the right side of the infield, McKinney stepped up and launched a powerful two-run home run into the right field bleachers, extending the lead to 3-0. The home run traveled an impressive 432 feet. The pitcher on the receiving end of the hit was George Kirby, who notably played for Rye High School in the vicinity.

In the sixth inning, the Mariners managed to find success against Gerrit Cole.

With one out in the inning, Gerrit Cole accidentally hit Ty France with a pitch. Despite this, he managed to get Teoscar Hernandez to fly out to shallow right field. However, Jarred Kelenic’s hit off the left-field wall drove in France, narrowing the Yankees’ lead to 3-1.

To preserve the Yankees’ lead, Gerrit Cole effectively left Jarred Kelenic stranded at second base by striking out Eugenio Suarez.

Gerrit Cole finished his dominant outing by striking out the final five batters he encountered. In the eighth inning, Clay Holmes took over and successfully completed the final five outs, securing a save.

“He puts a lot into his prep and his game-planning, how he attacks guys,” Rizzo said. “Whenever he’s on the mound, I’m very confident.”

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