Gerrit Cole kept the Red Sox’ offense in check as the bottom half of the Yankees’ order provided some pop, all as New York downed Boston, 10-3, to open a four-game set on Friday night.
Coming off a start in Tampa where he dominated, but could not go deep, Cole bounced back in a big way, giving up only one run on four hits in seven innings, striking out eight and walking none. Keeping hitters off-balance all night, Cole’s fastball sat around 95-97 mph for most of the game, his only mistake coming on a 1-1 curveball that Alex Verdugo deposited in the upper deck in right field. Sitting at only 95 pitches, it’s even possible that Cole could have at least gone batter-to-batter in the eighth, although it’s understandable why Aaron Boone might not have wanted to put unnecessary innings onto his ace’s arm with a sizable lead.
With Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton out, the Yankees need some of their slumping bats to come alive, and they took advantage against a weak — not to mentioned taxed — Red Sox pitching staff. Gleyber Torres has continued his recent hot streak, going 4-for-4, including a 2-RBI double off the right field wall in the third that helped chase Boston starter Colten Brewer from the game. Gary Sanchez, meanwhile, had only one hit, but like he has so far this season, he made it count:
Hitting his sixth hit and third home run of the year, Sanchez has been quietly showing signs of life lately, having some good at-bats and making solid contact of late. A productive Sanchez would go a long way towards keeping the Yankees’ offense roaring with its two biggest bats out of the lineup.
The rest of the Yankees’ offense, in fact, came from the two batters replacing Judge and Stanton, Mike Tauchman and Clint Frazier. On the at-bat before Sanchez’s big home run, Tauchman extended the Yankees’ 2-1 lead with an RBI double down the left field line; he followed this up with another one in the bottom of the eighth. Frazier, meanwhile, drilled a two-RBI double in the bottom of the seventh, scoring Torres and Tauchman.
In fact, despite scoring 10 runs on 14 hits, it felt at times that the Yankees left a lot of run-scoring opportunities on the basepaths, as they left six runners in scoring position, including having the bases loaded in the first. That’s the sign of a pretty good day at the plate.
Sanchez, additionally, continued his strong season defensively, throwing out Kevin Pillar stealing second in the top of the 3rd.
Um excuse me... where tf are you going? pic.twitter.com/w47xWlezGL— Talkin' Yanks (@TalkinYanks) August 14, 2020
The sole negative in the game tonight came from Jonathan Holder’s performance in the top of the eighth inning. Entering with an 8-1 lead, he walked the first two batters he faced — Pillar and Jackie Bradley Jr. — and a single to Jonathan Arauz to load the bases. Verdugo reached on a fielder’s choice and Rafael Devers singled to score a pair of runs, and Boone was forced to turn to Adam Ottavino to keep the game from getting any closer. He did just that, ringing up J.D. Martinez and Xander Bogaerts on strikes, to escape the jam. Ben Heller would have an uneventful ninth to secure the victory.
Cole wins his 20th straight decision — the third-longest streak of all time — as he improves to 4-0 on the season. Colten Brewer is tagged with his first loss of the year. With the win, the Yankees improve to 13-6, while Boston falls to 6-14.
The Yankees return to action tomorrow at 7:07 PM EDT. James Paxton (0-1, 7.84 ERA) will look to build upon his solid last outing as he continues to try and get back on track; opposing him will be old friend and Boston’s number-1 starter this year, Nathan Eovaldi (1-1, 4.09 ERA).