Even with command that came and went throughout his start, Gerrit Cole got back on track, striking out seven through seven on 95 pitches. Aided by a quartet of double plays, Cole was able to strand or remove all seven baserunners he allowed, made up of four hits and an uncharacteristic three walks. On a day when they didn’t especially need it, the offense rolled to seven runs, providing Cole with plenty of offense for his sixth win of the season.
Cole’s stellar start marked the fourth straight by a Yankee pitcher of at least seven scoreless innings without ceding a run, something the franchise hadn’t done since 1932. Altogether, the Yankee staff has now allowed just a single run over their last 40 innings, compared to the 13 they’ve scored across the past 4 contests.
With one out in the bottom of the fourth, Aaron Judge and Gio Urshela came back from two-strike counts to work walks off of Cease. Then, Gleyber Torres took advantage of a hanging curve, serving it into the left-center gap, plating both Yankee baserunners.
The very next batter, Rougned Odor, blasted a 101.3-mph double to centerfield over the head of Leury Garcia, scoring Torres for the third Yankee run of the inning. Eventually, the White Sox put an end to the bleeding by striking out Kyle Higashioka with Mike Ford on second and Odor still stuck on third.
In the fifth, Luke Voit looped in a single off the end of his bat to start the inning in front of career first baseman Andrew Vaughn, who got a late jump on the ball. Gardner followed with a grounder through the 3.5-hole and into right field. A wild pitch advanced the runners, to put men on second and third for the Yankees with none out and Aaron Judge at the plate. Concluding a six-pitch at-bat, Aaron Judge foul-tipped a slider into Yasmani Grandal’s glove for the first out of the inning. Then, after Urshela worked a walk on a 3-2 count, Dylan Ceased to exist on the bump after making it through just four-and-a-third, and was replaced by Matt Foster.
With a chance to drive in a run for the second time in as many innings, Torres ripped a liner into left, giving him his fourth run-scoring hit in the past 24 hours. Although Odor fanned and Miguel Andújar grounded out to end the inning, stranding runners on first and second, the Yankees finished the frame with a 5-0 lead.
Though the team’s defense was often the team’s most glaring deficiency in the early part of the season, their staunch play today helped Cole out of trouble time and time again. In the next half, the Yankee defense erased a Tim Anderson single with another inning ending double play, their fourth of the game.
Hitting for the third time of the day in the bottom of the sixth, Mike Ford launched a 447-foot bomb, the longest of his career, stretching the Yankees’ lead to six.
In the seventh, the Yankee defense put a damper on their otherwise sparkling afternoon. With an opportunity to turn their fifth double play of the game, Urshela cleanly fielded a chopper before firing a strike towards Odor, who promptly dropped the ball that hit him in the hands. However, as he’s apt to do when he knows he’s nearing the end of his rope, Cole turned it up a notch, striking out Grandal with a 100-mph fastball, and getting Andrew Vaughn to stare down a 100.8 mph heater on the black to conclude his outing.
Cole’s final pitch was actually the fourth-fastest of his career, and the fastest he’s thrown since joining the Yankees. Impossibly, it seems as though Cole’s pitched his way into pole position for the American League Cy Young award while always keeping a little bit extra in the tank for when he needs it.
'Cause you're hot then you're Cole pic.twitter.com/fps7awujy5— New York Yankees (@Yankees) May 22, 2021
An Andújar double in the seventh was preceded by Torres’ third hit of the day, notching the Yankees’ seventh and final run of the contest. Miggy’s double was his first extra base hit of the season, and just his second RBI. Andujar’s now recorded a hit in six of his last seven games, a significant improvement over his slow start following his return to the big leagues.
Miguel Andujar smokes an RBI double! pic.twitter.com/ZSHSAGLpAI— Talkin' Yanks (@TalkinYanks) May 22, 2021
However, in the following half, Andújar augmented his abysmal reputation as a defender by taking a route befitting of Magellan to a Nick Madrigal fly ball that absolutely should have been caught, instead turning it into a triple. Fortunately for Justin Wilson, who pitched the eighth inning, Urshela came home on a no-out grounder to nab Madrigal at the plate despite the Yankees’ large lead.
Luis Cessa took the baton from Wilson in the ninth, earning a quick 1-2-3 to slam the door shut on the White Sox for the second day in a row. With the win, the Yankees are now 22-9 since their 5-10 start, leaving them tied with the Rays for second in the AL East, just a single game back from the division-leading Red Sox.
The final game of the series against the White Sox will be at 1:05pm again, tomorrow, this time with Jameson Taillon taking on Dallas Keuchel with an opportunity to sweep the team with the second-best record in the American League.