Coming into this game, the story was all about Gerrit Cole. The controversy around the substances pitchers use to get a better grip on the ball has led to him being one of the few pitchers singled out over it. The game also would see him face off against Josh Donaldson, who publicly made some insinuations towards him.
When the game actually played out, the Yankees’ offense ended up being the big story.
For all the hubbub surrounding Cole coming into the game, nothing much came of it on the field. He didn’t have his most dominant outing of the season, but he struck out nine with no walks while allowing two runs on five hits in six innings.
Meanwhile, the Yankees’ offense put up one of their best games in weeks. They picked up 15 hits on their way to a 9-6 win over the Twins. As a team, they hit four home runs, led by Giancarlo Stanton, who went deep twice. All but two of the nine hitters in the starting lineup reached base at least twice, with only one (DJ LeMahieu) failing to reach base at all. You certainly can’t say that they’re back considering the opponent and the opposing starting pitcher in Randy Dobnak, but it’s a good start.
The Yankees got the action going quickly in the first. With one out in the inning, Aaron Judge took a Dobnak pitch deep to left, opening the scoring with his 15th long ball of 2021. However, the most anticipated at bat of the game came in the bottom of the first.
Donaldson was due up second in the inning after his public accusations against Cole in relation to the sticky-gate stuff. Some wondered if Cole might throw at him, but that did not happen. Instead, Cole got the upper hand by striking Donaldson out as part of a scoreless first.
This Gerrit Cole staredown of Josh Donaldson after striking him out is epic.— Grant Paulsen (@granthpaulsen) June 10, 2021
Donaldson recently said he would be exposing all of the pitchers who are using foreign substances to pitch and susequently singled out Cole. pic.twitter.com/fr5MhDLtSn
Over the next two innings, the Yankees got him some run support. In the second, Kyle Higashioka scored all the way from first on a Brett Gardner double. However, the real damage came in the third.
After a Judge double and a Gleyber Torres walk, Giancarlo Stanton obliterated a baseball, hitting one 423 for a three-run shot:
That came after Stanton had hit a double 118 mph in the first inning.
The Twins got on the board themselves in the third. With one out in the inning, Jorge Polanco hit a solo shot off Cole. Following him was round two against Donaldson, which Cole again won via strikeout.
In the fifth, Stanton hit his second home run of the day, taking a Dobnak pitch a pedestrian 405 feet. It scored Torres on the play and took the Yankees’ lead to six runs. A couple batters after him, Miguel Andújar added a solo dinger, his fifth in the last eight games.
Two innings later, Andújar picked up another RBI when his sac fly plated Gio Urshela.
The second run Cole allowed on the day came in the bottom of the fifth as Miguel Sanó hit Minnesota’s second home run of the day. Once again, Cole limited the damage and departed after six innings. At 94 pitches, the ace might have been sent back out in the seventh if it was a close game, but at 9-2, it was decidedly not.
Luis Cessa came in for Cole to start the seventh, ending the Yankees’ starter’s day. The right-hander threw two scoreless frames before turning it over to Brooks Kriske in the ninth. Kriske made it far more interesting than it needed to be in a mess of a ninth inning. He allowed four runs on four hits and a wild pitch. It got bad enough that Aroldis Chapman got up to throw before Kriske finally got the last out.
Few things seem to get the Yankees playing better than a matchup against the Twins. They’ll go for the sweep tomorrow night at 8:10pm ET. Michael King will face former Yankees lefty J.A. Happ.