With an off day now behind them, and on the heels of a tough loss to the crosstown Mets, the Yankees headed into another interleague series. The Philadelphia Phillies had been playing .500 ball for the most part, and would have their hands full facing David Cone all night. Evidently, the day off worked wonders for the Yankees, as they would cruise to an easy W to open this series up in the Bronx.
June 30: Yankees 9, Phillies 2 (Box Score)
Record: 56-20, .737 (Up 10.0)
Cone was coming off of a solid performance against the Braves in which he pitched seven innings, striking out just as many, while giving up a pair of earned runs. He would square off against Carlton Loewer, a rookie for the Phillies, who would be making just his fourth career start. His first was a stellar debut, but in the two following, he allowed 12 earned runs over 13 total innings of work. Unfortunately for the 24-year-old, the Yankees lineup would continue the recent trend.
Neither team made much noise in the first inning, as the Phils went down in order, and the Yankees failed to score, after Tino Martinez hit a ball to the right field wall that Bobby Abreu leapt and caught to keep the game scoreless. But things wouldn’t stay that way for long.
In the bottom of the second, Darryl Strawberry led off for the Yanks. He worked the count to 3-0, got the green light, and cashed in on it, launching a ball the other way into the seats the give the Bombers an early 1-0 advantage. The Yankees weren’t done there — Tim Raines followed with a double, and Mother Nature followed with a 50-minute rain delay.
Even the wrath of nature wouldn’t stop the Yankees’ momentum, though. Chad Curtis led off the return by lacing a single to right, scoring Raines. After Curtis stole second and was advanced on a Scott Brosius single, Joe Girardi knocked him in with an RBI-groundout. Two batters later, Derek Jeter would single up the middle to score Brosius. All said and done, the Yankees were up 4-0 after a pair of innings.
Though the Yankees weren’t done there, it was all David Cone would need on this night. He set Philadelphia down 1-2-3 in the third, and did the same in the fourth, as he had yet to allow a baserunner. In the top of the fifth however, Abreu would notch one in the hit column for the Phils with an infield single, though Cone would navigate the rest of the inning without issue.
In their turn, the Yankee lineup got back to work. Jeter and Martinez worked walks, and Strawberry would stay hot with an infield single to score Jeter and extend the lead. Raines singled as well and the Yanks were now up 6-0. Two batters later, with the bases loaded and Toby Borland in to relieve Loewer, the wheels fell off for Philadelphia. Brosius worked a walk, scoring Strawberry, and Girardi would do the same to score Raines. Next, with Chuck Knoblauch up Borland yanked a wild pitch that allowed another run to score and put the Bombers up 9-0 in the fifth inning.
With plenty of leeway, Cone continued to deal. He matched a pair of singles with a pair of strikeouts to get through the sixth, and would add two more K’s in a 1-2-3 seventh. And if that wasn’t enough, in the eighth he went untouched again, this time striking out all three with ease.
The shutout, sadly, just wasn’t meant to be. After Scott Rolen doubled in the top of the ninth, Jon Zuber knocked the future Hall of Famer and himself in with a homer into the right field seats. But with a seven-run lead still intact, David Cone was allowed to finish things out, and that he did.
He finished with a complete game, giving up just those two runs, striking out 11, and not allowing any walks to the Phillies. The Yanks had now won six of their last eight games in a run of interleague play, and looked once again to be in dominant form headed toward the second half of the season.