On a humid summer day at the Stadium, Giancarlo Stanton made certain Gerrit Cole had enough to work with, and indeed he did — the Yankees came out on top over the Cubs, 6-3. Eight hits felt bountiful after recording only two singles last night, and providing six runs for Cole to work with is a recipe for success.
With two outs in the first, Drew Smyly left a fastball up in the zone and Giancarlo Stanton crushed a 447-foot home run at 118.1 mph off the bat. It was a blast that defies description. Yankees fans needed some offensive hope early, and the most Stantonian home run of 2023 did just that.
Big G planted it off the facing of the uppermost deck in left field. Even more impressive...it also would’ve been gone at Baltimore’s spacious Camden Yards and its cavernous left field. Everyone in the stadium looked up and watched this one fly. It crested so high that both the camera and Michael Kay briefly lost sight of it, throwing the home run call into confusion for a moment. You don’t see that every day.
After a walk to Christopher Morel, a Yan Gomes single put Gerrit Cole on the ropes, but the ace got out of trouble in the second unscathed. In the home half, the Yankees kept banging. Josh Donaldson lined a home run into the left-center field seats to make it 2-0, already his tenth of the year in an odd, often ugly offensive season.
Next, the Cubs manufactured a run from a Miles Mastrobuoni double and some adept situational hitting. The home nine continued to see Smyly well in the bottom of the third, loading the bases upon a Gleyber Torres single, a Stanton walk, and a Rizzo single. With the bags juiced, Harrison Bader slapped a two-run double into the left field corner to open the lead up to 4-1. He continues his excellent record of hitting with runners in scoring position.
A walk to Donaldson loaded the bases again for DJ LeMahieu, who grounded into a double play to end the threat. The Yankees saw a starting pitcher well for the first time in what feels like forever. Balanced swings brought production mostly up and down the order. A couple of walks in the home fourth were squandered by a Jose Trevino GIDP and an Anthony Volpe caught-stealing, both of whom went hitless on the day, but they had Smyly in trouble for much of the afternoon.
Cole really started to lock in when he reached the middle innings and retired the side in order in the fourth, fifth, and sixth. In the first six innings, the only real blemish was the Mastrobuoni double.
Torres continued his productive day with his second hit and dashed for second on an error to lead off the fifth. Then, Stanton came up and made sure Torres could jog the rest of the way around, flicking his wrists and casually doinking one off the foul pole in the right field porch. Less majestic, but it still counts all the same, and the Yankees led 6-1 in the middle of the sixth.
Cole headed into the seventh with just two hits allowed and his pitch count in great shape at 75. He only struck out five on the day in a more democratic effort by the defense, perhaps impacted by his fastball only sitting around 95-96. He pounded the strike zone with sharp sliders and combined these with heat at the top of the zone in a classic Cole attack plan. His seventh inning of work started with a Seiya Suzuki single, but Cole retired the next three in order.
Holding a five-run lead, Aaron Boone could’ve ended Cole’s day at seven innings and 93 pitches. Instead, maybe in light of the impending All-Star Break, Boone let his horse work. Mastrobuoni singled for his second hit of the day. Called up from the minor leagues today, he promptly notched two hits against one of the best pitchers on the planet.
Boone’s decision would come back to bite the Yankees and cut the lead to three. A tiring Cole left a changeup in the strike zone to lefty Mike Tauchman, who hooked it into the right field seats. This ended Cole’s day at 7.1 innings, five hits, and three runs allowed. The ace threw well, but as Paul O’Neill said, he got to the end of his rope on a hot summer day.
The steady Michael King finished the eighth inning no problem. King stayed in the game from there and spun an easy ninth inning to cap off a wire-to-wire Yankee victory. One more against these Cubs before the All-Star Break — tomorrow at 1:35 ET, Kyle Hendricks will face Domingo Germán, and should the Yankees win, they’ll pull into the break with a 50-41 record.