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Yankees 7, Pirates 5: Misiewicz’s frightening injury mars late comeback

Sloppy Pirates defense gave away the game in the ninth, but the Yankees’ thoughts are with Anthony Misiewicz.

New York Yankees v Pittsburgh Pirates Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images

Gerrit Cole’s return to Pittsburgh for his first start since being traded away in December 2017 probably would’ve been the primary storyline of this Yankees/Pirates game on most nights. But Friday at PNC Park turned out to have more in store. Anthony Misiewicz relieved Cole in the sixth and suffered a scary injury that brought the crowd to a hush. The Bucs then took the lead on the somewhat-dazed Yanks, but a ninth-inning rally from New York aided by a failed double-play turn keyed Aaron Boone’s club to a 7-5 victory.

Just another night at the ballyard, huh?

Cole promptly got into trouble during his Steel City homecoming by loading the bases with none out in the bottom of the first. The ace issued free passes to Ji Hwan Bae and Bryan Reynolds, and a sharp single by Ke’Bryan Hayes put him in a world of trouble. The end result could have been quite a bit worse than what actually happened. Jack Suwinski plated the game’s first run with a sacrifice fly to center that Estevan Florial misjudged a bit, allowing all runners to move up.

However, Connor Joe’s pop fly was too shallow to score Reynolds from third, and while Cole walked another with Endy Rodríguez walk to re-load the bases, a drive to right-center off the bat of old friend Miguel Andújar fell into Florial’s mitt, ending the frame. It took 29 pitches, and Cole had an amusing exchange with catcher Ben Rortvedt as he left the mound.

Buoyed by the narrow escape, Anthony Volpe set out to get the Yankees’ offense on track by lacing a second-inning leadoff double into left-center field off Johan Oviedo. A couple batters later, Rortvedt picked up his ace with a single through the right side, tying the game. A DJ LeMahieu double play cut the inning short, but it was a 1-1 ballgame.

Once again though, Cole did not look to be at his best. There were no bases-loaded jams in the second, but Liover Peguero singled to left with one down. Just when Bae grounded out to seemingly usher in an easy inning, Reynolds demonstrated why he was once such a coveted Yankees trade target with a hard hit to right, putting Pittsburgh back in front, 2-1. Hayes followed with another hit and Cole needed to go to a full count on Suwinski before putting him away.

Oviedo continued to match Cole in shaky innings, albeit with the Yankees letting him off the hook more often. They scored in the second but had stranded two men on via walks in the first when Florial popped up. Then in the third, Aaron Judge and Gleyber Torres reached on a single and a walk respectively, and after Giancarlo Stanton went down swinging, Florial drew a four-pitch free pass to load ‘em up. The Yankees turned to Volpe and Oswald Peraza to bring a run in, but instead, both made like Stanton and struck out in a hurry. Whoops.

Both Cole and Oviedo finally began to look a little more steady in the middle part of the ballgame, as both sides were turned away with relative ease. With Oviedo gone in the sixth though, the Yankees mustered a two-out rally against reliever Thomas Hatch. It had been quiet as Volpe and Peraza whiffed again, but suddenly, the Yankees snatched the lead away on the strength of on Oswaldo Cabrera single (one of three hits for No. 95), a Rortvedt walk, and back-to-back RBI knocks from LeMahieu and Judge:

Cole had already thrown 93 pitches through five mostly grueling frames, so the Yankees called it for him at that point, electing to go with the bullpen in the sixth. The ace finished his night with five innings of six-hit, three-walk, two-run ball while picking up four strikeouts.

No one would ever confuse it with a vintage Cole outing, but man did he ever grind it out. Even though his stuff was clearly not popping on Friday night, he does deserve credit for only allowing the two runs. He bent but never really broke. That’s just one part of what makes him an ace.

The journeyman reliever Misiewicz entered for Cole in his third appearance since joining the Yankees on Sunday. Shortly thereafter, he found himself in a frightening situation. With two outs and two on, Bae smoked a 100.6-mph rocket right back at the 28-year-old southpaw and off the side of his head. The ball caromed all the way out to right field, tying the game, but of course, all concern in the ballpark was centered around Misiewicz.

If you want to find the video, you can easily do so. We will not do so here as it was deeply unpleasant. We’re just going to send our best wishes to Misiewicz, who was bleeding and clearly dazed but at least sitting up and talking to teammates as he was carted off the field.

The Yankees later released a positive update on Misiewicz’s condition:

Misiewicz’s teammates seemed a little shaken up after the injury. His replacement, Zach McAllister, unintentionally plunked the first hitter he faced on the foot to load the bases, and an awkwardly-struck Hayes roller went under Gleyber’s glove for a go-ahead, two-run single. The way it was hit, Hayes would almost certainly have beat it out anyway, but Gleyber still has to at least keep the ball in the infield there. Oh well.

The game rumbled along to the ninth, where with the generally reliable Colin Holderman on for Pittsburgh, it appeared as though the Yankees would quietly fold up and go home. They had done nothing on offense since the sixth. Nonetheless, they quickly loaded the bases on singles by LeMahieu and Judge and a free pass to Torres. Stanton fouled out, but Florial battled back from down 0-2 to make it a one-run game on a walk.

Doom was imminent once again when Volpe hit one to Bae at shortstop. Even with the speedy Volpe, it seemed like a surefire double-play ball given how hard he hit it. That did not happen:

Bae threw the potential final out away, allowing Volpe to reach and both the tying and go-ahead runs to score on the error. As the YES booth noted, Florial deserves kudos for running through the second-base bag and making it a harder turn for Bae than it would’ve been if he settled for a slide.

An insurance run was tacked on when Peraza and Cabrera laced consecutive singles to make it 7-5, and an easy bottom of the ninth from Clay Holmes locked down the strange victory. For a day, at least, the Yankees are fully out of the AL East cellar at 75-73, as the Red Sox lost to the Blue Jays, 3-0. Hooray.

The Yankees’ doubleheader-filled week has led to a TBD starter for tomorrow, but look for the bulk of it to be some combination of Luke Weaver, Jhony Brito, or possibly Randy Vásquez (update: Weaver will start in his Yankees debut). First pitch will come at 6:35pm ET from Pirates righty Luis L. Ortiz.

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