Thanks to Michael Kay for this tidbit: After tonight’s solid 5-1 win over the Tigers, the Yankees are back at .500 and 69-69 in a season for the first time since 1969. And for the first time in a long summer, Yankees baseball feels... good? Giancarlo Stanton launched his 400th career home run while Jasson Domínguez doubled and scored in support of Gerrit Cole. The ace has had many sharper nights but still delivered six innings of one-run ball, picking up his 13th win of the year, tied for the AL lead with Kyle Gibson, Chris Bassitt, and Zach Eflin.
Gerrit Cole wasn’t super Gerrit Cole tonight, but he was still very Gerrit Cole in the sense that even on a night in which his command wasn’t terribly sharp, and opposing hits were there for the taking, he still managed five shutdown innings to open up the action. In doing so, he kept the Tigers off the board despite allowing at least one hit in five of six innings. Detroit scattered eight hits against him on the whole, and left multiple runners on base in both the first and fifth innings, but couldn’t get on the board on a sweltering evening on the East Coast.
Perhaps lessening the burden a tad, the Yankees offense gave Cole an early lead when the resurgent DJ LeMahieu welcomed Alex Faedo to the Bronx with a Short Porch blast to lead off the game.
Unfortunately, that was the only run that the Yankees scratched across against the right-hander, as A.J. Hinch declined to give the lineup a second look at Faedo, ending his night after just 2.2 innings. He brought on Will Vest, the first of five relievers the Tigers would use this evening.
Also unfortunately, Cole’s ability to wriggle out of trouble ran out of rope in the sixth, when Kerry Carpenter tripled into to the right-field corner to lead off the innings and quickly scored on Miguel Cabrera’s 1,875th career RBI, a single to the opposite field. Cole retired the next two hitters, but like much of the night, it was a laborious endeavor, and after getting through with the game still tied, Cole’s night was done after 103 pitches, his ERA lowered to 2.90 on the season.
Fortunately — finally! — Cole still wound up in position for the win despite walking off the mound with a tie game, thanks to career round-tripper No. 400 from Giancarlo Stanton.
The blast made Stanton the fourth-fastest player in MLB history to 400 dingers, trailing only Mark McGwire, Babe Ruth, and Alex Rodriguez.
Tommy Kahnle came on for the hold in the seventh, and in spite of some recent bumps in the road, he converted it without issues, setting the Tigers down in order. Jonathan Loáisiga entered in the eighth inning and accomplished essentially the same thing, but the Yankees offense added a bit more noise to an otherwise quick, uneventful ballgame.
A glimpse of hope for 2024 and beyond emerged as New York put the game mostly out of reach with two extra runs in the eighth inning. Domínguez followed up a walk to Aaron Judge with a double — his first career hit at Yankee Stadium — to put both runners in scoring position. That set the table for Gleyber Torres to continue his impressive second half with a two-run double to make it a 5-1 game.
Clay Holmes couldn’t quite make it nine consecutive outs from the bullpen to close things out, allowing a perfectly meaningless single up the middle to Javier Báez and then ending the game without any further issue. The Tigers drop to 63-75, well on track for their seventh-straight losing campaign, though it’s still only bad enough for third place in a flat-out disgusting AL Central. With the Rangers’ impending loss to the Astros tonight, the Yankees will be an even seven* games out of the final Wild Card spot, which, hey crazier things have happened if you want to dream! In the meantime, let the kids play, let them have fun, enjoy a stress-free September, and ride high into the offseason.
*Update from the future: It’s actually 7.5 again since the Blue Jays beat the A’s to slide past the Rangers.
These two teams are back at it again tomorrow evening in a rematch of a battle we saw just a few days ago, with Matt Manning seeking to replicate the six shutout frames he fired against Clarke Schmidt and the Yankees lineup on August 31st. That was, of course, the last game before September call-ups, and Manning will be facing a very different set of hitters in a very different setting at 7:05 PM tomorrow. We’ll see you here!