NEW YORK – Sunday was supposed to be a battle of aces. He turned into anything but.
With Gerrit Cole facing the Padres’ Yu Darvish, it was the Yankees bats who stole the show en route to a 10-7 win in the series finale at Yankee Stadium as New York won the series. against San Diego. The Bombers hit in a seven-run third inning, knocking Darvish out of the game and handing him his worst loss of the season.
“Man, just a series of really good batsmen,” manager Aaron Boone said. “…When everyone is contributing and posing a threat, it’s huge, especially against a guy like Darvish. It’s not easy to chain hits; usually you get a few guys on base and then it’s a big hit — an extra-base hit or a home run or something.
“Today was just really good contact after really good contact. They were squaring them up nicely and doing them proud. It’s good to see everyone, top to bottom, (being) a threat .
That blowout helped Cole improve to 6-0 with a 2.93 ERA despite giving up six runs (five earned) on three walks in over six innings. He hit nine Padres, roughly his 24th double-figure batting as a Yankee, which would pass Ron Guidry for the most in franchise history. New York is 10-2 in Cole’s 12 starts this year.
In front of the Bronx’s biggest crowd of the season, with 47,295 fans in attendance for the holiday weekend rubber game, the Yankees quickly put Cole with a big advantage. Their seven runs in Game 3 tied their highest single-frame output this season, alongside their fifth-inning outburst in a May 10 rout of the A’s.
“They had (Darvish) on the ropes, and with a guy like that, he’s always a pitch or two away from regaining control,” Cole said. “I was just thinking about their mentality – they were so prepared and so locked in and so focused. It’s such a blessing for a pitcher to have an offense like that, who can string together that one-inning dynamic to really put themselves in a position to win the game. It’s a nice luxury to have.
The Yankees chained five straight hits to open the third, including a starting double from Kyle Higashioka and RBI singles from Anthony Volpe, Aaron Judge and Anthony Rizzo. Only a stellar wall-top catch from Padres center fielder Trent Grisham, robbing DJ LeMahieu of a three-run homer, ended that streak.
But the Yanks continued soon after, Harrison Bader rushing to the first base line to prevent a possible double play ball. Willie Calhoun followed up with a brace that relieved Darvish of his duties, then Isiah Kiner-Falefa added his own RBI single and Higashioka hit an RBI double before the end of the inning.
It was the type of response the judge expected after what had happened in the previous round. Padres left fielder José Azocar landed a Little League home run after a pair of field errors, as Bader navigated a fly ball well over home plate from center, then Higashioka sent his own air throw to third base.
“I think everyone was a little upset with themselves. We made some bad mistakes on defense that shouldn’t happen,” said the Yanks captain, who had a solo shot in the first then maybe stole a homer in the second. “Especially when you have your ace on the mound, things like that can’t happen. Against a good team like this, they will capitalize. So I think everyone stood up and said, “Hey, let’s answer here and get back to what we’re doing.”
The Yankees did that and more, and they also added some insurance runs through Bader and Higashioka in the eighth. Bader hit his sixth homer of the season, while Higashioka contributed an RBI single a few batters later.
That kept Cole’s undefeated record intact, as he joined the Rays’ Shane McClanahan as the only pitchers to go 6-0 or better so far this season.
“Gerrit, he carried us for several years, and especially at the beginning of the year when the attack really didn’t click as we should. He was coming out every five days and dominating,” Judge said. “There are going to be games like this throughout the season where he’s out of business and giving up a few points, but that’s where our attack is – we have to help him out and get him back. We did it today.