Yankees starting pitcher Gerrit Cole took the mound in Minnesota’s Target Field Thursday night having allowed only three home runs in his last nine starts, a span of 55 innings and 218 batters faced. The Twins would get him for three homers in three batters to start the game. They would add two more in the worst start of his career, as far as allowing home runs is concerned.
And yet, the Yankees still won.
Ah yes, the good ol’ back-to-back-to-back home runs to start the game. Cole would walk the next hitter, but then settle in to strike out the next three hitters. Joey Gallo then clubbed a two-run home run in the top of the second inning to tie the game, 3-3, so this game was always far from over. But the Twins’ barrage of Cole continued. In the bottom of the second, Buxton hit a three-run homer to push the Twins’ lead to 6-3. Trevor Larnach added another in the third to chase Cole.
The final line for the Yankees’ ace: 2 1/3 IP, 8 H, 7 ER, 2 BB, 3 K
The five home runs allowed are the most in a game in Cole’s career. He previously allowed three home runs in a game six different times, most recently June 27 last season against the Red Sox. He had never before even allowed four home runs in a game.
The three straight taters are also a notable occurrence here.
That is the first time in Yankees history a pitcher has coughed that up to start a game, according to ESPN. It’s the first time it has happened to the club in the first inning since 1972, when Hall of Famer Al Kaline was one of the players to go deep.
Still, the Yankees would score seven unanswered runs the rest of the way to win the game, 10-7.
This moved the AL East-leading Yankees to 41-16 and drops the AL Central-leading Twins to 33-26. Perhaps they’ll end up meeting in October. If so, the story will be that the Twins have lost 18 straight playoff games going back to the 2004 ALDS, and 14 of those have been to the Yankees.
This time around, the Yankees took two of three in Minnesota, despite the Twins doing something to Cole that no team has ever done before.