/Gerrit Cole continues Yankees’ nearly perfect pitching in rout of Tigers

Gerrit Cole continues Yankees’ nearly perfect pitching in rout of Tigers

The members of the Yankees’ dominant stable of starting pitchers have been matching or one-upping each other all season, but this nearly bordered on the absurd. 

After Jameson Taillon lost a perfect-game bid in the eighth inning in the second game of the doubleheader sweep of the Angels on Thursday, Gerrit Cole was perfect into the seventh inning of a 13-0 blowout win Friday night over the Tigers at the Stadium. 

“I feel that way every night with this staff. I’ve been here not very long, and it seems like every night we’re flirting with a no-hitter,” said Matt Carpenter, who belted one of four Yankees home runs. “Gerrit was outstanding tonight. Just complete control. Just doing what he does.” 

Jonathan Schoop’s clean single to center with two outs in the seventh spoiled Cole’s attempt at his first career perfecto and no-hitter. Cole, however, finished with two hits allowed and nine strikeouts over seven shutout frames to front the first-place Yankees to their fourth straight win. 

“I threw some pretty good changeups, but just one too many off-speeds to Schoop, and he was on it,” Cole said. “Probably immediately, I was like ‘dang-it,’ but then you gotta lock it in for the next pitch.” 

Gerrit Cole had a perfect game through 6 2/3 innings before giving up a hit against Detroit on Friday.
Gerrit Cole had a perfect game through 6 2/3 innings before giving up a hit against Detroit on Friday.
AP

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Yankees still became the first team in the expansion era (since 1961) to have two starting pitchers work at least six perfect innings in back-to-back games. 

Indeed, Cole’s performance was just the latest gem from a starting rotation — primarily with Taillon, Nestor Cortes, Luis Severino and Jordan Montgomery — boasting a collective 2.60 ERA after beginning the day second in the majors behind the Dodgers (2.56). 

“I think it certainly starts with talented guys capable of doing what they’re doing,” manager Aaron Boone said. “But I think it’s also their preparedness, whether it’s game plan, mental, classroom, physically preparing between their starts. Being on the same page with catchers. 

Anthony Rizzo hit a three-run homer in the fifth inning against the Tigers on Friday.
Anthony Rizzo hit a three-run homer in the fifth inning against the Tigers on Friday.
Corey Sipkin/NY POST

“I feel like they’re all just in a really good place. But at the end, they’re all really good pitchers and talented at what they do, and they’re going out and executing at a really high level that’s allowing them to get deep in the games routinely.” 

Whereas Taillon was locked into a scoreless duel Thursday when his perfecto try was halted by Jared Walsh’s single to lead off the eighth, the Yankees’ bats provided plenty of breathing room for Cole (5-1, 2.78) with four home runs off Detroit starter Elvin Rodriguez. 

Jose Trevino and Aaron Judge (his MLB-leading 20th among a four-hit night) went deep in the third inning, while Anthony Rizzo and Carpenter homered in a five-run fifth for the Yankees (37-15). 

The long layoff while the Yankees sent 11 batters to tjhe plate in the bottom of the fifth didn’t seem to bother Cole. He struck out the side in the sixth for his second set of four consecutive Ks during the game. 

But after retiring Willi Castro and Harold Castro to start the seventh, the $324 million ace was reached for a clean single to center by Schoop, prompting a standing ovation and chants of “Gerrit Cole” from the home crowd. 

Miguel Cabrera followed with another single, but Cole fanned ex-Met Javier Baez on his 102nd pitch to preserve the shutout. 

“[Cole] and all the other starters, I feel like we’re going out there and they’re just doing their thing,” said Trevino, who drove in two more runs with his first career triple in the fourth. 

Boone acknowledged he couldn’t envision taking the ball from Cole if the perfecto or no-hitter had remained intact — unless the righty’s pitch count climbed into the “danger zone of 140-150.” 

Manny Banuelos makes his MLB debut Friday during the Yankees' win over the Tigers.
Manny Banuelos makes his MLB debut Friday during the Yankees’ win over the Tigers.
Corey Sipkin for the NY POST

Still, the end of Cole’s bid enabled Boone to find a spot to use one-time top prospect Manny Banuelos — now 31 after years of major injuries and bouncing around other organizations and countries. The lefty relieved Cole in the eighth for his long-anticipated team debut, working two scoreless frames to complete the combined three-hit shutout. 

“It was a pretty exciting night,” Cole said. “The fans were in it, I heard them chanting my name, which was pretty magical. … We banged, we played great D, and Manny got in, so it was a great night.”