The crowd packed Yankee Stadium to see home runs Friday night. With Aaron Judge one homer away from tying the 61-year old American League and Yankees record of 61, the ballpark saw homers, but not the ones they wanted. An eighth-inning RBI-single from Jose Trevino rallied the Bombers for a 5-4 win after Gerrit Cole gave up two more homers to the Red Sox.
The Yankees (92-58) have won each of their last five games, nine of their last 11 games and 13 of their last 17. The Bombers’ magic number to clinch the American League East is down to four after the Rays beat the Blue Jays.
The Yankees scored on a home run and single by Aaron Hicks and Gleyber Torres’ double. In the eighth, Harrison Bader drew a pinch-hit walk, stole a base and took third on a pitcher’s throwing error and scored on a Jose Trevino single.
“He’s an athlete. He’s a ballplayer,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said of Bader. “We’ve seen him impact this big time already on the bases.”
It was the third game waiting for Judge to hit No.61 with Roger Maris’ family in attendance. He last homered on Tuesday night to tie Maris’ iconic record. Instead, Friday night, the real Yankees fireworks the 47,346 in the ballpark saw all came via Cole.
The 32-year-old right hander’s frustration boiled over in the sixth. The Yankees ace was peeved that he did not get a called strike on a 1-2 pitch to Alex Verdugo. Cole followed with a 100-mile-an-hour fastball and Verdugo crushed it 396 feet into the Yankees bullpen. The three-run shot tied the game and was the 31st homer Cole has allowed this season. The 30th came in the first when Tommy Pham dropped one into the short porch in right field.
“It’s stunning that they hit his mistakes in the seats this year,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “He was so good tonight. You know, that’s what makes it tough.”
After the Verdugo homer, Cole struck out J.D. Martinez and started yelling at home plate umpire Brian Knight, who ejected him. Boone was ejected going out to prevent Cole or Trevino from getting fined or suspended.
Verdugo took a slow trot around the bases enjoying the homer. It was the ninth home run that Cole has given up to the Red Sox this season in five starts.
Then he called Cole out for complaining.
“Wasn’t even close. He can complain all he wants. The goal of this game is to throw it over the white plate,” Verdugo told reporters. “He wants to steal every pitch.”
Cole allowed four earned runs for his fourth straight start for a 6.35 ERA in that span. The Red Sox got five hits off him, he walked two and struck out eight for 244 this season, four shy of the franchise record set by Ron Guidry.
“I thought that overall, I threw the ball well, it’s obviously just emotional. It’s an emotional moment. First career rejection after that ... I’m just a competitor,” Cole said. “I was just upset. It’s like the worst pitch of the sequence, he obviously put a beautiful swing on it and did what he wanted to do with the pitch. I think when we analyze that inning there’s probably a couple of pitches that we want to back where we could probably execute better...The damage there, it’s hard to swallow, but at the same time, like there’s some there’s some things that we did well.”
In the fifth, Torres doubled on a ground ball to left field, scoring Marwin Gonzalez and Hicks to give the Yankees a 4-1 lead, and extend his 16-game on-base streak, the second longest of his career. He is 21-for-66 in that span with 13 runs scored, five homers, 19 RBI and 10 walks.
Hicks hit his 100th career home run in the bottom of the third inning to tie it. It was Hicks’ second in as many games as he played and the eighth of the season.
But none in the packed house came to see Hicks, Verdugo or Pham homer.
Judge struck out on six pitches in the first inning, Hill getting him to swing over an 85-mile an hour curveball. In the third inning, Judge got under an 84 mph cutter, sending it high to the left-field warning track for an out. In the fifth, Hill beat Judge again, needing just four pitches to strike him out swinging on a 73 mph curveball.
In the seventh, with the game tied, Judge lined a single into left field and was greeted with some groans and polite applause.