Sports Minute: Cole wins 19th in row, beats Phils 6-3 in pinstripes debut
By RONALD BLUMAP Baseball Writer
NEW YORK (AP) — This was not what Gerrit Cole had in mind for his debut in pinstripes, and yet it was.
Cole won his home debut for the New York Yankees, extending his regular-season streak of victories to 19 with a 6-3 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies on Monday night.
New York improved to 8-1 for the third time after 1988 and 2003. The major league-best Yankees have won seven straight — the equivalent of a 19-game spurt over a 162-game season.
Cole (3-0) allowed six hits, struck out four and walked one on 91 pitches, leaving after a 1-hour, 7-minute rain delay ahead of the seventh. His grunts could be heard in empty Yankee Stadium as easily as Rafael Nadal’s at a grand slam final.
A month shy of his 30th birthday, the right-hander reached 99.3 mph, but he did not have his best arsenal. Cole threw 46 fastballs, 24 sliders, 18 knuckle-curves and three changeups.
Signed to a $324 million, nine-year contract, Cole grew up a Yankees fan, and at his signing news conference in December brought along the yellow sign he had held up as an 11-year-old at the 2001 World Series: “Yankee Fan Today Tomorrow Forever.”
There were no fans in this season of empty ballparks, which meant no Roll Call by adoring Bleacher Creatures. Mom and dad could not be in the ballpark, and neither could wife Amy and month-old son Caden.
His streak of consecutive winning decisions is the sixth-longest behind Carl Hubbell (24), Roy Face (22) and Rube Marquard, Roger Clemens and Arrieta (20 each). Cole did lose to Washington and Max Scherzer in last year’s World Series opener, part of a postseason in which Cole was 4-1 for Houston.
DJ LeMahieu led off the bottom of the first with a home run against Jake Arrieta (0-1), who made his first appearance since surgery last August to remove a bone spur from his right elbow.
After Jay Bruce tied the score with a home run off Cole on a full-count fastball in the third, Brett Gardner led off the bottom half with a drive down the left-field wall for the first over-the-wall, opposite-field home run of his big league career. Aaron Hicks added an RBI double later in the inning for a 3-1 lead, and Gio Urshela blew open the game with a three-run homer in the sixth on a changeup from Deolis Guerra that landed in the visitors’ bullpen in left-center.
Acquired from Toronto for $1 on Aug. 4, 2018, Urshela is hitting .300 with three homers and nine RBIs this season and has 24 homers and 83 RBIs in 141 games for New York.
Philadelphia got RBI singles from Adam Haseley off Brooks Kriske in the seventh and Jean Segura against Luis Avilán in the eighth. Zack Britton pitched a perfect ninth for his fourth save.
New York is to 22-0-3 in its last 25 home series, matching the team record from 1935, 1995-96 and 1997-98, according to STATS.
More rain is ahead Tuesday, and the second of two games in the Bronx was postponed and rescheduled as part of a doubleheader for Wednesday in Philadelphia, where the matchup is to continue with a single game on Thursday. The Yankees will be the home team in the first game of the twinbill.
Arrieta, the 2015 NL Cy Young Award winner with the Chicago Cubs, gave up three runs and seven hits in five innings with four strikeouts and no walks.
Aaron Judge went 2 for 4 with a double, ending his career-high best streak of five straight games with home runs.
New York already has 20 homers, and 37 of the Yankees’ 51 runs have come home on the long ball — including 29 of their last 32.
LeMahieu hit his 10th leadoff homer and second this season. While Gardner had hit a pair of home runs to left center, only one of his 125 previous home runs had gone down the left-field line: a shot against Minnesota in 2009 that became the first inside-the-park homer at new Yankee Stadium.
Giancarlo Stanton stole second in the eighth, his first swipe since Aug. 19, 2018.
RHP Luis Cessa could be activated as soon as Tuesday after recovering from COVID-19. He threw a 40-pitch session Saturday at Scranton in his third rehab outing. ... Closer Aroldis Chapman is to throw a bullpen in Scranton on Tuesday or Wednesday in his return from COVID-19.
LHP J.A. Happ (0-0) had been scheduled to start for the Yankees on Tuesday. RHP Aaron Nola (0-1) will open the twinbill for the Phillies, followed by RHP Zack Wheeler (1-0).
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