Wednesday, April 5, 2023

Cole Cruises To Second Win, "Calm" Torres Continues Hot Start As Yanks Get Past Phillies

Gerrit Cole pitching  to Trea Turner in the sixth inning. Photo by Jason Schott.

The Yankees, led by another superb outing from their ace Gerrit Cole, and a three-hit, two-RBI day, from Gleyber Torres, beat the Philadelphia Phillies, 4-2, on Wednesday afternoon at Yankee Stadium.

The Yankees took two of three from their series with Philadelphia complete a successful opening homestand to improve to 4-2 on the season. Their next game, in Baltimore in what will be the Orioles' home opener, was postponed from Thursday to Friday afternoon due to rain.

Cole, who threw six shutout innings and struck out 11 against the San Francisco Giants on Opening Day last Thursday, picked up where he left off. 

The ace went 6 1/3 innings, and allowed just one run on three hits and three walks, while striking out eight. He is now 2-0 with a 0.73 ERA. The one run he allowed came in the seventh, after he walked Nick Castellanos on a pitch clock violation, and he came around to score on a sacrifice fly by Jake Cave off Jonathan Loaisiga. Cole's 12 scoreless innings to open the season 

Cole is just the seventh pitcher in Yankee history to throw at least six innings and allow three hits-or-fewer in his first two appearances of a season, with the most recent occurrence being El Duque, Orlando Hernandez, in 1999.

Yankees Manager Aaron Boone was asked about Cole's dominance after the game, and he said, "Well, he's Gerrit Cole. I mean, he walks out there with a lot of equipment, you know, but he's just, I feel like he's been in a good spot since the first day of spring training, and he's carried it into the season, had a little bit of everything going today. Thought his fastball was really good command-wise, you know, change-up continues to be a factor for him, both breaking balls. He was sharp, and he's throwing the ball really well...

"Obviously, when you're going against him, guys are selling out to certain things, and when he's really gotten his fastball like that and dictating counts and gaining leverage within the counts, you know you've got to deal with wipeout secondary stuff too, so I thought he did a good job of staying unpredictable in some situations where guys might have thought 'he's going to try to get me to expand here,' and he dialed up the fastball, I thought he did a good job of that all day long. It's good to see him throwing and setting the tone for us like this...

"I think he's made a conscious effort to establish some more things within the strike zone. I think he's using the inside part of the plate better. I think he's, you know, we're a couple starts in, but I think he's even done a better job of dictating counts and,if he can do that, and if he's ahead of guys routinely, you're in trouble."

The Yankees gave Cole an early lead in the bottom of the first against Philadelphia ace Aaron Nola. With one out, Aaron Judge got a single on a liner to left, and then with two outs, he stole second base, setting up Gleyber Torres to single him home and make it 1-0 Yankees.

It stayed that way until the sixth, when DJ LeMahieu led off the frame with a double, and then after Nola retired Judge and Anthony Rizzo, Torres got another RBI single to make it 2-0.

After Philadelphia got the one in the top of the seventh, Oswaldo Cabrera led off the bottom half with a walk that chased Nola from the game.

Left-hander Gregory Soto came in for the Phillies, and Jose Trevino crushed one into the corner in left field for a two-run shot to make it 4-1 Yankees.

Loaisiga stayed on for the eighth inning, and he gave up a solo home run to Kyle Schwarber to cut their lead to 4-2, but he then struck out J.T. Realmuto and got Edmundo Sosa to ground out to third to end the inning.

The Yankees looked to add one in the bottom of the eighth against Phillies reliever Seranthony Dominguez, as Torres doubled, but they couldn't bring him home. 

Clay Holmes came on in the ninth for the Yankees, and he struck out the side to earn his first save of the season.

Torres finished with three hits, two RBI, and a pair of stolen bases, and his average is now .421, to go along with two home runs and six RBI.

Boone said of Torres' prowess at the plate to start the season, "He's just been really patient, under control at-bats, I mean, that's what he's capable of. We've seen that, and hopefully, you know, we're seeing a guy that's really starting the prime of his career. He's a young man, but I just feel like, you know, every at-bat has been super-competitive, whether it ends in a good result or not, and there'a a lot of calm to what he's doing up there right now."

Yankees third baseman Josh Donaldson left the game in the third inning with a hamstring injury, and he was replaced by Isiah Kiner-Falefa. The injury might have occurred on a pop-up by Darick Hall to lead off the second inning when the wind took it, and Donaldson ran in a circle along the left side of the infield to make the catch.

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