Gerrit Cole Complete-Game Masterpiece; Judge Homer. NY 1 Houston 0

Gerrit Cole pitched a complete-game, 3-hit shutout masterpiece, and Aaron Judge hit a solo homer for the only run of the game, to give the Yankees the 1-0 win over the Astros in Houston on a Saturday night.

That’s it. That’s the game. That’s all there is to write — except not at all because both events had a world of fanfare and side stories:

  • Cole’s gutty 129-pitch performance was cloaked in tension as he stayed in the game while the recently-horrid Aroldis Chapman warmed in the pen; Cole could be seen yelling at manager Aaron Boone in the 9th to keep him in the game, and
  • Judge making a “Don’t touch my jersey” uniform motion as he rounded 3rd during his homerun trot — alluding to the fact Jose Altuve cheated.

It was the Yankees 4th win in 5 games — they are now 46-42 — 8 behind Boston, 6.5 behind Tampa, and now fully back in 3rd place a game ahead of Toronto.

1. Judge Homer & “Don’t Touch My Jersey”

Aaron Judge hit the homer in the 3rd off Zack Grienke who was pitching great. As Judge trotted into 3rd base he pulled on the middle of his uniform by his chest — Yankee fans on Twitter like Tim Gregory immediately recognized it as a reminder that Altuve had protected his jersey from being pulled off after he hit the series winning walk-off homer in 2019 against the Yanks, with most speculating afterwards he was wearing a buzzer to let him know what pitch was coming.

Yankee fans got it right — and main stream sports media picked up on the story.

After the game, when asked about the move, Judge acknowledge that’s exactly what he was doing without saying it:

“Whenever they keep the roof closed here, it’s a little chilly. I was just telling my teammates to button up a little bit.”

2. Cole’s Gutty Masterpiece

And as Judge’s home and troll of the little cheater Altuve was circulating, the bigger story started to unfold. Cole was dealing, and continued to deal.

Grienke left after 4 innings for an undisclosed issue, but Christian Javier came in to shut the Yanks down for 3 innings and hold the Yanks at 1 run.

Tension Mounts Late

As the game headed into late innings, the tension continued to rise and the question was how long Cole would go — and who would relieve him, as Jonathan Loasiga was just placed on the 10-day COVID injury list, and Chad Green had just pitched 2 shutout innings the night before and wasn’t available. and of course Aroldis Chapman has been absolutely horrid for a month, although in his last appearance he pitched a shutout inning — walking the bases loaded while doing so. Before that he’d blown a game against the Mets, and before that blown the 8-4 lead over the Angels.

Insurance Runs? No

The Yanks desperately needed some insurance runs and in the top of the 8th, DJ LeMahieu led off with a single, and moved to 2nd on a one-out walk by Ryne Stanek to Luke Voit. Stanek went 3-0 to Giancarlo Stanton — but he got the green light and ripped a ground ball double play to 2nd. Yankee Twitter pretty much exploded on Stanton and yet another double play hit into. Some compared him to Dave Kingman, which is an article for another day.

And so Cole pitched thru the 8th — the bottom of the lineup — shutout ball.

Tension Rising; Chapman Warming in Pen

And then came the 9th. With the Yankees making out in the top of the inning, Luis Cessa could be seen warming in the pen. Then Aroldis Chapman joined them. Meanwhile Cole — at 112 pitches — was still in the dugout, with his warmup jacket over his pitching arm, looking like he was staying in the game.

Cole came out for the 9th — to face the top of their lineup. Their best hitters. And Houston is considered the best hitting team in baseball.

A leadoff single to Altuve on the first pitch. You can imagine the tension. Chapman warming in the pen.

Then — a 10-pitch at bat by Michael Brantley — he popped up on a 3-2 pitch; 1 out.

Words with Boone

Then — 2 high fastballs to Yuli Gurriel for strikes, but on the 3rd pitch — a 90-MPH slider that bounced to the plate as Gurriel checked his swing. Aaron Boone jumped out of the Yankee dugout and started walking to the mound. Meanwhile the umpire called it a swinging strike! It took minutes for John Sterling on radio to even realize it as he described what was happening on the mound.

Unheralded on the play was Kyle Higashioka — who snared the wild pitch that bounced in the dirt and fired his finger down to 1st to ask the 1st base ump if Gurriel had swung. His quick motion might have convinced the home plate ump to call it a strike, and the 1st base ump’s input wasn’t needed.

Meanwhile on the mound Cole started yelling at Aaron Boone, “I’m finishing this motherfucking game right now. Let’s go.”

Cole then threw 3 straight 97-99 MPH fastballs to Yordon Alvarez to strike him out. For the old ballgame!

Jomboy captured the 9th with a classic Jomboy performance:


It was noted by Yankee fan Jessica Marie that NY had beaten Houston the first two games of the series which were both 2019 Championship trophy replica nights — titles that it is now generally acknowledged that Houston cheated to get.

It is noted that the final game of the series on Sunday is Jose Altuve Replica Jersey Day. Yankee Twitter had comments about that one, concerning the size of the shirt, and whether a buzzer comes with it.

After the game, ESPN sports reporter Marly Rivera asked Gerrit Cole if he had proven he is a great pitcher whether the spin rate is up or down. Cole assassinated her.

But to see the full interview and context — that was the second question Marly asked and Cole quite respectfully answered both questions:

The Boxscore

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