Cole the Ace Carries Yanks to 5th Game. NY 4 Cleveland 2

Gerrit Cole walks off mound after his 8th strikeout, that ended the 7th.

Gerrit Cole got redemption again. Pitched like an Ace. Was given the lead in a do-or-die game 4 and never relinquished it, carrying the Yanks to the 4-2 win, forcing a deciding game 5 at Yankee Stadium Monday night.

The much beleagured Cole, ripped by Yankee fans and Yankee foes alike for not coming up big in big games over the last year, especially after the Sticky stuff ban — threw down his second straight Ace performance of this series. He was in total command — shaking off some bad defensive plays behind him — throwing down 7 innings of 6 hit, 2 run ball, striking out 8 and walking 2.

He left after 110 pitches with a 4-2 lead.

“I just went out there and did my job,” said Cole afterwards. “I had the lead and was just focused on executing pitches and not giving it up.”

Clay Holmes and Wandy Peralta finished it — Wandy with a 7-pitch, 1-2-3 inning in the 9th. Boss.

And Harrison Bader hit a 2-run homer in the 2nd to give NY a 3-0 lead that ended up being the game winner. Brian Cashman could put his feet up and have another glass of wine, to celebrate his redemption of the Jordan Montgomery trade at the deadline. Just one glass, and then on to Monday night.

1. Cole Dominant

The story of the game was Gerrit Cole and his Ace performance. The Yanks gave him a 1-0 lead in the top of the 1st and he never relinquished it.

He allowed a leadoff infield single in the bottom of the 1st, but then struck out the next two batters and got a pop out to end the inning. He made his first statement.

Poor Defense by Hicks

In the 3rd, Cole allowed a leadoff walk, and then a 2-out single to Amed Rosario. Cole got Jose Ramirez to pop up to left — which should have ended the inning — but the ball dropped for a single past a diving Josh Donaldson and a run scored. Aaron Hicks seemed to jog into the play and was not close to the ball even though it was in the outfield — causing Yankee Twitter to erupt in condemnation.

Hicks picked up the ball and tossed it in to 2nd — where Gleyber Torres caught it and RIFLED a throw to 1st to nab Ramirez — ending the inning as Cole Shouted his appreciation. “To be able to shut that down with that defensive play was big,” said Cole afterwards.

Naylor Rocks His Baby

Josh Naylor led off the 4th with a line drive homer to right center and mocked Cole with a ‘rock-my-baby’ motion as he rounded 1st, setting off controversy. Cleveland media reported that Naylor has been doing this on all his homers this year, but it was the first time Yankee fans and most fans watching on national TV had seen it — and nobody got it.

Afterwards, Cole said he never saw Naylor do it on the field. But it was the last run Cleveland would score. After that Cole started smoking again — striking out 2 of the next 3 and retiring the next 10 batters in a row — with a 1-2-3 inning in the 5th and 6th.

Cole allowed a 1-out line single to center in the 7th to Andres Gimenez that bounced off Harrison Bader’s glove allowing Gimenez to go to 2nd. But Cole struck out the next to batters to end the inning, emptying the tank with 97 MPH fastballs.

2. Rizzo RBI Single

The Yanks jumped on top with a run in the top of the 1st off Cal Quantrill:

Gleyber Torres led off with a single, and Aaron Judge hit a drive that hit off the wall for what could have been a double but was just foul by 8 inches. It went to the wind as Judge struck out on a 3-2 pitch as Gleyber Torres was stealing 2nd.

Anthony Rizzo then singled Torres home and it was 1-0 NY.

Rizzo then tried to steal 2nd and was out by a mile.

3. Bader 2-Run Homer

Josh Donaldson led off the 2nd with a single, and Harrison Bader ripped a homer to left center for a 3-0 NY lead. It was Bader’s 3rd homer of the playoffs, in 4 games, after not hitting a homer for the Yanks after being traded to them at the trade deadline in July.

4. Stanton Sac Fly

Aaron Judge led off the 6th by legging out an infield single — the 1st baseman being pulled off the bag by the throw. Anthony Rizzo then doubled to left to put 2nd and 3rd, nobody out, and Giancarlo Stanton hit a booming shot to the wall in left center for an RBI.

Rizzo played the ball halfway, thinking it might go for a double — so did not advance to 3rd on the sac fly. But it didn’t matter as Donaldson and Oswaldo Cabrera both struck out to end the inning.

5. Holmes a Shutout 8th

Clay Holmes came in for the 8th in the 4-2 nail bitter. He threw 17 pitches — all sinkers — to retire the side: groundout, walk, strike out, strike out. His last sinker was way inside and way low but got Jose Ramirez swinging wildly for strike 3. Good news for the Yanks if Holmes has his sinker sinking.

6. Wandy a Shutout 9th on 7 Pitches

And then came Wandy Peralta to pitch the 9th of the nail bitter. Two lefties were due up — Naylor and Gimenez.

In one of the most stress-free, boss performances since the days of Mariano Rivera, Wandy retired the side on 7 (seven) pitches — groundout, groundout, strikeout of Gimenez for the old ballgame.

The Boxscore


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