Nestor Cortes Jr was sailing along with a perfect game through 3 innings, when all of a sudden the Minnesota Twins unloaded a barrage of singles against him in the 4th, and then a barrage of home runs against him in the 5th.
Cortes left trailing 4-1, and then Clarke Schmidt got tagged for 4 more runs in the next 2 innings — en route to the 8-1 drubbing
It ended the Yankees 7-game winning streak and threw the “What Happened?” question into the air. Was Cortes injured? Tipping pitches? Was Minnesota stealing signs? Has Cortes’ Cinderella slippers fallen off?
1. Cortes Explains
It was 0-0 and Cortes had his perfect game going in the bottom of the 4th when
- Byron Buxton led off with a single,
- Carlos Correa followed with a single, and then after a fly out,
- Gio Urshela singled (a catch-able fly ball to the wall in right that Giancarlo Stanton failed to catch — it hit the base of the wall for an RBI),
- Jose Miranda singled (an infield chopper to 3rd that Josh Donaldson made a play on — threw to 2nd but runner was safe), and
- Max Kepler singled — Urshela thrown out at home by great throw by Aaron Hicks to save Cortes some.
Hicksy unleashes a strike 👏 pic.twitter.com/BYsHCKn5bO
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) June 9, 2022
After all that, and largely due to Hicks, Cortes was lucky to escape the inning only down 2-0.
But it got worse in the 5th — solo homers by Ryan Jeffers and Buxton made it 4-1 Minnesota and Cortes was lifted.
“I felt pretty good the first 3 innings, I was commanding all my pitches,’ said Cortes afterwards. “There were a few that got away from me in the 4th and 5th inning that I wish I could get back. They’re a good hitting team. They made me battle all night. They were putting good swings on good pitches that I was making. they fouled off a lot of pitches; made me waste a lot of pitches. I think my pitch count kind of got up in the 4th and 5th inning.”
Cortes summed up: “I thought in that 4th in 5th inning, I made a lot of competitive pitches, they were just wasting my really good ones and just hit my mistakes.”
Cortes fell to 5-2 1.96 — his ERA coming in was 1.50.
2. The Yanks Run
The Yanks got their run in the top of the 5th against starter Chris Archer to make it 2-1 at the time — Aaron Hicks — who had just made the terrific throw nailing the runner at home in the bottom of the 4th, led off with a single, Kyle Higashioka doubled, and DJ LeMahieu hit a sac fly for a run.
Overall Archer pitched well — 5 innings, 2 hits, 2 K’s, 1 run — to get the win. He goes to 1-2 3.65.
3. Schmidt Raked
Clarke Schmidt got the last 2 outs of the 5th after relieving Cortes, and when the Yanks scored their run — it looked like Schmidt might be sniffing another mid-inning relief win if the Yanks came back.
But Schmidt got ripped in the 6th — 3 doubles made it 6-1 Minnesota.
Schmidt walked 2 to lead off the 7th and was gone for Manny Banuelos, who allowed a walk and single for 2 more runs while retiring the side.