Gerrit Cole Loses No-Hitter in 8th. Hicks a Hero! NY 4 Tampa 2

Gerrit Cole was DEALING — pitching a no hitter into the 8th with high octane stuff — mowing through the Tampa lineup and striking out 12 with easy motion delivery, 98-MPH heat and devastating slider.

But 3rd baseman Isaac Paredes singled up the middle to break up the no hitter leading off the 8th, and Clay Holmes came in and had his first bad outing of the season — allowing a double that set up 2 Tampa runs on an ensuing groundout and dribbler single to 3rd — to tie the game 2-2.

To the rescue came Aaron Hicks — with an RBI triple in the top of the 9th to put the Yanks back on top 3-2. He scored on a sac fly by Jose Trevino and Wandy Peralta waved his magic wand for a save and a 4-2 Yankee victory.

On a Monday night at the Trop.

It was the Yankees’ 50th victory of the season — they are now 50-17 — 12 games ahead of Toronto which lost, and 14 ahead of the now 36-31 Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

1. Cole Had Good Stuff

“I thought I had good stuff,” said Gerrit Cole afterwards. “I’ve never thrown a no hitter so I can’t tell you what no hit stuff looks like” he answered when asked what it felt like taking no-hit stuff late into the game.

Cole threw 98-MPH heat and the devastating 87-MPH slider most of the night, intermixing an occasional 77-MPH knuckle curve. He threw with an easy delivery — made it look easy.

“His slider was special tonite,” said manager Aaron Boone.

“In terms of the slider,” said Cole afterwards, “We were picking the right time to throw them; just really balancing the delivery and smothering the corner a lot.”

It was the second time this season Cole has flirted with a no-hitter — he had a perfect game going into the 7th against Detroit a month ago.

2. Cole Outdueled McClanahan

Lost in the shadow of Cole’s performance is that he out-dueled Ryan McClanahan, who is having an elite year and came inย 7-3 1.84.

Anthony Rizzo — who has been RED HOT — jumped on McClanahan in the top of the 1st with a 410-foot homer to right as the 3rd batter of the game. NY 1 Tampa 0.

That was the only run McClanahan would yield — he pitched 6 innings of 4-hit ball, striking out 8. But left losing 1-0.

It was the second time in a week a Yankee pitcher had out-dueled McClanahan — Nestor Cortes Jr did it last Wednesday.

3. Gleyber Fantastic Again

Gleyber Torres has been playing like the best 2nd baseman in the American League this year; hitting, hitting for power, providing excellent and aggressive baserunning, and fielding well.

This game was no different — in the 7th he led off with a double off Ryan Thompson and then stole 3rd.

Thompson got tough and struck out Josh Donaldson and Aaron Hicks, but Jose Trevino hit a slow chopper that and BUSTED it down the line, causing an errant throw to 1st wherein Ji-Man Choi stretched but dropped the ball. Trevino was safe on an error and Gleyber scored for a 2-0 Yankee lead.

4. Judge Saved Further Damage with Catch

After the no hitter was broken up in the 8th, next batter Josh Lowe hit a deep drive to center off Cole, but Aaron Judge raced back and made a terrific catch at the wall to save further damage.

“He’s gonna get it (a no hitter) here soon,” said Judge about Cole afterwards. “Hopefully I’m playing center when he does.”

5. Holmes His First Bad Outing

In came Clay Holmes, who was greeted with a double by Francisco Mejรญa for 2nd and 3rd, 1 out. A groundout scored a run, and then Manuel Margot hit a nibbler down 3rd that Holmes made a play on and threw errantly to 1st — but Margot would have beat it out in any case. The run scored and it was a tie game.

6. Hicks a Hero

And so it was to the 9th — a 2-2 tie. With one out, Josh Donaldson ripped a single to deep left off Jason Adam, and Aaron Hicks stepped up.

Hicks — this year’s Piggy in Yankee Twitter’s “Lord of the Flies” — who started the season well, went into a horrid slump for 2 months, but has been solidly hot the last few weeks.

Hicks RIPPED a shot to right that would’ve been a homer into the porch at Yankee Stadium — it bounced off the top of the wall and Hicks sped around the bases for an RBI triple and 3-2 Yankee lead.

Manuel Margot leaped up to try and catch the ball and landed awkwardly on his right knee. After several minutes writhing in pain, he had to be carried off the field on a stretcher.

After many minutes delay, Jose Trevino hit a HUGE sac fly to make it 4-2.

7. Wandy’s Wand Works in Nail-Biting 9th

Wandy Peralta came in to pitch the bottom of the 9th — he whose Magic Wand did not work the day before in Toronto’s come-from-behind 10-9 win.

Wandy walked the leadoff batter, but then got a foul out and a double play ball to DJ LeMahieu at 3rd which could have ended the game.

But LeMahieu threw badly to 2nd and everyone was safe.

Wandy worked his Magic Wand — striking out Josh Lowe, and — with runners on 1st and 2nd, 2 outs, and the dangerous Mejia up — all of Yankee Twitter biting their fingernails — got Mejia to pop the ball up into no-man’s land in the outfield behind 2nd. A

aron Judge, Aaron Hicks, and Gleyber Torres all converged on it — as all of Yankee Twitter palpitated — and Hicks grabbed it at the last second for the old ballgame.

The Boxscore


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