Gerrit Cole Triumphant! NY 4 Cleveland 1 in Game 1 of ALDS

Gerrit Cole ‘threw down’. He ‘pushed’. He pitched 1-run ball into the 7th inning to carry the Yankees to a 4-1 victory over Cleveland in Game 1 of the ALDS. He quieted all the naysayers, and pitched like an Ace.

Cole allowed a homer and then had his back to the wall in the 3rd inning — bases-loaded, 1-out after a botched infield play — but escaped it. After that he motored.

And the Yankee offense came right back — Harrison Bader hit his first Yankee homer in the bottom of the 3rd to tie the game with a lightning quick swing. Jose Trevino put NY ahead with a sac fly in the 5th, and Anthony Rizzo hit a 2-run BOMB into the upper deck in right for a 4-1 NY lead in the 6th.

Cole came out in the 7th to a Standing Ovation.

The bullpen of Jonathan Loaisiga, Wandy Peralta, and Clay Holmes did its job.

On a beautiful, 65-degree night in the Bronx — an Electric sold-out Yankee Stadium, LOUD on every pitch, with a touch of October chill in the air.

“Someone mentioned it’s like heaven here, and it definitely was,” said Jose Trevino afterwards.

1. Cole Pitches Like an Ace

Cole escaped trouble in the 3rd inning, when, after allowing a solo homer to Steven Kwan to give Cleveland a 1-0 lead, he had bases loaded, only 1 out:

  • He hit Amed Rosario with a pitch,
  • Allowed a double to Jose Ramirez, and
  • Got Josh Naylor to hit a weak grounder to 1st that Anthony Rizzo threw home on — allowing Rosario to scamper back to 3rd with everyone safe. The better play would have been to look the runner back and get the out at 1st.

Yankee Trolls like Jared Carrabis lit up Twitter with tweets predicting Gerrit Cole melting down. Some Yankee fans were doing the same.

But Cole got out of it by inducing Oscar Gonzalez to hit a grounder to Josh Donaldson at 3rd, who threw a Strike to home for an out, and getting Andres Gimenez to groundout to end it. PHEW.

After that, Cole motored.

“Cole had a lot of confidence in his stuff tonite,” said catcher Jose Trevino. “I had a lot of confidence in his stuff tonite. I thought he did a really good job.”

Cole used his knuckle curveball to great effect throughout the evening.

2. Bader Ties It with HR in 3rd

And the Yankee offense came right back — Harrison Bader hit his first Yankee homer in the bottom of the 3rd with a lightning-quick swing off starter Cal Quantrill for a 1-1 tie.

John Sterling started singing on the radio — “I’m just wild about Harry! Harry — he homers to left center and the Yankees tie the game at one.” It was Sterling’s HR call for Bader.

3. Donaldson Homers to Give Yanks Lead! Not

The Yanks continued to chip away at Quantrill — the son of Paul Quantrill, who Joe Torre famously overpitched and wore out during the 2004 season.

In the bottom of the 5th, Josh Donaldson hit a shot to right that appeared to just make it over the wall for a homerun.

  • John Sterling on the radio called it a homerun. Yankee fans listening celebrated.
  • The Yankee 1st base coach Travis Chapman congratulated Donaldson as he rounded 1st — and Donaldson broke into a homerun trot.

Except it wasn’t a homer. It hit off the top of the wall and was in play — Oscar Gonzalez threw the ball in casually to 2nd. As the umps made it clear the ball was in play, Donaldson was tagged out trying to race back to 1st.

Mike Davidson, owner of, was at the game, as was his brother and niece. “My brother and niece’s husband were the guys on TV trying to catch the Donaldson non-homer — blocked by a beer vendor,” revealed Mike afterwards. “Had Yanks lost it would have been a big deal. My bro was and is still pissed.”

4. Trevino Sac Fly Puts NY Ahead

But the Yanks weren’t done — Isiah Kiner-Falefa ripped a single to right — and it went right under Oscar Gonzalez‘s glove — Falefa raced to 3rd.

With 1 out, and an 0-2 count, Jose Trevino hit a Huge sac fly to deep center — he did his job and NY was up 2-1.

5. Rizzo 2-Run BOMB Into Upper Deck in Right

Aaron Judge went 0-3 on the night and struck out 3 times — but in the 6th, he worked a walk off Quantrill, stole 2nd base, and went to 3rd when the throw to second went into right field.

Judge was on 3rd with nobody out when Anthony Rizzo hit a BOMB into the upper deck in right — a grand old Yankee Stadium playoff homer — for a 4-1 NY lead.

6. Bullpen Does Its Job

Cole left with 1 out and a runner on in the 7th — to a standing ovation by the max capacity crowd of over 46,000 — sending chills through the night air to everyone, especially Cole.

Jonathan Loaisiga allowed a single to put 1st and 2nd, 1 out — but then got a big double play to end the inning. “My buddy Joe Garagiola would call that a “Room Service Double Play” said John Sterling on the radio.

In the 8th, Loaisiga allowed a leadoff single to Ramirez, but Wandy Peralta came in and got a Huge double play and strikeout to end the inning.

Wandy got the 1st out of the 9th, and was relieved by Clay Holmes — who immediately hit the first batter he faced — sending worry throughout Yankee Universe.

Cleveland pinch-hit Benson for Hedges — Will Benson for catcher Austin Hedges — and Holmes got Benson to hit little nibbler grounder to 1st for the 2nd out. Yankee fan @RedJohnny4 picked up on the Benson & Hedges switch.

Up stepped — of all people — Myles Straw — who had started the infamous food-throwing event at Yankee Stadium earlier in the season, and called Yankee fans the worst on the planet. Holmes got Straw to hit a fly to center for the old ballgame.

“That’s baseball, Suzyn.”

The Boxscore

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