Down 5-3, the Yankees had bases loaded in the 9th with 1 out when Estevan Florial worked a 3-2 walk to score a run and make it 5-4, but next batter Anthony Volpe hit a double-play grounder to shortstop that looked like the end for the Yanks.
But in his rush to get the back end of the double play and the speedy Volpe running down the line, Pirate 2nd baseman Ji Hwan Bae threw the ball in the dirt and past the 1st baseman as 2 runs scored and the Yanks took a 6-5 lead!
Earlier in the game, Bae hit a 2-out line drive that hit Yank pitcher Anthony Misiewicz in the head and ricocheted into right field to tie the score 3-3, sending Misiewicz down bleeding, and costing Gerrit Cole a win. After 10 minutes Misiewicz was carted off the field to the local hospital where it was reported he was doing ok.
Baseball’s brand of poetic justice.
NY improves to 75-73 and move back into full possession of 4th place, a game ahead of the Red Sox and 6 behind Toronto. The Yanks are 6.5 back of the final Wild Card with 14 games to go. Pittsburgh drops to 69-79, 7.5 behind a Wild Card.
1. Cole Gets thru Rough Start
Gerrit Cole soldiered through a rough start where he struggled getting his breaking pitches over for strikes.
- Cole walked the first 2 batters of the game, then allowed a single to load the bases with nobody out. A sac fly scored a run, but after another out Cole walked another batter to load the bases — 3 walks in the 1st inning — before getting the final out on a deep fly ball to Estavan Florial by the wall in right center. PHEW.
- Cole got into more trouble in the 2nd inning — a 1-out single followed by a 2-out single by Bryan Reynolds made it 2-0 Pittsburgh. Cole allowed another single to put 1st and 3rd before getting the final out.
- Cole started to settle down in the 3rd — allowing only a 2-out single but his pitch count was sky high.
- Cole allowed a leadoff single to shortstop Liover Peguero in the 4th and here we go again. But Cole struck out Bae on a 3-2 knuckle curve and Ben Rortvedt threw out Peguero trying to steal — a HUGE strike-em-out-throw-em-out double play.
- Cole entered the 5th at 86 pitches — but amazingly got a 7-pitch inning — flyout, ground out, ground out — and looked like he might pitch the 6th as he was at 93 pitches.
“I definitely started to gain some momentum,” said Cole afterwards about the 4th and 5th innings. “The command just got better. Probably had a little more in the tank but Aaron wanted to play it that way and it was probably good for the team anyway.”
“It’s funny when I’m out there and I’m grinding — my recall of how to get through it — I’m thinking of myself in a different uniform on that mound,” said Cole about pitching in Pittsburgh for the first time since he played with the Pirates. “I struggled a lot in the 1st inning early in my career, and I made a point to try to get better at that at this place. It was a humbling experience tonite. It was a really specially evening. I’m glad that everybody (Misiewicz) is doing alright right now, and I’m glad we got the win.”
“Not his usual command,” said manager Aaron Boone afterwards. “I thought he made good adjustments though throughout the game. He started getting some fastballs down in the zone. He made a lot of really big pitches. That game easily could have gotten away.”
“Even from the 1st inning,” continued Boone, “You just watch him — he didn’t get sped up, he didn’t break. It wasn’t perfect but — it’s what he’s done all year really well — when it hasn’t been perfect or he hasn’t been just mowing them down — situations haven’t snowballed on him. In a game where it’s a grind, he puts us right there with a chance to win.”
Cole’s Cy Young Drive
The gutty performance allowed Cole to maintain his lead in the American League Cy Young race. Cole’s ERA ticked up to 2.81 from 2.79. He still leads the AL in ERA.
Cole is now slashing 13-4 2.81 with a 1.05 WHIP.
If the Yankee offense and bullpen had properly supported Cole, he could easily be 18-4 or even 20-4. As Katie Sharp pointed out on Twitter, “Gerrit Cole has 13 starts with 2 runs or fewer allowed and 5+ IP and didn’t get the win this season. That’s the most in MLB.”
- Zach Eflin pitched 7 innings of 1-hit, 1-run ball for Tampa to beat Baltimore. He is now slashing 15-8 3.44.
- Luis Castillo is 13-7 3.08 for Seattle
- Sonny Gray is 7-7 2.96 (2nd in ERA) for Minnesota
- Kyle Bradish is 11-7 3.12 for Baltimore
- Framber Valdez is 11-10 3.32 for Houston
- Nathan Eovaldi is 11-4 2.96 for Texas, after going out in middle of July with injury and returning in early Sept. He pitched 3.1 innings Thursday night (allowing 2 runs), increasing his pitch count to 73 pitches.
2. Oviedo Tough But Wild; Rortvedt Gets Cole a Run
Meanwhile the Pirates had 25-yr-old Johan Oviedo on the hill. The 6’5 righty has filthy stuff but does not have good control.
- Oviedo walked 2 in the 1st but got out of the inning, striking out 2.
- In the 2nd, Anthony Volpe led off with a double, Oswaldo Cabrera walked with 1 out, and Ben Rortvedt ripped a 1-out RBI single to right to tie the game 1-1.
- Oviedo allowed a leadoff single to Aaron Judge in the 3rd, and then walked Gleyber Torres and Estevan Florial to load the bases with 1 out, but then struck out Volpe and Peraza.
- Oviedo struck out 2 more in the 4th and pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the 5th to leave with a 2-1 lead.
2. Yanks Take Lead for Cole in 6th
The Pirates brought in reliever Thomas Hatch for the 6th and he struck out the first 2 batters of the inning.
Next batter Aaron Judge got a CLUTCH 2-out single to center to put NY up 3-2 and put Cole in a position to win the game.
3. Bae Line Drive Sends Misiewicz Down
Misiewicz got a K on the curveball and there were 2 outs. He went 1-2 on Bae and was a strike from getting out of the inning when Bae hit a line drive right back at him, that ricocheted off his head and into right field.
Misiewicz went DOWN and a run scored to tie the game 2-2.
In came Zach McAllister. He hit Reynolds with a pitch and then Ke’Bryan Hayes hit a grounder up the middle that went under Gleyber Torres glove for a single to center plating 2 runs making it Pittsburgh 5 NY 3 as Yankee Twitter HOWLED at Gleyber’s distracted defense.
4. Yank Bullpen Holds ‘Em
McAllister and Nick Ramirez combined for a shutout 7th and Ramirez pitched a shut out 8th to keep the Pirates at bay — NY down 5-3.
5. Bae Blunder Gives Yanks Game
The Yankees pounced.
But Giancarlo Stanton fouled out to 1st base and there was 1 out.
Estavan Florial — who is known for striking out too much and who had walked earlier in the game — stepped up. Two quick strikes and he was in an 0-2 hole. But he took 3 straight balls, fouled off a pitch, and held off a 3-2 pitch for ball 4 to force in a run!
Next batter Anthony Volpe hit 2nd pitch to shortstop, where Peguero fielded, flipped to Bae at 2nd, who threw wild to 1st as Estevan Florial used the new technique of sprinting through 2nd towards 3rd instead of sliding into the bag.
Two runs scored and the Yanks were up 6-5!!!!
Afterwards, Boone said Florial was not supposed to go in that way: “We had that play in Boston and it really helped us, but this is not the play you want to do that on. It’s with 2 outs; it was actually a mistake. Because if Flo makes contact, they can call a double play. So I think we got a bit fortunate there.”
6. Holmes the Easy Save
Clay Holmes pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the 9th — ground out, strike out, ground out — for the old ballgame.
- Aaron Judge went 3 for 5, after having gone 1-2 with the Grand Slam and 3 walks the night before — breaking out of his mini slump in which he had gone 1-16. He is now slashing 32-63-.259 (.394 OBP) despite missing 2 months with the toe injury.
- Oswaldo Cabrera is RED HOT — he got 3 hits also, plus a walk, and is now at .220 (.296 OBP). “Really excited about the way he’s swinging the bat,” said Boone about Cabrera. “Last several days, he’s on the fastball. Line drives all over the field. You see the impact he has — just another tough lefty when he’s going well. Does some things on the bases. Really versatile in the field.”
- DJ LeMahieu remains hot — going 2-4 to raise his average to .243 (.323 OBP).