Cortes — Like a Cat — Holds Court. NY 4 ChiSox 2

Just like the 1998 Yankees, each time a Yankee starter goes out, he seems to try and one-up the performance from the Yankee starter of the prior game.

And so it was once again — this time Nestor Cortes coming close to matching Clarke Schmidt‘s 8-inning-shutout masterpiece of the game before, with 7 innings allowing 0 earned runs to lead the Yanks to a 4-2 win at The Stadium on a Friday night.

Nestor has been the one Yankee starter who has struggled at times this season so far — but looked good at times too. He struggled a bit early in this one too — but danced out of trouble like a cat and then came on strong the last few innings.

His performance of 7 innings, 0 earned runs follows Clarke Schmidt’s 8 shutout innings, which followed Marcus Stroman‘s 6 shutout innings,  which followed Carlos Rodon‘s 7 innings, 1 earned run, which followed Luis Gil‘s 6 shutout innings — 5 straight Yankee wins.

On the offensive side, Aaron Judge remained RED HOT — hitting a homer in the 1st — and then got walked the rest of the night. Giancarlo Stanton drove in a run with a double in the 4th, and hit a homer in the 6th to make it 4-1 NY.

And Caleb Ferguson saved the day when Ian Kennedy got into trouble again — Ferguson coming into a 4-2 game in the 8th with runners on 2nd and 3rd and 1 out — and got strikeout and lineout to end it. Clay Holmes pitched a filthy 1-2-3 ninth — coming in to a new entrance song in his honor.

“At the beginning I was missing spots, and not throwing the ball where I wanted to,” said Cortes afterwards. “I want to say in the 3rd or 4th inning things got more under control — I was able to pepper the outside corner the way I wanted to. And I would say the cutter and fastball in were pretty well too. And towards the end of the outing I thought I was really good — I was able to use the changeup a lot; I was able to get a few strikeouts on the changeup. I was able to mix the whole night and that is kind of what got me there.”

NY improves to 31-15 and remain in 1st by a game over Baltimore. The White Sox fall to 14-31.

1. Judge Homer In 1st; Walked the Rest of the Night

Aaron Judge put the Yanks on the board in the bottom of the 1st, getting a 3-0, 95-MPH four-seam fastball from starter Mike Clevinger and RIPPING it into the upper deck, just fair, in left.

On Thursday Aaron Judge went 4-4 with a HR and 3 doubles and a walk; on Friday Judge went 2-3 with 2 doubles and a walk — and the only out he made was on a tremendous catch by Manuel Margot robbing him of a double against the centerfield wall. So the HR leading off made Judge 7-8 with 2 homers, 5 doubles, and 3 walks in his last 11 at bats. Chicago walked him — either intentionally or pseudo intentionally — the rest of the night.

So Judge went 1-1 in the game with the HR and 3 walks. He is now slashing 12-30-.267 (.405 OBP).

2. Cortes Like a Cat

Nestor Cortes got into immediate trouble in the 1st — allowing 2 singles and facing a 1st and 3rd, 1 out situation — but got out of it with two shallow fly outs.

He pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the 2nd, and then got bit by a throwing error by Oswaldo Cabrera at 3rd — a single by Vaughn tying the game 1-1.

Cortes pitched around a 1-out double in the 4th, and in the 5th — leading 3-1 — got into more trouble, allowing a leadoff walk to Zach Remillard then a single to Tommy Phan, putting 1st and 2nd with nobody out.

But like a Cat, Cortes got out of it again — getting Andrew Vaughn to foul out, and then picking Remillard off 2nd base, and getting a groundout to end the inning.

Cortes then rolled — pitching a 1-2-3 inning in the 6th and 7th.

More Cortes:

Cortes’s slash line: 7 innings, 5 hits, 0 ER, 6 K’s, 1 BB. He wins to go 2-4 3.56.

3. Verdugo & Giancarlo Doubles Make it 3-1 NY

The Yanks got Cortes back the lead in the 4th — Clevinger pitched carefully to Judge leading off — walking him.

Next batter Alex Verdugo then doubled in Judge. NY 2 ChiSox 1.

Next batter Giancarlo Stanton doubled in Verdugo. NY 3 ChiSox 1.

4. Giancarlo BLAST in 6th Makes It 4-1 NY

Giancarlo Stanton led off the bottom of the 6th with a 417-foot homer to left off Tanner Banks and it was 4-1 NY.

5. Caleb Saves the Night

Some bad news: Ian Hamilton is not fixed yet. He looked good his last few outings but not this time. He came in to pitch the 8th and immediately allowed a double to Tommy Pham and an RBI single by Vaughn and it was a 4-2 game. Hamilton got a strikeout but then another double — this one by Gavin Sheets — put 2nd and 3rd with only 1 out — and the Yanks now clinging to a 4-2 lead.

Caleb Ferguson came in and saved the night — striking out Andrew Benintendi on 4 pitches, and getting Corey Julks to line out. PHEW.

6. Holmes Saves the Game

Clay Holmes came in for the 9th, and got ground out, strike out, walk to Remillard in an 8-pitch at bat, then a strikeout of Pham for the old ballgame.

The Boxscore

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