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  • Benjamin Gerstel

Yankees hang on late for the W against Detroit 4-2

New York put pressure on Detroit early, with the bases loaded in the first inning. Josh Donaldson then popped up after working himself into a 3-0 count, but a miscommunication between Detroit’s catcher and pitcher allowed for the Yankees to knock in two runs. It wasn’t pretty, but Josh Donaldson was able to bring in two runs, despite not hitting the ball past the pitcher’s mound. With their offense struggling a ton this season, the error by Alexander was fortuitous. Donaldson worked hard just to even get to that count, so the Yankees are certainly content with the way the game has started out for them. They secured a 2-0 lead, giving Gerrit Cole enough insurance.

The Yankees’ starting pitcher didn’t even need that extra run support, as he put on a show of his own in the first inning. Aside from one walk, Gerrit Cole struck out the side, and the Yankees were able to leave Detroit hitless in the first inning. They also scored another run in the second, making it a 3-0 game. After Kiner-Falefa got on base, he eventually got to third off of a wild pitch. Aaron Hicks then hit a sacrifice fly to left field, which brought Kiner-Falefa home. With this run, the Yankees were able to create more distance between themselves and the Tigers.

Detroit’s offense was lacking early, but they had a few highlights of their own as well. With a rip to left center, the legendary Miguel Cabrera notched his 2,996th hit of his career. Four more hits would make Cabrera just the 33rd player in MLB history to do so. That wasn’t the only offensive highlight either. On a full count, Gerrit Cole walked his third straight batter in Castro, and the Yankees were put in a difficult position. The top of the order was up next, and Cole just couldn’t find the strike zone as he threw the first pitch into the dirt. The third pitch also had a similar result as the first, and Cole was clearly frustrated on the mound. He bounced back with a four seam fastball in the upper-right hand corner but then missed the strike zone yet again. Again, Cole was faced with a 3-2 count with bases loaded. Grossman hit a sacrifice fly to left like Hicks did, and the Tigers knocked in their second run of the day. However, the Tigers wouldn’t even have had these base runners, if their hitters weren’t walked to begin with.

After Cole walked the next batter, he was pulled from the mound. He struck out two early on, but was never able to find his groove after that. The Yankees ace left another set of bases full, and Clarke Schmidt jogged out to take his place. Through two innings, Gerrit Cole had tied his career high with five walks. The last time Cole had five walks was on 6/18/2018. In that game, Cole threw for 7.0 innings, as opposed to just two today. It will go down as one of the worst starts in Cole’s career, and it all happened within a span of just two innings. His 46 pitches was also a career-high that inning. Only two innings have been played thus far, and five runs have been scored between both teams, for a 3-2 score. In the bottom of the third, Schmidt got the Yankees out of another jam. This time, he was facing a man on first and second, and a 3-2 count. Schmidt got Barnhart looking for his fourth K of the day. In comparison, Cole let up five walks, one hit, and two runs in 1.2 innings pitched, while Schmidt totaled four strikeouts, one hit, and zero runs/walks in 1.1 innings.

In the top of the fourth, Hicks had another good at-bat, which occurred as Judge was on deck. Kiner Falefa already reached third at this point, so the Hicks walk wasn’t enough to move Kiner-Falefa. With a single under his belt already, Judge was looking to drive in a run for New York this time. On a check swing, as he tried to dodge a pitch, Judge went too far, and the Yankees left two base runners. One of them was in scoring position, on third, and would’ve been huge considering how close this game was. Unfortunately, the Yankees failed to capitalize on two base runners, and they remained up one with 4.5 innings to play.

Schmidt continued to shush the Tigers, and he dealt double the amount of K’s Cole did, while also letting up two less runs. Peralta was also in for relief, and dealt a solid inning of his own as well. The Yankees’ dominance in the bullpen has been a common theme for the Yankees this season so far, and tonight’s game was no different. The only deviation that occurred, was their offense's success (especially early on in a game). The Yankees’ 3 runs scored by the second inning, has been enough to last them through seven innings. As soon as Peralta left the mound, the Tigers created a bit of a rally. Schoop was able to reach third, and the Tigers had another batter on second. Cabrera then hit a grounder in fair play, but a fantastic throw by Donaldson off of the bounce found its way to Higashioka. Higashioka then made a phenomenal play to tag the runner out at home and defend the Yankees lead. It could’ve been a tie game, but Donaldson’s stellar play saved the inning. Clay Holmes then settled in, and struck out the last batter of the seventh without throwing a ball.

In the top of the final frame, the Yankees were able to strike again. D.J. LeMahieu came through for New York, and he sliced a ball to right field that enabled Aaron Hicks to score from second. Even though they had two outs, the Yankees continued to fight in the final inning. They were able to get one more run for good measure, and headed into the bottom of the ninth with a 4-2 lead. Chapman, after struggling in his last few outings, found control of his fastball again. He was pinpointing the bottom right corner with 97 miles per hour, while also getting a strikeout with his lethal slider. Following that at-bat, the Yankees got the next two outs, and they were able to win the game 4-2. New York will play Detroit again tomorrow, at 6:40pm EST.

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