Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Bruce & Judge HRs Make Cole a Merry Old Soul

You know I like hitting, right? I'm a classic Yankee Fan, an old-school Bronx Bomber, a dyed-in-the-wool Pinstriper. To me, the best defense is a good offense.

Last night, every Yankee in the starting lineup got a hit, except for Clint Frazier. And, otherwise, the way he has started the season gives him a pass for that.

It looked like the Yankees might smack the Baltimore Orioles around immediately. DJ LeMahieu led off the bottom of the 1st inning with a single, Aaron Judge hit another, and Brett Gardner drew a walk. Bases loaded, nobody out, and Giancarlo Stanton, who'd hit a grand slam the night before, at bat. But Oriole starter Dean Kremer settled down, and struck out the side: Stanton, Gleyber Torres, and Frazier.

But Jay Bruce led off the 2nd with a home run, his 1st as a Yankee and his 319th overall. Then, Cliche Alert: Walks can kill you, especially the leadoff variety. Kremer started the bottom of the 4th by walking Bruce, then Gio Urshela, then Kyle Higashioka.

Oriole manager Brandon Hyde then replaced him with Adam Plutko. LeMahieu grounded into a double play, but that got Bruce home. Then Judge singled, scoring Urshela. 3-0 Yankees.

This was more than enough backup to make Gerrit Cole a merry old soul, who was brilliant: 7 innings, no runs, 4 hits, no walks, 13 strikeouts. He was allowed to throw 97 pitches, and, in this case, that was enough.

The Yankees added runs in the 7th, on a walk but Gardner and a double by Stanton; and in the 8th, on a single by Gio, a double by Higgy, a fielder's choice by DJLM, and a 3-run homer by Judge. Chad Green pitched a perfect 8th. Lucas Luetge ran into trouble in the 9th, but got the outs we needed.

Yankees 7, Orioles 2. WP: Cole (1-0). No save. LP: Kremer (0-1).

The series concludes tonight. Jameson Taillon makes his Yankee debut, while John Means starts for the Orioles. The Yankees then have tomorrow off, and play the Tampa Bay Rays in St. Petersburg over the weekend.

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