The New York Yankees reached 50 wins in unique fashion, getting a no-hit bid into the eighth inning by Gerrit Cole and seeing standout reliever Clay Holmes allow a run for the first time since Opening Day.
After an eventful 4-2 victory on Monday, the Yankees will look to clinch another series when they continue a three-game set with the banged-up Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday night in St. Petersburg, Fla.
The Yankees are 17-2 in their past 19 games, and their 50-17 start is the best through 67 games since the 2001 Seattle Mariners were 52-15.
Cole held the Rays hitless on Monday until allowing a single by Isaac Paredes to open the eighth.
“We got a lot of dog in us,” Cole said. “We love to play every pitch. Whether we’re winning or losing, it’s just a focus on one pitch at a time, and everybody’s kind of taking care of their business for their teammates.”
After Cole exited one out after Paredes’ hit, Holmes blew a 2-0 lead. The reliever allowed a double by Francisco Mejia, an RBI grounder by Yandy Diaz and then a tying single by Manuel Margot.
New York’s Aaron Hicks provided a tie-breaking triple in the ninth against Jason Adam. Hicks is hitting .321 (17-for-53) in June after he batted .127 (9-for-71) last month.
“We talk about keep playing,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “There’s things that happen over the course of the game, the course of the season that are sometimes out of your control. You got to keep playing, keep turning the page, and (we) did a great job of that.”
Tampa Bay is 2-8 over its past 10 games and 2-6 in the season series with the Yankees.
The Rays also will see their extensive injury list grow by two after outfielders Margot and Kevin Kiermaier got hurt on Monday. Margot sprained his right knee when he crashed into the right-field fence trying to catch Hicks’ triple. Kiermaier sustained inflammation in his left hip after striking out in the second inning.
Both players are headed for IL stints that manager Kevin Cash seemed to think would cost them significant time, pushing Tampa Bay’s total to 15 players on the IL. That group includes Brandon Lowe (stress reaction in lower back) and Wander Franco (right quadriceps strain).
“It’s been tough,” Tampa Bay starting pitcher Shane McClanahan said. “We’ve lost a lot of key guys, and we’re just going to have to keep doing what we’re doing, coming to the field, putting our head down and trying to make the best of a bad situation.”
Tampa Bay’s depleted lineup will have to contend with left-hander Nestor Cortes (6-2, 1.94 ERA), who held the Rays to one run on three hits Wednesday in New York en route to a 4-3 victory. He also limited Tampa Bay to one run on four hits in eight innings during a May 26 win in Tampa Bay.
Cortes is 2-1 with a 3.15 ERA in nine career appearances (four starts) against the Rays. He heads into Tuesday having allowed three runs or less in 11 of his 12 starts this year.
The Rays did not announce their starting pitching plans for Tuesday, but Jalen Beeks (1-1, 1.29) is a candidate to serve as an opener for the second straight time in place of Drew Rasmussen (hamstring). Beeks threw 23 pitches in two perfect innings Thursday against the Yankees in New York.
–Field Level Media