The New York Yankees signed pitcher Gerrit Cole to a $324 million contract this offseason with the idea that he would bring his best to the mound in the playoffs.
Cole did just that in Game 1 of the Yankees Wild Card series against the Cleveland Indians, fanning 13 over 7 innings, while setting an MLB record with his third postseason game with at least a dozen strikeouts.
“We needed to set the tone for the series,” Cole said. “I’m obviously very thankful and humbled to be able to take the ball and be in this position. To be able to deliver feels really good.”
Cole commanded the strike zone, and the game, and the Yankees bats came alive to the tune of 12 runs, chasing Indians ace and Cy Young award favorite Shane Bieber early. Bieber gave up a career-worst seven earned runs.
“The first inning didn’t go as planned,” Bieber said. “I wish I would have been with my off-speed stuff in the zone, and challenged those guys a little more. I forced myself into some bad situations and some bad counts on top of not having my best stuff and making mistakes.
Cole became the first AL pitcher with 13 strikeouts and no walks in a postseason start, per MLB.
Game 2 is set for Wednesday night.