New York Yankees ace Gerrit Cole didn’t want his first postseason start in the Bronx, for the Yankees, to sour as he gave up a solo home run to Cleveland Guardians outfielder Steven Kahn, and then proceeded to load the bases as the Yankees clung to a one run lead during the third inning.
While things looked like they were going bad, Cole instead turned it up a notch to not only escape the jam, but go on to dominate as the Yankees beat the Guardians 4-1 to take Game 1 of their NLDS series.
“I prepared myself for traffic. I certainly had quite a bit of it, too many experiences with traffic this year,” Cole said, according to ESPN’s Joon Lee. “You do what you normally do. We were really clear on what pitches we wanted to execute in those situations.”
“He executed, and that may be the at-bat of the game right there,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “He was in some trouble there and kept making pitches.”
Cole’s dominance fueled the Yankee win, and inspired the offense.
“That’s the type of stuff that fuels the offense,” Yankee outfielder Harrison Bader, who homered, said. “You hate to put more pressure on the starting pitching, but that is the reality of it and that is why those guys get paid the way they do because of the energy and ability to lock in and make big pitches in big sequences, which is exactly what he did.”
“He can have overwhelming stuff,” Guardians manager Terry Francona said. “He starts to speed you up and then he spins it. It can get tough.”
“It was very special for me,” Cole said. “It was very special. The game’s not over, left with traffic. It’s not the most comfortable time to acknowledge the crowd, but I certainly felt it and appreciate it. I thought they were in every pitch tonight, and what a wonderful experience to have them behind us.”