On Wednesday, after the sixth inning, Gerrit Cole had already thrown over 100 pitches toward the strike zone and was beginning to show indications of tiredness, which had triggered the yellow caution lights in the dugout to begin blinking. When asked if he could continue, the Yankees’ ace said, “Whatever you need,” to manager Aaron Boone.
It was virtually verbatim a repetition of what Isiah Kiner-Falefa said five days prior in response to learning that the rookie Oswald Peraza might reduce his playing time. The promise was to provide the squad whatever they required at that time as well. The Yankees completed a doubleheader sweep on this particular night with a 7-1 victory over the Twins thanks to strong performances from Cole and Kiner-Falefa.
It simply makes for a wonderful day,” said Cole, who now leads the Majors with 218 strikeouts after recording a season-high 14. If we had been on the receiving end of this, “it would have been a really, really tough one.”
Cole was helped by Kiner-fourth-inning Falefa’s grand slam, which was his third home run of the season, second of the series, and the first bases-loaded home run of his major league career. This came after Oswaldo Cabrera hit a 12th-inning single to secure a 5-4 walk-off victory in the opener that featured Aaron Judge’s MLB-leading 55th home run.
That gave Cole permission to attack the Twins, a team the Yankees have dominated for the better part of two decades. In his 20th double-digit strikeout game as a Yankee, Cole was dominant. He is now tied with CC Sabathia for the third-most strikeouts in franchise history, only behind Ron Guidry (23) and David Cone (21).
Boone remarked, “I felt his stuff was pretty good.” “It was exactly what we needed to be able to complete almost seven [innings] for us in a game where we were thin down there”
That wasn’t how it began; Cole stumbled through the opening three innings, needing 65 pitches, including a flat slider that Carlos Correa smashed over the left-field wall for a solo home run. But Kiner-grand Falefa’s slam off Joe Ryan put the finishing touches on a day that also saw him smash a game-tying hit and make some good defensive plays in the first game.
Since I was a member of a team that had 100 losses the year before, Kiner-Falefa added, “It means the world to me to have the chance to make a postseason run on this team and be part of it.” I’ll do whatever it takes to succeed, that’s all that matters.
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) September 8, 2022
It helps Boone’s job that he made careful to announce publicly and privately that Kiner-Falefa will continue to be the starting shortstop. There is a welcome adjustment to that formula: Peraza, who is only 22 years old and whose lineup is decimated by injuries, has already demonstrated enough to demand that he not sit on the bench for September.