NEW YORK (AP) — Philadelphia returned from a weeklong layoff caused by additional coronavirus testing with a matchup against baseball’s hottest pitcher, and Gerrit Cole won his debut in pinstripes for his 19th consecutive regular season victory to lead the New York Yankees over the Phillies 6-3 Monday night.
DJ LeMahieu led off the bottom of the first with a home run off Jake Arrieta (0-1), who made his first appearance since surgery last August to remove a bone spur from his right elbow.
After Jay Bruce tied the score with a home run off Cole in the third, Brett Gardner led off the bottom half with a drive down the left-field wall for the first over-the-wall, opposite-field home run of his big league career. Aaron Hicks added an RBI double later in the inning for a 3-1 lead, and Gio Urshela blew open the game with a three-run homer in the sixth on a changeup from Deolis Guerra that landed in the visitors’ bullpen in left-center.
Cole (3-0) allowed one run and five hits, struck out four and walked one on 91 pitches. He left after a 1-hour, 7-minute rain delay ahead of the seventh.
Signed to a $324 million, nine-year contract, Cole grew up a Yankees fan and at his signing news conference in December brought along the yellow sign he had held up as an 11-year-old at the 2001 World Series: “Yankee Fan Today Tomorrow Forever.”
He reached 99.3 mph but he did not have his best arsenal. Cole threw 46 fastballs, 24 sliders, 18 curveballs and three changeups.
Cole’s streak of consecutive winning decisions is the sixth-longest behind Carl Hubbell (24), Roy Face (22) and Rube Marquard, Roger Clemens and Arrieta (20 each).
New York improved to 8-1 for the third time after 1988 and 2003. The major league-best Yankees have won seven straight — the equivalent of a 19-game spurt over a 162-game season. New York is 22-0-3 in its last 25 home series, matching the team record from 1935, 1995-96 and 1997-98, according to STATS.
Aaron Judge was 2 for 4 with a double, ending his career-best streak of five games with home runs.
Arrieta, the 2015 NL Cy Young Award winner with the Chicago Cubs, gave up three runs and seven hits in five innings with four strikeouts and no walks.
More rain is ahead Tuesday, and the second of two games in the Bronx was postponed and rescheduled as part of a doubleheader for Wednesday when a series opens in Philadelphia. The Yankees will be the home team in the first game of the twinbill, which starts a stretch of 56 games in 54 days for the Phillies.
Philadelphia, which dropped to 1-3, had not played since an 11-6 loss to Miami at Citizens Bank Park on July 26. A COVID-19 outbreak among the Marlins started that weekend that led to 21 infections in Miami’s traveling party, including at least 18 players.
MLB subjected the Phillies to more intensive testing, but no positives among players were found. There were three positives among staff, but MLB said two appeared to be false positives.
Philadelphia reported to Citizens Bank Park on Monday to undergo another in a series of 10 days of saliva checks, left at 11:30 a.m. for the bus trip to New York and arrived two hours later at Yankee Stadium. Because of Tuesday’s postponement, the Phillies planned to return home after the game without having checked into their hotel.
“I think we have to be a little bit cautious,” manager Joe Girardi said before the game. “I don’t think our pitchers’ arms are as far along as most teams. The back-to-backs I will be hesitant to do probably. I will talk to our guys every day. And the one thing, I don’t need heroes, I need honesty from our players where they’re at physically.”
Because of the layoff, Girardi vowed to be especially discerning.
“You’ll watch their stuff to see if a starter’s laboring earlier than maybe you anticipated or the ball’s not coming out of a reliever’s hand the way you anticipated,” he said. “And if that’s the case, we just might have to make a change. We’re going to have to be cautious for a week here, I would say, similar to what we would have been the first week of the season had we continued to play.”
Players were not allowed to work out at their ballpark on Thursday and Friday, then resumed group training last weekend.
“We didn’t really know as the week went on what the next day would hold,” first baseman Rhys Hoskins said. “So I took it home. I’ve been hitting at home during the quarantine, anyway.”
For players used to 162 games over 186 days in a normal season, the layoff was jarring — especially after the training interruption from March 12 to July 3 caused by the novel coronavirus. Players didn’t have any input on whether to play the series finale against Miami.
“Obviously, the stop and start in a sport where we’re not used to starting and stopping and then starting again is something that I think some of us were concerned about,” said Hoskins, the team player representative with the union. “But I think when last Sunday hit, we kind of knew that this might have been something that would be in our future.”
Girardi was given a video tribute after the third inning and Phillies shortstop Didi Gregorius received one after the fourth. Girardi managed the Yankees from 2008-17 and Gregorius was their shortstop from 2015-19.
Philadelphia got RBI singles from Adam Haseley off Brooks Kriske in the seventh and Jean Segura against Luis Avilán in the eighth. Zack Britton pitched a perfect ninth for his fourth save.
Philadelphia placed RHP Reggie McClain on the paternity list and recalled RHP Enyel De Los Santos from its alternate training site
Yankees: RHP Luis Cessa could be activated as soon as Tuesday after recovering from COVID-19. He threw a 40-pitch session Saturday at Scranton in his third rehab outing. … Closer Aroldis Chapman is to throw a bullpen in Scranton on Tuesday or Wednesday in his return from COVID-19.
LHP J.A. Happ (0-0) had been scheduled to start for the Yankees on Tuesday and RHP Aaron Nola (0-1) for the Phillies.
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