Yankees vs. Rangers score, takeaways: New York takes ALDS Game 1 behind Gerrit Cole, Anthony Rizzo – CBS Sports

Yankees vs. Rangers score, takeaways: New York takes ALDS Game 1 behind Gerrit Cole, Anthony Rizzo - CBS Sports

NEW YORK — Yankee Stadium was full of first timers on Tuesday night. It was the first postseason game in the Bronx since Game 5 of the 2019 ALCS. It was Gerrit Cole’s first home postseason start as a Yankee. Two players hit their first career postseason home runs. And the New York Yankees won the first game of their ALDS matchup with the Cleveland Guardians (NYY 4, CLE 1).

Cole pitched around early trouble to give the Yankees 6 1/3 innings of one-run ball while striking out eight against the team with the lowest regular season strikeout total in baseball. Anthony Rizzo put the game to bed with a two-run home run into the second deck in right field in the sixth inning. New York is now two wins away from advancing to the ALCS.

Here are highlights from Game 1 between the Yankees and Rangers.

Cole navigates early danger

The Rangers certainly made Cole work in the early innings. They got a man on second base in the first and second innings, but Cole escaped with strikeouts, then some smart defense helped him navigate a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the third. Most notably, Josh Donaldson ranged to left to take a grounder, and threw home for the force.

Following that at home, Cole settled in and retired 12 of the final 14 batters he faced, and Cleveland did not have another runner advance to second base while he was on the mound. His only blemish was a Steven Kwan solo homer — it was Kwan’s first career postseason homer and just his seventh homer of 2022 — and in three starts this season, Cole has held the Rangers to three runs in 19 innings.

It should be noted that, although it took him 39 pitches to get through the first inning, Cole was able to take the ball into the seventh inning. That’s important because the Yankees are without several key relievers due to injury (Zack Britton, Scot Effross, Chad Green, Michael King, etc.) and will have to put things together in the late innings this postseason. The more they get from their starters, the better.

“It was very special for me. It was very special,” Cole said with a smile when asked about the standing ovation he received after Game 1. “The game’s not over — I left with traffic — it’s not the most comfortable time to acknowledge the crowd but I appreciated it.”

The eventful fifth inning

There was some right-field fun business in the bottom of the fifth inning. first, Donaldson lifted what he and 47,807 people in the Bronx thought was a go-ahead solo home run into the right-field seats.. The ball hit the very top of the wall and came back into play, however, and Donaldson was tagged out after rounding first base on his would-be home run. Replays confirmed that the ball had indeed hit the top of the wall. It wasn’t a home run.

The next batter, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, poked a single down the line in right field and Wild Card Series hero Oscar Gonzalez misplayed the hop, allowing the ball to go through his legs. Kiner-Falefa made it to third base on the error and Jose Trevino drove him in with a sacrifice fly. Right field took a home run off Donaldson and gave Kiner-Falefa three bases.

“That’s what he’s done all year. He made that mistake (in the first inning), he came back really well,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said of Kiner-Falefa after Game 1. “Obviously then gets a big hit in the corner to a set is ready. So yeah, it was good that he got more chances and kind of bounced back from it.”

Trevino, who made his first All-Star Game this summer, was incredibly clutch during the regular season. He had two walk-off hits and hit .355 with runners in scoring position. The sac fly was not a success, but it came with two strikes and gave the Yankees the lead in the postseason. Trevino has really been a godsend for New York this year.

Rizzo gives the Yankees insurance

The Yankees scored their first run on Harrison Bader’s first career postseason home run, and also his first home run as a Yankee. He came from the Cardinals at the trade deadline and was on the injured list with a foot injury. It wasn’t until mid-September that he was activated, and he went 10 for 46 (.217) in a 14-game stretch. Bader picked a good time for his first Yankee home run.

Bader tied the game 1–1 and Trevino gave the Yankees a 2–1 lead. In the sixth, Rizzo provided two insurance runs with a home run into the second deck in right field. With Andrew Benintendi injured and Matt Carpenter currently relegated to pinch-hitting duty, Rizzo is the only reliable source of left-handed power in New York’s lineup. The Yankees need him to pepper the short porch.

Before Rizzo’s explosion, 62 home run hitter Aaron Judge reminded everyone that he is much more than a home run hitter. He worked a leadoff against Cal Quantrill, stole second, then took third when the throw went into center field. Judge went 16 for 19 stolen bases this year in addition to those 62 home runs. He is such a talented, well-rounded player.

After Rizzo gave the Yankees a 4-1 lead, manager Aaron Boone was able to navigate through the final three innings with right-hander Jonathan Loáisiga, left-hander Wandy Peralta, and right-hander Clay Holmes. Game 1 was Peralta’s first appearance since Sept. 18. He missed the last few weeks of the regular season with a back injury. It was also Holmes’ first since Sept. 26. He missed the end of the regular season with a shoulder issue. Clearly, the Yankees were comfortable throwing him (and Peralta) right into the fire.

Later

Game 2, of course. Historically, teams that win Game 1 of a best of five series have gone on to win the series 71 percent of the time. The ALDS schedule is a bit unusual this year, with an off day between Games 1 and 2 and Games 2 and 3. Game 2 is scheduled for Thursday night, although the forecast suggests the weather could be an issue. Whenever Game 2 is played, it will be Nestor Cortes (12-4, 2.44 ERA) vs. Shane Bieber (13-8, 2.88 ERA).

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