Good news as Yankees ride Gerrit Cole masterclass to victory over Tampa Bay

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Apr 6, 2021; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees pitcher Gerrit Cole (45) pitches in the first inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

After dropping a disappointing game against the Toronto Blue Jays over the weekend (10-9), the New York Yankees returned to the win column on Monday night against the Tampa Bay Rays. Having traveled all the way north to Toronto, the Bombers packed their bags and headed south to Florida, playing at Tropicana Field.

The Yankees hosted starter Gerrit Cole on the mound, who put together a dominant performance over 7.1 innings. He struck out 12 batters over 111 pitches, allowing just one earned run before handing two baserunners to closer Clay Holmes, who struggled in a rare dud of a performance. However, Holmes was dealt an unfortunate hand, giving up an infield single that allowed Tampa to tie the game.

The Yankees offense came in clutch:

Aaron Boone’s offense stepped up to the plate, though, driving in two runs in the top of the 9th inning thanks to an Aaron Hicks triple off the right-field wall that sent Manuel Margot crashing to the ground. He left with an injury.

Both teams combined for 25 strikeouts. Cole and Tampa starter Shane McClanahan struck out 20 total batters. McClanahan was stellar on the evening, aside from an Anthony Rizzo solo homer in the 1st inning that traveled 410 feet. Rizzo has been unstoppable in the month of June, hitting eight homers with 19 on the season, including a .286 average and 37.5% on base rate.

Offensively, the Yanks produced seven hits, with Josh Donaldson and Hicks combining for four and two runs. The team’s sluggers failed to get much going. Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton combined for four strikeouts and just one base runner.

The Yankees will look ahead to Tuesday for the second game of the series with Nestor Cortes on the mound. Cortes currently houses a 1.94 ERA but has given up five earned runs in his last two starts over 9.2 innings. He’ll be looking to bounce back against Tampa, who still haven’t decided who their starter will be in the second game of the series.