New York Yankees Recap: Gerrit Cole dominant, Yankee hitters awaken in win

New York Yankees, Gerrit Cole
Feb 16, 2020; Tampa, Florida, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Gerrit Cole (45) throws during a live batting practice at spring training at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees were at Dunedin, Florida, to face the Toronto Blue Jays. Today is a preview of what Yankee fans might expect because the starting pitcher for the Yankees is Gerrit Cole, and the team is the team he will face on Opening Day, on April 1st, at Yankee Stadium. Today he will face the Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Tanner Roark. For Florida, it was a cool day for baseball. The game-time temperature was 57 degrees, and the game was played under cloudy skies. The Yankees won the game 8-3.

Brett Gardner faced Roark to open the game. Gardner worked the count for eight pitches but struck out. Aaron Judge singled to left, Aaron Hicks walked, and Luke Voit he a long line drive to the left-field fence. Aaron Judge scored for the early Yankees lead. Clint Frazier did the job flying a ball out over the centerfielder’s head, driving in Hicks and Voit for the 3-0 Yankee lead. Derek Dietrich at the plate Roark threw a wild pitch moving Frazier to third. Dietrich singled, driving in Frazier and driving pitcher Roark out of the game with just one out to his name. This had to be deflating for Tanner Roark because previous to this game, he had not allowed a run in his three starts, and in this one, he gave up 4 runs without allowing a home run.

The Jays replaced Roark with Anthony Castro. Higashioka, with one on, faced Castro and struck out swinging for the second out. Thairo Estrada finally finished off the top of the first by lining out. At the bottom with Gerrit Cole on the mound with Higashioka catching, George Springer flew out to Brett Gardner. Biggio singled. Bichette struck out. Vlad Guerrero Jr., who has successfully hit in his last seven at-bats, walked. Hernandez struck out to end the 34-minute inning. Yankees 4 Jays 0. Cole looked better in this first inning than in any game so far in the spring.

In an unusual move, the Jays brought Tanner Roark back out in the second inning. Tyler Wade hit a standup double to center. Gardner flew out, and Aaron Judge singled, but Wade got caught trying to make it to third for the second out. Hicks struck out stranding Judge at first. At the bottom, Semien struck out, Grichuk singled, Panik hit into a double play ending the inning for Cole.

Luke Voit led off the third inning against Roark. Voit had an infield single down the left-field line. Frazier was caught looking. Dietrich struck out, and Higashioka singled with a pop fly to noman’s land in center. Voit to third. Estrada had a three-run home run for the New York Yankee’s seven-run lead. Tyler Wade struck out swinging. Yankees 7 Jays 0. At the bottom, Cole struck out Jensen, Springer, and Biggio for a quick 1-2-3 inning. Yankees 7 Jays 0.

A.J. Cole pitched the fourth for the Jays. Gardner singled with a blooper to left. Judge struck out, and Gardner was caught stealing in a strike em out throw em out double play, two outs. Hicks walked for his second time in the game. Voit flew one out to the center field that Springer caught on the warning track. Gerrit Cole out for his fourth inning of work and continued where he left off in the third by striking out Bichette for his fourth strikeout in a row.  Guerrero Jr. ground out to third, followed by a strikeout of Hernandez.

Anthony Kay pitched for the Jays in the fifth. Frazier ground out. Dietrich struck out swinging. Higgy flew out to center of the fastest half for the Jays.  Cole, with only 62 pitches, was back out for the bottom. Semien immediately homered off Cole. Crichuk singled to left. Panik ground into a double play. Jansen tapped back to the mound. Yankees 7 Jays 1.

Kay back out for the sixth walked Estrada. With Wade hitting, Estrada stole second. Wade singled, scoring Estrada and Wade went to second on the throw to home. Gardner lined out to first, Wade advanced to third. Judge looking for his first home run of spring walked. Hicks popped out. Voit struck out, leaving two on base, but the Yankees picked up another run. Yankees 8 Jays 1. At the bottom, Asher Wojciechowski took over for Cole in the sixth. Springer flew out. Biggio struck out, and Bichette also struck out.

Frazier had a long single to left. Velasquez singled Frazier out at second in a failed double play. Brantly, who took over catching for Higgy, lined out into a double play. White for the Jays stuck out. Facing Hernandez, Wojo immediately felt something and was out of the game. He was replaced by Lucas Luetge, one of the Yankees’ best relievers; unfortunately, the move didn’t work out well as Hernandez homered off him. Espinal lined out. Grichuk bounced out to Wade. Yankees 8 Jays 2.

Estrada, at the top of the eighth, flew out to center. Wade struck out, and Greg Allen ground for a quick half for Kay. Kay held down the New York Yankees for four innings. Kevin Smith got the second home run off Luetge to start the bottom. Adams ground out. Davis struck out. Urena had a two-out double, knocking Luetge out of the game. Addison Russ took over for Luetge. Russ retired Valera, who flew out. Yankees 8 Jays 3.

The top of the ninth saw Kirby Snead, the new Jays pitcher; he hit Seigler, who took first. Florial popped out. LaMarre flew out, and Gittens singled. Velasquez, with men on the corners, struck out, leaving the two on. The New York Yankees sent Nick Goody out to close it out for them in the bottom. White led off with a double. Palacios struck out, although he claimed he was hit on the elbow. Espinal flew out. With the Jays down to their last out, they brought out Miguel Hiraldo to pinch-hit. He struck out, and that was the game.

The final score was Yankees 8 and the Blue Jays 3. The winning pitcher was Gerrit Cole and the loser was Tanner Roark.  All three Jays’ runs were solo home runs—one off Cole and two off Luetge, who hadn’t allowed a run before this game.  The Yankees hitting that has been sparse in the last few games came alive with 12 hits, one of them a homer by Thairo Estrada.