Gerrit Cole came within one strike of earning his 20th straight regular-season win before getting pulled, and the New York Yankees beat the Tampa Bay Rays 8-4 Saturday in the opener of a seven-inning doubleheader.
Cole, who had won his first three starts since signing a $324 million, nine-year contract in the offseason, took a 5-0 lead into the fifth. With two outs and a runner on, Cole had a 1-2 count on Ji-Man Choi, who came back to hit an RBI double.
Jose Martinez followed with a two-run homer on the 107th pitch from a clearly tiring Cole. The ace stared in disbelief and went into a squat as Martinez’s drive left the ballpark.
“Obviously pitch count got up there,” Cole said. “I wasn't able to finish the outing the way we wanted to. They just ran the count.”
Soon after Yankees manager Aaron Boone took a slow walk to mound to replace Cole with Chad Green (2-0), who got the win after allowing one run over 1 1/3 innings.
“He was really good,” Boone said of Cole. “Credit to them, they made him work. A couple mistakes there at the end cost him.”
Cole was bidding to tie Roger Clemens, Jake Arrieta and Rube Marquard for the third-longest streak ever. Hall of Famer Carl Hubbell leads the list with 24 in a row, followed by Roy Face with 22.
Cole struck out 10, walked one and gave up six hits. His only loss since May 2019 came in Game 1 of the World Series last October, pitching for Houston against Washington.
Aaron Judge hit his eighth home run of the season for the Yankees. Giancarlo Stanton and Mike Ford also connected for New York.
After Ford homered, a two-run double by Gio Urshela put the Yankees up 4-0 and chased Rays starter Tyler Glasnow (0-1) with two outs in the third.
Stanton made it 5-0 on a fifth-inning shot off Sean Gilmartin before Judge hit a two-run drive off an overhanging catwalk in the sixth that put New York up 7-3.
Urshela got his third RBI on a sacrifice fly in the the seventh. He also made a nifty waist grab near the third-base dugout after a long run on pinch-hitter Austin Meadows' foul in the sixth.
Glasnow gave up four runs, five hits, three walks and struck out five during a 71-pitch outing.
“It obviously didn’t go as planned. I left too many good pitches over the plate and didn’t get ahead of anybody," Glasnow said. "When I can’t throw a curveball for a strike, I have one option, or one-and-a-half options basically, just a little bit of a changeup. When I start 2-0, everyone in the building knows what’s coming.”
OF Brett Gardner played in his 1,510th game with the Yankees to move past Alex Rodriguez for sole possession of 17th place on the teams’ all-time list.
Yankees SS Gleyber Torres had been hitless in 24 at-bats before getting a single in the second. ... Rays C Mike Zunino was mired in an 0 for 23 slide before doubling off Cole during the fifth.
Yankees: C Kyle Higashioka was put on the 10-day IL with a right oblique strain and will have an MRI Monday.
Yankees LHP James Paxton (0-1) and Tampa Bay RHP Charlie Morton (1-1) are the scheduled starters in the series finale on Sunday.