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Yankees have less than stellar outing, still complete sweep of Orioles

BALTIMORE — Gerrit Cole didn’t have his sharpest stuff Wednesday night, but he really didn’t need it. The Yankees bats were not as loud as they have been, but it didn’t matter. The Yankees, yet again, found a way to beat the Orioles 3-2 at Camden Yards Wednesday night.

“I mean, look, tonight we won on base running and defense and we’re the Bronx Bombers. It’s just a complete game,” Cole said. “I think a common theme of some of the good teams that I played on, including this one, is you want to get after the baseball on every pitch on defense or on offense. Collectively as a group, we’re not taking very many pitches off and we’re giving our best effort. Obviously we have a lot of talent and I think the combination of those two things is why we’re in the position we’re in.”

And it’s a pretty impressive position. It’s just the fifth time in franchise history the Yankees won 28 of their first 37 games and just the third major league team in the last 24 years to do so, joining the 1998 Yankees and 2001 Mariners.

The Yankees (28-9) have won four straight, nine of their last 10 and are 20-4 in their last 24 games. They maintained the best record in baseball and concluded their 12th series win this season. The Bombers have lost just one series this season, here to the Orioles (14-23) last month.

“It’s been a great start, no question,” Aaron Boone said. “Great intentions from the guys each and every day, about coming in and being ready and it being about going out and trying to get a win and they’ve delivered. We also understand, it’s very early. I keep saying that, we understand that, but the more we can pile up right now, it’ll make it easier on us down the road, but just really pleased with how they’re doing it and doing it in a lot of different ways.”

On Wednesday night, they played great defense, they capitalized on the Orioles mistakes with heads-up baserunning and they got great pitching from reliever Clay Holmes, who extended his scoreless streak to 19.2 innings, to close it out.

The Yankees gave Cole three runs to work with from the start of his night. With two outs, Anthony Rizzo singled, Gleyber Torres doubled and Josh Donaldson singled. Rizzo scored on Torres’ double. Torres scored on a wild pitch and Donaldson scored on Orioles catcher Anthony Bemboom’s wild throw on the same play.

Cole allowed two runs, both earned, on a season high-tying six hits. He did not walk a batter and struck out five. He got bailed out on a terrific running catch by Marwin Gonzalez in the first inning to keep him out of a jam.

He did not strike out a batter through the first three innings and then struck out five in a row. He struck out the heart of the order in the fourth and Rougned Odor and Jorge Mateo in the fifth, before Tyler Nevin — son of former Yankees third base coach Phil Nevin — singled off him. He got a harmless ground ball to first from Bemboom to end the inning.

Cedric Mullins led off the sixth with a single and Austin Hays doubled him home for the Orioles’ first run. The Baltimore left fielder scored on a Trey Mancini ground-ball fielder’s choice to a shifted first baseman. Rizzo fielded the ball quickly and fired to home, but Hays’ slide beat the tag.

Holmes picked up a six-out save, his third career save overall. He allowed one single on a chopper that died in the grass to the third base side of the mound, but Rizzo’s diving grab of Anthony Santander’s line drive for a quick double play got the Yankees out of trouble.

Holmes has refined how he targets his sinker and it’s been a devastating pitch, giving him a ridiculous 83% groundball rate. For comparison, Zack Britton, who rode his sinker to Cy Young consideration in 2016, had an 80% groundball rate.

“He throws it in the zone. There’s not many that can rival that especially when you consider the velocity and the movement down and side to side,” Boone said. “I mean, that’s one of the nastiest pitches in baseball.”

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Source: Berkshire mont

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