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Yankees 5, Tigers 1: Gerrit Cole is good

The Tigers bullpen day wasn’t terrible, but the offense couldn’t do much with Gerrit Cole and the Yankees’ bullpen.

Detroit Tigers v New York Yankees Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

The old adage that you have to get to an ace early on, or not at all, held up again in this one. After two quick outs in the top of the first, Spencer Torkelson pulled a single through the infield and went first to third as Kerry Carpenter did the same. However, Miguel Cabrera grounded into a force of Carpenter as second, and the Tigers would never hold a lead in the game.

Alex Faedo faced leadoff hitter DJ LeMahieu to open the bottom half, and after getting ahead 1-2, he wasted a pair of sliders that weren’t very tempting. LeMahieu worked back to that full count and got a 93 mph fastball over the middle of the plate at the top of the zone. He did not miss, driving a fly ball just over the right center field wall to make it 1-0 Yankees.

Faedo acquitted himself fine from that point on in his short outing. The plan was to use him as an opener, going a few innings if possible, and then turn it over to the bullpen. Pretty good plan when you don’t have an actual fifth starter. The right-hander racked up four strikeouts, including punching out LeMahieu when he faced him again to open the third inning. A walk to Aaron Judge followed, but Faedo got Jasson Dominguez to ground into a force of Judge at second, and Will Vest came on, getting Gleyber Torres to fly out to end the third.

Meanwhile, Gerrit Cole wasn’t having much trouble with the Tigers lineup. Javier Báez came up with a two-out single in the second inning. Andre Lipcius smacked a two-out single back through the box in the fourth. Otherwise there was nothing cooking against the Yankees’ ace.

Will Vest spun a nice fourth inning as he stayed in the game to get four outs. He punched out Giancarlo Stanton and Anthony Volpe, looking more like his pre-injury form this summer.

Finally in the fifth the Tigers mustered a little threat and put some pressure on Cole. Báez led off the inning with a single, and after Jake Rogers struck out, Akil Baddoo drilled a single to right field to get Báez into scoring position. Unfortunately Cole dropped a curveball right at the very top edge of the strikezone against Zach McKinstry and got the call for strike three. Torkelson got a cutter on the outer edge and flew out to right off the end of the bat.

The Joey Wentz portion of the bullpen day started in the bottom half. He was a little wild early on, walking Ben Rortvedt with one out, but got LeMahieu to ground into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning. The Tigers rewarded him by putting a run on the board.

Carpenter got a Cole cutter up and in for the first pitch of the sixth inning, but it was still in the zone and he smoked it off the wall in right and raced around for leadoff triple. Miguel Cabrera did his thing, punching a single through the right side, and it was a 1-1 tie...momentarily. Tyler Nevin came out to pinch-run for him and Cabrera collected some appreciation from the Yankees faithful. Cole cruised through the rest of the inning.

Wentz managed to showcase his chief weaknesses in the bottom half of the sixth. He got ahead 0-1, and then threw four straight balls to walk the leadoff hitter, though that seems less bad when the batter is Aaron Judge. Wentz got Dominguez to ground into a force of Judge, and with two dangerous right-handers coming up, the Tigers went to Jose Cisnero. It did not work out.

Torres grounded out, but Cisnero missed way inside with a first pitch slider to Giancarlo Stanton. He got strike two on a fastball down in the zone, but tried to go back to the slider and left it up a little bit over the middle. Stanton absolutely killed it 451 feet almost on a line to left center field. 3-1 Yankees.

There wasn’t much else worth watching in this one. Tommy Kahnle, Jonathan Loaisiga, and Clay Holmes had no trouble closing out the final three frames.

Miguel Diaz looked decent again in his inning of work in the seventh. Brendan White less so in the eighth as he too walked Judge leading off the inning. It went about as well as it did the first time. Dominguez ripped a double to right field, and Torres smoked a double to left to score them both. 5-1 Yankees.

The Tigers had nine hits to the Yankees six in this one, but they didn’t draw a walk and other than Carpenter’s triple, couldn’t manage an extra base hit against the best of the Yankees’ pitching staff. The struggles with the AL East continue...

RHP Matt Manning will take on RHP Clarke Schmidt at 7:05 p.m. ET on Wednesday.

The national media have discovered Kerry Carpenter