CLEVELAND (AP) — Gerrit Cole gave the Guardians one inning of fun and six more of misery.
Cole didn’t let Cleveland’s fast start in the first rattle him before pitching seven strong innings and Franchy Cordero hit a three-run homer, powering the New York Yankees to an 11-2 win on Tuesday night.
Cole (3-0) gave up two runs and three hits in the first inning before locking in and improving to 5-0 against Cleveland over the past two seasons. The right-hander beat the Guardians twice in last year’s AL Division Series.
“Another in command, in control outing,” said Yankees manager Aaron Boone. “Especially when it didn’t go his way initially.”
Including the postseason, Cole, who allowed five hits and struck out three, is 10-2 in 13 career starts versus Cleveland.
Cordero, who only signed with the Yankees in March, homered in New York’s five-run third off Hunter Gaddis (0-1) to give Cole a big cushion and help the Yankees even the series after dropping the opener.
“Fired up,” Cole said when asked about getting the quick run support. “It was a good offensive night for us. We had a lot of great at-bats and that put the game away for us, so it was good to see.”
Anthony Rizzo had two RBIs for the Yankees and superstar Aaron Judge extended his on-base streak to 44 games, the second longest in the majors since 2019. It’s the third longest in New York’s storied history since 1941.
Down 2-1, the Yankees teed off in the third on Gaddis, who allowed a leadoff double to DJ LeMahieu and then hurt himself by hitting Rizzo with two strikes and walking Gleyber Torres to load the bases.
Willie Calhoun hit an RBI single and Oswaldo Cabrera delivered a sacrifice fly before Cordero connected for his third homer, a shot to right that put the Yankees ahead 6-2.
Cordero has 10 RBIs through his first six games with the Yankees, tying him with Robin Ventura (2002) for the most in franchise history.
“He’s been big for us,” Boone said of Cordero, who spent last season with Boston. “Every home run has been meaningful, and he hits them like the big boys. He mishits that ball and it rides out.”
The Guardians, who managed just two runs off Cole in the playoffs, scored twice on the right-hander in the first — and nothing more.
Unable to spot his fastball early, Cole turned to his breaking ball to command the strike zone and the Guardians. Cleveland only managed to get one runner to second base after the first inning against the 32-year-old.
“Early on we hit a couple,” said Guardians manager Terry Francona. “But then even, I mean he sits at 96, 97 (mph). There were some at-bats like with Josey (Ramírez) where he didn’t even throw a fast ball. When you have to respect three, four different pitches, that’s part of what makes him so good.”
Yankees second baseman Gleyber Torres was pulled in the ninth inning with groin discomfort.
Boone said “something grabbed” when Torres, who is batting .371, was running after hitting a single in his last at-bat. Boone doesn’t believe the injury is serious but indicated he’ll likely rest Torres Wednesday.
James Karinchak’s chest-pounding celebration Monday was still a topic of conversation a day later.
Cleveland’s reliever escaped an eighth-inning jam by retiring Judge, Rizzo and Giancarlo Stanton — New York’s 2-3-4 hitters — to preserve a one-run lead. Karinchak’s animated reaction included almost knocking over catcher Mike Zunino.
While borderline excessive, neither manager found the display offensive.
“It’s funny because I know there’s times I’m probably showing my age and I think, OK, maybe we should tone it down,” said the 63-year-old Francona. “But I actually felt like doing it too when he got through that.”
Yankees manager Aaron Boone acknowledged “there’s always a line,” but didn’t think Karinchak crossed it.
“The bottom line is he got three big outs in the middle of our order in a huge spot,” he said. “Everyone wants to be annoyed by certain things or not.”
Yankees: LHP Carlos Rodón (forearm strain) has been slowed by back stiffness in recent days. He’s scheduled to throw a bullpen session Wednesday and live batting practice Friday. Boone said the team will remain cautious with Rodón, who signed a six-year, $162 million contract with New York in December.
The Yankees will start RHP Clarke Schmidt in the series finale against Indians rookie RHP Peyton Battenfield, who will make his major league debut after being called up to replace the injured Aaron Civale.