Cole, Yanks beat Guardians 4-1

Cole, Yanks beat Guardians 4-1

NEW YORK (AP) — Gerrit Cole dreamed of this moment growing up in California, winning a postseason game in pinstripes at Yankee Stadium

Harrison Bader had a similar fantasy while sitting in the first base seats as a 15-year-old and watching New York’s last championship team.

They combined to make each other’s wishes come true.

Cole cruised for most of the night, Bader and Anthony Rizzo homered and the Yankees beat the Cleveland Guardians 4-1 on Tuesday in their AL Division Series opener.

Bader hit his first home run since the Yankees made the surprising deal to acquire him from St. Louis at the trade deadline, tying the score with a third-inning drive to left-center on a Cal Quantrill sinker after Steven Kwan had homered in the top half.

A graduate of Horace Mann School, 5 miles from Yankee Stadium, Bader was in a walking boot with a foot injury at the time of the trade and didn’t make his Yankees debut until Sept. 20.

“I want to validate myself,” Bader said. “I want to play hard and I want to show my teammates and I want to show —- my parents are in the stands — I want to show them all why I earned that uniform.”

Not even another Josh Donaldson baserunning blunder could slow the Yankees, who have won six straight postseason games against Cleveland dating to a comeback from a 2-0 deficit in the 2017 Division Series. The crowd of 47,807 roared from the first pitch.

“It was just a really awesome experience,” Cole said. “Sometimes when you feel the crowd or the energy, it sometimes can become a little easier just to quiet things down because it’s so loud. I don’t know if that makes sense, but it does to me.”

After Kwan’s homer, Cole hit Amed Rosario with a pitch and José Ramírez lined a gapper to left-center. Bader, a Gold Glove center fielder, saved a run by cutting off the ball and holding the runners at second and third. Cole escaped a bases-loaded jam by striking out Andrés Giménez with his 60th pitch.

“That may be the at-bat of the game right there,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said.

Cole needed just eight pitches in the fourth and allowed just two more runners, on a single and his only walk. He left after giving up one run and four hits in 6 1/3 innings with eight strikeouts.

“We did a really good job early of driving his pitch count up,” Cleveland manager Terry Francona said. “And then he had a real quick fourth inning, that kind of got him back into the game.”

Jonathan Loáisiga, Wandy Peralta and Clay Holmes finished with two-hit relief to begin the best-of-five matchup. Holmes hit Owen Miller with a pitch before retiring the final two batters.

“Just had to check on my heart,” quipped Yankees manager Aaron Boone, who got a pacemaker last year.

New York Yankees starting pitcher Gerrit Cole (45) motions to fans as he walks off the field during Game 1 of an American League Division baseball series against the Cleveland Guardians, Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)