CLEVELAND – Gerrit Cole was one pitch better than Shane Bieber in an aces heavyweight matchup when Rougned Odor and Aaron Hicks faced Cleveland’s Cy Young Award winners in the fifth inning and the Yankees beat Cleveland 2-1 on Saturday .
Cole (3-1) hit eleven, allowing only three hits in seven innings to beat Bieber (2-2) in a rematch of their meeting in last year’s playoffs. Cole’s 50 strikeouts in his first five starts is the most for any pitcher in Yankee history.
Bieber fanned out nine – the first time he hasn’t hit double digits in five starts – and linked Hall of Famer Randy Johnson’s record with his 17th start in a row of at least eight strikeouts.
The 25-year-old Bieber only allowed three hits, but two were homers while throwing a career high of 119 pitches.
After Cole was drawn to his 111th place, Justin Wilson got two outs in eighth. After Aroldis Chapman was no longer available after three pitchings in four days, Jonathan Loaisiga came and ended his first career.
The Yankees bullpen has thrown nine and a third scoreless innings in the series.
The Yankees won their third straight in the four-game series after stumbling upon the AL’s worst record in Progressive Field.
Cole and Bieber, two of the best baseball players, traded pitch for pitch, strike for strike, and strikeout for strikeout over seven innings.
Bieber had hoped to avoid the same fate as his matchup with Cole last September when the Yankees defeated eventual Cy Young winner in Game 1 of the wildcard opening round game for seven runs in 4⅔ innings when New York won 12-3 won.
This excursion stayed with Bieber over the winter and fueled him.
“A sour taste,” he said Friday.
Ross leads nationals past Mets
Joe Ross bounced back from the worst outing of his career by posting six solid innings and availing himself of an RBI single as the Washington Nationals beat the Mets 7-1 on Saturday.
Ross allowed five hits and a step while scoring four hits. He gave up 10 runs in four and a third inning against St. Louis on Monday.
The 27-year-old right-hander, who signed out last season due to coronavirus concerns, said it was easier to recover from the poor performance, having beaten his first two starts when he had eleven goalless innings threw against the Cardinals and Dodgers.
“I think a good start probably made it a little easier,” said Ross. “Besides, it’s a game. A not-so-great game can somehow shake that off. If there are two or three in a row, it might be different. “
The Mets threatened after Michael Confortos Homer fell off the right-field foul pole in the fourth inning, but after giving up the infield singles to JD Davis and Jeff McNeil, Ross came back from a 3-1 count to James Move McCann to line-out.
The shuffling Mets brought only one runner into the goal position against Ross (2-1) and a trio of reliefs.
“Our biggest thing was to score with runners in goal position,” said manager Luis Rojas of the Mets, who beat .190 in situations like this. “It just hasn’t happened enough.”
Yadiel Hernandez, a 33-year-old rookie who started with six hits in 36 career bats, had two hits and two RBI for the Nationals. Six starters had an RBI and seven players got a hit for Washington that ended with 10 singles and no additional base hits, but drew five walks and one hit to pitch.
“Every time you have people on the grassroots, you put pressure on the other side,” said second baseman Josh Harrison.
Marcus Stroman (3-1), who started with an ERA of 0.90, scored five runs (four of which were earned) with eight hits and two walks with four strikeouts.
“I’m not stopping by any of them, but there were eight singles, balls that were punched into holes,” said Stroman. “It was just one of those starts that could have gone either way.”