The Yankees lost on Sunday, snapping a nine-game winning streak. They returned to the W column on Monday, beating the Rays 4-2 in St. Petersburg, Florida.
The game has become almost a historical event in terms of individual performance. Yankees starter Gerrit Cole didn’t have a single hitter going seven innings. He dominated everything, striking out 12 in his 7 1/3 innings of work. He was charged with allowing one run because a runner he left on base scored a goal.
Offensively, the Yankees hit a first-inning home run off Anthony Rizzo, and then in the seventh, Gleyber Torres hit on a mistake after doubling down and stealing a third. The Rays ended up equalizing at the end of eighth place. After Cole left with a runner, Clay Holmes dropped a double before the Grounder hit one and an infield kick—a dribbler in no man’s land—took the equalizer.
However, the Yankees would have called in the ninth against Ray’s dominant pitcher Jason Adam. Josh Donaldson singled out one out and then Aaron Hicks came up with a booming three:
It should be noted here that Ray’s right fielder Manuel Margo was taken off the field after that game due to a leg injury.
Hicks then pocketed a burlap from José Trevino as insurance. Vandi Peralta sealed the win in the ninth.
The Yankees have won 17 of their last 19 games. In June they are 16-2 with a +66 mileage difference. This stretch was supposed to be a chance for the AL East second- and third-place teams to move closer, but instead, the Yankees have gone 6-1 against the Rays and Blue Jays over the past seven days. As such, they now have a significant lead in East Alabama, leaving the other three opposing teams free to contend for wildcard positions, at least for now.
Overall, the Yankees are now 50-17.
Here are the teams since 1901 that won 50 games before losing 18.
- 1912 Giants, 50-11
- 2001 Sailors, 50-14
- 1939 Yankees 50-14
- 1902 Pirates, 50-15
- 1928 Yankees 50-16
- 1907 Cubs, aged 50–16
- 2022 Yankees 50-17
- 1998 Yankees 50-17
- 1955 Dodgers 50-17
- 1929 A, 50-17
- 1904 Giants, 50-17
- 1913 A, 50-17
Yes, they were that good. This is the second best start for any team since World War II, and the seventh best finish ever. This is exactly the same record as the 1998 Yankees had at this point in the season, and is generally considered one of their best championship teams ever. Remember that this team won 114 games and then made the playoffs 11-2 without ever being relegated.
The Yankees continue their busy schedule through the end of the week, playing two more games against Tampa Bay before taking on the Astros in a four-game series starting Thursday. Not that it matters so far, as the Yankees are now 21-8 against teams of .500 or better.