CLEVELAND — The waiting was the hardest part. Getting rained out on Friday night, the Yankees had to wait longer to get rid of that taste. Coming off a loss in Houston on Thursday, they just needed to get back on the field and do what they do. The Guardians paid that price Saturday when the Yankees swept the split doubleheader.
In the first game, Gerrit Cole pitched six solid innings and Matt Carpenter hit two home runs for a 13-4 win. In the nightcap, Anthony Rizzo and Giancarlo Stanton went back-to-back and Nestor Cortes gave them six one-run, three-hit innings in a 6-1 win.
In the first game, the Yankees (58-21) improved to 16-5 in games following a loss this season, and with the second win they clinched their 20th series of the season.
“I just think that there’s a lot of toughness and grit in the clubhouse,” Carpenter said. “There’s a lot of fire, and a lot of guys that care. It’s easy when you have the talent that we have to win games, but to do it in a way that we’ve been able to do it like that. … That’s a great stat, guys that have been able to turn the page and show up the next day ready to go and just a lot of good ball players, a lot of guys that get after it. And, you know, do the right things.”
The Yankees did almost everything right Saturday afternoon.
Cole allowed two runs — both on homers — on three hits. He walked three and struck out six. It was the third time this season he has allowed multiple home runs in a game and has given up 14 long balls overall. He got nine swings and misses, five of those came on his slider.
The Guardians got to Cole in the second inning. Josh Naylor crushed a 417-foot homer off a 91 mph cutter to lead off the second. It was Naylor’s first hit off of Cole in seven attempts. Franmil Reyes followed that with a 379-foot homer of his own to give Cleveland a short-lived 2-0 lead.
But the Yankees’ offense wiped that out easily.
Carpenter, who was at home unemployed when the Yankees signed him in May, hit his seventh and eighth homers of the season. The first in the sixth inning and the second off infielder Ernie Clement in the ninth. The 36-year-old had seven home runs total over the two previous seasons in 418 at-bats.
Jose Trevino and DJ LeMahieu also homered. Miguel Andujar, in his first game back in the big leagues since June 3, singled in two runs. Aaron Hicks singled in another. Gleyber Torres had three hits and drove in three runs.
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In the second game, Rizzo hit his 22nd homer of the season and Stanton hit his 20th. The Yankees have three sluggers — Aaron Judge (29), Rizzo and Stanton — with at least 20 homers before the All-Star break for the first time in franchise history.
Josh Donaldson doubled in a run and scored on a throwing error. Isiah Kiner-Falefa singled in a run and Kyle Higashioka brought in another with a sacrifice fly.
Joey Gallo snapped an 0-for-27 streak with a third-inning single.
Cortes, who allowed 12 earned runs over 14.2 innings in his last three starts, gave up a first-inning homer to former Mets shortstop of the future Amed Rosario and that was it. He struck out six and did not walk a batter. At one point he retired 13 straight.
It was back to business.
“I really feel like they’re on a mission,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “I feel like they handle wins and losses well, but I also think they get pissed off when they lose too and they take it a little bit personal.
“We flush it, and we get over it. It’s not like it lingers or anything but, they’re ticked off and they’ve had that [mindset of] don’t give anything. … We’re close to 80 games here and inevitably you have that game every once in a while where you feel like it’s just lethargic. Even through this stretch, there’s been a couple of days where you feel like that could have been the case. They haven’t let that set in and their energy has been really good every day.”