NEW YORK -- The Yankees leaned heavily upon the offensive contributions of Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton through the season’s first several weeks, and with those sluggers now on the injured list, a different duo is stepping up to shoulder the load.
“I’m just trying to do what I did last year,” Torres said. “It doesn't matter if I have a bad day; I just try to enjoy every day and just believe in the player I can be. If I don't have a good day hitting, I just try to focus on defense and help my team in a different way.”
“It's always going to feel good, any time you have an opportunity to help the team,” Sánchez said through a translator. “The two-run shot there definitely felt good. The distance doesn't matter; if it goes over the wall, that's all that matters.”
Registering his fourth victory in five Yankees starts, Cole notched his 20th consecutive winning decision dating to May 27, 2019, tied for the third-longest streak in Major League history. How locked in was Cole? He didn’t even realize Judge was missing until the second inning.
“I think I asked Gary in the second inning where Aaron was,” Cole said. “Some teammate I am, I guess, huh? Geez. I spoke to him briefly during the game and he seemed to be in good spirits. It’s a little bit of a blow, but we have a good next man up mentality here.”
Torres singled in the first inning and doubled home two runs in the third off Boston starter Colten Brewer. Torres singled in the fifth off Ryan Brasier, scoring on a Mike Tauchman double. Sánchez followed with his titanic homer, the backstop’s third of the season, and Torres added a single as part of a three-run seventh inning.
“Those guys are capable of going out and having a really strong night like they did tonight,” manager Aaron Boone said. “We’ve got to pick up the slack a little bit for [Judge and Stanton] while they're down. Nothing changes as far as expectations. We expect to go out and be an offensive force.”
Making his first start against Boston as a member of the Yankees, Cole scattered four hits while becoming the first member of the rotation to complete seven innings this season. Alex Verdugo reached the second deck in right field with a fourth-inning homer off Cole, who walked none and struck out eight in a 95-pitch performance.
“I felt like I kept repeating and started to get into a slot, into a good rhythm where I could put a little extra on some pitches when we needed to,” Cole said.
Cole’s streak of 20 straight winning decisions equaled runs by Jake Arrieta (2015-16), Roger Clemens (1998-99) and Rube Marquard (1911-12). The all-time mark is 24, by Carl Hubbell (1936-37). Roy Face won 22 straight from 1958-59.
“He’s the best pitcher in the game, and that's what you're seeing,” Boone said. “You're seeing a guy that's great at his craft with elite stuff and the ability to command it. More and more, he’s getting settled into the season. In all the weirdness, he's dealt with it great and he's gotten a little bit better each and every time.”
Tauchman continued to state a case for increased playing time by celebrating his third career four-RBI game, helping the Yanks tally a season high with 10 runs as they piled on against Boston’s beleaguered bullpen. The Yankees have outscored the Red Sox by 42 runs (85-43) in their past 13 meetings since July 28, 2019.
“We're so deep in our lineup,” Tauchman said. “I think it allows guys to relax and not try to do too much because of the next guy. If you have to pass the baton, that's fine because the next guy's coming up and it puts a lot of pressure on the opposing team.”