'It feels great': Bader, Yanks rally to series win over Rangers

June 26th, 2023

NEW YORK -- The roars of the crowd pulsed as  anchored his frame onto second base in the eighth inning Sunday afternoon, pumping his right fist toward the home dugout. His go-ahead two-run double had just provided the Yankees with their first lead of the game, and it soon would help secure a winning homestand.

Nothing has seemed to come easily for these Yankees, who have scuffled offensively for nearly three weeks in Aaron Judge’s absence. Yet any late advantage like Bader’s hit plays into the strengths of their lockdown relievers, all of whom again shone brightly in a 5-3 victory over the Rangers at Yankee Stadium.

“It feels great,” Bader said. “Sometimes you’ve got to grind it out, but to find a way after nine innings is most important. I’m just very fortunate and happy to be on the winning side as we continue rolling here.”

Bader’s go-ahead knock off Yerry Rodríguez chased home Anthony Volpe and pinch-runner Oswaldo Cabrera as the Bombers overcame Gerrit Cole’s shortest start of the season, rallying to wrap a 4-2 homestand with a series win over the American League West-leading Rangers.

, , and  combined to blank Texas over the final 4 1/3 frames, improving the club’s Major League-best bullpen ERA to 2.85. New York’s pitching staff limited the potent Rangers to seven runs over the three-game series.

“It’s a big strength of ours, and this series has been a showcase of how good they’ve been,” Cole said. “This is an offensive club that we just played, top-notch in the league with world-class hitters and a great approach. I’m out there just fighting my tail off. It was great to see our guys come in and thrive.”

On a day when Josh Donaldson was in the headlines following a lengthy pregame chat with manager Aaron Boone, two slumping veterans made contributions: and .

“Those are our big dogs, guys that have been around for a really long time,” Bader said. “To see them settle in, take some really good swings and have some really positive results, it’s awesome for them and awesome for us.”

LeMahieu roped a two-run double in the second inning that accounted for the Yankees’ scoring off Nathan Eovaldi, who permitted four hits and two walks over 5 2/3 innings, striking out five. In LeMahieu’s past six games, he has collected four extra-base hits (three doubles and one homer).

“He had good at-bats today,” Boone said. “The ball he hit to right field, he hit it well. It looked like DJ. I thought he looked more alive in the box.”

Following Bader’s hit in the eighth, Stanton added a run-scoring single. It was Stanton’s seventh hit in 58 at-bats (.121) since being activated from the injured list on June 1.

“I’ve got a lot to do,” Stanton said. “It’s good for now, but that doesn’t clear it for me.”

Cole lasted just 4 2/3 innings, his briefest outing since June 9, 2022, at Minnesota. He was knocked for three runs and a season-high nine hits as the Yankees fell into an early hole.

Corey Seager stroked a run-scoring single in the first, then Jonah Heim hit a long homer and Leody Taveras roped a run-scoring double in the second off Cole, who walked one and struck out seven in a 107-pitch effort (74 strikes).

“They got some good swings off on him and made him work really hard on a warm day,” Boone said. “He was able to hold the line and keep us there.”

Powered by Bader’s go-ahead knock, the Yanks improved to 13-4 in Cole’s outings this season. Only the Rays’ Shane McClanahan (13-3) and the Braves’ Spencer Strider (13-2) have had as many team wins in their starts.

“Limiting the amount of damage and playing a great team game overall is what pushed us over today,” Cole said. “We picked each other up, from the bullpen to the starters, from the pitching staff to the offense. It was enough for a series win.”