Gil dominates again, Volpe extends hitting streak to 21 in Yanks' win

May 30th, 2024

ANAHEIM -- With putting the finishing touches on a brilliant month and continuing to dazzle on both sides of the ball, the Yankees’ present and future appear brighter than ever.

Gil struck out nine over a career-high eight innings and Volpe extended his hitting streak to 21 games, helping lead the Yankees to a 2-1 victory over the Angels on Wednesday evening at Angel Stadium.

“Am I fully 100 percent surprised? I’m not,” Gil said through an interpreter. “The reason why is that it took a lot of dedication and a lot of work to get here. That’s something that I really wanted to do, to put myself in the best position possible coming in here. When you’re able to command pitches out there, really good things happen.”

Alex Verdugo hit a fourth-inning home run and Clay Holmes bounced back from a blown save in the series opener as the Yankees won for the 18th time in 24 games, a run powered in large part by a rotation that has more than stepped up in the absence of ace Gerrit Cole.

A leading candidate to be crowned as the American League’s Pitcher of the Month, Gil improved to 6-0 with a 0.70 ERA across six May starts. The right-hander held opponents to three earned runs over 38 2/3 innings, including limiting the Halos to just two hits and two walks on Wednesday.

“I don't think anyone is really surprised, within the clubhouse and within the organization,” Volpe said. “I’m friendly with a couple of guys on other teams and they’re saying after games that it’s the most electric fastball they’ve ever faced.

“When you’ve got someone like that who can put you off-balance with two other pitches, it’s going to definitely be a good recipe.”

Gil’s splendid 95-pitch effort marked the Yankees’ 16th straight start of five innings or more and two or fewer runs, the longest by any Major League team since at least 1893, according to Elias Sports Bureau. Since May 12, Bombers starters have gone 12-2 with a 1.00 ERA, holding opponents to a .158 batting average.

“I’ve mentioned it before; having Gerrit Cole around and being able to listen to the pointers that he’s giving me, understanding what everybody here is communicating to me and then having the ability to go out there and execute, it’s been great,” Gil said.

Logan O’Hoppe cleared the right-field wall with a solo home run in the seventh, snapping Gil’s string of 17 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings.

Though Gil winced, the long ball did not derail his effort. Gil recovered to retire the final five batters he faced, with help from a diving Verdugo grab that stole a hit from Luis Guillorme in the eighth.

Yankees manager Aaron Boone -- who was ejected early for arguing a double-play interference call -- credited Gil’s “special” fastball as a difference-maker.

“That’s No. 1. That’s why he’s Luis Gil and why he’s off to that start,” Boone said. “It’s elite. He can lean on it. He’s got a real presence with the secondary [pitches], but that fastball tonight was electric. I was a nervous wreck watching the game, trying to find a TV. It’s easier in the dugout.”

Volpe singled in his first at-bat of the evening, extending the Yanks’ longest hitting streak since Robinson Canó hit safely in 23 straight games in 2012. The 21-game hitting streak equals the D-backs’ Ketel Marte for the longest hitting streak in the Majors this year.

“I’m not really thinking about it,” Volpe said. “I’m just trying to win as many pitches as I can. I'm just trying to stick to my approach and hit pitches I feel like I can handle.”

The American League’s reigning Gold Glove shortstop, Volpe made a terrific diving stop and throw to rob Nolan Schanuel of a hit in the sixth inning. He then dashed around the bases for a Little League homer in the seventh, tripling into the right-field corner and being waved home on a throwing error.

“When I was running, it was fine,” Volpe said. “But when I got back in the dugout, I was definitely tired.”

Gil said that Volpe has been “tremendous” for the Yankees this season, both offensively and defensively.

“When you look at the way he’s playing baseball right now, he’s making things happen in the box,” Gil said. “And then defensively, wow. He’s doing everything right.”