With perennial American League Cy Young candidate Gerrit Cole on the mound, the New York Yankees only needed the first inning to snag a lead big enough for a win against the Detroit Tigers in the three-game series opener.
But the Yankees decided to give their ace a little extra run support.
And by a little, we mean a lot.
The Tigers (8-19) allowed nine runs in the first four innings, leading to a 10-0 loss Friday at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx. Detroit has a 2-13 record in the past 15 games, hitting 80-for-450 (.178) with 26 runs, 23 walks and 161 strikeouts during that span.
In Game 2 of Thursday’s seven-inning doubleheader, the Tigers lost 11-0 to the Chicago White Sox. The Tigers have been outscored 21-0 in the past 16 innings. (They were held to one run in Game 1 Thursday, as well.) The Yankees used 15 hits and five walks to score their 10 runs.
Cole ripped into the Tigers for six scoreless innings. He gave up four hits — all singles — without a walk. He struck out 12 batters. Relievers Luis Cessa and Wandy Peralta and Lucas Luetge added six more strikeouts for 18 total.
Through six starts this season, Cole has pitched 37⅔ innings. He owns a 1.43 ERA to go with 24 hits, six earned runs, one home run, three walks and 62 strikeouts.
Detroit takes on New York at 1:10 p.m. Saturday for the second of three games. Right-hander Spencer Turnbull is starting, opposed by righty Jameson Taillon.
Left-hander Tarik Skubal started for the Tigers and saw his fastball hit hard from the beginning, with Giancarlo Stanton’s first-inning double to right field. He scored on Gio Urshela’s single.
Clint Frazier homered on a fastball in the second inning and Aaron Judge did the same in the third inning. Aaron Hicks tossed in a solo blast, as well, in the third for a 4-0 lead. The 24-year-old issued four runs on five hits and two walks, with one strikeout, across three frames.
ENCOURAGING WORDS: Why AJ Hinch said rookie Casey Mize ‘gets what it takes to be elite’
The Yankees made him battle in multiple tough at-bats. By the time Skubal left the mound, he was at 77 pitches. Of those, he managed 47 strikes. New York had 19 foul balls against him and finished with an average 100.4 mph exit velocity against Skubal’s fastball.
Skubal used 45 four-seamers, 16 sliders, 10 splitters, four curveballs and two cutters. His fastball averaged 94.2 mph and topped out at 95.6 mph. He managed just six swings-and-misses — four with his four-seamer and two with his slider.
Skubal’s early exit didn’t slow the Yankees, even with righty reliever Buck Farmer’s entrance. In the fourth, Judge blasted a grand slam to right field, driving in Rougned Odor, DJ LeMahieu and Stanton.
With one out in the fourth, Bryan Garcia replaced Farmer, only to walk two batters and give up an RBI double to Hicks. Eventually, he got a strikeout to end the inning, as the Yankees had a 9-0 lead.
TORKELSON, GREENE: Full rosters for players (and prospects) in minor leagues
New York added a 10th run on Odor’s leadoff homer against left-hander Tyler Alexander in the fifth. Despite Odor’s long ball, Alexander bounced back to retire LeMahieu, Stanton and Judge in order. He quickly became the most in-control pitcher the Tigers put on the mound in the last two games.
Alexander pitched a scoreless sixth and seventh inning to finish with three innings of one-run ball. Although he allowed four hits, he didn’t grant a walk and racked up three strikeouts. His command-focused approach saved the rest of the Tigers’ bullpen.
Left-hander Daniel Norris gave up two singles to begin the eighth inning, but he got out of the jam with a 6-4-3 double play.
One positive: The average spin rate on Skubal’s fastball — 2,325 revolutions per minute — increased from his past starts this year. Last year, his fastball’s spin rate averaged 2,422 rpm.
The Tigers picked up a combined four hits, all singles, from Robbie Grossman, Jonathan Schoop, Jeimer Candelario and Wilson Ramos. Schoop had the team’s only walk.
Evan Petzold is a sports reporter at the Detroit Free Press. Contact him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold. Read more on the Detroit Tigers and sign up for our Tigers newsletter.