October 10, 2020 | 6:06am
Gerrit Cole showed he could pitch on three days’ rest, but now he’ll have to wait much longer for his next start.
The right-hander was excellent for most of his outing in Game 5 of the ALDS against the Rays, but it wasn’t enough. Aroldis Chapman allowed a go-ahead homer to Mike Brosseau in the bottom of the eighth inning, and the Yankees’ season came to a halt in a 2-1 loss at Petco Park in San Diego.
Cole gave up just one run in 5 ¹/₃ innings. He walked two, struck out nine and allowed only one hit — a solo homer to Austin Meadows with two outs in the bottom of the fifth.
Aaron Judge looked to have a chance to catch the ball, but as he jumped, he hit his head on a padded overhang on the outfield wall and barely got off the ground.
Cole finished the inning and came out for the sixth. Randy Arozarena immediately pounced on a pitch and sent it to deep left, but Brett Gardner robbed Arozarena of a homer and kept the game tied.
“Of course [I] wanted to get deeper and leaving with the game tied doesn’t feel as good as leaving with the lead,’’ Cole said. “Gosh, how many times did I pitch against these guys this year, six or seven? It’s like on a tape recorder with these guys. It’s tough as s–t. It was a good fight. It sucks losing.”
It was actually Cole’s fifth start against the Rays this season and his most effective.
Cole was removed in favor of Zack Britton, as Aaron Boone went to the back end of his bullpen with one out in the sixth and it didn’t work out.
The Yankees couldn’t have asked much more of Cole, though, who fought through a first inning in which he loaded the bases by walking two batters and hitting another before striking out Joey Wendle looking to end the threat — although he needed 25 pitches to do it.
Cole was overpowering for the next three innings and while he didn’t go as deep into the game as the Yankees might have hoped, he kept the Rays down. And unlike in most of his previous starts, the offense didn’t provide much support. The Yankees were limited to a solo homer by Judge to lead off the top of the fourth.
“I’m so proud of [Cole’s] effort,’’ Boone said. “That was a championship, special player effort to get into trouble in the first inning and rack up pitches and make huge pitches to get out of it.”
Before the game, Boone had no doubt Cole would not be overwhelmed by the situation or the pressure.
“Gerrit Cole’s an animal,’’ Boone said. “I’m telling you, he can’t wait to get out there tonight. Whatever happens tonight, he is absolutely cut out for this. I think he envisioned pitching in this type of game, no doubt about it.”
Just one with a different ending.