NEW YORK (AP) — Gerrit Cole pitched a two-hitter with 10 strikeouts for his fourth career shutout and the second complete game in the majors this season, leading the New York Yankees to a 2-0 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Sunday.
DJ LeMahieu homered and hit an RBI single for the Yankees, who earned a split of the four-game series after putting slugger Giancarlo Stanton on the injured list with a hamstring strain before the game. New York has won or split its first five series for the first time since 2010, the Elias Sports Bureau said.
Cole (4-0) lowered his ERA to 0.95 in four starts, finishing off the Twins on 109 pitches in 2 hours, 7 minutes. He got the final nine outs on just 25 pitches and retired former Astros teammate Carlos Correa on a fly ball to end it.
“I think it’s just old school, but we had our work cut out for us today,” Cole said of the rare complete game. “We were facing a great team, a great pitcher, so, just more satisfied with the win.”
Clay Holmes was warming up in the ninth and Correa would have been Cole’s last hitter.
It was Cole’s seventh career complete game and his first shutout since July 10, 2021, at Houston. The only other complete game in the big leagues this year also came against Minnesota, when reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Sandy Alcantara threw a three-hitter for Miami in a 1-0 win on April 4 that lasted 1 hour, 57 minutes.
After giving up an AL-high 33 home runs last season, Cole hasn’t allowed any this year. He’s opened a season with four straight wins for the second time. The right-hander also won his first four decisions as a rookie with the Pirates in 2013.
“He’s had some pretty good stretches for us before,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “Add it all up and I feel like he’s in such a good place. I feel like how he’s using his fastball right now I think is just him continuing to evolve and grow as a great pitcher.”
Cole improved to 5-0 in six career starts against the Twins, who hit five homers off him June 9 last year in Minnesota.
“That’s what it looks like when you go out there and you face good pitching and when they’re throwing the ball pretty good,” Minnesota manager Rocco Baldelli said. “He’d throw a few pitches and kind of get away from what he wanted to do but he would find it again pretty quickly.”
It was Cole’s second double-digit strikeout game this season and 44th since the start of the 2019 season — most in the majors. He tied Ron Guidry for the team record with his 23rd double-digit strikeout game since signing with New York following the 2019 season.
“It’s special,” Cole said. “Ron’s such a good person and a great human and a great Yankee. So anytime you’re mentioned with him it’s pretty special.”
Cole didn’t allow a hit until his 66th pitch when Donovan Solano singled on a 2-2 slider after fouling off three pitches with two outs in the fifth inning. Michael A. Taylor also singled for the Twins in the sixth.
“He was great,” LeMahieu said of Cole. “Not much more than 100 pitches and a bunch of strikeouts and about as good as you can pitch.”
Cole became the first Yankees pitcher to win his four starts since Mike Mussina won his first seven in 2003.
LeMahieu, batting fifth for the first time this year, had an RBI single off Pablo López (1-1) in the third and homered off the top of the right-field fence in the sixth. LeMahieu hit leadoff in his first 10 games.
López allowed two runs and seven hits in six innings.
“I was very aware of how he was throwing the ball,” López said about Cole. “You see the other guy throwing the ball as good as he did today, you want to go out and try to compete against him.”
RIGHT HAND MAN
Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator of “Hamilton,” posed for pictures on the field with his cousin, Minnesota infielder José Miranda, and attended the game. Lin-Manuel Miranda was unable to attend last September when the Twins played a four-game series at Yankee Stadium.
“It’s fun, seeing him here visiting and seeing everyone, how excited they were to see him,” José Miranda said. “It was cool.”
Twins: INF Jorge Polanco (left knee inflammation) and OF Alex Kirilloff (right wrist surgery) both went 1 for 4 in a rehab game for Class A Fort Myers. … RHP Louie Varland was optioned to Triple-A St. Paul, two days after pitching six innings. LHP Brent Headrick was recalled from St. Paul.
Yankees: 3B Josh Donaldson (right hamstring strain) will play a minor league rehab game Tuesday with Double-A Somerset and could be activated Wednesday. … RHP Luis Severino (right lat strain) threw a bullpen.
Twins: RHP Sonny Gray (2-0, 0.53 ERA) pitches Tuesday night in Boston to open a three-game series.
Yankees: RHP Clarke Schmidt (0-0, 8.44 ERA) opposes Angels LHP José Suárez (0-1, 10.80) in the opener of a three-game series at home Tuesday night.