Cole fans 13, Yanks belt 4 homers in rout of Indians

Cole fans 13, Yanks belt 4 homers in rout of Indians

NEW YORK (Agencies): Gerrit Cole struck out 13 batters over seven innings to lift the visiting New York Yankees to a 12-3 romp over the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday in Game 1 of their American League wild-card series.

Gleyber Torres belted a two-run homer to highlight his four-hit, three-RBI performance. Brett Gardner and Aaron Judge also launched two-run shots and Giancarlo Santon added a solo blast for the fifth-seeded Yankees, who will look to finish off the fourth-seeded Indians on Wednesday in Game 2 of the best-of-three set.

Cole (1-0) became the first pitcher in major league history to record three postseason performances with at least 12 strikeouts. The 30-year-old veteran, who overcame Josh Naylor’s solo homer in the fourth inning, allowed two runs on six hits without walking a batter.

The dominant effort perhaps was what New York had in mind when it signed Cole to a nine-year, $324 million free agent contract last December. Just two months earlier, Cole posted a 4-1 record with a 1.72 ERA and 0.87 WHIP in five postseason starts for the Houston Astros.

The Yankees wasted little time gaining the early advantage on AL Cy Young Award favorite Shane Bieber (0-1), who was victimized for a career-high-tying seven runs on nine hits in 4 2/3 innings in his postseason debut. By comparison, Bieber surrendered a total of seven earned runs in his first eight starts this season.

DJ LeMahieu, who won the AL batting title, singled to right field to open the first inning before Judge deposited a first-pitch fastball from Bieber over the wall in right-center field. The homer was the ninth of Judge’s postseason career.

New York’s Luke Voit and Cleveland’s Jose Ramirez traded RBI doubles in the third inning before Gardner added one of his own to give the Yankees a 4-1 lead in the fourth inning. Gardner later came around to score on LeMahieu’s infield

single.

Naylor, who had four hits, belted a solo blast in the fourth inning before the Yankees answered in the fifth. With two outs, Gio Urshela singled and Torres chased Bieber by sending a 2-2 fastball over the wall in center field for a two-run homer and a 7-2 lead.

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