NEW YORK — Gerrit Cole’s strikeouts and spin rate dropped as he pitched for the first time since Major League Baseball’s crackdown on sticky substances, and Ryan O’Hearn and the Kansas City Royals rallied against the Yankees’ bullpen for four runs in the eighth inning to beat New York Yankees 6-5 Tuesday night.
Cole, among the pitchers under highest scrutiny as umpires regularly search pitchers this week for unauthorized grip enhancers, allowed two runs and three hits in seven innings, showing his usual velocity but without his explosive strikeout pitches.
Luke Voit homered and tripled in his return from the injured list as the Yankees built a 3-2 lead.
Kansas City erased an eighth-inning deficit by taking a 6-3 lead against Jonathan Loaisga (7-3) as O’Hearn, Jarrod Dyson, Hunter Dozier and Michael A. Taylor drove in runs.
DJ LeMahieu hit a two-run homer with one out in the bottom half against Kyle Zimmer and Aaron Judge doubled off the left-field wall against Scott Barlow, who then retired pinch-hitter Rougned Odor and Giancarlo Stanton.
Greg Holland allowed Gio Urshela’s bloop single leading off the ninth, then got his fifth save in nine chances. Gleyber Torres struck out for the fourth time and Clint Frazier also fanned. After Gary Sánchez was intentionally walked, Brett Gardner popped out on a night the Yankees went 0 for 10 with runners in scoring position and left 13 on base.
Jake Brentz (2-0) won despite allowing New York to take a 3-2 lead on his seventh-inning wild pitch.
No. 66 on both teams homered in the same game for the first time in major league history, the Yankees’ Kyle Higashioka in the first inning off Brady Singer and O’Hearn in the fourth.
Cole had his glove and cap searched by umpires after the third and sixth innings and was given an all-clear. A white card, presumably switchable signs, fell out of Cole’s cap when he handed it to umpires for first inspection.
His fastball velocity was consistently around 98 mph and as high as 101 mph. Still, he struck out six after fanning four against Toronto last Wednesday, his first consecutive outings with six or fewer strikeouts since September 2017. Cole had struck out 104 in his first 12 starts this season.
Cole’s fastball revolutions per minute, which averaged 2,534 coming in, ranged from 2,084-2,471. His curveball dropped from 2,824 to 2,441-2,773, his slider from 2,686 to 2,334 to 2,578 and his changeup from 1,746 to 1,518 to 1,812.
Voit, in his first game since May 25 after recovering from an oblique strain, jumped on a first-pitch belt-high slider in the first inning. He smiled widely while rounding the bases, gave three leaping high-fives to teammates after crossing the plate and gave a shout in the dugout.
Kansas City got a run in the third on a pair of broken-bat singles and Whit Merrifield’s soft RBI grounder to the right. O’Hearn, recalled to take Adalberto Mondesi’s roster spot, drove a changeup into the right-field seats leading off the fourth to tie the score 2-2.
Voit hit a deep drive leading off the seventh. Dyson, just inserted into left field, jumped at the wall and as the ball went over his glove, a fan reached in front of the fence and dropped the ball, his hand hitting the back of Dyson’s glove.
Third base umpire Bill Miller signaled safe — meaning the ball was not a home run and was in play — as Voit slid into third. The call was upheld on a video review.
Brentz bounced a 2-1 slider to Stanton off catcher Salvador Pérez’s left shinguard for a go-ahead wild pitch, walked Stanton and hit Urshela on the left shin with another slider.
ON THE FARM
LHP Angel Zerpa made his debut for Double-A Northwest Arkansas, allowing four runs and six hits with nine strikeouts and no walks against Arkansas. He had gone 4-0 with a 2.59 ERA for High-A Quad Cities.
Royals: After missing the first 45 games with a right oblique injury and returning to play 10, SS Mondesi went on the 10-day IL on Monday for the third time, now for a strained left oblique. “I’m not going to deny that our team has looked different every time he’s been on the field. It’s a fact, and anybody who’s followed our team closely would attest to that,” Royals manager Mike Matheny said.
Yankees: RHP Darren O’Day (strained right rotator cuff) and LHP Justin Wilson (strained right hamstring) each pitched a scoreless inning as they started injury rehabilitation assignments with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Royals LHP Danny Duffy (4-3, 1.94) is to make his first start Wednesday since May 12 after recovering from a strained left forearm and will take the mound Wednesday against RHP Michael King (0-3, 4.08). Duffy estimated he will be able to throw up to about 65 pitches.
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