NEW YORK — New York Yankees pitcher Gerrit Cole and manager Aaron Boone were both ejected from Friday night’s 5-4 win over the Boston Red Sox for arguing with plate umpire Brian Knight about a called ball that preceded a game-tying home run in the sixth inning.
Cole’s 1-2 pitch to Red Sox outfielder Alex Verdugo — which in replays appeared to be low in the strike zone — was called a ball, and his ensuing pitch, a 100 mph four-seam fastball, was drilled by Verdugo over the right-field fence for a three-run homer that tied the game at 4. The right-hander dropped his head and bent over behind the mound as Verdugo took a slow trot around the bases.
Cole then struck out J.D. Martinez to end the inning; as he was walking off the mound, he started screaming and pointing angrily at Knight, who promptly motioned for Cole to be ejected. It was the first ejection of Cole’s career — although the five-time All-Star was probably done for the night anyway after 103 pitches
“I thought there were several pitches that were on the edge that — sometimes they’re 50/50. I’ve done a pretty good job in my career not losing my cool like that,” Cole said. “I went quite a while without an ejection. So just like emotions get the better of you.”
An exasperated Boone joined the argument and was also tossed. It was Boone’s ninth ejection this season, which, according to ESPN Stats & Information research, is the most in a season by a manager since Bobby Cox in 2007 (10).
“I felt like there was something going on with [Yankees catcher Jose Trevino and the umpire] there,” Boone said. “I was obviously a little late in getting out there tonight, so I didn’t want that to happen [Trevino getting ejected], so I was out there trying to protect those guys a little bit.”
Cole said his pitch to Verdugo that yielded the home run “was like the worst pitch of the sequence. He put, obviously, a beautiful swing on it and did what he wanted to do with the pitch.”
The preceding pitch, on the other hand, “I had him locked up.”
“I thought it dotted it,” Cole said. “Stuck it where we wanted it.”
Verdugo offered a different take.
“It wasn’t even close,” Verdugo said. “He wants to steal every pitch. He wants his catcher to steal it.”
“I’ve been stung a few times, but it’s baseball,” Cole said.
Cole finished the game having recorded eight strikeouts over six innings, giving him 244 for the season — the second most in a single season in Yankees history. He is only four punchouts away from surpassing Ron Guidry’s franchise mark of 248, set in 1978.
Yankees pinch-hitter Harrison Bader drew a two-out walk in the eighth and was credited with a stolen base when a wild pickoff attempt by Boston’s Matt Strahm allowed him to reach third. Trevino singled home the tiebreaking run on the next pitch. Jonathan Loaisiga pitched two scoreless innings for the win, working around a pair of one-out singles in the ninth.
Aaron Judge was held without a homer for the third straight game, keeping him at 60 for the season and one shy of Roger Maris’ American League record.
“He’s getting off the right swings, he’s making good swing decisions. It’s going to come,” Boone said. “But it is a peek behind of just how great a player he is, too, that when he doesn’t hit the ball out of the ballpark, he’s still impacting us in a big way.
“With obviously all the noise around this and the excitement around this, understandably, he’s still going out there and just putting together good at-bat after good at-bat.”
The first-place Yankees reduced their magic number to five for clinching the AL East title.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.