Yankees overcome rough outing from Gerrit Cole, explode in eighth to down Royals

NEW YORK — The Yankees offense washed away their recent struggles by mostly anyone in the lineup not named Aaron Judge. It took a 23-minute rain delay before the top of the eighth inning, but the bottom of the frame allowed an eight-run rally to push the Yankees ahead of the Royals, 11-5, on Friday night at Yankee Stadium.

Trailing 5-3 heading into the eighth, Aaron Judge struck out to start the inning and then dealt the final blow to the Royals later in the inning. A grand slam by Judge was his second of the game and 41st of the season, tying an American League record that has not been matched in 90 years.

Consecutive one-out hits by Anthony Rizzo and Gleyber Torres made things interesting for Josh Donaldson, who reached on an error by third baseman Nicky Lopez. Andrew Benintendi came to the plate seeking his first hit with his new club and struck an infield single that saw the bases remain loaded and the Yankees trailing by only one run.

Aaron Hicks thought he was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, but it was overturned by review. Hicks would later walk to bring in the tying run. Isaiah Kiner-Falefa gave the Yankees the lead with a single and Jose Trevino added a run with an RBI groundout right after. DJ LeMahieu would walk to reload the bases for Aaron Judge, who completed the big inning with a grand slam to right field.

Cole undone by soggy fifth inning

The rain fell in the top of the fifth inning at Yankee Stadium. Gerrit Cole’s strong start against Kansas City fell with it.

Cole had not allowed a runner past second base, striking out five and allowing two hits during the first four innings. As the passing shower came and went, so did Cole’s lead in Friday night’s start against the Royals. Five straight hits with two outs put a damper on Cole’s outing, capped off by a home run by Salvador Perez in his first game since June 21.

Cole surrendered four straight singles before that home run, including a ball that went underneath the reach of Isaiah Kiner-Falefa that would have ended the inning.

Cole finished the inning and then struck out the side in the top of the sixth, finishing with nine strikeouts in six innings. Cole’s earned run average increased to 3.30 after the start.

Rizzo and Judge provide early power

New York Yankees' Aaron Judge watches his two-run home run during the third inning of a baseball game against the Kansas City Royals, Friday, July 29, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)New York Yankees' Aaron Judge watches his two-run home run during the third inning of a baseball game against the Kansas City Royals, Friday, July 29, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

New York Yankees’ Aaron Judge watches his two-run home run during the third inning of a baseball game against the Kansas City Royals, Friday, July 29, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

A home run accounted for all but one of the runs scored by the Yankees since the Subway Series began earlier this week. That trend continued early on Friday with a pair of blasts that gave the Yankees a quick 3-0 lead.

Anthony Rizzo’s first inning home run, his 24th of the season, was the first hit for either side and gave the Yankees a fast start offensively.

Watch:Aaron Judge chases Yankee records, hits 40th home run vs. Royals

Aaron Judge would follow two innings later, striking his 40th home run of the year, a two-run shot to put the Yankees up by three after three innings. Judge’s two home run tie him with Babe Ruth’s team record in 1928, as well as Jimmie Foxx in 1932 for the most home runs by an American League hitter in a season before August 1.

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This article originally appeared on NorthJersey.com: Yankees overcome Gerrit Cole struggles to down Royals