Yankees' Gerrit Cole bounces back with big time outing versus Red Sox

That’s more like the Gerrit Cole the Yankees paid to pitch in big games in a playoff race.

Coming off a clunker against the Indians that drew boos his last time out, Cole delivered the kind of outing the Yankees needed Friday night as he mostly quieted the Red Sox on the way to an 8-3 win in Boston.

“[I] mentally leaned on the process that I have, trying to get rid of the last start and get prepared to bring out the best I can this start,” said Cole, who recorded his first career win at Fenway Park in six starts. “I was successful in that regard and I made enough good pitches and we scored enough runs that we got a really great result.”

The $324 million ace gave up three runs over six strong innings while working with a lead all night. The only blemish came in his final inning, when Rafael Devers crushed a three-run homer off Cole.

But the Yankees had already beat up on Red Sox right-hander Nathan Eovaldi by that point — including taking a 3-0 lead before Cole even threw a pitch — meaning Devers’ shot only cut the Yankees’ lead to 7-3.

 									boston red sox								,  									gerrit cole								,  									new york yankees

Gerrit Cole

Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

Cole did not allow a hit until there were two outs in the fourth inning, when J.D. Martinez roped a ground-rule double to right field. Cole had issued a walk in each of the first three innings, but didn’t allow the Red Sox to turn it into a rally either time.

“He’s a great pitcher, he’s our ace, he’s our horse,” manager Aaron Boone said. “For him to go out and set the tone for us, especially after the offense put up a three-spot there in the first inning, I thought he did a great job of avoiding those momentum innings.

“It’s a very short list of people you’d rather hand the ball to.”

Last Sunday, when the Yankees needed him to salvage a series win against the Indians, Cole came up short. He gave up a season-high 10 hits and seven runs over 5 ¹/₃ innings in an 11-1 loss in The Bronx, even hearing boos from the crowd as he walked off the mound.

But Cole rebounded to kick off the high-stakes series with a win.

Cole will make at least one more start in the regular season — likely Wednesday against the Blue Jays in what will be another huge start. After that, he could either line up to pitch the AL wild-card game on Oct. 5 — perhaps against the Red Sox again — or come back to pitch on short rest on the final weekend of the season if the Yankees need him to get into the playoffs.

“It matters because it’s an important win for this series,” Cole said. “It didn’t feel like the game was ours until the last out. I don’t think I’ll ever really feel that way, especially against this team.”

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