The New York Yankees were able to achieve something on Friday that no other pitching staff has accomplished this year: keeping Jose Ramirez hitless.
The Yankees look to contain the third baseman again and continue their run of impressive pitching when they host the Cleveland Guardians in the second game of a three-game series on Saturday.
Ramirez entered the series opener with a season-opening, 12-game hitting streak.
Jameson Taillon held Ramirez hitless in three at-bats and Michael King struck him out in the eighth as the Yankees opened the series with a 4-1 victory. Taillon retired Ramirez on groundouts in the first and fourth and ended his outing by getting Ramirez on a flyout to center fielder Aaron Judge, who homered twice.
“I had a lot of adrenaline,” Taillon said of retiring Ramirez for his final batter. “I know what this (Cleveland) lineup’s capable of. I didn’t throw it where I wanted to, it was supposed to be up, but at least I put a little extra on it to beat his barrel a little bit.”
By containing Ramirez, the Yankees head into Saturday with an American League-leading 2.47 ERA. Friday marked the 11th time in 14 games the Yankees saw a starting pitcher allow two runs or fewer, and no New York starter has yielded more than three earned runs in an outing this season.
Ramirez saw his average drop from a major-league-leading .426 to .392. The 0-for-4 night also snapped his 16-game hitting streak dating to last season marked the first time in 12 games the Yankees held Ramirez hitless.
“That’s all right,” Ramirez said. “I’ll start another (hitting streak) tomorrow.”
Ramirez’s quiet outing was part of Cleveland’s rough night at the plate after the team scored 19 runs in a three-game sweep of the Chicago White Sox. The Guardians struck out a season-high 15 times and went 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position. They scored their lone run on a homer by Franmil Reyes.
“We’ve got to put the ball in play,” Cleveland manager Terry Francona said. “But you’ve got to give them credit, they pitched really, really well.”
Nestor Cortes (0-0, 0.00 ERA), who owns a 12-inning scoreless streak dating to his final start of last season, will start Saturday for the Yankees. He followed up 4 1/3 innings on April 12 against the visiting Toronto Blue Jays by fanning 12 and allowing three hits in five innings against at Baltimore on Sunday, when the Yankees took a 5-0 loss.
He also highlighted his most dominant appearance by recording an immaculate inning. In the fourth, he struck out Anthony Santander on a foul tip, caught Ryan McKenna looked and got Robinson Chirinos swinging.
“It’s fun to be out there every single time when you’re on a roll like that,” Cortes said postgame. “It just makes it a little sweeter. It’s unfortunate we didn’t come out with the ‘W’ today.”
Cortes owns a 3.18 ERA in three career relief appearances against Cleveland spanning 5 2/3 innings.
Cal Quantrill (1-0, 3.72 ERA) is expected to come off the COVID-19 injured list Saturday to make his third start of the season for the Guardians. Quantrill last pitched on April 16 against the San Francisco Giants, when he threw 91 pitches and allowed two runs in 4 2/3 innings.
Quantrill will make his first career start against the Yankees. He owns a 2.08 ERA spanning 4 1/3 innings in three relief appearances against New York, all of them last year.
–Field Level Media