PITTSBURGH (AP) — The New York Yankees endured one very painful bounce that cost them the lead and, more importantly, reliever Anthony Misiewicz.
A more fortunate one helped them rally past the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday night.
Aaron Judge and Gleyber Torres scored when a potential game-ending double play morphed into a game-turning error in the top of the ninth and the Yankees slipped by the Pirates 7-5 on Roberto Clemente Day.
New York’s comeback came with Misiewicz undergoing testing in a nearby hospital after taking a 100 mph line drive off the side of his head in the sixth inning.
Yankee manager Aaron Boone said the 28-year-old Misiewicz was “pretty aware and pretty alert” while being tended to on the field by medical staff. Misiewicz was taken off on a cart while clutching a towel against the left side of his face. He underwent several scans at Allegheny General Hospital but the results were not immediately available.
Wisiewicz’s teammates collected themselves in time to climb out of last place in the AL East, with a little help from the Pirates.
New York trailed by one with the bases loaded and one out in the ninth when Anthony Volpe hit a chopper off Colin Holderman (0-3) to Pittsburgh shortstop Liover Peguero. Pegeuro flipped the ball to second baseman Ji Hwan Bae for one out, but Bae’s throw to first baseman Alfonso Rivas — a defensive replacement — bounced before deflecting off Rivas’ glove and toward the New York dugout, allowing Torres and Judge to race home and put the Yankees in front.
“I think I was in a little rush, trying to turn it and throw as soon as possible,” Bae said. “That was the key, I think. I felt like I’ve got to slow down at that point.”
Oswaldo Cabrera’s third hit, an RBI single, gave the Yankees some breathing room. Clay Holmes, a former Pirate, worked a perfect ninth for his 20th save. Nick Ramirez (1-2) pitched 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief.
New York moved two games over .500 (75-73) for the first time in a month and was replaced by Boston in the bottom of the AL East when the Red Sox were shut out by Toronto.
“We just didn’t give up,” Yankee starter Gerrit Cole said. “Took what the game gave us and luckily we were able to execute, albeit with some second chances, to get the win.”
Ke’Bryan Hayes had three hits, including a go-ahead two-run single in the sixth inning, for Pittsburgh.
Hayes’ hit came minutes after Misiewicz left the game after being struck in the face with a line drive off the bat of Bae. Misiewicz fell to the ground as the ball ricocheted into right field before eventually standing on his own and being taken off on a cart.
Zach McAllister replaced Misiewicz and immediately hit Bryan Reynolds with the first pitch to load the bases. Hayes followed with a sharp grounder up the middle that rolled under the glove of New York second baseman Torres and into center field, scoring Bae and Josh Palacios.
Judge had three hits and an RBI for the Yankees. D.J. LeMahieu had two hits, including a leadoff single in the ninth to start the New York rally.
Cole labored through five innings in his return to PNC Park. The Pirates drafted Cole first overall in 2011 and he reached the majors in 2013, serving as a fixture in the rotation during the franchise’s run of three straight playoff appearances from 2013-15 before eventually trading him to Houston in January 2018.
The hard-throwing right-hander was still in the nascent stages of his career then. He’s one of the best pitchers in baseball now, though his pursuit of his first career Cy Young may have slowed just a bit after his shortest outing since June 25. Cole gave up two runs and six hits with three walks and four strikeouts.
And yes, it was weird to be back in the place he once belonged. Cole admitted he was thinking about himself “in a different uniform” at times.
“It was a humbling experience tonight,” Cole said. “It was a really special evening. I’m glad everybody’s doing all right right now and I’m glad that we got the win.”
He threw 29 pitches in the first inning alone and 93 in all while recording just 15 outs as his ERA ticked up slightly to 2.81, just ahead of Minnesota’s Sonny Gray at 2.83. Gray is slated to start for the Twins on Sunday.
The Pirates honored Clemente — their Hall of Fame right fielder who died in a plane crash on New Year’s Eve 1972 while on a humanitarian mission to deliver supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua — by holding a day of service in which nearly 50 members of the organization (including several players) participated in community outreach.
Every Pirates player wore Clemente’s iconic No. 21, as did Judge, New York designated hitter Giancarlo Stanton and catcher Kyle Higashioka. The No. 21 was also spray painted onto the grass in right field, just in front of the 21-foot-high Clemente Wall.
Pirates: Activated rookie RF/C Henry Davis (right-hand muscle strain) off the injured list and sent INF Vinny Capra down to Triple-A Indianapolis.
The series continues on Saturday when the two teams meet at 6:35 p.m. EDT. Luis Ortiz (4-4) starts for Pittsburgh.