ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Even when New York ace Gerrit Cole wasn't his sharpest and was denied in his bid to become the American League's first six-game winner, he set a big league strikeout record — a pitching version of 61 for the Yankees.
Cole had 61 consecutive Ks between walks, a streak that began April 12 and ended Monday night as the Yankees lost 5-2 to the Texas Rangers, who snapped their six-game losing streak.
“That’s pretty cool, wish it would have come in a win,” Cole said. “Kind of more focused on the fact that we lost."
Adolis Garcia and Willie Calhoun homered, both on 0-2 pitches by Cole (5-2), who allowed season highs of five runs and seven hits. The right-hander struck out seven, but also issued two free passes.
“Two-strike situations, credit to them, they were really aggressive and got off some good swings,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. "And when they got a mistake, they were able to take advantage of it."
Cole, whose 84 strikeouts are the most for a Yankees pitcher in the first nine starts of a season, said he just wasn't able to consistently execute several pitches in a row.
“Just a few sequences tonight where I felt like we threw a really excellent pitch and followed it up with a really bad pitch. The first homer jumps right out, throw an excellent fastball up top, try to go back up there again and leave it over the middle of the plate,” Cole said. “I just wasn’t stringing three, four, five pitches together in a row.”
His span of 41 2/3 innings without a walk ended when Joey Gallo reached with one out in the third. The ball got past catcher Kyle Higashioka, and Gallo took off and rounded first base before tripping and then having to scamper back to the bag to avoid an embarrassing out.
Garcia's 11th homer was an opposite-field shot leading off the second, and was the first of three consecutive extra-base hits. David Dahl and Isiah Kiner-Falefa followed with back-to-back doubles that made it 2-1 and put Texas ahead to stay. Garcia stole home, part of a double steal with two outs in the sixth after his sharp leadoff single that inning chased Cole, for a 5-1 lead.
Calhoun hit his fifth homer leading off the fifth for the Rangers, who were coming off their first winless road trip of at least six games since 1991. They hadn't won since their previous home game, May 9 against Seattle when they reached .500 for the second time this season.
“I know that we were going into the game looking to hit. This guy doesn’t walk too many guys,” Rangers manager Chris Woodward said. “We took advantage of the few mistakes he made, and made him pay for it.”
Jordan Lyles (2-3) struck out six in six innings for his first win in eight starts since winning his season debut April 4. Three of the first four Yankees batters had singles, and Gio Urshela's run-scoring hit put them ahead 1-0. But they got only one other runner past first base against the Texas right-hander.
“To put up a three-spot in the second inning, no less against one of the better pitchers in baseball, if not at the top, that’s really big,” Lyles said. “Just made me a little bit more comfortable out there, maybe attack just a little bit better."
Ian Kennedy worked a perfect ninth for his AL-leading 11th save in 11 chances.
Luke Voit's first homer of the season was a solo shot in the Yankees' eighth.
Cole's franchise record-matching streak of 12 consecutive starts allowing two earned runs or less ended, keeping him tied with Whitey Ford (1963) and Chad Green (2017-19). Cole also snapped a run of five starts in a row going at least six innings and not walking a batter, one off the team record David Wells set 18 years ago.
“It’s amazing what he’s doing. It really is,” Boone said. “I try not to take for granted getting to see him go out there every fifth or sixth day and really be on top of his game and throwing the ball the way he is. So it’s a remarkable little stretch.”
Yankees: DH Giancarlo Stanton was placed on the 10-day injured list because of a left quad strain. The move was retroactive to Friday. ... Boone said LHP Zack Britton, rehabbing from elbow surgery March 15 to remove a bone chip, had some soreness after his one-inning simulated game Saturday with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, and that his planned rehab start for Double-A Somerset on Wednesday might get pushed back a couple of days. ... Former Rangers 2B Rougned Odor, who has missed 12 games with a left knee sprain, could return as early as Tuesday.
Rangers: The Rangers announced they have passed the 85% COVID-19 vaccination threshold for Tier 1 players and staff. That means some of MLB’s coronavirus protocols will be relaxed for the team, including some restrictions on road trips. ... 3B Brock Holt, out since May 3 with a right hamstring strain, is scheduled to begin a two-game rehab stint Tuesday with Double-A Frisco. General manager Chris Young said Holt could be activated after that if all goes well.
A pair of right-handers with 1-3 records, Jameson Taillon for the Yankees and Mike Foltynewicz for the Rangers, start Tuesday in the second of four games in the series.
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