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Offense helps Yankees top Padres as Gerrit Cole struggles

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Gerrit Cole was far from his best, the defense behind him might have struggled through its most embarrassing play of the season and a banged-up Anthony Rizzo was knocked from the game early.

But the Yankees salvaged an exasperating afternoon when their offense turned relentless.

The Yankees climbed out of a pair of early holes and exploded for seven runs in the third inning in a 10-7 win over the Padres in front of the biggest crowd of the season in The Bronx.

A sellout of 47,295 watched the Yankees (32-23) take the series to finish a 3-3 homestand against the Orioles and Padres (24-29) before they begin a three-game set in Seattle on Monday.

Each of their past five victories has involved a comeback, and they had to launch two Sunday.

Cole dug a 1-0 hole in the first (on a Jake Cronenworth home run), and the Yankees climbed out (with an Aaron Judge homer) in the bottom of the inning.

The Yankees dug a 3-1 hole in the second (with a particularly ugly, multi-error play), and then erupted for a seven-run third.


Aaron Judge rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run for the Yankees on Sunday.
Jason Szenes for N.Y. Post

In that frame, the Yankees used eight hits — including three doubles, two from Kyle Higashioka — to run away from the Padres.

Yu Darvish would not survive the inning and gave up hits to the first five Yankees batters he saw, only interrupted by a would-be home run from DJ LeMahieu that center fielder Trent Grisham robbed.

Darvish could not find momentum with the terrific catch that saved three runs. Harrison Bader’s fielder’s choice scored the fourth run of the inning and Willie Calhoun’s double the fifth.

Righty Drew Carlton entered and allowed the sixth run on a Kiner-Falefa single and the seventh on Higashioka’s second double of the inning.

By the time it was over, the Yankees had sent 11 batters to the plate, and the Padres never fully recovered.

Cole was charged with six runs (five earned) in six-plus innings in which he allowed just four hits, but two were home runs.

Rougned Odor smacked a two-run shot in the seventh off Cole, who was pulled when Ha-Seong Kim followed with a single.


Yankees
Harrison Bader drives in a run for the Yankees on Sunday.
Jason Szenes for N.Y. Post

Jimmy Cordero entered and allowed Kim to score, but Cordero struck out Fernando Tatis Jr. and Brett Sullivan, who both represented the tying run.

A couple of eighth-innings runs courtesy of a Bader homer and an RBI single from Higashioka (who finished 3-for-4) provided a cushion.

Ron Marinaccio and Clay Holmes finished the job for the Yankees, who were crossing their fingers on Rizzo.


Yankees
Gerrit Cole struggles in the Yankee’ win over the Padres on Sunday.
Robert Sabo for NY Post

The valuable first baseman hurt his neck and was pulled for “precautionary reasons,” the club said, after applying a successful pickoff tag to Tatis in the sixth inning.

Higashioka caught Strike 3, which sat down Xander Bogaerts, and fired a back-pick to Rizzo at first.

Tatis was caught off the bag but tried to quick-foot his way back to the base without sliding.

Rizzo got tangled with Tatis, whose hip knocked into Rizzo’s head. Rizzo stumbled for a few steps, took a knee and was on the infield dirt for several minutes. He was replaced an inning later.

That was the most alarming moment of the game. The most embarrassing occurred in the second, when the Yankees turned a San Diego single into a Little League home run.

With Kim on second base, Jose Azocar lined a two-out single into center field, and Bader came up throwing — far too strong.

Bader sailed a throw over Higashioka, who then sprinted back because Cole, who remained by the mound, did not back up the play.


Yankees
Anthony Rizzo was injured in the Yankees’ win on Sunday.
Robert Sabo for NY Post

Higashioka retrieved the ball and had a chance to throw out Azocar at third base, and the catcher, too, came up too strong.

Higashioka airmailed third baseman LeMahieu, who stood helplessly as the ball went into left field and Azocar scored after a single, two errors and one mental mistake by Cole.

The Yankees’ bats, however, turned the moment into a footnote.

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