SEATTLE — The boxscore forever will read that Gerrit Cole, in his first and perhaps only All-Star Game start, retired the side in order.
Cole successfully checked one item off his bucket list, pitching a scoreless first inning Tuesday in the National League’s 3-2 victory at T-Mobile Park in one of the more eventful nine-pitch, no-hit innings a fan can see.
“I think it worked out great,” Cole said with a smile. “They got good swings. Got out of there [in] nine pitches, and we played great ‘D.’”
The Yankees ace had All-Star defenders behind him and put them to work immediately.
Atlanta’s Ronald Acuña Jr., the first batter of the game, smacked a second-pitch cutter to deep right field that Adolis Garcia tried to find in the bright sun.
Garcia drifted back, turned around on the warning track, leapt and stuck out his glove in a balletic move.
The Rangers outfielder stabbed the ball as he smacked against the wall.
Cole smiled, shook his head and could exhale — for a few pitches at least.
Next up was the Dodgers’ Freddie Freeman, who jumped on an outside fastball and blasted it 99.7 mph to left.
Tampa Bay’s Randy Arozarena retreated in a hurry, reached the warning track and jumped, nearly horizontal when he hit the wall and robbed Freeman of a double.
The Rays star flashed his patented, arms-crossed pose while leaning back — and Cole, after throwing up his arms as if wondering what had just happened, imitated the pose right back at Arozarena.
“I figured he deserved it,” Cole said after his sixth All-Star Game honor but only second time pitching in the exhibition. “It seemed like it was appropriate for the moment.
“[Arozarena has] a lot of juice. That was a really sweet catch, running into the wall. I was like, somebody’s on our side I guess.”
At least two somebodies, who were both All-Star corner outfielders.
Cole induced a ground out from Mookie Betts, and his night was over.
A quick inning, especially on just two days’ rest after Cole threw 7 ¹/₃ innings Saturday, was ideal.
The 32-year-old has always wanted to start a Midsummer Classic, and AL manager Dusty Baker gave him the opportunity after a first half that he finished 9-2 with a 2.85 ERA.
“It was great. A lot of adrenaline for a bullpen day,” Cole said.
What’s next on the bucket list?
“World Series,” said Cole, whose Astros lost in the 2019 championship.
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