The New York view: Gerrit Cole’s pitching has the final word in duel with Josh Donaldson

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Strike three, strike three, fly out to shallow right field.

Josh Donaldson didn’t come close to getting a hit off Gerrit Cole in Wednesday’s 9-6 Yankees victory over the Twins. And Cole didn’t send a pitch toward any of Donaldson’s body parts.

It was a quiet and harmless three at-bats for Donaldson on his way to an 0-for-5 night, which included the final out of the game after the Twins scored four runs in the ninth to make the final score look more competitive than the game itself.

Here’s the first strikeout:

How did the New York media report on Cole vs. Donaldson? Here’s some of what was written and said:

From Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News: “Instead of walking to the back of the mound as he usually does, Gerrit Cole stood at the front of the mound and just stared at Josh Donaldson for a few seconds. He’d got the Twins third baseman to swing on a 86-mile an hour knuckle curveball in the first inning at Target Field for a strikeout. Then Cole reached up and lifted the brim of his cap as he watched the man who had called him out, accusing him of cheating, walk back to his dugout.”

Dan Martin of the New York Post called the Donaldson at-bats “the most interesting part of another lopsided victory for the Yankees over the hapless Twins.” He also offered this from yankees manager Aaron Boone on whether the controversy over Cole’s use of illegal substances on the baseball is over: “Look, who knows? The one thing I know is he’s an amazing pitcher and tremendous competitor. When all this dust settles and wherever the story goes, that ain’t changing. I thought his effort, with all the distractions going on, he went out there and showed you who he was.”

Also from the Post, columnist Joel Sherman added his take: “What was at Gerrit Cole’s fingertips Tuesday night was the Twins as an opponent. For the Yankees — and their players — they are annually the glue to fix anything that is broken. So two evenings at Target Field have awoken Yankee bats, and if Cole didn’t exactly put his sticky controversy to sleep Wednesday night, the ace handled scrutiny and doubt well with six strong innings. ‘The outside chatter is the outside chatter. As players we have to do our best to stay focused on the job.’ “

David Schoenfield of ESPN noted that Cole saved most of his fastest pitches for Donaldson: “After the win, Cole attempted to downplay both his increased velocity as ‘sometimes you just bring your best fastball’ and the showdowns against Donaldson, saying the outs were big only in the context that Donaldson is an important cog in the Twins’ lineup. Still, he threw four of his six fastest pitches of the season — two of those fastballs of 100.4 mph and 100.2 mph to Donaldson. Cole averaged 98.2 mph on his fastball in this start, above his season average of 97.3 mph. Finally, Cole did acknowledge that perhaps those superheated fastballs to Donaldson were ‘probably a bit of the moment.’ “

Brendan Kuty of nj.com quoted Yankees sluggers Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton on the bigger picture surrounding the controversy: “Stanton said he believes pitchers have stepped up their use of illegal sticky substances on the mound over the past two years. ‘I think the numbers speak for themselves with how this year has gone and years prior of their numbers being enhanced,’ Stanton said. ‘That’s not opinion-based. I think it’ll be better for hitters in general if everyone’s even.’ Aaron Judge said he believes about 95% of pitchers are using something on the mound. ‘It’s kind of one of those rules that I feel like hasn’t really been enforced or defined or whatever you want to say about it. But when it comes to it, we’ve all got a job to do. Cole’s got a job to do on the mound and me as a hitter, I’ve got to step in the box no matter what’s going on, no matter what people are using, I’ve got to go in there and do my job.’ “

Here’s the second strikeout:

And round three, when Donaldson made some contact:

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