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ARLINGTON, Texas — For most of this season, Gerrit Cole has proven that he just might be capable of living up to the sky-high expectations that come along with a $324 million contract.
On Monday, the right-hander proved he was human.
After eight mostly brilliant outings, Cole suffered through his worst start of the year in a 5-2 loss to the Rangers.
Coming off arguably his best performance, when Cole pitched eight shutout innings at Tampa Bay, he gave up a season-high five runs on Monday, while pitching a season-low five-plus innings, as his ERA jumped from 1.37 to 2.03.
To make matters worse, Cole was outdone by Jordan Lyles, who entered with a 6.63 ERA, which would be the worst in the majors if he’d thrown enough innings to qualify.
But Lyles held the Yankees to one run in six innings, as the Rangers snapped a six-game losing streak in unlikely fashion.
In the Yankees’ first trip to Globe Life Field, where there is no capacity restrictions and 28,040 were on hand, they were far from sharp.
They scored in the first inning for a fourth straight game.
DJ LeMahieu led off the game with a base hit up the middle and Luke Voit followed with a liner to left. After Aaron Judge struck out, Gio Urshela singled to left to drive in LeMahieu and give the Yankees a 1-0 lead.
But Gary Sanchez — serving as the DH — hit into an inning-ending double play.
Cole allowed a leadoff double to Willie Calhoun, but then struck out the next three — including Joey Gallo on a 3-2 changeup to finish the inning.
He fared much worse in the second.
Adolis Garcia pounded an 0-2 fastball into the right-field seats for a game-tying opposite-field homer.
David Dahl followed with a double to left-center and scored on Isiah Kiner-Falefa’s double, the Rangers’ third consecutive extra-base hit off Cole, as Texas took a 2-1 lead.
With one out, Kiner-Falefa stole third and the Yankees brought the infield in. Jose Trevino’s single to center drove in Culberson to make it 3-1.
After a visit from acting pitching coach Mike Harkey, Calhoun hit a long fly ball to right field that just went foul before Cole recovered and struck him out and got Nick Solak to fly to right to end the inning.
In the third, Cole walked Gallo with one out, the first walk allowed by Cole since April 12. Since then, Cole had struck out 61 batters without walking a batter until Monday. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it was the longest such streak in a single season since 1893.
Cole stranded Gallo and Brett Gardner belted a two-out double in the top of the fourth, which just eluded a sprinting Gallo in right-center.
Clint Frazier struck out looking to keep Gardner at third.
Cole was hurt again on an 0-2 pitch when Calhoun homered to open the bottom of the fifth to increase the Yankees’ deficit to 4-1.
The Rangers added another run in the sixth.
Cole went back out and allowed a single to Garcia before getting the hook after 89 pitches. He was replaced by Albert Abreu, just recalled from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Garcia moved to second on a groundout and got to third on an Abreu wild pitch before scoring on the back end of a double steal.
Voit’s first homer brought the Yankees to within 5-2 in the eighth.
Former Yankee Ian Kennedy — remember him? — closed it for the Rangers in the ninth for his 11th save of the season.
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