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Yankees hold off Phillies in Gerrit Cole’s rainy Bronx debut

Gerrit Cole spent hours of his childhood staring at the poster taped to the walls of a bedroom some 3,000 miles from The Bronx, a frozen image of Derek Jeter proudly draped in the Yankees’ pinstriped white home uniform. The aspiring right-hander imagined being under the bright lights on that same stage, accepting the assignment of pitching his favorite team to victory.

Eight months after swirling his signature on a record-setting $324 million deal, Cole’s dream finally became reality on Monday evening. Cole extended his career-long winning streak (in decisions for him) to 19 games, firing six strong innings as the Yankees defeated the Phillies, 6-3, for their seventh consecutive win and their eighth in nine games this season.

Cole’s first two starts of the season came on the road against the Nationals and Orioles, and though he didn’t feature his full complement of swing-and-miss pitches, Cole had enough to keep Philadelphia’s lineup in check. Jay Bruce’s third-inning homer accounted for the damage against Cole, who scattered five hits and walked one in a 91-pitch effort, striking out four.

Dating to May 22 of last season, when he was a member of the Astros, Cole has gone 19-0 with a 1.86 ERA in 25 regular-season starts. That is the sixth-longest streak in Major League history, placing Cole one win shy of equaling feats achieved by Jake Arrieta (2015-16), Roger Clemens (1998-99) and Rube Marquard (1911-12).

Coincidentally, Arrieta was on the mound for the Phils on Monday, greeted by DJ LeMahieu’s second leadoff home run of the season. Brett Gardner answered Bruce’s homer with an opposite-field blast in the bottom of the third, the first of his career at Yankee Stadium. Aaron Hicks extended the lead with a run-scoring double off Arrieta, who permitted seven hits in five innings.

Gio Urshela hit the Yanks’ third homer of the evening off Deolis Guerra in the sixth, Urshela’s third of the year. Though Aaron Judge’s career-high five-game home run streak ended, the Yankees have homered in each of their first nine games for the third time in franchise history, equaling their tally from 2001 and one shy of a mark established in 1999.