Yankees' Gerrit Cole gets substance check after giving up four runs in first inning

Gerrit-Cole-Getty-FTR-061021
(Credit: Getty Images)

Gerrit Cole found himself in a sticky situation against the Red Sox on Sunday — metaphorically, of course.

The Yankees starter had a rough start against rival Boston, giving up a 379-foot home run to Enrique Hernandez on the first pitch of the game. The next batter he faced, Alex Verdugo, doubled; J.D. Martinez, third in the lineup, walked. Two batters later, Rafael Devers delivered a three-run home run to put the Yankees in a 4-0 hole after one.

While Cole's start certainly left a lot to be desired, it certainly didn't help matters when umpires checked his person for sticky substances under MLB's news mandate:

MORE: Hey, MLB, it's time to get a grip! Stop making pitchers out to be the villains

Things didn't get much better for Cole after that: He gave up another home run to Martinez in the bottom of the third, part of an inning in which he gave up two runs and another walk as his team went down 6-0 (which included a sacrifice fly). He gave up another hit in the fifth as well. For those counting, that's five innings pitched, eight hits and five earned runs on the day.

Again, MLB's insistence on checking for illegal, pitcher-friendly substances placed Cole in another embarrassing position following the fourth inning:

Cole won't find much sympathy outside the Yankees faithful, however. The ninth-year MLB vet and three-time All-Star earlier in June made some eyebrow-raising comments when asked whether he used Spider Tack while pitching to help with his spin rate:

"I don't ... I don't know ... I don't quite know how to answer that, to be honest," Cole told reporters during a June 8 videoconference. "There are customs and practices that have been passed down from older players to younger players, from the last generation of players to this generation of players, and I think there are some things that are certainly out of bounds in that regard.

"This is important to a lot of people who love the game, including the players in this room, including fans, including teams, so if MLB wants to legislate some more stuff, that's a conversation that we can have. Because ultimately we should all be pulling in the same direction on this."

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