NEW YORK – Philadelphia had not taken the field since July 26. Jake Arrieta had not been on a mound for a game that mattered since last Aug. 11.
And the big return came against no less than the surging New York Yankees and Gerrit Cole, baseball's hottest pitcher, who was making his debut in pinstripes.
“It seems like the deck is stacked against us,” Arrieta said after the Phillies fell behind by five runs and lost 6-3 on Monday night. "But that doesn't matter. This is a situation that’s been difficult for every team to deal with."
DJ LeMahieu led off the bottom of the first with a home run off Arrieta (0-1). After Jay Bruce tied the score with a home run off Cole in the third, Brett Gardner started the bottom half with a drive down the left-field line for the first over-the-wall, opposite-field home run of his big league career.
Aaron Hicks added an RBI double later in the inning for a 3-1 lead, and Gio Urshela blew open the game with a three-run homer in the sixth on a changeup from Deolis Guerra that landed in the visitors’ bullpen in left-center.
Both New York homers off Arrieta were Yankee Stadium specials: Gardner’s 351 feet on a changeup, LeMahieu’s 352 feet on a sinker.
“Both not very good pitches, to be honest,” Arrieta said. ”Whether it goes in the first or second row or 475 feet, they they’re still home runs."
Philadelphia, which dropped to 1-3, had not played since an 11-6 loss to Miami at Citizens Bank Park on July 26. A COVID-19 outbreak among the Marlins started that weekend that led to 21 infections in Miami’s traveling party, including at least 18 players.