Yanks’ Cole reaches 2,000 Ks; 3rd fastest to mark


NEW YORK — Gerrit Cole entered rarefied air on Tuesday against the Baltimore Orioles.

The New York Yankees ace recorded his 2,000th career strikeout in the second inning, becoming the third-fastest pitcher in games played to reach the mark.

Cole accomplished the feat in 278 games, behind only Randy Johnson (262 games) and Clayton Kershaw (277 games). Cole also became the third-fastest to reach the mark in innings pitched, trailing just Chris Sale (1,626 innings) and Pedro Martinez (1,711⅓ innings).

The historic punchout came on a 96.6 mph fastball on a 2-2 count against Orioles shortstop Jorge Mateo.

Cole became the 88th pitcher in MLB history to accomplish the feat, including the seventh to do so wearing pinstripes.

Among active pitchers on MLB rosters, Cole ranks seventh in career strikeouts behind Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander, Zack Greinke, Kershaw, Adam Wainwright and Sale.

Cole has been one of the game’s best pitchers this season, ranking first in bWAR while posting a 2.01 ERA and 1.09 WHIP, with 68 strikeouts in 62⅔ innings pitched.

Cole is currently in the fourth year of a nine-year, $324 million contract.

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