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Luis Gil and Anthony Volpe help make the Yankees’ best start since 1992 with a win over the Diamondbacks

PHOENIX – When it was announced that Gerrit Cole would miss at least the first two months of the season with an elbow injury, there were questions about how the Yankees would survive.

It’s only been five games, but it’s 5-0 and his replacement impressed again on Monday night in his first opportunity of the regular season.

There’s no way to make up for the loss of the reigning AL Cy Young winner, but the Yankees are doing their best with a relentless offense and on Monday Luis Gil, showing off his new and improved stuff, will be playing beyond the Grapefruit League.

In his first start since undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2022, Gil tore the Diamondbacks apart with his blistering fastball and helped the Yankees to their fifth straight win to start the season, a 5-2 victory at Chase Field.

Luis Gil helped the Yankees win their fifth straight to start the season. AP
Anthony Volpe sparked the Yankees’ offense with a four-hit game on Monday. USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees are now 5-0 for the first time since 1992 (the last time the team finished a season under .500) and just the fourth time in franchise history.

With plenty of early run support from the offense – led by the first four-hit game of Anthony Volpe’s career – Gil posted six strikeouts while giving up just one hit and one run over 4²/₃ innings.

He walked three, which helped push his pitch count to 84. That’s when his night ended, as he had built up to 75 pitches last time out in a simulated game Wednesday in Houston.

But by the time Aaron Boone reached the mound, the Yankees infield had already surrounded Gil with celebratory slaps.

Before taking the ball, Boone shook Gil’s hand and spoke with him after the 25-year-old’s first major league appearance since May 12, 2022 – 12 days before Gil underwent Tommy John surgery.

Gil fired up the radar gun and five of his six strikeouts came on his fastball at speeds of 98, 99 and 100 mph.

He mixed in enough changeups and sliders to keep the Diamondbacks off balance, calming them down after they scored 32 runs in their first four games of the season.

Averaging 97.7 mph with his fastball (he averaged 96.1 mph in his six starts for the Yankees in 2021), Gil continued his velocity into the fifth inning.

The next-to-last batter he faced, Jake McCarthy, struck out at a rate of 98 miles per hour.

Considering that Gil had barely pitched in the year and a half since he started spring training, the Yankees had sent him to a minor league camp on March 3 to give him time to recover to build correctly.

The Yankees secured their best start since 1992 with their fifth straight victory. USA TODAY Sports
Juan Soto dives for a catch in right field in the Yankees’ win over the Diamondbacks on Monday. AP

A few days later, they learned they would need a fifth starter because Cole was injured, and Gil suddenly forced his way back into the picture with an impressive jump.

“He kicked the door down,” Boone said before the game. “We also had other good options for this spot and Luis earned this spot with the way he looked from the jump in spring training. When he goes out and executes, he can be as good as anyone.”

The Yankees gave him some breathing room at the start and picked up right where they left off in Houston.

They showed tough offense throughout the lineup and knocked Diamondbacks starter Ryne Nelson out of the game in the third inning.

Luis Gil allowed just one run in giving the Yankees the go-ahead run on Monday. Getty Images

They forced Nelson to throw 76 pitches over 2²/₃ innings and had built a 5-0 lead at that point.

Volpe led off the second inning with the first of his two doubles on the night and finally scored on Oswaldo Cabrera’s bloop single.

Gleyber Torres then scored a brace to make it 2-0.

Walks by Anthony Rizzo and Alex Verdugo (on 10 pitches) sparked the rally in the third inning, with Volpe Rizzo driving in a single up the middle for a 3-0 lead.

Austin Wells then hit a sacrifice fly that ultimately scored two runs – Verdugo from the third and Volpe from the first, thanks to two errors along the way.

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