Gerrit Cole #45 of the Yankees looks on from the mound...

Gerrit Cole #45 of the Yankees looks on from the mound during the sixth inning against the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium on Friday, June 9, 2023. Credit: Jim McIsaac

The one remaining shred of unblemished pride in this Yankees season has been shattered.

Gerrit Cole, who came into Friday night’s game against the Red Sox with the best unbeaten mark in the majors, allowed two runs in six innings in a 3-2 loss in the Bronx. His otherwise respectable outing — six strikeouts, seven hits allowed — was marred, as it always seems to be whenever he faces Boston, by nemesis Rafael Devers. Albert Abreu allowed what proved to be the winning run on Enrique Hernandez’s home run in the seventh inning, which made it 3-1, but Cole was charged with the loss and fell to 7-1.

Without Aaron Judge in the lineup (and in the field), the Yankees had very little punch to back up their ace, aside from a 448-foot home run by Josh Donaldson onto the net above Monument Park. Cole left a game with the Yankees trailing for the first time this season. In his 13 previous starts, the Yankees were 11-2.

Boston went ahead 1-0 in the fourth, an inning in which Judge’s defensive absence was felt more than his bat. Devers hit a ground-rule double to the gap that Judge might not have caught but certainly would have given a more graceful effort in tracking than the sliding attempt provided by his replacement in right, Jake Bauers. Then, when Triston Casas singled sharply to right, Devers scored easily from second. With Judge in the outfield, it’s unlikely he would have tested that arm; if he had, it’s more likely he would have paid for it with an out at the plate. Instead, Devers scooted home to blemish an inning in which Cole otherwise struck out the side.

Devers’ 14th home run of the season with one out in the sixth that put Boston up 2-0? Well, there’s nothing Judge could have done about that, as the Yankee Menace drove a changeup 405 feet into the Red Sox bullpen in left-center. It was his first homer since May 19 but his seventh career homer off Cole. Devers doesn’t have more than three off any other pitcher in the league.

“I haven’t thought very many times it’s been a really bad pitch, but Raffy seems to let me know otherwise,” Cole said of his history with Devers, this time about the changeup he threw down and away on the homer. “Pretty good pitch, better swing.”

Donaldson hit his fourth homer in six games since coming off the injured list against Garrett Whitlock (3-2) in the sixth to cut Boston’s lead to 2-1, but in the top of the seventh, Hernandez greeted Abreu with a blast into the leftfield stands to push the lead to 3-1.

Isiah Kiner-Falefa singled, stole second, went to third on a throw into centerfield and scored on a wild pitch in the bottom of the seventh. The Yankees couldn’t get anything else going in the inning, though. After pinch hitter Gleyber Torres walked on the wild pitch, Anthony Volpe popped up and DJ LeMahieu grounded out to end the inning.

The big sticks the Yankees are supposed to be counting on in Judge’s absence — Donaldson, Anthony Rizzo and Giancarlo Stanton — went down 1-2-3 in the eighth without hitting the ball past any of the Boston infielders. Kenley Jansen earned his 14th save with a scoreless ninth, but not before Volpe came within feet of a walk-off three-run homer. With runners on first and third and the count 3-and-2, he pulled a long foul drive before popping up to end it on the next pitch.

“I knew it was hooking so I wanted it to hit the pole or something,” Volpe said of the shot that nearly etched his name into the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry. “I was definitely in the moment.”

Cole wasn’t too downhearted about taking the L. “It was a well-pitched game,” he said.

Without Judge around, though, it’s clear the rest of the Yankees will have to be better than “well” to win.

“We just miss him,” Cole said. “He’s the greatest player in the world pretty much, and anybody who doesn’t have him in their lineup would rather have him in their lineup . . . However long Aaron is out, we’ll have to weather the storm. The game is going to challenge us in different ways when he is not on the field.”

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