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What Tying Ron Guidry's Yankees Single-Season Strikeout Record Means to Gerrit Cole

Gerrit Cole needs one strikeout to set a new franchise record for the most in a single season in Yankees franchise history.
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TORONTO — Aaron Judge wasn't the only Yankee to make franchise history on Wednesday night in Toronto.

With four strikeouts across his 6.1 innings of work at the Rogers Centre, Gerrit Cole reached 248 strikeouts on the season, matching the single-season franchise record set by Ron Guidry back in 1978.

"I think it's more special because of what Aaron did tonight to be honest," Cole said after the 8-3 win over Toronto, referencing his teammate's 61st home run of the season. "It's obviously a really special number. Guidry was so good for us and so magical. His record held for so long."

With one week remaining in the regular season, odds are Cole will have one more outing before the playoffs begin, one more chance to stand alone with the new single-season record. Considering he's recorded a strikeout in all but one of his 266 starts in the big leagues, it's a safe bet that he'll pass Guidry during his next appearance toeing the slab.

Cole entered play on Wednesday with 244 strikeouts in 2022, the most in Major League Baseball and already the second-most in a single season in Yankees history. Early on, it looked like the ace was poised to cruise past that 248 mark, twirling five perfect innings. Getting Raimel Tapia to swing through a pretty breaking ball in the fifth, Cole officially tied Guidry.

The following frame, Cole unraveled on the mound. Toronto put a three spot on the right-hander, tying the game. Danny Jansen led off the inning with a home run to left, the first of three hits in the inning. Following a bizarre balk, where Cole stopped his motion right before he threw a pitch, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. knotted the score at three runs apiece with a sacrifice fly to left.

Jansen's home run in the sixth was the 32nd Cole has allowed this year, a new career high for the five-time All-Star. 

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New York was able to respond emphatically in the top of the next inning, though. Aaron Hicks set the tone with a single, setting the stage for Judge's 61st homer of the year. With Cole recording one more out in the bottom of the seventh, departing with a 6-3 lead, he was credited with the win, his 13th of the year. 

Cole famously grew up a Yankees fan, idolizing those in pinstripes and imagining what it would be like to don that same uniform someday. He never pictured his name next to the likes of Guidry and other all-time greats, though. 

"I don't think you dream of it," Cole said. "But just to be mentioned in the same category as Yankees legends, it's hard for me to wrap my head around it at this point."

Cole's first full season with New York featured 243 strikeouts, the third-most in a single season in Yankees franchise history. Jack Chesbro has the fourth-most strikeouts with 239 in 1904. CC Sabathia (2011) and Luis Severino (2017) round out the top-five with 230 strikeouts. Cole's personal best is 326 strikeouts, pacing Major League Baseball during the 2019 season with Houston. 

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