In the bottom of the fourth inning of Game 4 of the ALDS between the New York Yankees and Cleveland Guardians, Josh Naylor got a fastball from Gerrit Cole down in the zone that he didn’t miss, sending it over the right center field wall.
As he began rounding the bases, Naylor was screaming and doing the “rock the baby” celebration that he has done in the past in the direction of Cole and didn’t stop until he hit home plate to cut the Yankees’ lead to 3-2.
Naylor also seemed to be saying that Cole was his “little f—ing son” as he rounded the bases.
The Yankees would go on to win the game and Cole would toss 110 pitches over seven innings to secure the 4-2 win, doing exactly what the Yankees needed to send the series back to the Bronx for Game 5.
After the game, Cole scoffed at the question of his thoughts on the Naylor celebration.
“Whatever. It’s cute,” he said.
“I just was made aware of it. I didn’t see it in the moment. It wouldn’t have bothered me in the moment and it just is kinda funny.”
Manager Aaron Boone was asked the same question to which he smiled.
“We can’t get caught up in that, we’re trying to win,” he said.
The Yankees did so with their own power, as it was Harrison Bader launching his third homer of the series in the top of the second inning. He got a slider from Guardians starter Cal Quantrill that hung in the middle of the plate and he jumped all over it to make it a 3-0 game.
Naylor’s homer was all the Guardians would get as Cole dealt, and so did Clay Holmes and Wandy Peralta to close out the ballgame once he left.
Prior to that at-bat from Naylor, he popped out to shortstop Oswaldo Cabrera. He would then ground out to Cabrera to end the sixth inning.
So, for his career now, Naylor is 2-for-12 off Cole with those two home runs with four strikeouts.
While Cole will support his Yankees from the dugout on Monday night, Naylor will likely return to the Guardians’ lineup where we might see him pull out that celebration again.
Guardians starter Triston McKenzie told MLB.com that Naylor “calls them his son” when he hits home runs, “hence the rocking the ball as he runs around the bases.”
Game 5 will kick off on Monday night at 7:07 p.m. first pitch, with Jameson Taillon going for the Yankees and Aaron Civale getting the nod for the Guardians.