Gerrit Cole sent perfect postgame message to Jordan Montgomery after getting outdueled

The student has become the teacher -- in a different uniform.

New York Yankees v St. Louis Cardinals
New York Yankees v St. Louis Cardinals / Dilip Vishwanat/GettyImages

The Yankees' trade of Jordan Montgomery for Harrison Bader shocked the entire locker room last summer, but may have hit Jameson Taillon and Gerrit Cole the hardest.

Taillon was purported to be Montgomery's best friend on the roster and airplane seatmate/coffee connoisseur, while Cole dedicated his first few years in pinstripes towards improving the left-hander's mindset and maximizing his compete level. The two didn't match up as perfect counterparts stuff-wise, but Cole pitches like a cerebral hurler, despite his 99 MPH cheddar. It's hard to imagine a better mentor, in today's game.

On Sunday, predictably, the student became the teacher in St. Louis. Cole was plenty good, but not great. He looked inexplicably gassed by the heat in the fourth inning, surrendering four hits in five at-bats before an Anthony Volpe-turned double play helped him escape the frame with just two runs allowed. That was one more run than Montgomery allowed; the lefty surrendered a two-out Jake Bauers RBI double that scored Isiah Kiner-Falefa, who'd reached base on a strikeout in the seventh frame.

The game lowered Montgomery's ERA to 3.28, as the man Brian Cashman decided last summer "wouldn't make a playoff start" for the Yankees continues to look like a difference-maker for somebody at the deadline. When the contest ended, all Cole could do was tip his cap to his old mentee.

Yankees ace Gerrit Cole showed Jordan Montgomery proper respect on Sunday

Cole took his horse to the Old Town Road on Sunday, but when he hit the point where he couldn't ride anymore, Montgomery had more gas left in the tank. Bummer.

Thanks in large part to an old friend turned enemy, the Yankees lost two of three games at Busch Stadium to a last-place team and one of the 2023 season's biggest disappointments. The Yankees have looked much more like a below-.500 team without Aaron Judge, though, so add in the revenge factor, and it shouldn't really have been all that surprising. After the 2022 Yankees were pasted, outdueled, and embarrassed in a three-game sweep at Busch Stadium last August, perhaps the most surprising part of all is that they actually captured one win.

Got to tip your cap ... especially if you have a better relationship with the guy in the other dugout than you do with a few who are still in your own.

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