(Yankee Stadium Wednesday afternoon – Photo by Jason Schott)
The Yankees slugged four home runs to beat the Baltimore Orioles in the first game of their doubleheader on Wednesday afternoon at Yankee Stadium.
This was the fourth time this season they have hit four or more homers, as they also hit four against Baltimore on April 4 and Kansas City on April 20, and against the Orioles on April 7.
This four-homer outburst came after they hit just two in their previous five games.
Gleyber Torres hit two of them, in the second and fourth innings, to give him seven home runs on the season. It was the fourth multi-homer game of his career, and the second of this season (also against Baltimore on April 7).
Torres said of the Yankees power explosion, “I think we got two days off and everybody rested a little bit, and just everybody tried to hit the ball, just put the ball in play and do damage.”
Yankees Manager Aaron Boone, referencing how they had the prior two days off because of rain out, said of his team itching to get out there, “No doubt, you know, and it’s not very often that we play where it’s so sparse out there, so it felt a little odd at first to me, and one of the things you kind of concern yourself with is making sure we’re locked in and ready to go, and the guys came out, I thought the energy was good, I thought the focus was really good, and they performed. I thought a good job by our guys on kind of a weird 3:00 start, sparse crowd after having a couple days off, really liked the way the guys came out.”
The Orioles got on the board in the top of the first when Trey Mancini hit a home run to left field that just got over the fence.
The Yankees came right back in the bottom half when Gary Sanchez hit a towering shot past the Yankees bullpen in right field and into the Toyota Terrace to tie it.
In the second, Hanser Alberto singled and scored form first base on a double from Austin Wynns to make it 2-1 Baltimore.
In the bottom of the second, Torres hit his first home run of the day, a mammoth shot into Monument Park in center field.
A few batters later, with two outs in the inning, Cameron Maybin launched a line drive homer to right for his first home run as a Yankee to make it 3-2.
The Orioles toed it in the top of the fourth when Renato Nunez launched a home run to left field.
In the bottom half of the fourth, Torres hit his second homer of the day into the seats in the left field corner. This was the Yankees’ fourth hit, all of which were round-trippers.
With one out, Gio Urshela hit one into the right field corner that Mancini got a glove on, but dropped, and Urshela raced all the way to third base. He came home on a single by Mike Tauchman to make it 5-3 Yankees.
Happ then worked around a Wynns single in the fifth, and struck out Dwight Smith, Jr., to open the sixth inning.
At that point, Boone was out of the dugout to pull Happ, who threw just 64 pitches (42 strikes).
On what he said to Boone came the mound, Happ joked, “I just wanted to make sure he remembered we had a doubleheader today,”
Adam Ottavino was first out of the Yankees bullpen, and he struck out Mancini and got Nunez to dribble one to first base to get out of the sixth.
Ottavino stayed on for the seventh, and he allowed a single to Joey Rickard to open the inning before striking out Alberto.
Tommy Kahnle came in, and he struck out Chris Davis and Wynns to get out of the seventh.
Zack Britton pitched a perfect eighth inning, and Chapman worked around a two-out double to Rickard to earn his 10th save of the season.
Boone said of pulling Happ despite the low pitch count and with this being the first game of a doubleheader, “It felt like, to that point, we were kind of set up perfectly to piece it together the way that we did. It just felt like that that part of the lineup really wanted Otto (Ottavino) in, in that spot in a tight game, and you know, felt like, especially with the off day behind and the couple days we just had, that we were rested and ready to go, but there was, absolutely, it was a tough call to me because I actually felt like J.A. started to throw the ball even better as the game went on.”
Ottavino said of the Yankees’ bullpen, “The four guys that came in were about as as nasty as I’ve seen all year, I mean, they were disgusting, but at the same time, I still would have liked to stay in there. That’s kind of the way it goes, but you know what, it worked today.”
Boone said of the Yankees’ offensive explosion, “We got power,” he said chuckling. “It was really good, obviously, to come out, and I thought (Orioles starting pitcher David) Hess was throwing the ball alright, to get a couple runs off him, just singular home runs, you know, pretty big ball. I mean, that one Gary hit, that’s a long way right there. So, it was good to get some points on the board in that way, and then with two outs, to be able to add a run with Tauchman’s base hit gave us just a little bit of breathing room and a nice start of the day.”
The game was played in two hours and 12 minutes, the shortest Yankees game in nearly five years, since August 21, 2014 vs. Houston (2:07).