(Giancarlo Stanton celebrates his big home run Wednesday night – @Yankees)
When Yankees legend Ron Guidry was at Yankee Stadium last week, he was asked about what qualities he saw in the current Yankees that were similar to his championship teams in 1977 and 1978.
“When you watch them, it’s like they think that they’re never out of a game,” Guidry said. “No matter how many runs they’re down, they think they can come back and win. They’ve done it, scored three four runs here and there, seventh, eighth, ninth. So, that’s what you need to have a championship club.”
The Yankees proved they should never be counted out of a game, as they roared back from a 5-0 deficit on Wednesday night to beat the Seattle Mariners, 7-5, on a Giancarlo Stanton walk-off home run.
The Mariners touched up Yankees starter Jonathan Loaisiga for three runs in just 3 2/3 innings, and then got another couple against Chasen Shreve in the fifth to jump out to a 5-0 edge.
Facing Mariners ace Felix Hernandez, the Yankees’ rally began in the bottom of the fifth.
With two outs and Miguel Andujar (who doubled earlier in the inning) on second, Aaron Hicks walked to keep the inning going.
That brought Aaron Judge to the plate and he laced a single to score Andujar, and Hicks came in when Seattle center fielder Denard Span made an error on the play, and that pulled the Yankees to within 5-2.
Didi Gregorius got a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the seventh to make it 5-3 Mariners.
Jonathan Holder, who came on with two outs in the sixth, kept the Mariners off the board for 2 1/3 innings, in which he did not allow a hit or walk and struck out two.
That kept the Mariners at “5” and allowed the Yankees to complete the comeback.
Gary Sanchez did just that in the bottom of the eighth, as he launched a two-run shot to left field to tie the game at five.
It was the second-latest go-ahead or game-tying home run when the Yankees were trailing in a game in his career. The first one came on April 26 against Minnesota when he hit a three-run walk-off with the Yankees trailing 3-1 in that one.
Aroldis Chapman pitched a perfect ninth inning to give them a chance for a walk-off.
After Hicks and Judge were retired to open the bottom of the night, Gregorius singled to center to keep the inning alive.
That brought Giancarlo Stanton to the plate against Mariners reliever Ryan Cook.
With the count 0-2, Cook hung a curveball over the center of the plate, and Stanton crushed it to left-center field for a two-run homer to give the Yankees the 7-5 walk-off win.
It was just the Yankees’ second walk-off homer on an 0-2 count by a Yankee since 2000, joining Jason Giambi, who did it on June 5, 2008 against Toronto’s B.J. Ryan, in the exclusive club.
It was the first walk off on an 0-2 count in Major League Baseball since April 30, 2017, when Arizona’s Daniel Descalso homered off Colorado’s Jordan Lyles.
This was Stanton’s 18th homer of the season, tying Judge for the team lead, and it arguably was his biggest one yet.
Stanton needed his first “signature Yankees moment,” especially at Yankee Stadium, where he has heard plenty of boo birds so far this season, his first in New York.
The walk-off homer had an exit velocity of 117.9 miles-per-hour and it was an estimated distance of 453 feet.
According to StatCast, it is the hardest walk-off home run since it was introduced in 2015, per MLB.com’s David Adler.
This actually was not Stanton’s hardest-hit ball of the night, as his fourth-inning single had an exit velo of 119.4 mph, the third-hardest hit batted ball in the Majors this season.
This was a vintage Yankees win, as they grinded it out and wear down bullpens like Seattle’s and send a message to them that it takes a lot to win here.
Seattle is in line to be a playoff team for the first time since 2001, but they have a lot to prove when it comes to showing they are in the same class as the Yankees, Boston, and Houston.
The Yankees are now 49-22, a season-high 27 games over .500. This is the second-earliest they have reached that plateau in the last 65 seasons, since 1954. They hit that mark just 53 games into the 1998 season, when they were 40-13.
This was the Yankees’ sixth walk-off win this season, third via the home run. Their last walk-off was in a win like this one, when Gleyber Torres got a walk-off single against Houston on May 29.
They are now tied with Atlanta and Seattle for the most walk-offs in the league this season.
Since the Yankees are never out of it, Gatorade showers like Stanton received could become a frequent sight this summer.