Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Stanton, Judge, Sanchez All Hit Home Runs as Yankees Slay Rays

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Stanton, Judge, Sanchez All Hit Home Runs as Yankees Slay Rays

Article excerpt

Giancarlo Stanton began the party with a monumental first-inning blast, instantly blurring his five-strikeout debut in the Yankees home opener.

And by Wednesday afternoon's fourth inning, Gary Sanchez and Aaron Judge had joined in the power parade, the first time that the thunderous pinstriped trio all went deep in the same game.

"Yeah, hopefully we'll put some back-to-back-to-backs in there, but it's good that we all got one today to help the team," said Stanton, after each of the right-handed sluggers collected a two-run homer in the Yankees' 7-2 thumping of the Rays at Yankee Stadium.

Stacked as they were against Rays' lefty starter Blake Snell, the Judge-Stanton-Sanchez dynamic creates a hard-to-navigate path for any pitcher. And their ability to collectively wreck a game was on display Wednesday before 40,028 fans, following a 92-minute rain delay at the start.

"We lean on those guys, we expect a lot out of them," manager Aaron Boone said of his slugging trio. "Those three guys are going to make you pay when you make a mistake."

Yet, there was credit due up and down Boone's lineup, which forced Snell (0-1) to throw a whopping 90 pitches in just 3.1 innings. And after yielding a first-inning run, Luis Severino (2-0) pitched into the eighth inning as the Yankees (4-2) took a two-game series against the Rays (1-5), who have lost five straight games.

This time, Stanton didn't give the Stadium crowd a chance to boo him.

Two batters after Brett Gardner's leadoff single, Stanton smashed Snell's 1-and-2 pitch an estimated 458 feet, screaming at nearly 117.9 mph as measured by MLB Statcast, and soaring between the left field second deck and the bleachers for a 2-1 Yanks lead.

Punctuated by a flip of the bat, it was Stanton's instant response for Tuesday's 0-for-5 with five strikeouts. That set a personal single game high in strikeouts, coming on a cold, home opener rescued by Didi Gregorius's two-homer, eight-RBI performance in an 11-4 Yankee win. …

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