With 5 solo shots by the Bronx Bombers, the Yankees take their fourth of the last six games, and continue to pick up steam. Aroldis Chapman also made his 2016 and Yankees debut and recent call-up Ben Gamel picks up his first major league hit in his first major league at-bat.
The Bronx, NY, bottom of the first, no-one on, one strike, one ball, two outs, Brian McCann at the plate. The 12th pitch of the game delivered by Chris Young of the Kansas City Royals, and so begins the night of the one-run homer. A high and outside 88 mph fastball gets sent over the right-centerfield wall, into the first row, and just out of reach of a leaping Lorenzo Cain‘s glove. 1-0 Yankees.
Seven bases empty home runs between the two teams would be the story of the night, with the Yankees dropping five of those long balls, including three in the third, and the Royals adding two, including one in the top of the second when Alex Gordon hit a solo shot off Ivan Nova to tie the game at one a piece.
The Yankees would take the lead right back in the bottom of the second, with Carlos Beltran‘s fifth dinger of the year sailing over the fence. Once again it was to right-center, and once again, it was a fastball, except this time, it was only 87mph, and right down the gut. The Yanks wouldn’t relinquish the lead again, on their way to their fourth victory in six games.
Even more fireworks erupted in the bottom of the third, when Brett Gardner, Aaron Hicks, and once again, Carlos Beltran, would each drive the ball beyond the confines of the Yankee Stadium outfield wall. Gardy and the switch hitting Hicks would go back to back, with Beltran following a few batters later with his sixth of the year. Gardner and Beltran would again smash not-so-fast fastballs out of the park, while Hicks took advantage of a hung slider for the longest of the Pinstripers round-trippers of the night, putting the Yankees up 5-1.
They would go on to tack on one more run in the bottom of the seventh with an Aaron Hicks sacrifice fly, only to have Eric Hosmer get it back in the top of the eighth with the seventh and final single-RBI bomb of the night; Yet another blast to right-center, this one coming at the expense of Chasen Shreve, and Hosmer’s 6th of the 2016 campaign, but not enough to come back against the Yankees, who won the game 6-3.
Overshadowed, but not lost in the plethora of solo gopher balls hit into the right-center bleachers, was the return of Aroldis Chapman, having completed his 30 game suspension for some off the field legal issues during the winter break. He would toss one inning, give up one earned, and strike out two, throwing over 100mph with regularity. The Chapman filter should return to a @statcast near you any day now.
Ben Gamel also made his first ever plate appearance in his third official major league game, and picked up the first hit of his professional career, hitting a chopper to the left side of the infield off the glove of Alcides Escobar. Gamel, who has hit .286 in AAA this year is now batting 1.000 in the big leagues.
In one final footnote, since it relates to the theme of “can anyone hit anything other than a home run”, Yankees #2 prospect, Aaron Judge, also dropped a one man four-bagger, when he launched one over the fence in the bottom of the seventh of the RailRiders 6-0 win.
Jason Greco, @thatbaseballer1