NEW YORK -- There were three runs on the scoreboard after the top of the first inning on Wednesday afternoon, but to hear Aaron Judge describe it, there was no panic in pinstripes. How could there be? These Yankees have, after all, cemented a reputation as kings of the comeback -- seemingly never out of a game, especially in their home building.
Sure enough, the cavalry was coming in the form of two big swings, enough to secure yet another series sweep. Judge hit his Major League-leading 29th homer, Giancarlo Stanton launched a go-ahead blast and the Yankees claimed a Major League record for early-summer thump in a 5-3 victory over the Athletics on Wednesday.
“No one is satisfied. We know what’s ahead of us,” Judge said. “It’s halfway through the year now and we’ve still got a long way to go, but every win is important. There’s been so many years we look back in the end of September, fighting and clawing. I think guys are starting to realize the importance of, hey, we won the series, but this third game means a lot down the road.”
The blasts from Judge and Stanton gave the Yankees 57 home runs in June, eclipsing a previous mark (56) shared by the 2016 Orioles and 2019 Braves. Judge hit a two-run shot in the first inning and Stanton slugged a three-run shot in the third off Oakland starter Cole Irvin, helping to put the finishing touches on a torrid month that has seen New York win 22 of 27 games.
“We find a way to figure it out every night,” said Stanton, who has homered in five of his last six games. “Sometimes teams lose their fight. If you jump ahead early, there’s a lull. We’re just pushing the envelope -- boom, boom, boom -- until the game is over. We win in all different types of ways, so it’s pretty cool to be a part of.”
Seeking their ninth sweep of the season, the Yankees produced their Major League-leading 24th comeback win, rallying after starter Jameson Taillon was touched for Stephen Piscotty's two-run double and Elvis Andrus' RBI single before settling in.
With Taillon scattering seven hits over five innings, bouncing back from an outing in which he allowed a season-high six runs and 10 hits to the Astros, the Yankees improved to 13-2 in his starts this year. No team has a better winning percentage in a starting pitcher’s outings this year (min. eight starts).
“On a team like this, that’s the luxury. You’ve got a great offense and bullpen to pick you up,” Taillon said. “It’s still impressive to me. We’re always two pitches away from a two-run homer, a bloop and a blast. These hitters are so pro and veteran, they’ll work a starting pitcher. They have a game plan; they stick to it and wait for their pitch. We can turn a game really quickly.”
After Taillon exited, the bullpen was nails, silencing the last-place Athletics. Lucas Luetge stretched out over two scoreless innings, then Miguel Castro and Clay Holmes followed suit with a blank frame apiece. Holmes, a likely American League All-Star, has recorded 14 saves to go with his microscopic 0.49 ERA.
“This is a good team,” manager Aaron Boone said in perhaps the year’s greatest understatement. “You talk about doing it a lot of different ways. For a long stretch there, it was just starters going six, seven, eight innings and really dominating that way. We’ve had to lean on our offense at different times. We’ve been bullpen-dependent in different sections of the season. You’ve got to be able to do that if you want to be a complete team.”
Big swings and shutdown relief; the latest ingredients in a delicious gumbo of home cooking. New York has won 19 of its last 21 at Yankee Stadium, outscoring opponents 111-46 over that span. Those numbers are pretty, but Judge nodded toward another one: 39,647, the sun-splashed tally of paid attendees on this Wednesday afternoon.
“It’s the fans. The fans are coming out in numbers,” Judge said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s a Wednesday day game or a Friday night where we’re playing the Red Sox. The fans have been showing up and supporting us. The opposing teams, they feel that. It’s a nice little home-field advantage we’ve got.”