G's back! HR supports Paxton's 10th straight W

Big fly is slugger's first since June 24; lefty in elite company with streak

September 21st, 2019

NEW YORK -- has said that he must continue to log as many at-bats as possible, believing that he needs to fine-tune his timing. With six games remaining on the regular-season slate, the Yankees slugger may be closer to form than advertised.

Stanton homered and doubled in his third game since returning from the injured list, helping to support ’s career-best 10th consecutive winning start -- and 15th on the season -- in New York’s 7-2 victory over the Blue Jays on Saturday afternoon at Yankee Stadium.

“I feel like my at-bats have been pretty good,” Stanton said. “I'm just working off of better at-bats as I go along. I've got to re-learn how to jog around the bases a little bit.”

Stanton launched his second home run of the season in the sixth inning, a no-doubt solo blast to the left-field bleachers off right-hander Brock Stewart. The drive traveled a Statcast-calculated 420 feet, coming off of Stanton’s bat at 111.5 mph, to the delight of Yankees manager Aaron Boone.

“I've been encouraged,” said Boone, who was ejected for arguing balls and strikes after the first inning. “He's been able to see a lot of live pitching, have a lot of at-bats. It's always good to get some results in your first few games back. I feel like he's stringing some good at-bats together. Hopefully he can continue to build and get into a nice rhythm as we get ready for October.”

Stanton said that he is continuing to perform right knee maintenance, having missed 73 games with a strain of his right posterior cruciate ligament. His next objective is to play nine innings in the field, which Stanton said he will want to do once or twice before the playoffs begin. He played six in left on Saturday, with Cameron Maybin entering in the seventh to replace him.

“As long as I get one or two of those, I think I'll be good,” Stanton said. “I need the game movements and to be out there more and more, and to get a few more balls.”

Good company

With six innings of one-run ball -- the run was unearned, the result of a third-inning Didi Gregorius error -- Paxton joined Jack Chesbro (14 in 1904), Russ Ford (12 in ‘10), Ron Guidry (11 in ‘79, 10 in '78), Whitey Ford (11 in ‘61) and Lefty Gomez (10 in ‘32) as the only Yankees to win 10 or more consecutive starts.

“It's been awesome,” Paxton said. “I feel like I've been throwing the ball really well, being aggressive in the strike zone. The team has been playing great on the days that I start. I've had some good stretches in the past, but this is probably the longest stretch that I've had in my career so far.”

Paxton permitted just three hits, striking out seven without a walk. The lefty owns a 2.25 ERA since his streak began on Aug. 2, shaving his season ERA from 4.72 (on July 26) to 3.73.

“He's done a really good job from a focus standpoint of having blinders on,” Boone said. “He's locked in on what he needs to do to execute. He's really confident in how he wants to attack and how he wants to use his pitches. You couple that with the fact that he's got great stuff, and that's a really dangerous recipe.”

New York built a lead for Paxton in the fourth inning, as Stanton doubled home a run and Mike Ford laced an RBI single off Toronto starter T.J. Zeuch. The Yanks piled on after Stanton’s sixth-inning homer, with Clint Frazier knocking a run-scoring double and Kyle Higashioka smacking a two-run single in the four-run frame.

The Yanks’ possible starter for Game 1 of the American League Division Series, Paxton acknowledged that he is beginning to dream about his postseason debut.

“You definitely think about it, because it is coming. It's around the corner,” Paxton said. “I'm focusing on one day at a time, one game at a time. I'll do the same in the postseason.”

Speed thrills

bolstered his campaign for a spot on the Yanks’ postseason roster by striking out five over two innings of one-run relief, including the game’s fastest pitch, a 100.2 mph fastball that he blew past Richard Urena for a swinging strike in the seventh inning. It was the fastest pitch registered in Loaisiga’s big league career.

“You see him throw the ball like today, and you know he's capable of that,” Boone said. “It's a special arm. Sometimes he has inconsistency where he struggles a little bit, but today, when he's on point like that, he's very tough to deal with. It's a very encouraging outing for him. These are important outings down the stretch.”

Early exit

Boone and hitting coach Marcus Thames were ejected after the first inning, with Boone tossed by third-base umpire Joe West and Thames thumbed by home-plate umpire Jeremie Rehak. One night after West denied Brett Gardner a ninth-inning walk on a contested strike, the Yankees were irked by a couple of close pitches to Stanton that were ruled to be strikes.

It was Boone’s fifth ejection of the season and his ninth as a manager. Bench coach Josh Bard took over the lineup card.

“I was pretty animated, pretty upset with a couple of the calls with G, and I let him know,” Boone said. “Joe came down the line. I was pretty upset, whether it was warranted or not, the bottom line was I got tossed there. The guys did a really nice job.”