Grisham answers 'we want Soto' chants with game-winning HR

June 10th, 2024

NEW YORK -- The chants were heard during the sixth inning on Sunday evening, spreading between the Yankee Stadium bases and growing in volume with each intonation. “We want Soto!” the crowd cried, pleading in hopes that Juan Soto would grab a bat for a surprise pinch-hitting appearance.

took note. While Soto would remain benched for a third consecutive game with left forearm inflammation, Grisham responded with a go-ahead, three-run homer off Tyler Glasnow. added his Major League-leading 24th homer, powering the Yankees to a 6-4 victory over the Dodgers in the Bronx.

“Yes, I heard them,” Grisham said, with a smile. “It wasn’t about that. I was just happy that I was able to stay present in the moment, worry about myself and put a good swing on one.”

Playing time has been scarce this season for Grisham, a top-flight defender acquired from the Padres in the December trade that brought Soto to the Yankees.

So have hits. When manager Aaron Boone filled out a lineup card with Grisham hitting fifth on Sunday, looking for balance from a left-handed bat, he rolled the dice that Grisham would perform better than his .083 batting average represented.

“Grish can get to a heater, and he didn’t miss it,” Boone said. “I’m just excited for him. He’s been a really good teammate through all this. He’s been ready. He’s accepted his role. He’s gotten a little bit of an opportunity this week, and he’s taken advantage of it.”

Grisham’s blast into the right-field seats marked his third homer of the season and just his fifth hit in 50 at-bats, putting the Yanks back on top after Teoscar Hernández’s go-ahead homer in the sixth had chased Yanks starter Luis Gil. In the dugout and on the basepaths, Grisham’s teammates erupted with delight.

“For him to come up with a big homer like that, that was so special,” Judge said. “Me and Dugey [Alex Verdugo] were screaming and yelling around the bases.”

Judge said that he “wasn’t too happy” about the chants for Soto.

“Grisham works his butt off every single day,” Judge said. “Soto is out right now, he’s going to be back soon and he’s been carrying this team all year. Any time you go up against teams like this, fans pay to come see us do our thing. They want to see the best out there.

“Soto is going to heal up fine, but Grish is a heck of a ballplayer and he showed it tonight in a big moment when we needed him. I wasn’t too happy with it, but I think he made a good point; he got his point across with that homer.”

The sellout crowd offered an apology of sorts during Grisham’s next plate appearance, sparking a chant of “We want Grisham!”

“I liked those,” said Grisham, who added that the most important ingredient to his season thus far has been “patience.”

hit an early homer and Judge belted an RBI double to boost Gil with the Yanks’ first lead of the series. Though Gil permitted three runs over 5 2/3 innings, snapping a string of seven starts with one or zero runs, the showdown with the Dodgers provided an excellent test for the rookie right-hander.

Gil's role for a postseason run is yet to be determined -- there is no numerical innings limit on Gil, but the team is closely monitoring his innings. Whether he is used as a starter or reliever, this was close to the environment and opposing talent level against which Gil would be needed to get big outs.

“I really liked this outing, actually,” Gil said through an interpreter. “It was a battle. They have a really good lineup. To be able to go out there and battle these guys, it’s fun. At the end of it all, the most important thing is that we had an opportunity to win this game, and we did that.”

As loud as the cheers were for Grisham’s homer, they were comparable in the seventh, when Luke Weaver wriggled free from a jam by getting Mookie Betts to hit into a double play. Shohei Ohtani challenged Judge’s arm to score on an eighth-inning sacrifice fly, then Judge’s eighth-inning moonshot to the second deck in left field wrapped the scoring in this memorable series.

“Our fans are excited. That’s the biggest thing I noticed,” Judge said. “It was a packed house, from the very first pitch all the way to the ninth inning. The fans were out there, screaming, yelling, supporting us. That’s what you look for as a ballplayer. We’ve been out there, doing our thing in first place.

“I know the job’s not done, but seeing that support from the fans this weekend in a big matchup was pretty special.”