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Kraken released: Sanchez’s 1st 3-HR game

Catcher records 11th career multi-homer game; Yankees hit seven total to complete sweep of Orioles
@BryanHoch
April 7, 2019

BALTIMORE -- Gary Sánchez had never enjoyed a three-homer performance at any level before Sunday, though that was no reason to be satisfied. As he walked to home plate for his sixth at-bat of the afternoon in the ninth inning, you can be certain that he was trying to hit

BALTIMORE -- Gary Sánchez had never enjoyed a three-homer performance at any level before Sunday, though that was no reason to be satisfied. As he walked to home plate for his sixth at-bat of the afternoon in the ninth inning, you can be certain that he was trying to hit a fourth.

"I tried to do what everyone was thinking about, but I got under it too much," Sanchez said through an interpreter.

It's just as well that Sanchez flew out against position player Hanser Alberto: The umpiring crew might have otherwise run out of baseballs. Sanchez slugged three of the Yankees' seven homers and drove in a career-high six runs as New York battered the Orioles, 15-3, at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

The Bombers completed a three-game sweep as Gleyber Torres, Clint Frazier and Austin Romine also cleared the fences, with Frazier going deep twice. It was the fifth time that the Yankees have hit seven or more homers in a game, and their first such showing since July 31, 2007, against the White Sox (eight).

Sanchez led the charge with his trio of two-run blasts to the left-field seats, marking the 11th multi-homer game of his career.

"He's a great player that is still growing, and it's our job to help him continue to reach his peak in every facet of the game," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. "He's making strides in a lot of areas of the game. We know we've got a special talent on our hands and a guy that impacts the game, period."

Serving as the Yankees' designated hitter, Sanchez hit his first off David Hess in the third inning, bested Mike Wright Jr. in the seventh and Dan Straily in the eighth. The production supported starter Domingo Germán, who held the Orioles hitless into the sixth inning for his second win.

"Everyone went out there and did the job," Frazier said. "Domingo threw an unbelievable game, Gary hit three homers and we had 15 hits on top of that. It's everyone collectively going out there and doing what we're all capable of. It was a good way to end the series."

Sanchez has six homers this season, tying the Dodgers' Cody Bellinger for the Major League lead. He joined Graig Nettles (1974) and Alex Rodriguez (2007) as the only Yankees to hit six home runs through the team's first nine games of the year.

"I feel good at the plate right now," Sanchez said. "I'm making adjustments. I'm controlling the zone. That has been the plan, and I just feel good overall."

The power display came one night after Sanchez drew the ire of the coaching staff for a concentration lapse on the basepaths, as he was picked off third base with the bases loaded and none out in the sixth inning. Sanchez was also picked off in Thursday's series opener, and said he was happy to have atoned.

"Mistakes are going to happen in the game," Sanchez said. "If you don't make a mistake, then you don't play baseball. And they happen. We're not going to be perfect. They're going to happen from time to time. The important thing about that is to flip the page and focus on today, and I was able to do that today."

Six of Sanchez's eight hits this season have cleared the outfield wall, and he has hit safely in six of eight games.

After an injury-marred 2018 season in which he batted .186 with 18 homers and 53 RBIs in 89 games, Sanchez said that he is taking advantage of his improved health, including a successful recovery from left shoulder surgery.

"I think it's a really good thing that he's driving the ball again," Romine said. "He looks comfortable. I know we're all comfortable when he's hitting the ball out of the park. It was pretty special to see three balls go out, and he just missed a fourth one."

The Yanks' offense is lacking Giancarlo Stanton, Didi Gregorius and Aaron Hicks among its key contributors -- all of whom hit 27 or more homers last year. No matter: Even with a different cast of characters, the Yankees slugged 14 homers during their weekend stay in Baltimore's Inner Harbor.

"You just can't miss in the middle on the other side of the plate," Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. "Good players, they're going to hurt you. We just did it way too often this series."

New York's first 18 runs of the series were scored via the homer, a streak snapped by Frazier's sixth-inning RBI single.

"It's never too much for us," Boone said. "I am good with hitting as many as we need to."

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and Facebook.