NEW YORK -- The jaw-dropping drive that will make all of the highlight reels from Monday's 14-1 Yankees victory over the Twins was Giancarlo Stanton's fifth-inning blast to the left-field bleachers, a titanic home run that showcased the superstar's power in convincing fashion.Yet the plate appearance that excited the Yankees
NEW YORK -- The jaw-dropping drive that will make all of the highlight reels from Monday's 14-1 Yankees victory over the Twins was Giancarlo Stanton's fifth-inning blast to the left-field bleachers, a titanic home run that showcased the superstar's power in convincing fashion.
Yet the plate appearance that excited the Yankees almost as much may have been -- of all things -- a first-inning walk. They believe that free pass teed up Stanton's 4-for-4 performance, as well as the Yankees' persistent attack against Minnesota starter Jake Odorizzi.
"I've been feeling more comfortable," Stanton said. "It was a good day of five good [plate appearances]. Give myself a good chance every at-bat of the game."
As manager Aaron Boone later recounted, Stanton had been at bat in the first inning with Brett Gardner at second base, two outs, and facing an 0-2 count. Stanton spit on a slider, cutter and two fastballs from Odorizzi to work the free pass, then raced home when Gary Sanchez ripped a two-run double two pitches later.
"He kind of set the tone. He was the guy," Boone said of Stanton. "0-2 count, first inning -- battle, battle, battle, walk. Then he gets the hit. Then home run. Then a couple of sharp-hit balls for add-ons. Really good night for him, and hopefully something that continues to build a little bit of momentum for him toward being the guy that we know he is."
Stanton banged a third-inning single to right field before delivering the knockout blow on Odorizzi in the fifth, slugging his fifth home run as a member of the Yankees. The blast came off his bat at 115.7 mph and traveled a Statcast-calculated 435 feet, making it the fourth-longest homer hit by a Yankee so far this year.
Stanton drilled a run-scoring single to greet Alan Busenitz in the seventh inning and singled again off Tyler Kinley in the eighth to notch his first four-hit game with the Bombers, raising his average from .185 to .224. It marked Stanton's seventh career game reaching base at least five times, and his fifth career game with four or more hits.
Stanton hadn't enjoyed a multihit game since April 11 at Boston. Standing in front of his locker Monday, he grinned and mentioned that nothing has been easy thus far. When someone followed up on that comment, the slugger quipped: "You ever see a 95-mph fastball?"
"I'm getting to work, man," Stanton said. "Just working, working. Getting the feel right. I've got more to do."
After Stanton endured a 50-at-bat homerless streak between an April 4 homer and his fourth Yankees homer on Friday against the Blue Jays -- the ninth-longest such streak of his career -- the Yanks are delighted to see signs that Stanton's timing is coming around.
"As a hitter, you always love those nights, especially when it's early and you're off to a tough start," Boone said. "You want to start gaining some traction. It can help settle you in and get more and more comfortable."
Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.