NEW YORK -- The most muscular attraction in baseball turned sleepy mornings into must-see events all spring at Yankees camp, where Giancarlo Stanton, Gary Sanchez and Aaron Judge one-upped each other with monstrous batting-practice cuts, stoking expectations for the thunder to come.
It is a group that could challenge records, and for the first time, all three of the Bombers' biggest bats went deep in the same game. Stanton, Sanchez and Judge each slugged a two-run homer on Wednesday, powering a 7-2 drubbing of the Rays at Yankee Stadium that reminded everyone how dangerous this lineup could be.
"We have really good hitters on this team, and it's a matter of playing together and coming through at the right time," Sanchez said through an interpreter. "The thing here is that it's not just us. I'm fully confident in what the lineup can do. We have really, really good players here."
His nerves calmed by Stanton's sizzling first-inning blast, Luis Severino recovered from an early C.J. Cron RBI double to spin 7 1/3 sharp innings, logging his second victory in as many outings and marking the longest outing by a Yankees starter so far this year.
"We have a great team, a lot of power hitters, they grind every at-bat," Severino said. "If they strike out the last at-bat, they're going to go over there and keep fighting."
Severino struck out seven and walked one in a brilliant 92-pitch effort, scattering five hits. He found his slider after the first inning, retiring 18 of 21 batters.
"That's what I expected out of Severino," Judge said. "That's how he'd been all last year, that's what he did his first start, too. Just seeing him go out there and pump 98-99 [mph] and be able to command that slider with it, very impressive."
Rays starter Blake Snell lasted 3 1/3 innings, permitting five runs on four hits, including the homers to Stanton and Sanchez. The Bombers' backstop was in an 0-for-17 skid when he hammered a 3-1 Snell changeup over the wall in left field. Judge tacked on his blast in the fourth inning off Matt Andriese.
The Rays have lost five straight games, matching the Orioles for the longest current losing streak in the Majors. Tampa Bay has lost 11 consecutive series at Yankee Stadium, the longest streak by any team at the venue.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Jeers to cheers: After hearing boos in the late innings of the Yankees' home opener, Stanton rebounded from the first five-strikeout game of his career, cracking a first-inning line drive off Snell that marked his first Bronx homer with the Yankees. At 117.9 mph, Stanton's drive to left field was the hardest-hit ball in the Majors so far this season, traveling a projected 458 feet according to Statcast™.
"It was good to get us up, and we were able to add on a couple more and get the crowd going," Stanton said. "[The booing] doesn't matter. You're going to have good days, bad days. It's good to help the team today and get after it tomorrow." More >
The Toe-night Show:Ronald Torreyes banged home the Yankees' fifth run with an RBI single to greet Andriese in the fourth inning, but the greater momentum shift might have come in the first, when Torreyes saved a run by ranging into shallow right field and stealing a hit from Wilson Ramos. Torreyes' bat and glove have remained sharp despite sitting out the Yanks' first five games.
"Torreyes is a great player," Severino said. "He always is doing amazing stuff. He doesn't play that much but he's always ready to play. You give him the bat and he's always ready to hit."
All rise: Following up on a 52-homer campaign that saw him named as the American League's Rookie of the Year while finishing second in the AL MVP race, Judge mashed his first homer of the season to left. Judge's homer came off the bat at 108.9 mph and traveled a Statcast-projected 419 feet. He reached base in six of nine plate appearances during this two-game series.
"That's the biggest thing, just hunt those mistakes," Judge said. "Those pitchers we meet, we face in this league, the Rays have, they're tough. It's a battle every at-bat, every pitch. So the biggest thing for me is just try to hunt those mistakes."
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
With 57 career home runs, Judge has matched Rudy York for the most in Major League history through 188 games. A catcher and corner infielder who enjoyed a 13-year career, York played those contests with the Tigers in 1934, '37 and '38.
Stanton has 270 home runs in 992 games. Only three players have hit as many homers in 1,000 games or fewer: Ryan Howard (279), Ralph Kiner (277) and Harmon Killebrew (272).
Sanchez has 54 career home runs, tied with Ryan Braun for fourth most in baseball history through 183 career games.
Yankees:Masahiro Tanaka draws the start on Thursday as the Yankees welcome the Orioles to town for a four-game series. Tanaka is coming off six sharp innings in Toronto in which he allowed a run on three hits, striking out eight. Andrew Cashner will start the 6:35 p.m. ET contest for Baltimore at Yankee Stadium.
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