NEW YORK -- If the Yankees are to power through their first-half inconsistency and fulfill their promise of being a postseason contender, most of their heavy lifting will have to come from within. For at least one night, they looked like the thunderous offense that was expected this summer in the Bronx.
“This was a good one,” Judge said. “Not being the first team to score puts a little pressure on you. You feel like you’re clawing back the whole game, trying to fight back. It feels good to get that first blow, and then you’re kind of in the flow of the game. The guys were locked in, ready to go.”
A first-inning Sánchez homer represented the club’s first lead since Thursday vs. Kansas City. That early boost helped produce a laugher -- a much-needed reprieve from persistent frustration that prompted general manager Brian Cashman to remark that the Yankees “suck right now” and are “as bad as we can be.”
“When you’re going through a tough time, shaking hands is a good cure,” manager Aaron Boone said. “That’s those guys right there; that’s the heaviness that I’m talking about, making it really difficult on the opposing pitcher up and down the lineup. It’s good to see them come out and really break out like that.”
Sánchez, Judge and Andújar each drove in a pair of runs, as did Gleyber Torres, who laced a two-run single that represented his first RBIs since June 6.
“Hopefully, that’s something he can continue to build on as he tries to find that Gleyber Torres within,” Boone said of the slumping shortstop, who stroked two hits and reached base in his last three plate appearances.
The Yanks thumped left-hander Andrew Heaney for seven runs in three-plus innings. Sánchez’s 14th homer put New York on the board early and Judge’s team-leading 18th capped a four-run second inning. Andújar’s sixth long ball came as part of a five-run fourth inning.
“Honestly, looking at the team we have, it was just a matter of time for us to get going offensively,” Andújar said through an interpreter. “I never had any doubt of my teammates and their capacity. We’re that kind of team that can do it at the beginning or do it at the end.”
The Yankees had not scored double digits in runs since April 30, and that production was needed on a night when right-hander Jameson Taillon surrendered three home runs -- two to AL MVP candidate Shohei Ohtani, who claimed the outright Major League home run lead (28) with blasts in the third and fifth innings.
“Ohtani, the pitches I threw him, I’m not even really that mad about,” Taillon said. “He’s incredible. He’s a great hitter and he’s extremely hot right now, which makes it tough.”
José Iglesias also homered off Taillon, who permitted five runs and nine hits while navigating 5 1/3 innings in an 83-pitch effort.
“I was given a lead and felt like I at least filled up the zone and threw strikes, competed out there,” Taillon said. “I gave up way too many two-strike hits, but I’d take that with a big lead like that. I thought the fastball-curveball combo was good. The slider kind of stunk tonight, but I’m out of here with a ‘W.’ The offense had my back.”
Ohtani once declined lusty overtures from Cashman and the Yankees to wear the pinstripes, but the first two games of this series have provided a terrific stage for Ohtani to show his otherworldly talents, offering a glimpse of what might have been.
“His second-to-last at-bat, I said it was nice to see him up there with nobody on base and down six [runs],” Boone said. “I prefer it that way.”
On pace for a 57-homer season, the two-way sensation also homered in Monday’s series opener and even tried to keep the game alive on a routine groundout in the ninth, running hard to first base down by six runs. He is scheduled to pitch against the Yankees for the first time on Wednesday.
“It feels like any pitch that's over the plate is going to get hit, and it's going to get hit hard,” Judge said. “He's a generational talent, that's for sure. We're excited to see him on the mound tomorrow. We know he's got that electric fastball and works his offspeed pitches in there good. We'll have a game plan and we'll be ready.”