The weather held out on Saturday night, and good thing it did. The Yankees brought the power in game two of the series, launching five home runs en route to an 8 - 3 victory over the Kansas City Royals.
The Bomberss got on the board in the first inning. Aaron Hicks, fresh off a three-hit game last night, led off with a single up the middle. Aaron Judge struck out looking after a tough at-bat, but Giancarlo Stanton advanced Hicks to second with a deep fly ball. Gary Sanchez followed and he hit a towering double to bring Hicks home and give the Yankees a quick 1-0 lead.
Hicks wasn’t done, though. In the third inning, he reached out and sent a fastball deep off the right field wall. Jorge Soler fell over trying to get to it, and Hicks went off to the races. He scored standing up, making this his second inside-the-park home run of the season. According to the YES booth, the last Yankee to hit more than one in a single year was Mickey Mantle in 1958, when he had three. Good company for the Yankees center fielder.
Another player to draw Mantle comparisons in the last few days is Gleyber Torres. He once again delivered big, this time crushing a three-run homer to left field. That bomb put the Yankees ahead 5 - 2. It also resulted in one of John Sterling’s best home run calls in recent memory.
The Yankees showed off some more power in the seventh inning. Stanton crushed a Burch Smith pitch to left field, but it got swallowed by Kauffman Stadium. Sanchez followed with a deep drive of his own, but this one left the park. The solo shot extended the Yankees’ lead to three.
Don’t feel bad about Giancarlo, though. After hitting two balls to the warning track, Stanton launched a solo shot in the ninth to center field. This one went right into the fountains. Not to be outdone, Sanchez followed with a moonshot of his own. His second homer of the night gave the Bombers an 8 - 3 lead.
Meanwhile, Luis Severino had a Jeklly and Hyde outing. One inning he looked unhittable, the next he couldn’t contain the hard contact. Take the good bits for example. He retired the Royals in order on eight pitches in the first inning. He followed that up with a leadoff walk in the second, but then struck out the side. He was filthy, until he wasn’t.
The Royals charged back into the game in the third inning. Alcides Escobar kicked things off with an infield single. He then scored on a RBI double off the bat of noted Yankee-killer Ryan Goins. A RBI single by Soler tied the game, and suddenly Severino was in deep trouble. He managed to buckle down and stop the bleeding at two runs.
Severino found himself in a mess again in the fifth inning. After Goins worked a walk, Jon Jay singled to put two on with no outs. A Soler double play gave Severino some breathing room, but it also moved Goins to third. That would come back to haunt the Yankees as Mike Moustakas singled in the run. Salvador Perez doubled, sending Moustakas home, but he was called out with the play at the plate. It looked close, and went to review, but the umpires ruled that Sanchez applied the tag in time.
All in all, it was a tough night for Severino. He allowed three runs over six innings. He struck out six, but gave up eight hits. Aaron Boone lifted him after the sixth with just 77 pitches, but there’s no sign an injury occurred. Severino just didn’t give the Yankees the best chance to win, especially not with a fully rested bullpen.
A trio of late inning relievers — Chad Green, Dellin Betances, and Aroldis Chapman — closed the door on the Royals. Betances, who pitched the eighth, looked especially sharp. Chapman had a typical ninth inning, meaning there was a walk, a wild pitch, and heart burn. He got through it unscathed, though, and the Yankees picked up the win.
The rubber match of this series takes place tomorrow afternoon. It will be Sonny Gray against Eric Skoglund, with first pitch at 2:15 PM. If you’re in the Kansas City area, StubHub can get you in the door!