Start spreading the news: the Yankees are back in the win column. The Bombers did what they do best to take down the Baltimore Orioles by a 7-2 score on Thursday afternoon at Yankee Stadium. They struck early and often with the bat; the starting pitching was solid; and the bullpen shut the door.
The Yankees wasted no time getting off to a crowd-pleasing start. After Masahiro Tanaka set down the Orioles in the top of the first, Aaron Judge got the team’s first hit of the season with a well-struck single into right field. Giancarlo Stanton followed with another single, which set up runners on the corners with one out for Luke Voit.
Voit delivered in a big way. After working the count to his favor at 3-1, he drilled a hanging breaking ball 428 feet away to dead center field, making it 3-0 Yankees. We all missed Voit’s famous home run hop celebration, and it’s back and more glorious than ever.
For the Yankees, it was more of the same in the third inning, after Judge singled and Stanton walked, putting two men on base for Voit with no one out. This time, Cashner gave in and walked Voit on four pitches, loading the bases for Miguel Andujar. While Andujar grounded into a double play, Judge scored making it a 4-0 ballgame after three innings.
The Orioles finally got one on the board via an unearned run the fourth inning. Andujar made the first error of the season on a bad throw with two outs, which allowed Trey Mancini to advance two bases. Rio Ruiz singled him home, and the Orioles cut the deficit to three runs.
Tanaka and Cashner settled things down in the next inning, but the Yankees were primed to strike again in the bottom of the fifth inning. Brett Gardner, Judge and Stanton walked in consecutive order, chasing Cashner and loading the bases for Voit with no one out. Reliever Mike Wright did little to help, as he hit Voit, forcing in a run. Andujar followed suit with a deep sacrifice fly, and the Yankees led 6-1 after five innings.
While the Yankees’ offense was great, “Tanaka Time” was also back in full swing. Tanaka struck out the side in the second inning, and finished his day with five strikeouts over 5.2 two-run innings. Tanaka just went about his business in this one, and picked up a satisfying win.
After Tanaka exited, Adam Ottavino made his Yankees debut, and promptly struck out three of the four batters he faced. Zack Britton and Aroldis Chapman closed things in the eighth and the ninth, and the Yankees cruised to a 7-2 victory. Greg Bird even picked up a garbage time home run in the eighth.
It’s just one win, but 2019 Opening Day couldn’t have gone much better. The sun was shining, the Yankees cleaned up, and the fans left the park happy. Every Yankee in the lineup reached base in the win.
The Yankees and the Orioles are off tomorrow, but will pick things back up on Saturday afternoon. James Paxton and Nate Karns are the scheduled pitchers. Yankees fans have been waiting all winter long to see Big Maple pitch; they’ll get their first glimpse on at the 1:05 p.m start.