One night after the Yankees were shut out for the first time in 220 games, the Bombers got back to showing why they’ve earned that nickname on Tuesday night. The Yankees responded with a five-homer slugfest in a 10-1 win, punctuated by perhaps James Paxton’s best pitching performance as a Yankee.
The Yankees snapped out of their (one-game) funk in a big way in the first inning. First, James Paxton struck out the side to toss a rare scoreless opening frame, and then Gary Sanchez made his presence felt with a dead center field bomb off the Rangers’ opener, Edinson Volquez, to make it 2-0 Yankees.
Meanwhile, Paxton continued to mow the Rangers down. He struck out the first two Rangers he faced in the second inning, bringing his game-opening K total to five, and finished the fourth inning with eight punch-outs while allowing no hits.
The no-hitter watch ended in the fifth when Isaiah Kiner-Falefa singled, but Paxton struck out three more Rangers in the frame and bumped his strikeout total to 11 hitters over five innings.
As great as Paxton was pitching, the game was still uncomfortably close through five innings, but Didi Gregorius fixed that by crushing a three-run home run into the right field bleachers, making it 5-0 and providing some cushion. Sanchez followed by whipping an outside fastball down the right field line and into the seats, extending the lead to 6-0 on Sanchez’s second home run of the night. The opposite-field dinger was Sanchez’s 34th of the season, breaking his own single-season record for any Yankees catcher.
The Yankees still weren’t done breaking the game open. After Edwin Encarnacion singled, Brett Gardner demolished a ball into the second deck, making it an 8-0 ballgame on Gardner’s 20th round-tripper of the season, and the team’s third bomb of the inning.
By the time Paxton came back out to pitch the seventh inning, almost 30 minutes had passed and six more runs were on the scoreboard. Paxton finished his night after the seventh, allowing no runs and striking out 12 Rangers. Some of Paxton’s midseason woes were undoubtedly caused by his lingering knee injury, but the current version of Paxton who is 7-0 over his last seven starts looks to be all the way back.
After the game was all but wrapped up, the Yankees continued to pile on. Edwin Encarnacion got in on the home run parade, lofting a shot to left for his 31st long ball of the year, and giving the team’s stuffed parrot its first action in over a month. Jonathan Loaisiga came in to finish the game for the Yankees, and allowed a solo home run in an otherwise uneventful two innings of relief.
The Yankees have evened up the series against the Rangers, and will look for the series victory tomorrow night. The Yankees will likely use a bullpen game with Chad Green serving as opener, while the Rangers will send out former Yankee Lance Lynn in the rubber game.
_An earlier version of this story incorrectly noted the Yankees hit four home runs._