Giancarlo Stanton started off the 2022 season in pretty good fashion, recording a home run in each of the first two games and then a three-hit game in the third. However since then, he’s not had a great run. Coming into Wednesday’s game, he had just a .564 OPS and had just 4 hits in his last 29 at-bats.
Coincidentally or not that slump arrived as Stanton approached a notable milestone. Stuck on 349 career home runs, he’s been extremely close to the round-ish number since the opening series of the season, but hasn’t managed to crack that particular club.
Well, Stanton finally got there today and he and the Yankees were better off for it. Giancarlo’s first inning home run got him to No. 350, but was also the beginning of his key role in the home team’s victory in the Bronx, as he drove in three of the five Yankees runs on the day. With a solid performance from Jordan Montgomery and a better performance from the bullpen, that was enough to get the Yankees a 5-2 win over the Orioles for their fifth victory in a row.
After the previous long wait for his milestone, Stanton didn’t wait long to get going today. With Aaron Judge on after a single, Stanton took one into the right field seats for No. 350, becoming the seventh-fastest player to that mark in MLB history.
Stanton joined 96 other players in the 350-homer club, tying former Yankees DH Chili Davis at exactly 350. With a good year, he could brush many other notable names on the all-time home run list, with the late, feared Phillies slugger Dick Allen next up at 351.
Back in the game action, the 2-0 score held there for a long while with Montgomery cruising along, escaping the couple minor jams he got into. However, the Yankees’ lineup didn’t do much to add to their own run total after the Stanton homer. That lack of offense would lead to the Orioles eventually getting back into the game.
In the sixth inning, Montgomery got two ground outs on either side of a Cedric Mullins single to start the frame. After getting ahead of the count in the next at-bat, he couldn’t finish off the inning, allowing a long home run to Anthony Santander to knot the score. The lefty then hit Austin Hays, and Aaron Boone emerged from the dugout to remove Montgomery from the game, despite the pitcher’s protestations. (Not everyone can pull off the ol’ Mike Mussina.) Michael King came in and, after allowing a single, got out of the inning. Montgomery finished with a final line of two runs allowed on four hits with four strikeouts in 5.2 innings. He really had been cruising along until the sixth.
Now suddenly back in a tied game, the Yankees did get going again in the bottom of the sixth. DJ LeMahieu led off the inning with a single and moved to third on an Anthony Rizzo single two batters later. Stanton came up next and made loud contact on a line drive to center field. Mullins was able to catch it, but it was deep enough for LeMahieu to tag up and score and put the Yankees back in front.
After taking a while to get to his first home run of the season, Joey Gallo didn’t wait as long to get to No. 2. He followed yesterday’s dinger with a seventh-inning solo shot that increased the Yankees’ lead. They would add another before the inning ended too, albeit with some help. Following Gallo’s homer, Isiah Kiner-Falefa single, moved to second and third on groundouts, and then scored on a wild pitch.
After replacing Montgomery, King remained in the game for a couple more innings and had another impressive outing. His final line ended up being one hit and one walk in 2.1 innings, striking out two. Clay Holmes was called on for the ninth inning, and had an easy 1-2-3 frame to finish things off for the save.
The start of the season may have been so-so, but they done over the last week-ish, The Yankees have done pretty much everything you would hope they’d do. They’ll try for a second consecutive sweep tomorrow afternoon with Jameson Taillon facing Bruce Zimmermann in a matinee affair beginning at 1:05pm ET.