The Yankees took home another W tonight on the heels of a strong season debut from Nestor Cortes and some more big swings (and good takes) from Gleyber Torres. On a smooth-sailing night, they won, 8-1, to keep the defending National League champions winless on the young season.
The Bombers got the scoring started in the bottom of the first. DJ LeMahieu lined a rocket, 105.7 mph off the bat to center, that looked like a single. The typically sure-handed Brandon Marsh misplayed it though, and LeMahieu ended up at third when the ball went all the way to the wall. A pair of walks, an RBI groundout, and a Torres infield single later, the Yankees were up, 2-0.
In the bottom of the third, Torres tacked on another run with a solo shot to right field. At 101.2 mph off the bat, it marked Torres’ second long ball of the season already, and the 100th of his career. He’s the 46th player in franchise history to reach the triple digits in homers.
Torres’ first homer of the year was also an opposite-field dinger, indicating that he’s locked in on what he does best in what could be a make-or-break year for his Yankees’ future. Aside from the single and the homer, Torres added three walks to his line.
The Phillies got one back in the next half-inning. Alec Bohm notched his second 100-mph exit velocity hit off of Cortes, this time earning a double. An Edmundo Sosa single drove him in to put the Phils on the board.
Cortes surrendered another double in the top of the fifth, a leadoff squibber down the line off the bat of Marsh that YES Network announcer David Cone attributed to bad fortune courtesy of the BABIP gods. J.T. Realmuto’s two-out, 99.5-mph single to right was no fluke, on the other hand. But Cortes was able to save himself by backing up Franchy Cordero’s errant throw from right field and throwing out Brandon Marsh, who had rounded third base a bit too aggressively.
LeMahieu led off the bottom half with another rocket for a single, this one 110.5 mph off the bat. Walker then struck out Judge, whom he got the best of tonight despite having previously yielded a quartet of clouts, and then turned it over to the Phillies’ bullpen.
With just a two-run gap, the Fightins inexplicably brought in journeyman Yunior Marte. Anthony Rizzo promptly rewarded the Phils’ for their decision by drilling a two-run homer that hugged the right-field foul pole and landed 387 feet from home plate after leaving the bat at 106 mph.
Marte then walked the next two Yankees, setting the stage for the newcomer Cordero’s first hit in pinstripes, a two-run double to right-center field, 112.8 mph off the bat. Jose Trevino brought Cordero home with a bloop single to left, and the Yankees went up, 8-1.
The big inning meant that the Yankees didn’t have to roll Cortes out for the sixth. Overall, the All-Star lefty fanned three and allowed one run on three hits over his five innings of work (80 pitches). His four-seamer looked good, sitting at his 91.8-mph average from last season and generating 7 whiffs on 55 pitches. His cutter netted 4 whiffs on just 17 pitches. Yet, his sweeper looked rusty, as while he only deployed it on five occasions, two of them led to hits. Overall, it was a good first outing for last year’s team-ERA leader, but Cortes will need to refine the back end of his arsenal for continued success this season.
For the sixth, the Yankees turned to Ian Hamilton, called up earlier in the day. In a corresponding move, Jhony Brito was demoted; the Yankees will only need a fifth starter once between now and April 22nd. So they elected to carry another reliever while rotation staples like Cortes build back up in April.
The Yankees made quick use of Hamilton, who tossed 1.2 innings, yielding three hits and striking out two. He features a slider/changeup hybrid that the Yankees call a “slambio,” a combination of slider and the Spanish word for “change.” He threw it 17 times tonight, and it netted a whopping nine whiffs on just 12 swings. Jonathan Loáisiga and Clay Holmes combined for a stress-free final five outs.
All told, this game got away from the Phillies, so much so that Michael Kay was talking about ostriches eating spaghetti by the top of the eighth. It was a big win for the Yankees to start their second series of the season, and they’ll look to clinch another series victory tomorrow night. Domingo Germán will toe the slab against Matt Strahm, as the two rotation fill-ins duke it out in the Bronx. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 pm EDT.