It wasn’t all that long ago that Giancarlo Stanton was booed mercilessly at Yankee Stadium. The giant Bombers slugger has been a lightning rod for criticism because of his recent history of injuries and tendency to strike out. The last two nights, however, Stanton’s bat has been about the only thing that silenced the boos.
Stanton delivered another three-hit night, including his eighth homer of the season, as the Yankees beat the Astros 6-3. They clinched the series against a Houston team that is being harassed nonstop in the Bronx because of its cheating scandal.
Aaron Hicks had two hits, including the go-ahead RBI-double in the eighth, his first go-ahead or game-tying RBI in the eighth or later since July 23, 2019 at Minnesota. Jordan Montgomery got hit around in the fourth inning, but retired the last seven batters he faced for his second quality start of the season.
And Stanton continued to rip the cover off the ball, delighting a crowd of 9,895 that came to see the Yankees win, but also to express their anger and disgust with the Astros players, who admitted cheating during the 2017 season in a report released by MLB right before the pandemic shut down the game.
Wednesday night, those fans got to ride Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman and Carlos Correa, and cheer Stanton in his role of new-found Yankee favorite.
“That’s huge,” Stanton said of having the crowds in the Bronx behind him and the Yankees rather than booing him. “That fires us up and gives it that extra boost. It’s great.”
Stanton’s three hits and four RBI gave the Yankees (16-14) the boost they needed Wednesday night. They won their season-high fifth straight game and have now clinched their fourth series of the year. The Bombers go for their second sweep of the season Thursday afternoon with ace Gerrit Cole on the mound.
Their recent success, turning around a slow start to the season, can be attributed to their starting pitching getting in gear and their outstanding bullpen. They can also credit Stanton, who has an 11-game hitting streak going. Wednesday marked his sixth multi-hit game in his last seven games and his fifth three-hit game in his last six.
Since April 23, Stanton is hitting .500 with five home runs and 10 RBI.
It is the third longest hitting streak of his career.
“I haven’t thrown down in three straight games like this before. I feel great,” Stanton said. “I can’t tell you if it’s the best ever or what have you, but I’m just glad I’m here and got to work to keep it going.”
His second-inning two-run homer not only gave the Yankees a lead, but it extended his hitting streak to 11 games, dating back to April 23. In that span, Stanton has raised his batting average from .158 to .314. He’s hit .500 with five homers and 10 RBI during the streak.
His fifth inning double scored Brett Gardner, tying the game at 3-3 and his eighth-inning single gave the Yankees an insurance run.
“I’d say I’m doing a great job on mistakes,” Stanton explained. “A pitcher makes a mistake in the middle of the plate, I’m doing some damage on it and, and that’s our job. That’s my job and some stretches you do better than others, but I’m in a pretty good one right now.”
That run is powering the Yankees, whose offense was among the worst in baseball during most of April. They finally climbed out of the hole they dug early in the season and Aaron Boone thinks they are turning the corner.
“Feel like defensively we’ve really tightened up and are playing really well. The starting pitching has been there for us … the bullpen continued to do its thing really all year long. And now the offense over the last couple of weeks, even though we still feel like we haven’t totally broke out yet,” the Yankees manager said.
“We’re having really good at-bats, really competitive at-bats against a good pitching staff over there the last two nights. We were able to get seven (Tuesday night) and get six tonight. … it’s just just been a much better brand of baseball. It’s the way we’re capable of playing.”
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