Yankees jump all over Dodgers in Game 1 of MLB Players’ Weekend
Following a sweep at the hands of the Oakland A’s, the Yankees began MLB Players’ Weekend with a resounding 10-2 win over the Dodgers.
The Yankees did a lot of good things in Friday night’s three-game series opener against the Dodgers. In front of a sold-out crowd of 53,775, starter James Paxton provided precisely what the Yanks will need in Game 1 of the postseason.
Not only did Paxton avoid giving up a first-inning run, but ‘The Big Maple’ went six strong, allowing two runs on five hits while striking out 11. With better control of his curveball, Paxton was able to get on top of a lethal Dodgers offense with his mid-90s fastball, resulting in 29 swings and misses on 109 pitches.
Paxton has been much improved during August — going 5-0 with a 3.56 ERA. As far as New York’s offense is concerned, the Bombers fully lived up to their nickname, as four players slugged five home runs.
Aaron Judge continued to break out of a three-week slump, as he hit his second home road of the west coast road trip — a third-inning shot over the left-field wall. Judge is now 10-for-25 with two home runs and four RBIs in his last five games.
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Gary Sanchez’s third-inning bomb marked the 100th long ball of his career. Doing so in only 355 games, Sanchez is the quickest catcher and position player in AL history to ever to reach the mark, and second-fastest in MLB history behind only Ryan Howard. Sanchez now has 29 home runs in only 89 games this season.
In the fifth-inning, Sanchez was intentionally walked, so that Hyun-Jin Ryu could face fellow left-hander Didi Gregorius. With the bases loaded, Didi lined a ball over the right-center field wall (his fifth career grand slam), knocking Ryu out of the game, and putting the Yankees ahead for good.
Sir Didi would also notch the final RBI of the contest when he slugged his second homer of the game in the top of the ninth.
Then there’s the 22-year-old blossoming star Gleyber Torres. After being the lone bright spot against the A’s to begin the week (two home runs on Thursday), Torres continued his fantastic sophomore season, as he bashed his team-leading 32nd four-bagger in the sixth inning.
In what many deemed a potential World Series preview, the Yankees played almost a flawless nine innings. The win pushes their AL East lead to eight games (84-46) and leaves them just one game behind the Dodgers for the best record in baseball.