Giancarlo Stanton homers twice to power Yankees past Indians

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CLEVELAND — The sounds echoed through Progressive Field like cannon shots.

There was no fireworks show on Friday night, just Giancarlo Stanton.

Stanton busted out of his slump with two rocketed home runs – one with a 118 mph exit velocity, the highest in the majors this season – and the New York Yankees connected four times in a 5-3 win over the Cleveland Indians.

Stanton hit a 429-foot solo shot in the third inning off Logan Allen (1-3) and added another in the fifth for his first multi-homer game since Sept. 27, 2018. Stanton’s homers sent a rumble through the ballpark and New York’s dugout.

“It’s weird. It’s just different,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said when asked to describe Stanton’s homers. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”

Stanton, who has been struggling at the plate, downplayed his big night.

“It was nice to catch up to some fastballs and put the barrel on the ball,” he said.

New York has won two straight and the Yankees, who overcame a 3-0 first-inning deficit for the second game in a row, are beginning to find their stride after a horrendous start.

Rougned Odor added a two-run homer and Aaron Hicks also went deep for New York.

Like many of his teammates, Stanton came staggering into the series with a .158 batting average and in a 3-for-34 slump. Boone gave him Thursday off, and the rest seemed to help one of baseball’s most feared sluggers – when he’s locked in.

After the Yankees rallied to tie it 3-all with a three-run second on the homers by Hicks and Odor, Stanton put them ahead for good in the third with his laser into the left-field bleachers, a 118 mph screamer. Earlier this season, Stanton hit a single that registered 120 mph, the hardest-hit ball of 2021.

In the fifth off reliever Trevor Stephan, Stanton made it 5-3 with a 418-foot shot that crashed safely into a protective net in the center-field bullpen.

Boone was awed by the home runs.

“It’s like, (Indians DH) Franmil Reyes smokes a ball, big man, and smokes a ball to left and G comes up and goes, `That’s nice, but watch this one,”‘ Boone said. “You don’t see balls hit like that. I don’t know what the numbers ended up being on them, but two really impressive swings.

“When he’s locked in, when he hits them like that, it’s different than anyone I’ve ever seen.”

Stephan was impressed as well.

“Just tried to let it rip and he let it rip, too,” he said. “It was my best versus his best. I don’t really regret the pitch, I regret the location. It was loud, but it’s the big leagues, you know? It’s going to happen.”

Yankees starter Jordan Montgomery settled in after a 37-pitch first inning, but was lifted in the fifth, one out shy of qualifying for the win.

Lucas Luetge (1-0) came on and got four outs and was credited with his first win in the majors since Sept. 4, 2013, with Seattle. The left-hander kicked around in the minors the past few seasons before signing with New York in March.

Luetge said he wasn’t aware of his long-awaited win until receiving a congratulatory text from a friend.

“I really wasn’t paying attention to what part of the game I was in,” the 34-year-old said. “I was just trying to get outs, but afterward I was like, `That’s pretty cool.”‘

Darren O'Day and Chad Green pitched an inning apiece before closer Aroldis Chapman worked the ninth for his fourth save.

KLUBER’S RETURN

Corey Kluber‘s nine seasons with Cleveland were stellar: two Cy Young Awards, 98 wins, playoff appearances, a pennant.

He’ll remember other things.

“Relationships that you build over the course of eight or nine years,” he said. “You spend that amount of time somewhere, you become really close to a lot of the people. I value that more than statistics or accomplishments or anything like that.”

Now in New York’s rotation, Kluber returned to Progressive Field for the first time since the Indians traded him in 2019. Clean shaven to conform to the Yankees’ long-standing no-facial-hair policy, he caught up with some old and dear friends.

Indians President Chris Antonetti said Kluber made a lasting impression.

“He was an incredible contributor on the field and in the clubhouse,” Antonetti said. “He set new standards for what dominance and extraordinary performance looked like on the field. But he was also willing to help set that example and lead the way for another group and help the guys around him develop.”

UP NEXT

Two of baseball’s best tangle as Gerrit Cole (2-1) starts against Shane Bieber (2-1), who can match Randy Johnson’s major league record with at least eight strikeouts in 17 straight games. The Yankees pounded Bieber in Game 1 of last year’s wild-card round. Cole had 13 strikeouts.

“It didn’t end the way that we wanted it to, or that I wanted it to, personally,” Bieber said. “I’m definitely excited for tomorrow.”

Yankees’ Judge heads on road still at 61 homers; 4 games left

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NEW YORK – Aaron Judge won’t break the American League home run record at Yankee Stadium, remaining at 61 as New York headed on the road for its final four regular-season games after a 3-1 loss to the Baltimore Orioles on Sunday.

Judge struck out three times and walked once, disappointing a crowd of 44,332 that watched the Yankees regular-season home finale in rain for much of a chilly, blustery afternoon. New York finishes the regular season with four games at Texas, starting Monday night.

Judge took a called third strike from rookie Kyle Bradish leading off the first inning, then couldn’t check his swing and stranded the bases loaded when he struck out on a curveball in the second. He walked in the fifth and fanned against Bryan Baker in the seventh, dropping to 1 for 7 with six strikeouts, five walks and a hit batter since hitting No. 61 at Toronto on Wednesday night.

Trying to become the first Triple Crown winner since Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera in 2012, Judge tops the AL with 130 RBIs. His batting average fell to .311, four points behind league leader Luis Arraez of Minnesota.

Baltimore (82-77) guaranteed its first winning season since 2016. The Orioles went 52-110 last year and became the first team since at least 1900 to have a winning record one season after losing 110 or more.

AL East champion New York (97-61) took another hit to an injury-ravaged bullpen when Ron Marinaccio left while pitching to Jorge Mateo in the eighth. The Yankees will be without Clay Holmes until the playoffs because of rotator cuff inflammation, and Aroldis Chapman (3-4) was once again wild, walking three, including rookie Gunnar Henderson with the bases loaded, as Baltimore surged ahead in the seventh.

Chi Chi Gonzalez, a 30-year-old right-hander, made his Yankees debut after pitching for Minnesota and Milwaukee in the majors earlier this season. He threw to Jose Trevino, his batterymate at Oral Roberts in 2012 and ’13.

Gonzalez allowed one run, four hits and three walks in 4 2/3 innings.

Bradish gave up one run – unearned – three hits and five walks in five-plus innings.

Logan Gillaspie (1-0) pitched a scoreless sixth in his first big league decision, Baker struck out five while getting six straight outs, and Dillon Tate got three outs for his fifth save.

Ryan Mountcastle had an RBI double in the first. Aaron Hicks scored from second base in the fifth when Bradish bounced a wild pitch and catcher Adley Rutschman threw the ball into center for an error.

Cedric Mullins reached on an infield hit starting the seventh against Chapman, has walked 28 in 35 1/3 innings. After Chapman walked three of four batters, Austin Hays followed with a sacrifice fly off Marinaccio.

WEB GEMS

Yankees 3B Josh Donaldson made a backhand grab on Jorge Mateo’s bases-loaded grounder in the sixth and from foul territory made a strong throw for the inning-ending out. … Hicks saved two runs with a sprinting catch on Terrin Vavra‘s slicing liner near the left-field line in the seventh.

FOR THE BOOKS

New York went 57-24 at home, matching most wins at new Yankee Stadium. Baltimore was 38-43 on the road, up from 20-61.

IN THE SEATS

The Yankees drew 3,136,207 for 78 home dates, down from 3,304,404 in 2019, the last season before two years of COVID restrictions. They had 16 sellouts, up from 12 in 2019.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Orioles: RHP Felix Bautista may not pitch for the rest of the season because of the sore left knee he injured Friday.

Yankees: Matt Carpenter (broken left foot on Aug 8) will not work out initially in the outfield at the Somerset, New Jersey, training camp this week. He was moved to the 60-day IL on Sunday, ruling him out of the Texas series. … RHP Miguel Castro (strained shoulder) could be activated Monday. … LHP Wandy Peralta, sidelined since Sept. 18 with back tightness, threw a bullpen session and will face hitters at Somerset on Tuesday or Wednesday.

UP NEXT

Orioles: RHP Dean Kremer (6-8, 3.17) starts Monday’s opener of a season-ending series against visiting Toronto and Jose Berrios (11-7, 5.37)

Yankees: RHP Luis Severino (6-3, 3.41) starts Monday in the opener of a four-game series at Texas and LHP Martin Perez (12-7, 2.93). After Wednesday, the Yankees have five off days before their Division Series opener at home on Oct. 11.