SEATTLE — The nearly 3,000-mile flight to the West Coast on Sunday night did nothing to slow down Aaron Judge.
And good luck at the moment finding anything, or anyone, that can.
With Judge crushing his American League-leading 16th and 17th homers of the season (and robbing the Mariners' Teoscar Hernandez of a home run) and role players Jake Bauers and Willie Calhoun also producing big hits, the Yankees started their six-game trip with a 10-4 victory over the Mariners and hyped rookie pitcher Bryce Miller on Monday night in front of 34,154 at T-Mobile Park.
“We could have cashed this game in after a tough series with the Padres and travel all the way to the West Coast,'' Judge said. "We’ve got a tough Seattle team, we could have cashed in this first [game], but the guys came out swinging.”
Said Aaron Boone, “Awesome. Long flight, obviously, and the guys were on point tonight.”
The Yankees (33-23), who had a season-high 18 hits, received two doubles, a solo homer and two RBIs from Bauers and two-run doubles from Willie Calhoun and Isiah Kiner-Falefa, but the night wasn’t all positive for them. Centerfielder Harrison Bader, who missed the first month of the season with an oblique injury, left the game in the third inning after beating out an infield single to short. The club later announced “right hamstring tightness” as the reason.
Boone said Bader will undergo an MRI on Tuesday. He added that a stint on the injured list can’t be “ruled out” but “we’ll see what we have tomorrow.”
Judge, on fire since returning from the injured list May 9, went 3-for-4 with two homers, a double off the left-centerfield wall and a walk in improving to 25-for-70 (.357) with 24 RBIs in that 19-game stretch. The reigning AL MVP has 11 homers in his last 15 games.
“I mean, that’s one of the great individual games you’ll see,'' Boone said. "Two homers, take one back, double, walk . . . what a day. What do you say? What a day. He’s just such a special player that can do things no one else can.”
It was the 31st career multi-homer game for Judge, who has nine home runs in his last 13 games here. He almost hit one completely out of this ballpark during his AL Rookie of the Year season in 2017, when he went deep 52 times.
Domingo German, back from a 10-game suspension after being ejected from his previous start May 16 because of excess stickiness found on his hands by umpires, was merely OK, but that was good enough. German allowed four runs, seven hits and three walks in 6 1/3 innings in which he struck out four.
Miller, a 24-year-old rookie taken in the fourth round of the 2021 draft, came in 3-1 with a 1.15 ERA but was pummeled on this night. He allowed eight runs and 11 hits in 4 2/3 innings.
The Yankees gave German (3-3, 3.98) an early lead. Bader led off the second with a single, stole second and went to third on a throwing error by catcher Cal Raleigh. Bauers, in a 1-for-22 skid coming into the night, roped an RBI double to right for a 1-0 lead.
Gleyber Torres led off the third with a single and scored on the first of Judge’s blasts, a laser off the foul pole in left that made it 3-1. It marked the first homer allowed by Miller in six starts.
Bauers made it two when he led off the fourth with his third home run of the year, a shot inside the rightfield foul pole that made it 4-1.
Julio Rodriguez led off the bottom half with his 10th homer to make it 4-2, but Torres led off the fifth with a single and Judge hit one off the wall in left-center for a double. Both scored on Calhoun’s double to right, and Kiner-Falefa’s two-run double later in the inning made it 8-2.
The Mariners got two back in the bottom half on Rodriguez’s two-run single, but the Yankees made it 9-4 in the sixth on Judge’s homer to left-center. Jarred Kelenic leaped for the ball but seemed to get stuck on the wall and the ball cleared his glove.
The 6-7 Judge did not come close to having that problem in the eighth. After going back and quickly taking his eye off the ball to see how close he was to the fence, he refocused and leaped high above the rightfield wall to rob Hernandez of a home run — leaving pitcher Albert Abreu astounded and grateful.
“Just trying to help my guy,'' Judge said. "Just another catch. I’m just trying to do my job. When you’re 6-7, I better be able to get up there and get to one.
“Off the bat, I thought it was probably gone. I’ve seen Teoscar hit a lot of balls over my head in rightfield before. So in that situation, when I took a second glance before the wall, I knew I had an opportunity and I just didn’t want to miss it.”
Kyle Higashioka’s RBI single in the ninth made it 10-4.