MIAMI — Anthony Rizzo smiled as he gave his initial impression of his new team.
"A lot of heavy hitters," he said late Friday afternoon after walking in the Yankees’ clubhouse for the first time. "A lot of big boys with a lot of clout."
There wasn’t much clout on display Friday night for the new-look Yankees, but what little there was, Rizzo provided it.
He hit a monstrous homer — estimated at 449 feet — that snapped a scoreless tie in the sixth inning and then singled and scored a key run in the eighth. That gave Jameson Taillon all the support he needed as the Yankees earned a 3-1 victory over the Marlins in front of 18,462 at loanDepot park.
"Kind of the offensive story of the night. A no-doubter," Aaron Boone said, mentioning the surge of "adrenaline" that went through the dugout after Rizzo’s blast.
Of Rizzo and Joey Gallo, Boone said: "I thought they settled in nicely. A good debut for those guys for sure, I thought."
The Yankees, who brought in Rizzo and Gallo in the days before Friday’s 4 p.m. deadline to spark their offense with a power presence from the left side, were held scoreless before Rizzo hit a 1-and-0 fastball from Zach Thompson halfway up the second deck in right for his first homer as a Yankee (and 15th overall). "Putting a good swing on that pitch felt really good," Rizzo said.
Rougned Odor’s two-run single in the eighth made it 3-0.
As for Taillon (7-4, 4.11), he continued in his role as the Yankees’ best starting pitcher of late. He didn’t allow a run in 5 2⁄3 innings and is 6-0 with a 2.11 ERA in his last seven starts. He has allowed two or fewer earned runs in six of them.
After Rizzo’s blast in the top of the sixth, Taillon quickly retired the first two batters in the bottom half before Boone double-switched him out of the game, putting Greg Allen in left for Giancarlo Stanton and bringing in righty Jonathan Loaisiga. He walked the first batter he faced, Brian Anderson, and saw second baseman Odor mishandle Jorge Alfaro’s grounder for an error. Bryan De La Cruz then sent a grounder back up the middle that looked as if it would get through for a game-tying single, but Gleyber Torres made a sliding stop behind second base and, from the ground, flipped the ball accurately to Odor to clip Alfaro at second.
In the eighth, former Yankee Richard Bleier hit Aaron Judge on the foot with one out — Judge glared at him momentarily — and Rizzo lined a single to left. Pinch hitter Gio Urshela singled and Odor’s two-run single made it 3-0.
Zack Britton allowed a pair of singles in the eighth but then induced a double-play ball, with the run scoring, and got out of the inning with a strikeout. Aroldis Chapman followed with a scoreless ninth for his 21st save.
Rizzo, who played the previous 10 years with the Cubs, said being with the Yankees became real in the first inning.
"When I’m standing there, and it’s Gallo, Judge, me and Stanton behind me, we grinded at-bats there, and I was just thinking to myself, ‘Man, it’s the lineup] going to be scary.’ So that was kind of my moment, just standing there before my first at-bat in the hole on the steps, just kind of appreciating it all and taking it all in."