Giancarlo Stanton impressed his teammates and manager with how he handled adversity the previous night.
Booed during Tuesday’s five-strikeout dud in his home debut, Stanton answered postgame questions directly and with a dash of humor. They were even more impressed with his response Wednesday afternoon.
In his first at-bat, Stanton crushed a two-run homer into the second deck in leftfield, sparking the Yankees to a 7-2 victory over the Rays in front of an announced crowd of 40,028 at the Stadium.
“It was loud,” Aaron Judge said of the rocket, which was estimated to have traveled 458 feet. “It was impressive, especially after the game before. He came in this morning and got his hacks in. That’s what he does. He never stops working.”
Judge and Gary Sanchez also hit two-run homers for the Yankees (4-2), the first time this season the three intimidating righty hitters went deep in the same game.
Given the general state of pitching, it likely was the first of many times that will happen, a postgame topic Stanton warmed to far more than to his own achievement.
“Hopefully, we’ll put some back-to-back-to-backs in there,” Stanton said with a smile. “But it’s good we all got one today.”
Stanton, who did strike out in his final three at-bats, downplayed the significance of stepping into one so soon after the previous game. “It doesn’t matter,” he said. “You’re going to have good days, bad days.”
Stanton, hitting third and starting in left, came up against lefthander Blake Snell with Brett Gardner on and one out. Stanton fell behind 1-and-2 before he destroyed a hanging slider that left his bat at 117.9 mph, the hardest-hit ball in the big leagues this season.
The previous best? The first-inning shot Stanton hit off J.A. Happ in Toronto that was clocked at 117.3 mph.
“It’s a good feeling, you get a pitch out over the plate and put the barrel to it,” said Stanton, who hadn’t homered since he hit two in Thursday’s season opener.
Aaron Boone described Stanton’s teammates as “fired up” upon seeing the homer. The manager couldn’t help but notice that Stanton, after Tuesday’s game, headed not for the showers but to the batting cages for extra work.
“He’s a professional hitter,” Austin Romine said. “He works harder than a lot of people I’ve seen down in the cage. It was a big shot. I’m looking around the dugout and people are giving that [wow] face.”
Luis Severino (2-0, 1.38 ERA) benefited from the Stanton bomb and the overall offensive outburst, although against the struggling Rays (1-5) he didn’t need a ton of support. Severino gave up two runs and five hits in 7 1⁄3 innings. He allowed a first-inning run but soon settled down as he found his slider. He walked one and struck out seven.
“We have a great team,” Severino said. “A lot of power hitters and they grind every at-bat.”
Judge walked to lead off the third. After Stanton struck out, Sanchez broke an 0-for-17 slump by golfing a changeup from Snell to left for his first homer, which made it 4-1.
Judge’s first homer of 2018 came an inning later off righty Matt Andriese. He fouled off consecutive full-count pitches before connecting on a changeup, with the two-run shot making it 7-1. Ronald Torreyes, in his season debut, preceded the blast with an RBI single.
“Those three guys,” Boone said of his power trio, “are going to make you pay when you make a mistake.”