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Giancarlo Stanton homers twice, leads Yankees to Opening Day win

Giancarlo Stanton #27 of the New York Yankees

Giancarlo Stanton #27 of the New York Yankees is congratulated by teammates in the dugout after scoring a run in the fifth inning on Opening Day during MLB game action against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre on March 29, 2018 in Toronto, Canada. Credit: Getty Images / Tom Szczerbowski

TORONTO — Quite a start to Giancarlo Stanton’s Yankees career.

Pretty good start for the Yankees, too.

With their fearsome collection of righthanded power hitters performing as advertised, led by Stanton’s two home runs, and Luis Severino honoring the Cy Young Award expectations many have set for him this season, the Yankees spanked the Blue Jays, 6-1, in their season opener Thursday in front of a sellout crowd of 48,115 at Rogers Centre.

Aaron Boone won his managerial debut for the Yankees, who snapped a streak of six straight Opening Day losses, led by two homers, a double and four RBIs by Stanton.

“Wow,” Aaron Judge said of his teammate, pretty much summing up the clubhouse view.

Said Dellin Betances, who has been with the organization since 2006: “I’ve never seen a debut like that. Those balls were hit out in less than two seconds. The guy just has massive pop.”

Stanton, who hit 59 homers en route to being named the National League’s MVP last season with the Marlins, lined the second pitch he saw from lefthander J.A. Happ to right-center for a two-run homer in the first inning. He sent one into orbit to center off Tyler Clippard in the ninth to make it 6-1. That gave him five home runs in four games in this building.

“I mean, to get that first one out of the way early, I can stop worrying about it,” Stanton said. “It was a great day. We got 10-plus hits [11]. We put it on them. They only got two hits. So it was a good day overall.”

Judge, coming off a 52-homer rookie season, went 2-for-4 with a walk and a double. Gary Sanchez, hitting cleanup, went 1-for-5 with an RBI double.

“Thank God I don’t have to face them,” Severino said of the Yankees’ 2-3-4 hitters. “We have a lot of power hitters, man. I’m glad Stanton, Judge and Gary are right here.”

After being robbed of hits twice, leadoff man Brett Gardner hit a solo home run in the seventh. Aaron Hicks also had two hits for the Yankees, who had seven extra-base hits.

“That’s huge,” Stanton said. “Top to bottom, we’re going to be tough, as we showed today and we’re going to continue to show.”

To a degree, it overshadowed Severino’s outing. Coming off a 2017 season in which he finished third in the American League Cy Young Award voting, he allowed one hit and three walks in 5 2⁄3 shutout innings. His fastball and slider were so effective that he hardly needed his changeup in striking out seven.

“I thought it went great,” he said with a smile. “We won.”

The Yankees pounced early.

Gardner led off with a liner to left, and former Yankee and Met Curtis Granderson dropped it for an error. Judge struck out swinging but Stanton rifled a 91-mph fastball to right-center. The home run left his bat at 117.3 mph, the hardest opposite-field homer ever tracked in the four years of Statcast, according to MLB.com.

Severino struck out Toronto leadoff man Devon Travis with a 100-mph fastball, then got Josh Donaldson to ground weakly to first. He walked Justin Smoak and Granderson but struck out Kendrys Morales swinging at a slider to end the inning.

That started a stretch of eight straight retired for Severino, who did not allow a hit until Granderson’s one-out single in the fourth. Severino’s error on a pickoff throw put Granderson at second, but Morales flied to left and Randal Grichuk grounded to second.

In the fifth, Stanton’s two-out RBI double to left-center off John Axford drove in Judge from first base. Sanchez followed with a laser double to just about the same spot to make it 4-0.

Gardner skied a homer to right off Danny Barnes in the seventh for a 5-0 lead.

After Chad Green struck out three in 1 1⁄3 innings, Kevin Pillar homered on Betances’ first pitch of the season to make it 5-1 in the eighth. Stanton added his second homer in the ninth.

“Just no break in the lineup, that’s the great thing about it,” Judge said. “It’s just fun to be a part of something like this.”

New York Sports