All it took for the Yankees to get their mojo back was a big swing.
From Aaron Judge? Luke Voit? Giancarlo Stanton?
Nope. Tyler Wade.
Wade’s two-run home run in the fifth inning on Saturday ended the Yankees’ homerless nap at five games. Once awakened, they flexed their longball muscles again and beat the Marlins at Yankee Stadium, 11-4.
The Yankees (33-26) won for the second time in their last seven games. The regular-season finale is Sunday. They will open the wild-card round of the playoffs Tuesday as the road team against an opponent to be determined.
Said Wade: "We can taste it."
Before his home run, it didn’t taste good.
The Yankees were trailing 3-0 when Wade crushed a first-pitch blast into the second deck in rightfield.
"That’s what makes this lineup great — I feel like we’re always one swing away," said Luke Voit, who hit a three-run homer to cap a seven-run sixth that produced a 10-3 lead. "We just needed that one to get us going. It doesn’t always have to be a homer. That was huge. Tyler Wade, not obviously a guy that’s going to hit a lot of home runs, but big spark."
Stanton tied it at 3 in the fifth with a 113-mph RBI double that one-hopped the left-centerfield wall. He had one hit in his previous 21 at-bats with 12 strikeouts. Then the Yankees broke the tie with three big hits in the sixth.
Aaron Hicks, batting righthanded against former Yankee Stephen Tarpley, gave the Yankees the lead with a two-run homer to right-center.
DJ LeMahieu made it 7-3 with a two-run double (Wade set that up with the Yankees’ first sacrifice bunt of the season). Voit, who leads MLB with 22 home runs — three more than Jose Abreu of the White Sox — added a three-run shot to right-center that made it 10-3.
"Obviously, you go six days, for this team to not hit one," manager Aaron Boone said. "And then you all of a sudden hit a few in about 30 minutes. That was good to see."
LeMahieu (.359) went 4-for-5 with three RBIs to practically wrap up the MLB batting title. The Nationals’ Juan Soto leads the NL at .346 and Tim Anderson of the White Sox is second in the AL at .328.
LeMahieu and Voit are looking to become the first pair of teammates to lead MLB in batting average and homers since Hank Aaron (.355) and Eddie Mathews (46 homers) did so for the 1959 Milwaukee Braves.
LeMahieu is poised to become the first player in the modern era to win the batting title in both leagues. He hit .348 for the Rockies in 2016 to win the National League crown.
"Those guys are doing special things this year and it’s been amazing to see what they do day in and day out and the work that they both put in," Wade said. "I’m happy for both of them, but I know they’re both not done."
Deivi Garcia (3-2, 4.98 ERA) rallied from a bad outing in Boston (six runs in three innings). The 21-year-old rookie was charged with four runs in 6 2⁄3 innings. He allowed seven hits, walked one and struck out seven.
Garcia, who found the curveball that had been missing at Fenway Park, gave up three runs on four soft singles in the third as the Yankees fell behind 3-0.
Boone hasn’t announced a starter for a possible Game 3 in the first round. It should come down to Garcia and J.A. Happ.
"Whoever we play, you’re going to have to play really good baseball and for an extended period to win," Boone said. "We’ll be ready for whoever we play. And, again, I go back to whoever our opponent is, when we’re at our best, I’ll take our chances."
The win allowed the Yankees to control their own destiny in terms of finishing second. Even if Toronto completes a sweep of the Orioles on Sunday, the Yankees can clinch second by beating the Marlins. A Blue Jays loss on Sunday would give the Yankees second regardless of how they do against Miami. If Toronto wins and the Yankees lose, the Jays will finish second.