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Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Hicks help Yankees split mini-doubleheader vs. Nationals

The Yankees' Aaron Hicks, right, celebrates his two-run

The Yankees' Aaron Hicks, right, celebrates his two-run home run with Sonny Gray during the fifth inning against the Nationals on Monday in Washington. Credit: AP / Nick Wass

WASHINGTON — Aaron Boone, baseball lifer, called the circumstances “a first rodeo for me.”

He wasn’t the only one.

At 5:07 p.m. Monday, the Yankees and Nationals resumed a May 15 game that was tied at 3 before it was washed out after 5 1⁄2 innings. Less than 10 minutes later, Juan Soto, a 19-year-old rookie outfielder who introduced himself rather loudly to the Yankees with a two-homer game Wednesday at the Stadium, got them again.

Soto hammered a two-run homer off Chad Green with one out in the sixth, and his sixth home run in less than a month helped send the Yankees to a 5-3 defeat.

But the Yankees, getting four hits and two RBIs from Giancarlo Stanton, a double and a two-run homer from Aaron Hicks and more dominant work by the bullpen, rebounded with a 4-2 victory in the nightcap, a makeup game from May 16.

“All of us battled today,” Stanton said. “It was a long day for everybody, so it was good we got one of the two.”

Down 2-1 in the fifth, Hicks blasted a two-run shot off Erick Fedde to give the Yankees (47-22) a 3-2 lead. Stanton’s double in the seventh, a laser off the wall in left-center off lefty Sammy Solis, made it 4-2. Stanton came in hitting .333 and slugging .773 against lefties.

“The numbers are much different there [against lefties],” Stanton said, “but you try to have the same amount of confidence versus anybody on the mound, even though you know what they are.”

Sonny Gray was mostly solid but left a first-and-third, none-out mess for Jonathan Holder in the sixth with the Yankees leading 3-2. Holder, who barely made the club out of the spring and was sent down soon after the season started, won a 12-pitch battle with Mark Reynolds, striking him out with a slider. Holder struck out pinch hitter Daniel Murphy and made it 20 straight appearances without allowing an earned run since his recall April 21 when Pedro Severino popped out.

“It’s good to come in and have a little adrenaline running,” said Holder, whose slider, Boone said, has been the primary key to his performance of late. “Just let the hitters tell me what’s working.”

Dellin Betances struck out the side in the eighth and Aroldis Chapman earned his 21st save in the ninth after allowing a leadoff double to Murphy and walking Michael A. Taylor with one out. Aaron Judge tracked down a tracer by Trea Turner near the track in right to end it.

“It got me to hold my breath for a sec,” Boone said of Turner’s shot. “A little drama there, but a good win.”

Said Judge: “It was tough, but I felt I had a read on it. Right off the bat I felt I had plenty of room. Had to make a play for Chapman. Just wanted to make a play for him.”

In the first game, Soto, who started the season in Low-A before being plucked from Double-A May 20, was the story.

“I wish he was climbing the ladder more routinely and was in Double-A now,” Boone said with a smile. “What can you say? Nineteen and doing really well and has hurt us a couple of games.”

Adding to the game’s odds and ends: According to Elias, Soto’s debut still will be noted as May 20, though an asterisk will record his appearance in a suspended game that began May 15 and ended 34 days later.

Before the first game, Boone said of the unusual day: “Yeah, so there was some comedy there with it, but eventually we worked it out. Definitely a little bit unique.”

New York Sports