NEW YORK — The Yankees‘ big bats had a breakout night Monday in the Bronx, headlined by a series of home runs from the likes of vets Giancarlo Stanton and Didi Gregorius and fresher faces such as Tyler Austin and Miguel Andujar.
Homers, including Andujar’s, which made history, weren’t the only types of hits that were en vogue in the Yankees’ 14-1 win over the Minnesota Twins, a team they have owned recently at Yankee Stadium. Singles were, too.
Perhaps no one-base hit Monday was as memorable as the eighth-inning liner up the middle that gave 21-year-old Gleyber Torres his first major league hit. Just one day before, the No. 9 hitter made his big league debut.
“[This] was a great night,” manager Aaron Boone said, “up and down.”
Offense was supposed to be one of the areas in which the club had success this season. Now that spring appears to have finally come to the Big Apple, the runs and scorching blasts are arriving in New York, too.
So are the wins. The Yankees have won three straight games for the first time this season, and they are winners of six of their past eight.
“I think weather has something to do with it,” Gregorius said, referencing the chilly temperatures that had been following the Yankees all season.
Entering play on Thursday, the Yankees had played 12 outdoor games that had an average first-pitch temperature of 47 degrees. The coldest of the bunch was a game that began with a 38-degree air temperature. Seven of the 18 games they were scheduled to have played by that point had also been impacted by inclement weather, whether delays or postponements.
The past three days, temperatures in New York have climbed to an average 58 degrees by first pitch.
“It’s getting warmer. We’re getting warmer, too,” Gregorius said. “It’s getting hot, and everybody’s doing what they’re supposed to do.”
During Monday’s action-packed game, one of the more promising young stars on a Yankees team chock-full of them joined some elite franchise company. Andujar, New York’s current third baseman who has been filling in for injured starter Brandon Drury, became only the third player in Yankees history to collect extra-base hits in seven consecutive games before turning 24, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
The other two? They went by the nicknames “The Mick” and “Joltin’ Joe.” Move over, Mickey Mantle and Joe DiMaggio. Make room for “El Papa.”
“For my name to be in the same sentence as those guys, it means a lot,” Andujar said through an interpreter. “Now I just want to keep doing the same thing, keep hitting.”
Andujar, who celebrated his 23rd birthday last month, wasted little time in placing his name in the Yankees’ record book alongside the two Hall of Famers. On the first pitch he saw from Twins starter Jake Odorizzi, he launched a 373-foot home run deep into Yankee Stadium’s left-field bleachers.
The homer led off the second inning and extended an already wide Yankees lead.
“He’s a really gifted hitter. And he’s gotten comfortable, and now we’re seeing what a gifted hitter can do,” Boone said. “We’ve seen it over the last few days with some good sliders that he’s handled. … kind of pitchers’ pitches, almost, and he’s handling them because he’s able to keep that bat in the hitting zone for so long. It’s one of the things why we think he has a chance to be such a good hitter.”
DiMaggio’s pre-24, seven-game, extra-base hit streak came in June 1937. Mantle’s happened in May 1955.
Andujar went on to double, giving him 12 extra-base hits in seven games.
In addition to the young third baseman’s solid night, the Yankees received production from Stanton, who went 4-for-4 with a walk en route to his first four-hit game in pinstripes. His fifth-inning home run brought the more than 39,000 in attendance to their feet in roaring approval, something he hadn’t heard much of in home games so far this season.
The Stanton plate appearance that impressed Boone the most was the one that didn’t end with the slugger immediately rounding the bases.
After going down 0-2 with two outs in the first inning, Stanton worked a walk. One batter later, Stanton scored, and two more runs were plated by the end of the inning.
“Good night for him and hopefully something that just continues to build a little momentum for him toward being the guy that we know that he is,” Boone said.
A similar rally was started in the eighth inning when Torres led off, punching his first career hit into center field. After failing to reach base in his first seven career at-bats, Torres’ single kicked off a six-run charge as the Yankees added to the blowout victory late. The ball was tossed off the field instantly.
“[I’ll] save it and show all my family,” Torres said.
The Yankees’ dugout was giddy as the young infielder gave a subtle fist pump as he ran up the first-base line.
“You never want somebody to have 20 at-bats or something without getting their first hit, so it was awesome,” outfielder Aaron Hicks said.