Giancarlo Stanton headlined a 13-hit outburst by the Yankees, who avoided a Tampa Bay Rays sweep with a 7-2 win in the finale of this week’s three-game series.
Four things to know from Wednesday’s game
1. After surrendering a two-run homer to Wander Franco, who made the Yankees pay by following Yandy Diaz‘s leadoff walk with a 431-foot blast down the right-field line and into the middle deck to put the Rays up 2-0, Gerrit Cole hit the reset button and delivered an ace start. Cole (10-2, 2.64 ERA) was scoreless the rest of the way while only allowing three more hits with eight strikeouts against two walks. In his seven innings of work, he threw 63 strikes on 91 pitches.
2. A five-run third inning put the Yankees on the board and wiped out the Rays’ early edge from the aforementioned long ball.
Anthony Volpe got New York going by punching a two-run homer just over the short porch in right field that scored Harrison Bader from third — Bader led off the frame with a double to left field and reached third base on a passed ball. The 345-foot round-tripper is the 14th home run of the season for the rookie Volpe, who is slashing .212/.286/.382 with 38 RBI through 108 games.
Later in the inning with two outs, two on and a 3-1 count, Stanton got the green light against lefty Shane McClanahan (11-2, 3.29 ERA) and sent an opposite-field homer — his 15th this season — into the right-center seats to put the Yankees up 5-2. He padded New York’s cushion with a seventh-inning single to right that scored Isiah Kiner-Falefa from third base and pushed the Yankees’ 6-2 advantage.
3. Moments after Stanton’s fourth RBI, Gleyber Torres swiped home plate on a double steal that started with Greg Allen‘s move from first to second base and polished off the eventual 7-2 final. Torres posted a 3-for-4 evening as he raised his average to .260 on the season (107 games).
4. Tommy Kahnle and Clay Holmes followed Cole by combining for two scoreless innings. The pair of right-handed relievers combined for five strikeouts and no walks against two hits in the final two frames against the Rays (66-45).
The Yankees (56-52) and Astros (62-47) begin a four-game series at Yankee Stadium.
New York RHP Clarke Schmidt (7-6, 4.39 ERA) and Houston RHP Cristian Javier (7-2, 4.33 ERA) are the probable pitchers for Thursday’s opener, a 7:15 p.m. start.