Bronx, NY- James Paxton was at his best on the mound in the Bronx Tuesday night. The Yankees hit five home runs, two again from Gary Sanchez and own a Major League record 13 players with at least 10 this season. The Texas Rangers prevented the Yankees from getting shut out a second straight game.
The record was established after Edwin Encarnacion, in his first game back from the injured list, hit his 31st home run, 10th as a Yankee, in the seventh inning off Rafael Montero.
So it goes, another Yankees win that placed them a game ahead of the Houston Astros for best record in the American League at 91-49. Of course, the Yankees goal in these final 22 games is to secure home field advantage through the entire postseason.
Yes, it is possible the Yankees can get shut out as they were Monday afternoon in the Bronx, 7-0. The Texas Rangers snapped a 22-game run scoring streak, the second longest in the modern Major League Baseball era.
So why not return the favor? The Yankees almost did that, but won in decisive fashion 10-1. And it was good pitching and of course the home run ball Tuesday night. Their win was dominant as the Yankees got another game closer to clinching their first divisional championship since 2012.
The Rangers lone run was scored on the long ball in the 9th inning off Jonathan Loaosiga, but the Yankees have to be elated with Paxton and his outing of one hit and seven scoreless innings. The 12 strikeouts tied a season- high already done twice this season.
“Everything, he was on the attack often,” manager Aaron boone said about his starter. “Tonight was as good as he looked kind as that April outing.”
That April 16th outing was against the Red Sox, an 8-0 shutout, 12 strikeouts in eight innings. Paxton, 12-6, won his seventh consecutive start and matched the longest streak of his career.
But it was that Yankees sixth inning, six runs and three home runs. Sanchez who smacked his 33rd in the first inning off Edison Volquez. Number 34, and the 14th career multi- home run game came in the sixth.
Sanchez set a single franchise record for homers by a Yankees catcher surpassing the 22 he hit in 2017 and now has a career high.
It’s that type of season for the Yankees as they continue to establish records with each home run ball that is hit. But they need a win Wednesday night to avoid their first home series loss since April 12-14 against the White Sox.
NOTES: Montero, once a promising pitching prospect with the cross-town Mets, was signed by the Rangers in the off-season to a minor league deal.
The 28-year old righthander, Higuerito, Dominican Republic, signed by the Mets to a non- drafted free agent contract in 2011, was released by the team last year after undergoing Tommy John’ ligament replacement surgery to the right elbow.
“It didn’t break where it was supposed to,” he said about the ball that Encarnacion hit to left on a 1-1 pitch with two men on. Prior to the home run ball, Montero had allowed a home run in 20.0 innings pitched.
“Feels good especially when you win,” Encarnacion said through an interpreter. I wanted to make sure I was one hundred percent healthy so I could get back. When you come back and contribute, your team wins it’s great. “
The Yankees with all of this home run production, their seventh game with five home runs this season, and with Encarnacion back in the lineup, are feeling good.
With Paxton also, and the return of Luis Severino in the next few days, the pitching also appears to be getting stronger as they get close to October and their run to another championship.
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