Stanton Hits Walk-off HR, Yankees Rally Past Mariners 7-5
NEW YORK (AP) — Expectations have been sky high for Giancarlo Stanton since he was acquired from Miami last offseason. In front of a sellout crowd Wednesday night at Yankee Stadium, the 6-foot-6 slugger had his first huge moment in pinstripes.
Stanton lined a two-run homer with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, and the New York Yankees erased a five-run deficit to beat the Seattle Mariners 7-5.
"That ball was absolutely scalded," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said.
Gary Sanchez tied the score with a two-run homer in the eighth, and the Yankees went on to complete their largest comeback victory of the year.
Coming off an MVP season in which he led the majors with 59 home runs and 132 RBIs, Stanton has been inconsistent so far with New York, batting .255 with 18 homers.
The 28-year-old slugger has started to heat up lately, though, with four hits Monday night in Washington and a home run in Tuesday's series opener against Seattle.
Didi Gregorius singled with two outs in the ninth and Stanton hammered an 0-2 breaking ball from reliever Ryan Cook (1-1). Stanton knew it was gone the moment he connected, and he took a little jump at the plate and pumped his arm before tossing his bat aside.
"When you hit a line drive, that's a base hit to center for me," Boone said. "He's a different animal."
The laser shot traveled a projected 453 feet for Stanton's first walk-off homer with the Yankees — his previous one came on April 18, 2014, for the Marlins (also vs. Seattle). He was mobbed by teammates and doused as he crossed the plate, throwing his helmet into the air and smiling from ear to ear.
"I was trying to decide whether I was going to bowl it or throw it up," Stanton said, acknowledging the homer was his biggest hit for the Yankees. "I'm part of it now."
New York is a season-high 27 games above .500 with the majors' best record at 49-22. The Yankees have won nine of their last 11 against Seattle (46-28) and will try for a three-game sweep Thursday afternoon.
"They're dangerous," Mariners manager Scott Servais said. "They made us pay tonight."
Aroldis Chapman (3-0) pitched a perfect inning for the win. His final pitch was clocked at 104.3 mph, his fastest this season.
The Mariners have lost three straight for the first time since April 17-19 against the World Series champion Astros.
Seattle starter Felix Hernandez lasted five innings and threw 95 pitches. He was charged with two runs, one earned, and six hits.
Sanchez drove Alex Colome's cutter 439 feet off the back wall of the left-center bullpen, knotting the score at 5.
"Excited for two of our big boys to really deliver in a big way tonight," Boone said.
Dee Gordon had two RBIs for the Mariners. Denard Span and Ryon Healy each drove home a run in the fifth, extending Seattle's advantage to 5-0.
Yankees rookie Jonathan Loaisiga, making his second major league start in place of injured Masahiro Tanaka, allowed three runs on six hits and two walks in 3 2/3 innings.
New York broke through in the fifth with two outs and runners on first and second. Aaron Judge hit a broken-bat single to left, scoring Miguel Andujar. Aaron Hicks also came home when Span bobbled the ball.
"I knew our offense was going to come through eventually," said Judge, who had his first three-hit game since May 9.
Gregorius' sacrifice fly in the seventh made it 5-3.
A moment of silence was held before the game for Billy Connors, a three-time Yankees pitching coach and confidant of late owner George Steinbrenner. Connors died Saturday, the team said. He was 76. Connors also served as vice president of player personnel from 1996 to 2012.
Mariners: RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (right shoulder surgery) remains in Arizona, where his first rehab start was pushed back due to soreness. He was scheduled to play catch Wednesday. ... OF Guillermo Heredia was not in the starting lineup after batting just .122 this month, but entered as a defensive replacement in the seventh. "G is struggling a bit lately," Servais said. "Also, extra left-handed hitter in this ballpark (is) not a bad thing."
Yankees: OF Brett Gardner (swollen right knee) ran and took batting practice before the game. He has not played since Saturday. "Feeling optimistic that it's not going to be a DL thing," Boone said. ... Tanaka (two strained hamstrings) played catch and rode an exercise bike. ... Jacoby Ellsbury is in Florida and might be getting close to resuming baseball activities, according to Boone. The outfielder has been sidelined all season by a string of injuries, including a strained right oblique, sore back, sore left hip and plantar fasciitis in his right heel.
Mariners: LHP James Paxton (6-1, 3.44 ERA) starts the series finale. He is 5-0 with a 2.55 ERA since the beginning of May, a span of nine starts that included a no-hitter in Toronto.
Yankees: RHP Luis Severino (10-2, 2.09) threw eight scoreless innings Saturday against Tampa Bay, becoming the first Yankees pitcher with 10 wins before the All-Star break since Tanaka in 2014.