Four games in three days on the Gulf of Mexico during the weekend resulted in a trio of defeats and the loss of their designated hitter.
So after resting Monday, the Yankees opened an extended stay in New York on Tuesday night when they hosted the Braves at Yankee Stadium.
“We love being home and in this environment being home is a great thing. Obviously we love playing at Yankee Stadium,’’ Aaron Boone said in front of a 9-6 victory. “Hopefully we can start this homestand on a high note.’’
That note helped wiped away the weekend blues against the Rays and started a 12-game stretch of games (three at Citi Field against the Mets) when the Yankees don’t leave town. Beginning with Tuesday night’s tilt, 18 of the next 20 Yankees games will be played in the city and 15 of them in The Bronx.
Led by home runs from Luke Voit and Aaron Judge and a solid bounce-back outing by Jordan Montgomery, the extended stay in NYC started well but did provide certain degrees of sloppiness. DJ LeMahieu and Gleyber Torres each made fielding errors and they blew a third-inning double-play opportunity by being confused as to who was going to cover second base.
In his second game replacing Giancarlo Stanton in the cleanup spot, Voit hit a three-run homer off Touki Toussaint in the first inning. Mike Ford, who took over Stanton’s DH spot, doubled in two runs in the third when the Yankees scored three and Judge lofted his ninth homer in the fifth that gave the Yankees a 7-0 cushion. Ford added an RBI double in the seventh that upped the lead to 9-4.
Zack Britton recorded the final three outs to post his sixth save in as many chances.
A curious moment surfaced in the sixth inning, when with a five-run lead Mike Tauchman hit for Judge, who watched from the dugout rail until the end of the frame. He then got his glove and walked toward the steps that lead to the clubhouse area. After the game, Boone said Judge was OK and had been removed early following four consecutive games on the turf at Tropicana Field.
Montgomery blanked the Braves through five and retired nine straight from the third through five innings before giving up a three-run homer to Marcell Ozuna in the sixth.
In his previous start against the Phillies on Thursday, Montgomery allowed five runs and six hits in four innings of a 5-4 loss. So, the three runs and four hits in six innings Tuesday was an improvement and hiked his record to 2-1.
The victory guarantees the 11-7 Yankees will stretch their unbeaten streak in home series to 26, since the worst they can do against the Braves is split the two games. The Yankees are 5-0 at home this year.
Voit’s and Judge’s homers were needed since Torres, Gary Sanchez, Aaron Hicks and Brett Gardner continued to struggle. The slumping foursome went 1-for-13 and the lone hit was an infield single by Hicks. Sanchez did hit the ball hard off Toussaint’s leg in the second but was thrown out at first.
David Hale replaced Montgomery to start the seventh and was greeted by consecutive singles from Austin Riley and Tyler Flowers that put runners at the corners without an out. Hale struck out Dansby Swanson and was replaced by Adam Ottavino. LeMahieu’s error delivered a run and Torres’ error helped the Braves score two in the eighth when Chad Green got the final two outs.