First big game of Yankees trio sees off Astros, put the team into ‘orbit’

Yankees' Juan Soto celebrates with Aaron Judge after hitting 440-ft homer against the Astros on May 8, 2024, at Yankee Stadium.
Michael Bennington
Thursday May 9, 2024

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In a display of sheer power and dominance, the Yankees’ formidable trio of Aaron Judge, Juan Soto, and Giancarlo Stanton launched a barrage of home runs that propelled their team to a resounding 9-4 victory over the rival Astros. The win, witnessed by a raucous crowd of 37,660 at Yankee Stadium, marked the Yankees’ fifth straight triumph and their second consecutive rout of Houston.

When Judge and Juan Soto came together to homer on April 17 against the Blue Jays, Aaron Boone admitted a feeling of“warm and fuzzy.” But after Wednesday’s first combined power show by the Yankees trio, an elated Yankees manager felt as if “all those [were] put into orbit.”

The combined distance of the three mammoth blasts totaled an astonishing 1,291 feet, averaging an impressive 430.33 feet per drive. To put this into perspective, the total distance surpassed the height of the iconic Empire State Building, which stands at 1,250 feet and 102 stories tall, excluding its spire.

Juan Soto initiated the onslaught with a blistering 113.4 mph, 440-foot opposite-field shot that ricocheted off the back wall of the left-center-field bullpen, giving the Yankees an early lead in the first inning. Not to be outdone, Judge followed suit in the third, launching a 106.4 mph, 404-foot opposite-field homer into the right-field bleachers.

However, it was Giancarlo Stanton who delivered the most monumental blow of the game. His colossal 119.9 mph, 440-foot blast soared into the second deck down the left-field line, setting a new benchmark for the hardest-hit home run in the MLB this season. Remarkably, Stanton’s herculean feat surpassed his own previous record, a 118.8 mph homer he had launched in the series opener just a day earlier.

Speaking after the game, Soto exuded confidence in the lineup’s capabilities, acknowledging their immense potential for inflicting damage on opposing pitchers. While he recognized that achieving success on a nightly basis would not come easily, Soto emphasized the team’s ability to exceed expectations and deliver awe-inspiring performances.

“We all know how capable we are,’’ he boasted. “It’s not going to be easy every night, but we’re capable of that and more.’’

Soto sets up Yankees’ offensive move

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AP

Juan Soto ignited the Yankees’ offensive fireworks with a prodigious two-run blast off Astros right-hander Spencer Arrighetti in the first inning. The majestic shot, Soto’s team-leading ninth homer of the year, soared an estimated 440 feet to left-center field, setting the tone for his remarkable three-hit, five-RBI performance.

Reflecting on his hitting prowess, Soto shared that when he connects with the ball in such a manner, he feels perfectly in sync with his optimal swing path. The Yankees slugger elaborated, noting that during those moments, he experiences an unparalleled sense of being locked in at the plate.

Boone had earlier characterized Soto’s at-bats as “theatrical,” and the slugger wasted no time living up to that description. Pouncing on the first pitch he encountered, Soto launched his ninth homer of the season, which “got the party started,” according to Judge. Soto’s offensive onslaught continued throughout the game, as he contributed a pair of RBI singles and an RBI groundout.

Not to be outdone, Judge led off the third inning with a mammoth 404-foot shot to right-center field, connecting on a first-pitch fastball for his eighth homer of the year. Judge’s blast was part of his own impressive three-hit, three-RBI performance, further solidifying his emergence from a slow start to the season.

For Judge, the game served as the latest encouraging indication that he is putting his early-season slump firmly in the rearview mirror. In addition to his second home run in his last three games and fifth in his last 14, Judge ripped a pair of doubles, with the second driving in two runs to break the game open at 8-1 in the sixth inning.

Over his last 15 contests, Judge has been on a tear, batting .333 (18-for-54) with a robust 1.158 OPS.

Soto praised Judge’s recent performance, expressing enthusiasm about his teammate’s resurgence. He eagerly anticipated witnessing Judge’s continued excellence, especially after his outstanding display in the game.

Yankees stars Juan Soto, Aaron Judge, and Giancarlo Stanton at the 2024 spring training camp in Tampa.
X-NYY

Giancarlo Stanton’s awe-inspiring display of raw power left an indelible mark on the game. Two batters after Judge’s impressive shot, Stanton absolutely annihilated a 1-2 curveball, launching it an astonishing 447 feet to left field with a blistering exit velocity of 119.9 mph. This herculean blast surpassed even Stanton’s own monstrous drive from the previous night. According to MLB Statcast, Stanton’s eighth homer of the season on Wednesday stood as the hardest-hit ball by any MLB player this year, not just among home runs, but across all batted balls.

Yankees manager Aaron Boone, struggling to find the right words to describe Stanton’s latest laser shot, resorted to calling it “weird again,” highlighting the slugger’s unparalleled ability to generate such incredible power. “Hashtag Weird,” Boone added, emphasizing the uniqueness of Stanton’s feat.

Stanton’s colossal home run came on a 1-2 count, as he connected with a 79 mph curveball that hung over the heart of the plate. The ball rocketed off his bat at an astounding 119.9 mph, surpassing Shohei Ohtani’s previous mark of 119.2 mph for the hardest-hit ball in the majors this season.

When asked which of Wednesday’s home runs stood out as the most impressive, Boone playfully remarked that hitting a home run at 120 mph would surely win the contest, alluding to the sheer absurdity of Stanton’s otherworldly power display.

Yankees dazzle with confidence

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AP

Before this momentous occasion, Judge and Stanton had showcased their ability to go deep in the same game an impressive 37 times since becoming teammates in New York back in 2018. Remarkably, the Yankees boasted an astounding 33-4 record in those contests, highlighting the immense impact their combined offensive firepower has on the team’s success.

Soto and Judge had previously homered together once, during a game against the Oakland Athletics on April 24. Similarly, Soto and Stanton had also gone yard in the same game on one occasion, which occurred on April 17 against the Toronto Blue Jays. The Yankees emerged victorious in both of those encounters, further emphasizing the significance of their sluggers’ contributions.

While Wednesday marked the first instance of all three superstars hitting home runs in the same game, it is unlikely to be the last. The sheer talent and potential possessed by Judge, Soto, and Stanton suggest that this incredible feat may become a more frequent occurrence, striking fear into the hearts of opposing pitchers and thrilling Yankees fans across the globe.

Aaron Judge expressed his optimism for the future, hoping that performances like Wednesday’s would become more commonplace. He emphasized that such displays of offensive prowess would undoubtedly translate to positive outcomes and victories for the Yankees.

Juan Soto echoed Judge’s sentiments, praising the team’s exceptional performance and describing nights like these as truly special. While he acknowledged that replicating such feats on a nightly basis might prove challenging, Soto remained confident in the team’s ability to achieve even greater heights.

Carlos Rodon, reflecting on the Yankees’ lineup, couldn’t help but express his admiration for their incredible display. He highlighted the daunting task of pitching against such a formidable group of hitters, particularly when key players like Judge, Soto, and Stanton are firing on all cylinders and launching balls out of the park. Rodon also noted the impressive way in which the rest of the lineup consistently worked quality at-bats, getting on base and setting the table for the team’s power hitters to do their damage. He described the overall performance as a sight to behold.

With this resounding victory, the Yankees (25-13) not only improved their record against the Astros (12-24) to a perfect 6-0 this season but also extended their winning streak against their rivals to nine consecutive games, dating back to the previous year. The Yankees’ dominance over the Astros has become a recurring theme, showcasing the immense talent and resilience of this powerhouse team.

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