Yankees launching a historic home run barrage

ByColey Harvey ESPN logo
Wednesday, June 20, 2018

NEW YORK -- Records, as the old saying goes, were made to be broken.

And right now, the New York Yankees stand a very good chance of shattering one of baseball's more respected team offensive marks.

"Everybody here can hit," third baseman Miguel Andujar said.

Based on the way the Yankees have collectively been smashing baseballs into bleachers and bullpens at the ballparks they've played in this season, it would appear Andujar isn't exaggerating all that much.

If the homer-happy Yanks keep up their current long-ball-hitting pace, they will set a single-season home run record for a team, besting the major league mark that was set 21 years ago by the same club visiting them this week in the Bronx.

The odds of that potential record being shattered climbed a little higher Tuesday night when the Yankees jumped all over the red-hot Seattle Mariners, hitting four home runs on their way to a 7-2 win.

"It's fun to watch from the inside, and I'm sure it's fun to watch for the fans,"Giancarlo Stanton, one of the game's home run hitters, said.

Following Tuesday's four-homer showcase -- their major league-leading seventh such game this season -- the Yankees are on pace to hit 273 home runs. The single-season record for team homers is 264, set by the Mariners in 1997.

In this latest Yankees win, Stanton got his team rolling in the bottom of the first when he blasted a first-pitch curve onto the protective net covering Monument Park beyond the center-field fence. The homer, just his second in 10 games, landed 426 feet away to tie the score 1-1.

Four innings later, Andujar and Aaron Hicks broke the tie and gave the Yankees a lead with a pair of long two-run home runs. Andujar's landed in the bleachers beyond the Mariners' bullpen in left, and Hicks' rattled around the bullpen before ultimately getting wedged in a gap on a bench.

Hicks has played an active role in New York's most recent power surge, homering in each of the past three games. The switch-hitting center fielder also has four homers across his past six games.

"I really, especially from the right side most of the year, feel like he's been in a really good power position and impacting the ball," manager Aaron Boone said. "That right-handed power stroke has kind of been there now for a while, and the lefty stroke's been coming along."

Hicks' home run Tuesday came from the right side as he faced left-hander Marco Gonzales. His previous two homers Sunday and Monday came as a left-handed hitter, facing right-handed pitching.

The three home runs Gonzales gave up to the Yankees were a statistical aberration for him. Through his first eight starts this season, he had given up only three homers total.

With Hicks hitting his 10th homer, the Yankees now have six players with double-digit home runs so far this season. It's the fourth time in team history that many players have hit at least 10 homers each through the team's first 70 games. It also happened with the 2002, 2012 and 2017 Yankees.

Coincidentally, with usual leadoff man Brett Gardner out nursing a sore knee and Hicks thrust into that role instead, the Yankees' lineup in Tuesday's series opener ended up featuring all six of those players in the first six spots.

Along with Hicks now at 10, in order, the Yankees' lineup featured Aaron Judge (a team-leading 18), Stanton (17), Didi Gregorius (14), Gary Sanchez (13) and Gleyber Torres (14). Torres added No. 14 late in the game, launching a 446-foot moon shot deep into the left-field bleachers.

Andujar isn't far behind that group, either. His homer in the fifth inning was his ninth. Boone, who has raved all year about the jobs the rookies Torres and Andujar have done at the plate, couldn't stop gushing about them some more.

"They've been huge for us. They've been impact players for us," Boone said. "They're just kind of showing the baseball world that they're really good players."

While Torres and Andujar continue proving themselves, New York's offense as a whole keeps doing the same. And as that happens, it will prove that one big record for big hits is very much within range of being broken.

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