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Yankees, mother nature pour on DC in shortened opening night victory

Jul 23, 2020; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Gerrit Cole (45) pitches against the Washington Nationals in the first inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees, along with mother nature, wasted no time in setting the tone for what will be a sprint finish for the remaining 59 games of the 2020 MLB season.

Facing the defending World Series champion Washington Nationals in DC, the Yanks managed a 4-1 opening-night victory after a deluge of rain had caused the game’s premature finish atop the sixth inning just before 9 p.m. ET.

Jul 23, 2020; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; A tarp covers the infield after a rain delay in the game between the New York Yankees and the Washington Nationals in the sixth inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

While the clay was still dry, the bombers came out swinging as DH Giancarlo Stanton launched the first blast of 2020 – a 459 foot, two run, first inning homer off the Nats hot handed righty, Max Scherzer.

Though, all eyes remained on the long-awaited ‘regular’ season debut of Yankees ace right-hander Gerrit Cole, who left the Houston Astros for a comfortable nine-year, $324 million deal to wear pinstripes.

Cole, all-too-familiar with the Nationals lineup from last year’s fall classic had also surrendered a first-inning home run to right fielder Adam Eaton, cutting the Bombers’ lead to 2-1 early on.

Eaton would send another ball to the warning track on his next at-bat against Cole, but one that was playable by a healthy Aaron Judge.

More than fielding popups, Judge made his mark on the night by pouring offensive pressure on Scherzer early in the game.

No. 99 started his night at the plate by going 2-for-2 with a first-inning single followed by an RBI double in the third inning — one where speedy second baseman Tyler Wade scored from first base, upping the Yankees lead to 3-1.

Afterward, Stanton would again get to Scherzer with a long bases-loaded single in the fifth inning, pushing the Yankees ahead 4-1.

Just as the Yankees began getting some consistent pressure to the Nationals mound, mother nature intervened with the game shortening deluge of rain, which came as the Yanks put runners on the corners in the top of the sixth inning with one out.

Aside from Judge, Stanton, and a few jams, Scherzer held an edge over most of the remaining Yankee bats for his total 5.1 innings pitched recording 11 strikeouts, six hits, and four walks.

As for Cole, he started earning his salary upgrade by allowing only one hit off Eaton’s bat, followed by four scoreless innings, five strikeouts, and one walk through his even five innings pitched.

Ahead of the game both the Yankees and Nationals had knelt down in solidarity to express support for the Black Lives Matter movement, rising moments later for the first national anthem of the 2o2o season.

Jul 23, 2020; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge (99) kneels with teammates during a Black Lives Matter display of support prior to their game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Missing from the Nationals lineup tonight was powerhouse bat and star outfielder Juan Soto, who was diagnosed with COVID-19 just hours before the first pitch.

A first pitch which was thrown out by Dr. Anthony Fauci…who had tossed it just a bit outside.

Longtime Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner also celebrated taking the field in is 1,500th major league game, all of which he’s played with the bombers since 2008.

Ahead of opening night, Gardner commented on how the Yankees “young core” has made the senior outfielder feel youthful, adding his own shock in only winning it all once over a decade ago — though Gardner is confident that could change this fall.

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