NEW YORK (AP) — Jasson Domínguez turned on an inside fastball and lined it over the right-field wall for the first of what likely will be many home runs at Yankee Stadium.
“He kind of has that `it’ factor,” Yankees pitcher Clarke Schmidt said.
Domínguez’s homer broke a third-inning tie and had three hits for his first multihit game, leading New York over the Detroit Tigers 4-3 on Wednesday night. The Yankees matched their longest winning streak this year at five and, with their eighth win in nine games, got back over .500 (70-69) for the first time in three weeks.
“If you work really hard, when you get good results, it’s not going to be surprising because of all the work,” Domínguez said through a translator after his third homer in five big league games.
With the score 1-1, Domínguez led off the third inning and got a 95.5 mph fastball on a 2-1 count against Beau Brieske (1-3). The ball left the bat at 110.2 mph and had just an 18-degree launch angle, It was caught barehanded in the first row by a fan wearing a Subway Series T-shirt .
Asked what he liked about Yankee Stadium, Domínguez smiled and said simply: “the right-field wall.”
On a sultry night with a gametime temperature of 90 degrees, the 20-year-old switch-hitter was among four rookies in New York’s starting lineup. He is hitting .333 with five RBIs and a 1.143 OPS.
“He knows he’s a good player,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “There’s just an easy way about him. In my experience with him, whether it was taking BP at the academy — seeing him as a 16-year-old in the Dominican — seeing how he handles himself in spring training, he enjoys playing the game with his teammates and I don’t think overcomplicates that part of it. … Anxiety is the enemy of a hitter, and he doesn’t walk up there with a lot of that.”
Domínguez got his first hit batting right-handed when he singled in the sixth off left-hander Tyler Holton. Shelley Duncan, Domínguez’s Triple-A manager this year, is the only other Yankees player with three homers in his first five games, achieving the feat in 2007.
Approach and talent are the keys.
“It seems like he obviously believes those things are real and so, therefore, he has a lot of trust, has a lot of confidence,” Yankees ace Gerrit Cole said. “He’s a humble guy, though, at the same time.”
New York, which entered 69-69 for the first time since 1969, is trying to avoid its first losing record since 1992. The Yankees have just 23 games left and are 6 1/2 games back of Toronto for the AL’s final wild card, also trailing Texas and Boston.
Schmidt (9-8) won for the first time in five starts, allowing three runs and five hits in 6 1/3 innings. He retired 16 in a row between Kerry Carpenter’s RBI single in the first and Spencer Torkelson’s single leading off the seventh. With Detroit trailing 4-1, Andy Ibañez chased Schmidt with an RBI single and Parker Meadows greeted Wandy Peralta with a sacrifice fly.
Greg Weissert relieved Peralta with the bases loaded and two outs in the eighth and struck out Matt Vierling, who swung over a 95.1 mph fastball. Weissert, a 28-year-old righty recalled from Triple-A last weekend for his fourth stint this season, wanted a moment like that “so bad.”
“It’s been a long journey here,” he said.
Clay Holmes, pitching for the fourth time in five days, got three straight outs for his 18th save in 21 chances.
Schmidt marveled at Domínguez, comparing him with rookie shortstop Anthony Volpe.
“He’s very mature and he’s very calm,” Schmidt said. “He doesn’t let the moment get too big. It’s not like he’s up here antsy to try to get a hit or try to hit a homer.”