New York Yankees offense explodes in rain delayed 6-1 win over LA Angels

New York Yankees
New York Yankees designated hitter Matt Carpenter reacts with Yankees’ Aaron Judge (99) after hitting a home run during the first inning of the first baseball game of a doubleheader against the Los Angeles Angels.
AP Photo/Adam Hunger

They don’t call the New York Yankees the Bronx Bombers for nothing, and they reminded everyone of that in the first game of a doubleheader against the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday. 

The Yankees knocked the Angels around for six runs, including a pair of solo home runs in the first inning, on their way to a 6-1 win. Nestor Cortes pitched seven scoreless innings before coming out of the game to start the eighth inning. 

Dark clouds descended onto the Bronx and heavy rain started to fall as the grounds crew scrambled to pull out the tarp to cover the field at 4:08 p.m. just as the top of the ninth was about to begin. After a one-hour and 28-minute delay, the game finally resumed at 5:36 p.m. and ended less than 10 minutes later in the Yankees’ victory. 

The anticipated pitching duel between Cortes and LA star Shohei Ohtani didn’t exactly live up to the hype as the Yankees drove him from the mound after just three innings of work that saw him give up eight hits for four runs and three home runs. Cortes continued his stellar season with seven strikeouts on 96 pitches and has now allowed three or fewer earned runs in his last 10 starts for the Yankees. 

“I think we’re all here to try to do a job,” Cortes said after he was asked if there was any extra pride in beating Ohtani. “Obviously everyone knows he’s very talented and he’s got two duties to do when he pitches and hits. But I go out there and pride myself giving the best quality I can. Whether I’m pitching against Ohtani or I’m pitching against any other person.”

The toughest challenge Cortes faced came in the second inning when the Angeles loaded the bases with two outs. The Yankees starter was able to get Andrew Velazquez to put the ball on the ground and first baseman Anthony Rizzo was able to make a diving play to get the out. 

The Yankees opened the game with a leadoff home run from Matt Carpenter after an 11-pitch at-bat. The newest member of the Bombers hit the 3-2 cutter over the right-field wall for his third home run of the season. 

“It was awesome,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said about the early at-bat. “When he got up to about eight he’s just spoiling pitches and stuff. I really like these at-bats. I really like it when they end well. It was just a really good at-bat where he was able to see a lot. Everyone else was able to see a lot. It wasn’t an overly hot day, but it was still pretty muggy out there so I’m sure there was some wearing down there. … It set a really good tone for us.” 

The solo shot by Carpenter helped him join Kyle Higashioka and Alfonso Soriano as the only Yankees to register home runs as their first three hits as a member of the franchise. 

Gleyber Torres added to the Yankees’ lead with a solo shot of his own to center field in the bottom of the first and in the bottom of the third, Aaron Judge joined the party with a one-run homer to left-center to give New York a three-run cushion. 

A Marwin Gonzalez line drive to left field drove in two runs in the bottom of the fourth to extend the Yankees’ lead to 4-0. DJ LeMaieu hit his fourth home run of the year in the bottom of the fifth inning.

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The four home runs moved the Yankees into first place in the majors for home runs by a team with 73. They surpassed the Milwaukee Brewers who had 70 entering the day and who were scheduled to play Thursday night against San Diego. 

Miguel Andujar hit a sacrifice fly to center field to drive home Aaron Hicks for New York’s sixth run of the afternoon. Los Angeles’ only run of the game came when Luis Rengifo lined a shot to left field that allowed Taylor Ward to score on the play.