SEATTLE – A day after hitting a milestone homer, Aaron Judge followed up the 101st of his career. He wasn’t alone in another home run barrage by the Bronx Bombers.
Gary Sanchez, DJ LeMahieu and Mike Ford all followed Judge’s lead with long balls, and the New York Yankees finished off a three-game sweep of the Seattle Mariners with a 7-3 win on Wednesday.
After opening their West Coast swing by being swept in Oakland, the Yankees rebounded to win five of six and continued to bash home runs.
“They’re very resilient and they’re very hungry, and that’s why I talk about sometimes you’re going to have a series where they get you, but from a mindset standpoint, I’ve never had reason to be concerned with these guys and what they are going to bring for the next day, for the next series,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “That’s why I was confident going to L.A., why I was confident coming up here.”
Sanchez hit a towering two-run homer in the first off Seattle starter Justus Sheffield, a ball that barely stayed fair and nearly bounced out of the stadium. Ford snapped a 2-all tie with his sixth home run in the past 14 games, and Judge, the third-fastest player to reach 100 homers, broke the game open with a two-run shot off reliever Matt Wisler as part of New York’s four-run fifth.
LeMahieu added his 23rd of the season in the ninth. The Yankees have hit 70 home runs in August and raised their season total to 250, already eighth most in major league history.
“That’s what we’ve been doing this whole road trip, trying to get ahead of guys and let our pitchers do their thing,” Judge said.
James Paxton (11-6) had a shaky outing facing his former team for the first time. The big left-hander allowed only one hit on Kyle Seager’s two-run homer in the fourth that just eluded the reach of Judge at the fence in right field. Despite giving up just the one hit, Paxton was done after only five innings due to control problems. Paxton issued a season-high five walks, four in the fourth inning alone. He’d allowed six walks over 24 1/3 innings in his previous four starts combined.
Paxton threw 86 pitches, 45 for strikes. Paxton spent his first six seasons with the Mariners, including throwing a no-hitter last year, before being traded to New York in the offseason.
“I was trying to be aggressive. I was just having a hard time finding the zone a little bit,” Paxton said. “I was just trying to get into the zone, but then I was able to correct it in the fifth inning and get those outs when we needed them.”
Seattle had just one hit until Tom Murphy doubled in the ninth.
“Definitely strange being on the other side,” Seager said of Paxton. “I obviously played with him for quite a few years, known him for quite a few years. I’m definitely happy for him and the success he’s having over there, but he definitely got the better of us.”
Sheffield (0-1) was just as much in the spotlight as the centerpiece of what Seattle got in return in the Paxton trade. Sheffield showed flashes in his second career start, like striking out Judge looking in the first inning on a sharp slider at the knees. But he missed his spots on the pitches to Sanchez and Ford and paid for it, giving up the long ball.
Sheffield allowed six hits and struck out five.
“Certainly not an easy lineup to try to get through. I thought his stuff was really good,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said.
“He gave up the home run early to Sanchez, but he settled in and I thought he threw the ball really well. It’s something to build off of there.”
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