Arrow-right Camera

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Thursday, September 19, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Partly Cloudy Day 65° Partly Cloudy
Sports >  MLB

Ye Olde Slugfest: Yanks top Red Sox 17-13 in MLB Euro debut

UPDATED: Sat., June 29, 2019, 5:18 p.m.

Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees players line up as flags are unfurled before a baseball game, Saturday, June 29, 2019, in London. Major League Baseball made its European debut game Saturday at London Stadium. (Tim Ireland / Associated Press)
Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees players line up as flags are unfurled before a baseball game, Saturday, June 29, 2019, in London. Major League Baseball made its European debut game Saturday at London Stadium. (Tim Ireland / Associated Press)
By Ronald Blum Associated Press

LONDON – Rest assured, British fans: Most baseball games are not like this, not even the crazy ones between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox.

Major League Baseball arrived in Europe on Saturday night with Ye Olde Slugfest. Each team scored six runs in a first inning that lasted nearly an hour, with Aaron Hicks hitting the first European homer. Brett Gardner had a tiebreaking, two-run drive in the third, Aaron Judge went deep to cap a six-run fourth and the Yankees outlasted their rivals 17-13 in a game that stretched for 4 hours, 42 minutes – 3 minutes shy of the record for a nine-inning game.

“Well, cricket takes like all weekend to play, right? So, I’m sure a lot of people are used to it,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “We should remind them there’s not 30 runs every game.”

Before a sellout crowd of 59,659 at Olympic Stadium that included supporters from Britain, Beantown and the Big Apple plus royalty, batters behaved like good tourists and minded the gaps – and the fences. As a Union Jack fluttered above center field along with the Stars and Stripes, both teams jacked and jacked and jacked.

“I think we’re getting as good a reception as football has for the last couple years,” Yankees first baseman Luke Voit said.

AL batting leader DJ LeMahieu had four hits and five RBIs, including a three-run double in the fourth and a two-run single in the fifth that opened a 17-6 lead. Voit had four hits, including three doubles, before leaving with a left abdominal injury in the fifth. He’ll be evaluated before Sunday’s series finale.

No British reserve with these offenses. Hicks was especially proud to hit the first homer.

“That’s something they can never take from me,” he said.

New York set season highs for runs and hits by the fifth inning and outhit Boston 19-18 overall as both teams batted around twice. The 30 runs were the most in a big league game since Boston beat Baltimore 19-12 last Aug. 10, according to STATS.

Red Sox rookie Michael Chavis hit a pair of three-run homers, the second in a six-run seventh.

“Definitely the biggest crowd I’ve played in front of. The loudest, as well,” Chavis said. “With the overhang, there was kind of an echo.”

Jackie Bradley Jr. had four hits, including a home run. Boston shortstop Xander Bogaerts left in the eighth after calf muscles in both legs cramped, then said he should be available Sunday.

Boston starter Rick Porcello and New York’s Masahiro Tanaka got hammered – fittingly in the home of the Premier League soccer club West Ham, nicknamed the Hammers. Neither got out of a first inning that lasted 58 minutes and included 20 batters and 94 pitches. It took 1:51 to play the first three innings and 2:58 for 4 1/2, but unlike in cricket, the teams did not break for tea.

Zack Britton retired Marco Hernandez on a bases-loaded grounder that ended the eighth, and Sam Travis hit into a game-ending double play against Aroldis Chapman on the 422nd pitch.

“The stadium, the atmosphere, just looking up into the outfield and seeing all those people there, it is pretty special to play out there,” LeMahieu said.

Chad Green (2-2) allowed four hits in two scoreless innings. Steven Wright (0-1) lost in his first decision and second appearance since an 80-game suspension for a positive drug test.

New York won for the 12th time in 13 games, maintained a seven-game lead over second-place Tampa Bay in the AL East and reached the halfway mark at 53-28, one fewer win than at last year’s midpoint. The defending World Series champion Red Sox dropped a season-high 10 games back at 44-39.

The 2,200th regular-season meeting between the teams was a scorcher – the hottest day of the year in London at 93 degrees Fahrenheit (34 Celsius), and still 92 when the first pitch was thrown at 6:10 p.m.

While Boston was the home team and hit last, both teams wore their white home uniforms. Prince Harry and wife Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, met with both teams and took part in the ceremonial first pitch ceremony. Former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani was on hand, as he was when the Yankees played Tampa Bay at the Tokyo Dome in 2004.

“I got chills from our intros coming out,” Judge said.

Organizers brought touches of home, such as the grounds crew dancing to the Village People’s “YMCA.” The sound system played “Sweet Caroline” in the eighth and “New York, New York” after the final out.

But there were misfires, too. When Gary Sanchez struck out in the second, music was played that usually follows a New York run being scored at Yankee Stadium.

Porcello got just one out in the shortest of his 324 career starts.

“I couldn’t execute the pitches,” he said. “There’s no excuse for it. It was an unacceptable performance.”

Tanaka got two outs as he failed to finish the first inning for the first time in 149 major league starts. It was the first time in the rivalry that both teams scored six or more runs in the opening inning and the first big league game involving any teams in which that occurred since visiting Toronto led Oakland 7-6 on June 23, 1989.

Before all the runs, New York gave Prince Harry a Yankees shirt as a gift, and Didi Gregorius said the sixth-in-line to the throne promised to wear it if the Yankees won.

“I hope,” Gregorius said, “he remembers that.”

Between innings

Jason Diamond, visiting from New York, won the third-inning race against The Freeze, who came over from Atlanta. … Freddie Mercury won the racing mascots, beating Winston Churchill, King Henry VIII and the Loch Ness Monster.

Web gem

Yankees RF Mike Tauchman made a diving, backhand grab to rob Travis in the seventh.

The shining

Outfielders had trouble picking up balls because of white seats and tables of the white press tribune built for soccer, and also because of the late-setting European sun.

Long night

Edwin Encarnacion struck out five times.

Fascinating

Yankees radio broadcaster Suzyn Waldman wore a fascinator, more commonly seen at Royal Ascot than a baseball game.

Trainer’s room

Yankees: RHP Domingo German is scheduled to return from a strained hip flexor and start Wednesday at the New York Mets, a day after LHP J.A. Happ starts the opener of the two-game Subway Series. LHP CC Sabathia will start in the following series at Tampa Bay. … RHP Luis Severino (lat strain) had another setback and still has not thrown off a mound. Boone said an MRI showed the lat is about 90% healed and Severino probably will resume throwing in 5-7 days. … RHP Dellin Betances (lat strain) probably will resume throwing next week.

Red Sox: LHP Brian Johnson was put on the 10-day IL because of an unspecified medical matter not related to baseball.

Up next

LHP Eduardo Rodriguez starts Sunday’s series finale for Boston and lefty reliever Stephen Tarpley for New York.

Subscribe to the sports newsletter

Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.

You have been successfully subscribed!
There was a problem subscribing you to the newsletter. Double check your email and try again, or email webteam@spokesman.com