Stanton-ian grand slam in bleachers leads Yanks over O's 7-0
(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
By RONALD BLUM
AP Baseball Writer
NEW YORK (AP) Giancarlo Stanton turned on a 92 mph pitch from Shawn Armstrong and sent the ball soaring over the visitors' bullpen and into Yankee Stadium's left-bleachers.
The small crowd at New York's first night game of the season buzzed.
When the ball came down, it landed in a fan gathering area called Frank's Red Hot Terrace, 471 feet from home plate, near the newly repopulated deep seats.
Stanton's eighth career grand slam carried the New York over Baltimore 7-0 Monday night and handed the Orioles their first loss this season.
"It's kind of everything rolls in sync and, yeah, like sometimes things go not in a blackout, but just there's no sound," Stanton said, trying to explain the feeling of launching a ball farther than even most major leaguers can.
"There's not anything except you watching the flight of the ball," he said. "You don't know anything else that's going on. It's a very cool feeling. It's hard to describe very specific."
New York was ahead 1-0 on Aaron Judge's fourth-inning homer when starter Jorge Lopez (0-1) walked the bases loaded in the fifth and Armstrong forced in a run with a walk to slumping Aaron Hicks.
Stanton followed with the longest homer of the young season.
"The way he hits 'em, it's just different It's like nothing else," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. "He is a unicorn. I mean, that ball was just so pure on a night where it's probably not flying great and just hits it through the Stadium."
Stanton had been booed when he struck out in the first, dropping to 0 for 9.
"I try my best when I'm out there, so I can't worry about all of that," he said.
Armstrong, making his season debut after coming off the paternity list, crouched on the mound. Coming off an opening, sweep at Boston, the Orioles never closed close after that.
New York improved to 8-0 when Judge and Stanton homer in the same game, including three postseason wins.
Judge reached out for a thigh-high fastball for his go-ahead homer in the fourth. The 344-foot, opposite-field drive to the right-field short porch would have been a home run in only two other big league ballparks, Houston and Seattle. Judge became the second-fastest to 120 homers by reaching the figure in 428 games, behind only Ryan Howard's 391.
"I don't think mine went as far as Big G's, but they wherever they go, they still count," Judge said.
Both Judge and Stanton hit their first home runs of the season.
"People say it doesn't weigh on you, but it weighs on you sometimes," Judge admitted.
Left-hander Jordan Montgomery (1-0) allowed four hits in six innings with seven strikeouts and no walks.
Montgomery induced 14 swings and misses among 73 pitches, including eight on changeups and four on curveballs. With another year to strengthen since Tommy John surgery in June 2018, he reached 94.5 mph, up from an average of 92.6 mph last season.
"Just attack the hitters with four different pitches," he said. "Was in the zone a lot and was able to expand when I needed to."
Luis Cessa and Aroldis Chapman combined for hitless relief, The closer, throwing at up to 101 mph, struck out three around a walk in his season debut after completing a two-game suspension.
Baltimore had been seeking its first 4-0 start since 2017 but instead wound up with a familiar result. Yankees have won 11 straight home games against the Orioles since May 2019, matching New York's team record, outscoring Baltimore 69-28.
Lopez gave up four runs and three hits in 4 2/3 innings plus three of Baltimore pitching's seven walks.
"They were grinding every at-bat," he said.
Baltimore's Ryan McKenna made his major league debut and went 0 for 2 with a walk, ... Mac Sceroler, a nephew of Ben McDonald taken from Cincinnati in the winter meeting draft, relieved with the bases loaded in the sixth and threw a called third strike past Judge and retired Hicks on a popup, dropping him to 1 for 15. Sceroler pitched 2 2/3 hitless innings with four strikeouts and two walks.
"He had a really good split tonight, did a really nice job," Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said.
Baltimore failed to homer in the first four games for the first time since 2001. Cedric Mullins was 1 for 4 and is 10 for 17 (,588). He was 5 for 5 with three doubles for the Orioles on Sunday.
Armstrong's wife, Sarah, gave birth to Declan Cutter Armstrong last Wednesday.
Left-hander Mike Montgomery, released by the Mets, will finalize a minor league contract with the Yankees if he passes a physical.
Orioles: LF Austin Hays was placed on the 10-day IL with a mild hamstring strain,. "Pretty optimistic that it's not going to be very long," Hyde said.
RHP Gerrit Cole (0-0), coming off a no-decision on opening day against Toronto, starts for the Yankees against RHP Dean Kremer (0-0), who will be making his season debut.
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Updated April 6, 2021