NEW YORK – Opening Day may be four short days away, but the New York Yankees are in midseason form.
The Bombers blasted five home runs in the Bronx on Sunday night, slugging its way to a 6-0 onslaught victory over the Mets.
Right fielder Aaron Judge continued to silence injury concerns, launching a pair of big flies. His teammates Gary Sánchez, Giancarlo Stanton and Luke Voit each added their own long balls – five home runs totaling 2,119 feet traveled.
"I think they just continue to confirm what we’re seeing really from the start of Summer Camp where guys were in shape and champing at the bit," manager Aaron Boone said on his lineup's powerful performance. "First chance to play against other teams and we’ve seen a number of good at-bats from guys. It was good to see that again tonight."
New York was fresh off a blowout victory against its crosstown rival on Saturday night in Flushing, using the same game plan to secure the win in the club's penultimate exhibition game. The Yankees roared ahead in the first and poured it on in the later innings, all the while keeping the Mets' bats at bay.
Judge got the party started with a solo home run in the first frame, sending the virtual crowd at Yankee Stadium into a frenzy as invisible fans still filed to their seats.
It had been 274 days since the slugger last faced a pitcher from another team – Game 6 of the American League Championship Series last October – missing all of Spring Training nursing a stress fracture in his first right rib.
On the third pitch he saw after digging in, Judge turned on a heater from right-hander Corey Oswalt with ease, sending it 402 feet to straightaway left field.
Five innings later, Judge went deep a second time, mashing a meatball from righty Drew Smith to practically the same exact spot.
"He’s been taking a lot of work behind the scenes as far as taking extra at-bats, working off the machine, doing a number of reps, he’s just worked hard to put himself in a really good spot," Boone said of Judge. "He’s ready and on a mission to go out and dominate."
Sandwiched between the pair of round-trippers from No. 99 were majestic solo home runs from Sánchez and Voit. Each left no doubt of their destination off the bat, allowing the sluggers to admire their work as they began to trot around the bases.
Sánchez's homer came down above the Poland Spring sign in Yankee Stadium's second deck while Voit's shot landed on the netting above Monument Park in straightaway center. Both traveled north of 425 feet.
Not to be outdone, Stanton ended the night with the loudest and longest blast of the evening. His 448-foot moonshot in the seventh inning touched down halfway up the bleacher seats in left-center field.
Left-hander and ex-Yankee Chasen Shreve could barely turn his head quick enough on the mound to see the ball fly by as it sizzled off Stanton's bat at 112 mph, per Statcast.
The five-homer blitz provided more than enough run support for left-hander Jordan Montgomery. New York's starter twirled five innings of two-hit baseball while striking out six.
"Timing was good, executed a lot of pitches, got some weak contact and expanded the zone when I needed to," Montgomery said. "I feel good about that."
Right-hander Jonathan Loaisiga followed with three quick innings in relief before Jonathan Holder shut the door in the ninth. Montgomery was so efficient – throwing just 59 pitches over five frames – that he went back out to the bullpen following his start to continue to build up his pitch count prior to the regular season.
If this weekend was any indication, the Yankees should have no problem scoring runs when this summer's truncated 60-game campaign begins at the end of this week. Over two exhibition games, with a healthy roster and depth to spare, New York outscored the Mets 15-3.
"Our lineup is pretty good," Montgomery said. "When they're seeing the ball like they are, it gives you a lot of conviction to be able to pound the zone, be aggressive and know that your guys are going to put up some runs for you. It makes [my job] a lot easier."
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