KANSAS CITY — The Yankees’ offense is powered up and now starting to shift into what they thought it could be. Anthony Rizzo hit his major league-leading ninth home run of the season as the Bombers hit four homers total as they routed the Royals 12-2 at Kauffman Stadium in a rain-shortened, eight-inning game.
It was the season-high seventh straight win for the Yankees (14-6), who jumped into the lead in the majors with 29 homers. The Bombers tied a season high with 12 runs scored, it was the third time in four games the put up double-digit runs on an opponent.
That offense helped Nestor Cortes, who wasn’t as sharp as normal, but still grinded through five innings to pick up his first win of the season.
The Bombers got homers from Rizzo, Giancarlo Stanton, Gleyber Torres and Aaron Judge. They also got big doubles from DJ LeMahieu and Kyle Higashioka.
The offense was clicking like they thought it would and it’s showing the diversity that Judge thinks gives them an edge.
“I think just up and down the lineup. We got guys that you know, spread the ball around the field. We got the guys in the middle that are gonna hit homers and then DJ at the top of the lineup, or Hicks can get on base or drive it out of the park even and it’s impressive,” Judge said. “I think that’s what makes this team different from other years is just having that diversity throughout the lineup.”
Rizzo hit his major league-leading ninth home run of the season in the first inning. The two-run shot to left center tied the most homers that the 32-year old slugger has hit in a month — with one day to go. He also hit nine in May 2019.
Friday night, it was followed by a monster shot from Giancarlo Stanton. The 429-foot homer hit the front of the overhang above the visitors’ bullpen in left field. It was Stanton’s fourth home run of the season and his second in the last three games.
Aaron Judge hammered his sixth of the season off Collin Snider in the seventh, a three-run shot that gave the Yankees a cushion. The 389-foot shot to right-center field was his third in four games and the first time this season he has homered in back-to-back games.
Gleyber Torres tacked on with his second home run of the season, a 383-foot shot into the visitors bullpen in left field.
The power has been crucial for the Yankees in this stretch. They have hit 18 homers in the seven-game winning streak, which included 14 in the sweep of the six-game homestand the Bombers just completed.
But it’s the diversity of the lineup that gives the Yankees confidence.
“I just think there’s a lot of different ways guys can beat you. There’s a lot of contact in the lineup. Guys that can manipulate the bat starting with DJ who’s leading off or whoever’s leading off,” Rizzo said. “When you have team at-bats like we do, and we’ve been doing it all year, usually things will work out in your favor.”
The first two weeks of the season, it was the pitchers — particularly Cortes and the Yankees bullpen — who were carrying the Yankees.
Friday night, Cortes was not as sharp as he had been to start the season and was battling the strong winds that blew in the storm that cut the game short. He gave up two runs, just one earned, on seven hits. He did not walk a batter and struck out three. Cortes had just five swings and misses and was not getting the movement on his pitches that he has in the past.
Still, he fought through five innings, holding on and knowing the offense would pick him up.
“It’s great,” Cortes said. “Quality innings, a quality start. It’s the most important thing for me. As long as I can go five and allow just one or two runs, three runs, I know that that offense will wake up at any point of the game and our bullpen is obviously lights out so it’s definitely fun.”