Didi's historic 8 RBIs lead the Yankees to a 2018 Home Opener win
Ladies and gentlemen, the time has come. Baseball has finally returned to the Bronx. We all had to wait an extra day due to a freak snow storm, but the Yankees are back in their homeland here in 2018. For the second year in a row, they played their home opener against the Tampa Bay Rays. For the record, in 2017, Michael Pineda took a perfect game into the seventh inning to begin the Yankees’ season at home. Yet, somehow, the Yankees outdid Big Mike's gem with an even more exciting game. Didi Gregorius single-handedly destroyed the Rays, tallying eight RBIs in a historic day.
After another perfect inning pitched by Montgomery, the Yankees kick started the game’s action. Didi led off the second inning with a double into the right field corner, and Neil Walker worked a walk after Sanchez popped out. Drury flew out to left, but Tyler Wade came up clutch with a single to right field. Didi scored, and the Yanks took a 1-0 lead. Tyler Austin struck out to end the inning, but the Yankees were on the board.
The Rays started off the third inning with a single off the glove of Wade by Jesus Sucre and a walk on a borderline pitch to Daniel Robertson. Former Yankee "legend" Rob Refsnyder then grounded into a fielder’s choice, with the Yanks getting the out at second. With runners on first and third, Matt Duffy hit a groundball to Brandon Drury at third, who fielded it, decided to only go for the out at first, and proceeded to throw the ball away. This resulted in a run scoring for the Rays, along with runners on second and third. Kevin Kiermaier then hit a shallow flyball to center field, which was caught by Gardner. Refsnyder tagged from third, but was gunned down at the plate on a great throw by Gardy to end the inning and keep the score tied at one.
Gardner and Judge led off the bottom of the third with back to back singles. After a Stanton strikeout, Didi got the stadium rocking by lining a three-run bomb just over the right field fence to give the Yankees a 4-1 lead. Walker singled later in the inning, but that was all the scoring the Yanks managed.
Montgomery and Archer cruised through the fourth inning, but Monty ran into some trouble in the fifth, walking the first two batters of the inning. However, he managed to escape the jam, as Duffy grounded into a double play, and Kiermaier struck out swinging. This would be all for Monty, who was replaced by Jonathon Holder to start the sixth. His final line: 5.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 4 BB, 4 K, not a bad start to his season.
Holder came into the game and proceeded to raise every Yankees fans’ blood pressure considerably. After a double by Cron and a single by Ramos, Hechavarria blooped a single into right field, plating the Ray’s second run. After Sucre singled to load the bases, Boone removed Holder and brought in Tommy Kahnle to face a pinch hitter in Brad Miller, who struck out. However, Denard Span pinch-hit for Refsnyder, and tied the game with a two run double into the right field corner. Kahnle retired Duffy to end the inning, but the damage was done and the game was tied at four.
Austin Pruitt took over for Archer in the bottom of the sixth, retired the side in order. Sidenote: Tyler Wade crushed a ball that should’ve been his first MLB home run, but Carlos Gomez robbed him. Meanwhile, Kahnle came back out for the seventh and struck out the side. He looked really good overall, with the exception of the pitch that Span tied the game on.
The Yankees retook the lead in the bottom of the seventh, as Tyler Austin doubled to lead off the inning and Gardner then bunted. Third baseman Matt Duffy threw the ball away, allowing Austin to score and Gardner to move to second. Judge blooped a single into center, moving Gardner to third, but Stanton struck out for the first out, achieving the Golden Sombrero. Never fear though, Didi came through again with ANOTHER three run homer to give the Yanks an 8-4 lead. It was a beauty.
David Robertson pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning, and Pruitt came back out for the eighth. After getting one out, Wade and Austin walked, and Kevin Cash went to the bullpen in favor of Sergio Romo. Gardner beat out an infield single to first, which loaded the bases for Aaron Judge. The big man worked a great at bat, and eventually walked, which forced in the Yanks’ ninth run. Stanton then added to his bad Yankee Stadium debut, striking out for the fifth time on the night. However, Didi added to his FANTASTIC day by blooping a single into left, picking up two more RBIs to give him eight total in the game, and give the Yankees an 11-4 lead. Didi also became the first Yankee since A-Rod in 2005 to have eight RBIs in a game, and the first Yankee shortstop EVER to have eight RBIs, and the first player EVER to have eight RBIs in a home opener. Incredible.
Chasen Shreve came on to pitch the ninth, and retired the Rays in order to cap off a memorable home opener. If this is how the Yanks will be playing at home all season, sign me up for the other 80 games at the Stadium. The Bombers will be back tomorrow at 1:00, with Luis Severino on the mound opposing Blake Snell.
Winning Pitcher: Tommy Kahnle (1-0): 1.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 4 K
Losing Pitcher: Austin Pruitt (1-1): 2.1 IP, 3 H, 6 R (5 ER), 2 BB, 4 K
Didi Gregorius: 4-4, 2 HR (2), 2B, 8 RBI, 3 R, BB
Aaron Judge: 2-3, 2 R, RBI, 2 BB
Giancarlo Stanton: 0-5, 5 K
Article by: Alex Weir