As the rest of the Yankees clobbered Cleveland pitching throughout their lopsided victory on Tuesday night, Giancarlo Stanton only contributed outs — and strikeouts.
Hitless going into the top of the ninth, Stanton had one final opportunity to get himself going — and he may have done so.
Stanton capped off a 12-3 win with a 443-foot solo blast to left-center off Cam Hill. It was hardly an important blow or a dramatic shot, since the Yankees already led by eight runs, but the slumping Stanton will no doubt take it.
Whether the home run, measured at 116.1 mph off the bat, is a sign of better things to come or just another garbage-time blast is still to be determined.
“We talked about that and hope it’s a big swing for him,’’ Aaron Boone said. “That ball, if you didn’t know who hit it and just watched the flight of the ball, there’s no mistaking — only Giancarlo hits a ball like that. He got a good swing off.”
His teammates wasted no time roughing up the Indians and their ace, Shane Bieber, pounding him for seven runs in just 4 ²/₃ innings.
For most of the night, though, Stanton didn’t get the memo.
As the rest of the lineup pounded Cleveland pitching, the slugger went hitless in his first four at-bats with two strikeouts.
Boone liked Stanton’s approach for much of the night, even if he had nothing to show for it.
“He had good swings, good recognition,’’ Boone said. “To get some results at the end, hopefully that’s something that gets him rolling a bit, too.”
Especially after his 2020 season was once again impacted by a hamstring injury.
He was mostly a nonfactor in last year’s postseason as well, after another injury-riddled regular season.
The Yankees had hoped both Stanton and Judge could overcome their leg injuries and regain their form in time for the playoffs.
Judge did so immediately, delivering a two-run homer just two batters into the game Tuesday.
Stanton, meanwhile, finished the regular season in a 7-for-35 skid that included 16 strikeouts.
On Tuesday, he grounded to short to end the top of the first, struck out with a runner on second to end the top of the third, fanned looking for the second out in the fifth and grounded out with two on and no outs in the seventh.
But he got one last shot in the ninth and held off calls for his benching — at least for a night.
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