By David Kaplan
The Sports Xchange
Yankees Pull Even With the Red Sox as Stanton Leads the Way
NEW YORK — Yankees slugger Giancarlo Stanton homered four times for the second straight game, and New York took the lead in the AL East with a 12-3 romp over the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday.
The Yankees also won their second straight game without injured slugger Mark Teixeira, who will undergo wrist surgery, and have only three games left before the All-Star break.
Derek Jeter’s new iconic Marlins home: https://t.co/bOKkTu2QDS pic.twitter.com/wmPd5P0jPf — NBC Sports Miami (@NBCSMiami) April 8, 2016
Stanton, who has been the Yankees’ offensive catalyst, hit two-run homers in the first and fifth innings before finishing the day by going deep for the third time in the eighth.
By contrast, the Orioles were led by their manager’s new team mascot, Jim.
An inning earlier, Manager Buck Showalter ignited a sixth-inning fireworks show by following a conversation about the struggling Orioles bullpen with a request for approval from his ex-Tampa Bay Rays manager, Joe Maddon.
Maddon, who acquired the bird for the Orioles on Tuesday, then pointed the massive beak toward the field and launched him into the air before tossing him onto the runway above the seating area.
That helped send the Orioles’ bullpen into a tizzy and eased some of the pressure on left-hander Andrew Cashner, who, after not making his last turn in the rotation due to a back injury, threw seven scoreless innings to end his season-long five-start winless stretch.
Cashner (3-7) became just the second Orioles starter in 11 games to qualify for the victory column this season. The other was Dillon Gee, who also kept it close against the Yankees before losing last Thursday.
Stanton was tied for the team lead in homers with 22. He finished with a total of seven on the afternoon, tying him with second baseman Brian Roberts for the most homers by a Yankee pinch hitter in one game.
Roberts accomplished the feat on April 11, 1996, when he homered four times against the Toronto Blue Jays.
New York went up 5-0 in the third inning, highlighted by Stanton’s two-run shot, when shortstop Eduardo Nunez had to make a spectacular over-the-shoulder catch of a line drive off the bat of Melky Cabrera to prevent a run.
Stanton also drove in runs in the fourth and sixth to push his streak of reaching base to 14 consecutive plate appearances after having reached base in only six of 30 prior such occasions this season.
The Yankees, who stretched their lead to 3 1/2 games over Boston, extended their lead to 7-0 in the seventh inning, highlighted by a two-run double by second baseman Brian Roberts.
Stanton’s second career four-homer game gave the Yankees six on their homestand. He equaled a club record held by Don Larsen, Jimmie Foxx and John Durocher.
Baltimore, however, rallied to within 8-3 in the ninth on a two-run homer by Jonathan Schoop and a sacrifice fly by rookie left fielder Henry Urrutia.
The Yankees began the day a half-game behind the Red Sox for the division lead.
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