OAKLAND — Giancarlo Stanton’s return from the injured list on Thursday was well-timed. As the Yankee offense was starting shake off its almost three-week funk, and coming in to face the worst team in baseball, Stanton stepped in Thursday night to drive in three runs in the Bombers’ 13-4 win over the A’s at the Coliseum.
It was the fourth straight win for the Yankees (77-48) and their fifth in their last 10 games. It was the first time the Bombers have won four straight since June 26-29. The A’s (46-80) are the first team to 80 losses this season.
“I mean, any boost I can give is huge and I’m glad that I can,” Stanton said “And, yeah, it just helps the dynamic of our lineup a bit and I’m glad to be back.”
While Stanton was on the IL with left Achilles tendinitis, the Bombers went 12-17, averaging two less runs a game than they did when he was there. The slide, coming after they had the best record in baseball during the first half of the season, was dramatic. The Bombers went from having the best record in the American League and a 15.5 lead in the AL East, to starting Thursday 7.5 games ahead of the Rays and trailing the Astros by 3.5 games in the postseason seedings.
Andrew Benintendi, Josh Donaldson and Oswaldo Cabrera each had three hits with Donaldson driving in three runs and Cabrera and Benintendi driving in one each. Every Yankees starter had a hit, with No. 8 hitter Jose Trevino and No. 9 hitter Isiah Kiner-Falefa each having two.
“That’s another byproduct of getting Giancarlo back, you get a little bit deeper throughout,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said.
Jameson Taillon allowed one run on six hits in six innings of work. Greg Weissert had a debut he’d like to forget, hitting the first two batters on his first two pitches in the big leagues and getting a fly out before walking the next two batters. He allowed three runs on no hits.
Stanton was playing in his first game since July 23.
“I felt pretty good, pretty happy with my at-bats,” Stanton said. “I was in and out of my timing a little bit pitch by pitch. That is expected, but I think I did a decent job of making adjustments. So, yeah, I’m happy with them.”
The threat of the 32-year-old slugger simply makes the Bombers’ lineup better, makes it more likely that Aaron Judge is going to see better pitches to hit and makes it deeper.
In his first 80 games this season, Stanton was hitting .228/.309/.498 with a .807 OPS and 24 home runs and 61 RBI.
Part of the reason to believe that the Yankees will be fine is the return of Stanton, but also the emergence of Benintendi in the last five games.
Benintendi has gone 10-for-19 with three runs scored, two doubles and a home run in that stretch. That home run was a monster shot into the second deck in right field, the shot the Yankees needed to end a three-game losing streak.
Also, Judge seemingly is back on track.
After a nine-game home run drought, Judge is back on pace to break the American League home run record of 61 set by Roger Maris in 1961. During that slump, Judge hit just .133/.278/.167 with a .445 OPS and 12 strikeouts. In the last four games, Judge is 5-for-12 with two homers, four RBI and two strikeouts.
“Up and down [the lineup] everyone putting on good at-bats,” Boone said. “Good to get G back in there. I thought he had some really good at-bats, but everyone kind of chipped in and made it difficult. I thought they just did a really good job of making [the A’s pitchers] work really hard and really, really throw some runs behind Jamo and he kind of took it from there.”