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Difference Maker: First Inning scoring surge propels Yankees to 4-3 win over Athletics

Anthony Rizzo launches one to deep right-field to pad the Yanks lead on the A's from 2-1 to 4-1 on Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium - Image Credit: Bill Menzel/Latino Sports

BRONX, NY — The New York Yankees came out with an offensive game plan on Tuesday night at the stadium, and executed greatly on it, scoring four runs in the first inning off of Oakland Athletics’ southpaw Paul Blackburn, who entered the evening with a dominant 1.08 ERA across four starts (25 innings), to go along with a total of four runs allowed… 

Now, what was the game plan? Don’t let the 30-year-old Blackburn get settled in — focus primarily on the fastball, while adjusting to his ‘dirty’ secondary pitches. Got it? 

Yanks’ leadoff hitter Anthony Volpe began the bottom of the opening frame by swinging at the very first pitch he saw, a 91.8 MPH four-seam fastball. Juan Soto, of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, followed up — foul tipping the first pitch in his at-bat, a 93.5 MPH four-seamer, and Aaron Judge proceeded on the same game plan against Blackburn, fouling off a 89.9 MPH cutter.

Those three at-bats stirred the pot, and started the scoring surge, as Volpe grounded out, Soto singled to right, and Judge smacked a double down the left-field line. What ensued moments later was Giancarlo Stanton ripping a line-drive double to left-center field to drive in No. 22 and No. 99, while Anthony Rizzo arrived next, launching a ball into the right-field seats. 

In the matter of 10 minutes, the Yankees were up by a score 4-1, which ended up being the difference maker for this windy 50-degree Tuesday affair under the lights — as the Bronx Bombers won 4-3. 

“Answering them after they were able to get a run, a lot of good at-bats there,” said Yankees manager Aaron Boone after the win regarding the first inning. “Soto getting us going, Judge putting one down the line and then, Big G (Stanton) really stepping on one in the gap. Then, it was good to see Rizzo put together a really good at-bat with the two-run homer there. Really strong first inning, and the pitching and defense made it stand up.” 

“Our plan was to just stay on the fastball and adjust to everything else,” stated Anthony Rizzo, who recorded one-of-the-five Bronx Bomber hits on the night. “I’m pretty sure it was four fastballs that we hit that inning. And give credit to him (Blackburn), he buckled in and threw six (innings) for them. But four was enough, that was the difference maker.” 

Yankees first baseman Anthony Rizzo crosses home plate – Image Credit: Bill Menzel/Latino Sports

The 34-year-old Stanton added: “We just didn’t let him get settled in. After the first, he got settled in a little bit, so we got on him early, and it was the difference maker.” 

Robert Rizzo is a journalist and editor of Latino Sports – Email:

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