Anthony Rizzo wasn’t the biggest name in the first baseman the Yankees could sign this offseason. At 32, with power numbers declining over the past two seasons, the Bombers even flirted with Freddie Freeman, before deciding that for the short term, Rizzo was a perfect fit.
On Tuesday night, Lefty Slugger showed why. Taking advantage of the famous short porch in right field at Yankee Stadium, Rizzo scored three home runs to give the Yankees a 12-8 win over the Orioles in front of a cold and damp crowd of 28,596.
The Yankees (11-6) won their season-high fourth in a row, scoring a season-high in runs and tying their season-high in hits. The Yankees have scored in double digits in back-to-back games, after running the first 15 games of the season from scratch. He hit a season-high five homers.
The triple-homer game was a career first for Rizzo, who now leads the majors with eight home runs. It set off a solid start for Luis Severino – who took a no-hit bid in sixth – and exploded an offensive. Joey Gallo hit his first home run since September 2021, Aaron Judge hit his fourth of the season on his 30th birthday, and Gleber Torres’ first triple of the season went into three.
However, it all started and ended with Rizzo.
Rizzo hit his sixth homer of the season in the third inning from starter Jordan Lyles, a three-run shot on the short-porch in right field. In the fifth, he hit a two-run, 378-foot shot into Lyle’s right field for his big league seventh homer.
He added in the eighth with a 327-foot shot that flared back in front of the wrong pole and dropped over the fence in the right field corner.
“To me I thought it was definitely wrong,” Rizzo said of the third. “In the eighth inning (on defence) I had a really hard pop-up that came right back at me, but I was kind of shocked that it came back (in proper zone) before our eyes. I thought it had a zero percent chance.”
It was the 33rd time a Yankee had scored three home runs in a regular season game and the first since Kyle Higashioka did so on September 16, 2020, against the Blue Jays.
For Rizzo, it was the 20th multi-home run game of his career and his first as a Yankee. His last two-homer game was with the Cubs almost a year ago, on April 18, 2021.
When the Yankees re-signed the lefty hitting slugger last month, there were concerns about his dwindling power numbers. So far this season, he leads the big leagues in home runs and is second only to Mike Trout in ops (1.144) and slugging % (.733).
Rizzo has scored eight home runs this season, seven of which have come at Yankee Stadium. His swing profiled perfectly to take advantage of the small porch in the right area, which is why the Yankees traded it for him last July.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone said, “He’s got the kind of little knack for what the situation calls for and I think he’ll be someone who should be able to take advantage of that porch.” “I think he likes Yankee Stadium and after tonight, I think it sealed it. This is definitely where he likes to hit.”
That’s the offense the Yankees are looking for this season to back up their stellar pitching. On Tuesday, it helped stop the Orioles, despite four runs left by the Yankee bullpen, three to Lucas Luetge and one to Jonathan Loisiga, who fired a three-run shot to Austin Hayes.
The Yankees got another strong start from Severino, who conceded four runs for three hits in six innings. He walked two and hit five. The right-handed batsman threw 77 pitches, for 50 strikes. He got 10 swing-and-misses; Four on his slider, three on change and three on his four-seam fastball.
Severino allowed his first baserunner in fifth when he moved to Hays, and in sixth, Jorge Matteo lined up on the left to break up the no-hit bid.