Maybe getting out of New York was, as I half-jokingly suggested, just what the Yankees needed. Or maybe it was some deviating from the established lineup by Aaron Boone, at long last.
Boone kept DJ LeMahieu as the leadoff hitter, but moved Giancarlo Stanton up to 2nd, ahead of Aaron Judge, moving Judge down to 3rd, Gleyber Torres up to 4th, Gio Urshela back down to 5th, Aaron Hicks to 6th, Gary Sanchez to 7th, Clint Frazier to 8th, and Rougned Odor to 9th.
Jordan Montgomery was the starting pitcher, and he started shaky, alowing the Cleveland Indians 3 runs in the bottom of the 1st inning. After that, he settled down, and gave the Yankee bats the chance to bail him out.
They did. Hicks and Odor both hit home runs in the top of the 2nd, tying the game. In the 3rd, Stanton crushed one to left field, giving the Yankees the lead. In the 5th, he hit another long drive to right-center, making it 5-3 Yankees.
In 1961, it took until around this time of the year for manager Ralph Houk to move Roger Maris to 3rd in the batting order, ahead of Mickey Mantle, to give Maris better pitches to hit. The result was Maris hitting 61 home runs, Mantle 54, and the team roaring to a 109-win season and a World Championship. Now, 60 years later, is putting Stanton ahead of Judge the equivalent? Will we look at this Boone lineup change the same way?
Montgomery allowed a couple of runners in the 5th. He was 1 out away from qualifying for the win, presuming the Yankees could hold their lead. But Boone took him out, and he was upset.
The bullpen got the job done the rest of the way. Lucas Luetge came in, got the last out in the 5th, and pitched a scoreless 6th. Darren O'Day pitched a perfect 7th. Chad Green pitched a scoreless 8th. And Aroldis Chapman didn't tease us with any wild pitching, tossing a perfect 9th.
Yankees 5, Indians 3. WP: Luetge (1-0, his 1st win as a Yankee). SV: Chapman (4). LP: Logan Allen (1-3). That's 2 in a row, both games on this roadtrip so far.
The series continues tonight, and it's each team's ace: Gerrit "Old King" Cole for the Bronx Bombers, and Shane "Don't Call Me Justin" Bieber for the Tribe.