Voit hits first-inning HR as Yanks open with rout
NEW YORK – A season of high expectations for the New York Yankees began with a bang on Thursday. With a formula they expect to ride this whole year, the Yankees, considered among the 2019 World Series favorites, toppled the Baltimore Orioles, 7-2, behind power hitting and pitching.
Luke Voit, the designated hitter, smashed a three-run home run in the first inning that spearheaded a Yankees’ scoring outburst. He drove in another run when he was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the fifth.
In all, Voit accounted for four runs with a blast and a bruise.
His contributions were more than enough against the rebuilding Orioles in front of a crowd of 46,928 at Yankee Stadium (though the rest of the offense chipped in throughout the game). Masahiro Tanaka, starting because of a shoulder injury to ace Luis Severino, earned his first opening day victory in four tries as a Yankee. He allowed two runs – only one earned – and struck out five batters over 5∏ innings.
Tanaka’s stout performance paved the way for the onslaught that is the Yankees’ new and improved bullpen. The newcomer Adam Ottavinostruck out three batters with his wicked arsenal over 1∑ innings.
Rockies 6, Marlins 3
He was followed by Zack Britton, who re-signed with the Yankees in the offseason and worked around a walk and a hit for a scoreless eighth inning. Closer Aroldis Chapman and his high-90s mph fastball had little issue in the ninth, giving up an infield single before retiring the next three batters to end the game.
They could pitch with little anxiety thanks to the Yankees’ potent lineup. Last season, the Yankees set a major league record with 267 home runs. During spring training, they predicted they would top their own mark this year.
With two home runs in the first game, the Yankees are on pace to do so. First baseman Greg Bird followed Voit with a shot to right-center field. The eighth-inning home run helped cancel out a few boos for Bird, who had struck out in each of his first three at-bats.
But on Thursday, at least, it all started with Voit. A year ago on this date, he was still in spring training, headed to the St. Louis Cardinals’ Class AAA team in Memphis. The Yankees, needing a first baseman because of injuries and underperformance, saw Voit as an undervalued player and acquired him in a minor trade in July.
And in the first game of the season, the Yankees trusted Voit with the power spot of the lineup, fourth, behind Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton.
The Yankees’ Luke Voit hits a three-run homer in the first inning against the Orioles at Yankee Stadium on Thursday.