Giancarlo Stanton snapped out of a skid fast Thursday night.
The Yankees slugger went into the series against the Astros in a 1-for-27 slide that had dropped his batting average to .245. He broke out in a big way, however, with a three-run homer in the first inning of the eventual 7-6 Yankees victory. Stanton also walked and now has reached base in 12 of his past 15 games, showing more patience at the plate than he has in the past.
That ability to get on base, despite not hitting much, indicated to manager Aaron Boone that this is not the swing-and-miss Stanton of old.
“This is different than those times where he seems a little out of whack or he’s chasing,’’ Boone said. “He’s not doing that. At bat-wise I feel like he’s in a pretty good place and it’s just bubbling where he kinda really takes off.’’
Stanton got bubbling in the first inning Thursday with an opposite-field three-run home run off Astros starter Framber Valdez. In the bottom of the ninth, Stanton worked out a walk leading off against Houston closer Ryan Pressly and scored on Aaron Hicks’ three-run homer.
RHP Albert Abreu was added to the active roster. He was claimed off waivers from the Royals this week. The Yankees traded Abreu to the Rangers in spring training for catcher Jose Trevino, a possible All-Star and new fan favorite who scored the winning run Thursday.
Abreu pitched a scoreless eighth inning, working out of trouble.
“Hopefully we can get [Abreu] back to what we saw on the back half of last year, which was a guy throwing the ball really well,’’ Boone said. “He’s obviously got really good stuff. If you recall last year down the stretch we were pitching him in some big-time situations and he was doing the job and got really settled in.’’
RHP David McKay was traded back to the Rays for cash, continuing a St. Petersburg-Bronx shuffle for McKay. He was acquired by the Yankees from the Rays on April 4. The 27-year-old right-hander made two appearances for the Yankees, throwing two scoreless innings last month.
Anthony Rizzo worked out a walk after a 16-pitch at-bat in the bottom of the sixth. He fouled off seven consecutive pitches from Valdez after falling behind 1-2. It was the second-longest at-bat in Rizzo’s career.
Following their win over the Rays on Wednesday night, the Yankees optioned RHP Clarke Schmidt to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Schmidt was 4-2 with an ERA of 3.00 in 14 games.
“He’s shown that he belongs on this roster and deserves to be here,’’ Boone said. “I think he’s made huge strides to where he was at this time last year.”
Aaron Judge, who had the game-winning hit Thursday, heads to an arbitration hearing on Friday to determine if he will make $17 million or $21 million this season.
“He’s a huge part of our team,’’ Hicks said. “And, you know, we always hope for the best for our guys, arbitration and all stuff like that, we want him here as a Yankee. We know that the Yankees fans do too.”