Yankees rout Cubs, 18-4, to sweep series

·4 min read

After playing in Triple-A for over a month, Matt Carpenter sat on his couch for a week pretty sure he could still do this. When the Yankees finally made the call to sign the veteran infielder, he proved he still can do it. The 36-year old hit two home runs and drove in seven runs on Sunday in an emergency spot start as the Yankees routed the Cubs 18-4 to complete the sweep at the Stadium.

“It’s pretty hard to be in AAA and not imagine that you’ll get this opportunity,” said Carpenter, who got the start an hour before first pitch when Gleyber Torres came down with a stomach illness. " I mean, I went from Triple-A to on my couch for a week. I didn’t know if this would work out but all that is to say I was confident with what I was doing at the plate and was hopeful that this would potentially happen.

“Now, it’s been a lot of fun to see it play out.”

It’s playing out on a big stage as the Yankees (44-16) have the best record in baseball. The Bombers have won four straight and 11 out of their last 12 games. It was the seventh time this season they have swept an opponent. The scored a season-high 18 runs on a season-high 17 hits.

Sunday, Jameson Taillon gave the Yankees five innings. He scattered seven hits and walked one. He struck out five. Manny Banuelos allowed a run in three innings of work. The Yankees pitchers held the Cubs to just five runs over 31 innings.

After needing 13 innings to beat the Cubs Friday night in a 2-1 game, the Yankees rolled on to score 26 runs over the next two. They hit 11 home runs, a season-high six Saturday night and then got two from Carpenter and Kyle Higashioka homered twice, his first of the season, in Sunday’s blowout. They lead the majors in home runs with 98 home runs. No other team has broken the 85-homer mark yet this season.

Carpenter, who has had two pinch-hit at-bats since June 3, hit a 403-foot three-run shot in the second inning off Daniel Norris. He added a two-run, 399-foot shot in the sixth off Alec Mills. In 23 at-bats, Carpenter has seven hits and six of them are home runs. He is the second player since 1900 to have six home runs in the first seven hits with a team. Trevor Story also did it in 2017 with the Rockies.

“I put him in the garage for a week and pulled him out for a spin, I mean that’s impressive,” Boone said. “What he’s doing, what he’s done since he’s got  here, six homers now and I think he’s hit three balls to the wall for outs. It’s just been a lot of really good at bats.”

“You’re seeing the fruits of some labor that he put in  over the wintertime and I know he was very curious to go find out (if it’d work )in spring training and early this year,” Boone said. “Seeing the fruits of that from a guy that’s been a really talented player in this league for a while.”

Carpenter also had a ground ball double Sunday.

He’s been a contributor to the offense in each of his starts, which were all as a designated hitter until Sunday.

“It felt great. Honestly, it was a lot of fun to be out there and I’ve been waiting for that first roll call and I’ve been pretty excited for it,” Carpenter said. “So to get that from the Yankee fans out in right. It was a lot of fun. It’s good to get out there and play.”

The Yankees had scouted Carpenter this spring and kept him on their radar, knowing he had an opt-out with the Rangers if he wasn’t in the majors. When Josh Donaldson and Giancarlo Stanton went on the injured list, they made the call. Now that Donaldson is back, the infield is crowded and there is not guaranteed playing time for Carpenter, but Boone feels that with the confidence he can be called on at the last minute and contribute like this, it will come.

“There’s going to be some really big situations, pinch hit opportunities for him,” Boone said. “I mean, that’s how we kind of envisioned the role initially. But things always come up that put you right back in the middle where you’re playing every day.”