New York Yankees Defeat Washington Nationals in Rain Shortened Opener

Yankees Nationals

Yankees 4, Nationals 1

With no fans in the stands, the beautiful sounds of the pop of a mitt and crack of a bat were expected to amplify throughout MLB stadiums. However, it was booming sounds of thunder and loud cracks of lightning that echoed across Nationals Park Thursday night. Mother Nature ended the New York Yankees and Washington Nationals game early.

Thursday marked the end of the longest stretch without professional baseball in history. It was not the baseball that fans are accustomed to as motifs of what America has endured were present all throughout the game, but for five and a half innings, fans were able to sit down and watch a baseball game.

On display in this game was a who’s who of All-Stars that saw the Yankees emerge victorious by a score of 4-1.

Yankees Strike First

Although the headlines focused on the starting pitching, the offense shined early. With two outs and Aaron Judge on base in the first inning, Giancarlo Stanton hit his first home run of the season to give the Yankees the lead early. Stanton finished the abbreviated game with two hits and three RBI. Judge addressed the media about the home run.

“That was huge for us,” said Judge. “It set the tone for the whole game.”

Judge added an RBI double of his own in the third inning. DJ LeMahieu did not play, but the Yankees had the remainder of their presumed regulars in the lineup. Judge was particularly happy to see the lineup healthy and producing.

“I think the big picture is getting a chance to see our offense and see everybody healthy and see everybody rolling,” said Judge.

Good Starting Pitching

Although the Yankees scored four runs off Max Scherzer, they still saw the best he had to offer. On separate occasions, he struck out four consecutive and three consecutive batters, accounting for seven of his 11 strikeouts on the day. As a result, Scherzer becomes the first pitcher since 1893 to strike out at least ten batters in three consecutive Opening Days.

In his Yankees debut, Gerrit Cole did not disappoint, pitching an abbreviated one-hitter. That lone hit was a home run off of Adam Eaton‘s bat in the first inning. Cole did not have great command early on, but he was locked in as the game progressed, stringing together good pitch sequences in the fourth and fifth innings.

Cole finished the game with one earned run, five strikeouts, and one walk in five innings pitched. He was excited to get the win, but he was more so excited to live out a childhood dream.

“I was so excited,” said Cole. “I was walking through the clubhouse before and saw a bunch of guys in Yankees uniforms and it just hit me that this is for real.”

The rest of the Yankees also took notice of the size of the moment for their new teammate.

“He was ready to go…,” said Judge. “To come full circle from being a fan to pitching Opening Day for the Yankees against the reigning champs, that was special for him.”

Main Photo: Embed from Getty Images