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Judge Starts Season With a Bang as Yankees Blank Giants

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Yankees' star Aaron Judge reacts after hitting a solo home run during the first inning against the Giants at Yankee Stadium Thursday, March 30, 2023. (AP/Seth Wenig)
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NEW YORK — Aaron Judge followed his record-setting 2022 by homering on his first swing as Yankees captain, starting New York to a 5-0 opening day win over the San Francisco Giants on Thursday.

Gerrit Cole (1-0) struck out 11 in six scoreless innings, a Yankees record for an opener, and 21-year-old Anthony Volpe went 0 for 2 with a walk, stolen base, and two nice defensive plays in his major league debut.

Gleyber Torres added a two-run homer in the fourth and Judge blooped an RBI broken-bat single in a two-run seventh that included DJ LeMahieu’s run-scoring single.

Logan Webb (0-1) struck out 12, the most for the Giants in an opener. Cole and Webb joined Dave McNally and Sam McDowell in 1970, and Max Scherzer and Jacob DeGrom in 2019 as the only opposing starters with double-digit strikeouts in an opener since 1901.

First Day of the Pitch Clock

On the first day of the pitch clock, there was just one violation, on J.D. Davis at the plate in the ninth inning. The game was played in a brisk 2 hours, 33 minutes before a sellout crowd of 46,172 on a sunny, 39-degree afternoon.

Judge hit 62 home runs last year to break the American League record of 61 set by Roger Maris in 1961. The former Fresno State standout became a free agent and was courted by San Francisco before signing a $360 million, nine-year deal with the Yankees, who named Judge their first captain since Derek Jeter retired at the end of 2014.

Yankees manager Aaron Boone worried he would see Judge introduced on the third-base line with the Giants. Instead, Judge was in a usual outfield spot for the Bleacher Creatures Roll Call, then took a strike and hit a thigh-high cutter 422 feet into the netting above Monument Park in center field for the first home run of the new MLB season.

The Giants opened in New York for the first time since beating Pittsburgh 4-3 at the Polo Grounds across the Harlem River in 1956, their next-to-last season before moving to California.

Conforto Debuts for the Giants

Michael Conforto went 1 for 4 with two strikeouts in his first game with the Giants. He left the Mets after the 2021 season to become a free agent and missed last year with a right shoulder injury.

Webb allowed four runs in six innings. The Giants’ record for strikeouts in an opener had been 11 by Madison Bumgarner in 2017.

 

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