The Associated PressLONDON (AP) — Rest assured, British fans: Most baseball games are not like this, not even the crazy ones between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox.
Major League Baseball arrived in Europe on Saturday night with Ye Olde Slugfest. Each team scored six runs in a first inning that lasted nearly an hour, with Aaron Hicks hitting the first European homer. Brett Gardner had a tiebreaking, two-run drive in the third, Aaron Judge went deep to cap a six-run fourth and the Yankees outlasted their rivals 17-13 in a game that stretched for 4 hours 42 minutes — 3 minutes shy of the record for a nine-inning game.
“Well, cricket takes like all weekend to play, right? So, I’m sure a lot of people are used to it,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “We should remind them there’s not 30 runs every game.”
Before a sellout crowd of 59,659 at Olympic Stadium that included supporters from Britain, Beantown and the Big Apple plus royalty, batters behaved like good tourists and minded the gaps — and the fences. As a Union Jack fluttered above center field along with the Stars and Stripes, both teams jacked and jacked and jacked.
“I think we’re getting as good a reception as football has for the last couple years,” Yankees first baseman Luke Voit said.
AL batting leader DJ LeMahieu had four hits and five RBIs, including a three-run double in the fourth and a two-run single in the fifth that opened a 17-6 lead. Voit had four hits, including three doubles, before leaving with a left abdominal injury in the fifth. He’ll be evaluated before Sunday’s series finale.
No British reserve with these offenses. Hicks was especially proud to hit the first homer.
“That’s something they can never take from me,” he said.
New York set season highs for runs and hits by the fifth inning and outhit Boston 19-18 overall as both teams batted around twice. The 30 runs were the most in a big league game since Boston beat Baltimore 19-12 last Aug. 10, according to STATS.
Red Sox rookie Michael Chavis hit a pair of three-run homers, the second in a six-run seventh.
“Definitely the biggest crowd I’ve played in front of. The loudest, as well,” Chavis said. “With the overhang, there was kind of an echo.”
Jackie Bradley Jr. had four hits, including a home run. Boston shortstop Xander Bogaerts left in the eighth after calf muscles in both legs cramped, then said he should be available Sunday.
Boston starter Rick Porcello and New York’s Masahiro Tanaka got hammered — fittingly in the home of the Premier League soccer club West Ham, nicknamed the Hammers. Neither got out of a first inning that lasted 58 minutes and included 20 batters and 94 pitches. It took 1:51 to play the first three innings and 2:58 for 4½, but unlike in cricket, the teams did not break for tea.