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Yankees hope to continue deep thoughts vs. Rangers

Sports Xchange - Friday 10th August, 2018

NEW YORK -- The home runs were flying out of Yankee Stadium at various distances and directions for the New York Yankees on Thursday.

The Yankees, returning home from a grueling seven-game trip, began an 11-game homestand in style by hitting five homers, one shy of their season high.

After opening the four-game series against the Texas Rangers with a power display, the Yankees get a chance to do it again Friday night.

The Yankees hit five homers for the fourth time this season in a 7-3 victory that gave them a fourth straight win after last weekend's sweep by Boston. The homers hit by Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Hicks, Neil Walker and rookie Miguel Andujar combined to travel an estimated 1,974 feet, and the big night occurred two weeks after Aaron Judge sustained a fractured wrist.

Stanton enters Friday with homers in three straight games for the first time as a Yankee. His 449-foot drive in the series opener had an exit velocity of 121.7 mph, making it the hardest homer in the Statcast era (since 2015). It also continued his recent roll as Stanton is batting .330 with 12 homers and 38 RBIs in his last 48 games.

"For the rest of us, I think it's a normal base hit and for him it's a homer," Hicks said. "It's special the way that he's able to make contact on a baseball is quite good."

Hicks is the fourth Yankee to reach 20 homers and has 14 in his last 45 games.

"He's just showing to be a really good player and taking another step off the season he had last year," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said.

Andujar leads all rookies with 48 extra-base hits and has 16 homers, and Walker is batting .333 in his last 21 games.

After dropping the opener and getting a quiet night from Joey Gallo, Texas is 9-4 in its last 13 games. Gallo went 0-for-4 after hitting .379 on the recent homestand.

"Right there in the middle innings, they had a little rhythm," Texas manager Jeff Bannister said. "We just couldn't get enough hits and enough baserunners to really get us back into a situation where it was a run-scoring opportunity. We put a few runs on him, but not enough."

The Rangers will hope to generate enough against New York's Masahiro Tanaka (9-2, 3.76 ERA), who takes a 14-start unbeaten streak into Friday. Since his last loss April 17 against the Miami Marlins, Tanaka is 7-0 with a 3.12 ERA.

Tanaka last pitched in Sunday's loss at Boston when he allowed one run and six hits in 4 2/3 innings while getting nine strikeouts.

The right-hander is 1-2 with a 6.52 ERA in five career starts against Texas. He faced the Rangers on May 21 in Texas and allowed four runs and three hits in five innings of a 10-5 victory.

Mike Minor starts for the Rangers and hopes to continue his recent upward trend. Since the start of June, he is 4-2 with a 3.26 ERA in his last 10 starts and opponents are hitting .209 and producing a .633 OPS against him in that span.

Minor last pitched Saturday against the Baltimore Orioles when he allowed one run and four hits in seven innings of a 3-1 victory.

"We've just kind of mixed it up, all four pitches, instead of a two-pitch mix. I threw more curveballs, more changeups in and out, mixed it up pretty well," Minor told reporters. "I'm getting better with my pitches every week."

The left-hander is 0-1 with a 3.00 ERA in four appearances (two starts) against the Yankees. He last started against the Yankees on June 18, 2012, for the Atlanta Braves when he allowed four runs and four hits in 5 2/3 innings of a 6-2 loss in New York.

Stanton is 7-for-21 with four homers along with seven RBIs and eight walks against Minor, giving him an OPS of 1.470 in their matchups.

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