Yankees end homer drought in 11-4 win against Marlins

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NEW YORK — Home runs are the Yankees’ stock-in-trade.

Even a threat of Yankees power can change an opposing manager’s strategy or cause a pitcher to alter his plan of attack.

“It’s definitely part our identity,” said manager Aaron Boone, who before Saturday’s game was in the midst of the Yankees’ longest streak without a homer since 2014.

Without that bold proof of ID, the Yankees had been less than ordinary, dropping five of their last six games with the postseason quickly rushing in.

By late Saturday afternoon, the Yankees had restored some of their mojo at a critical time.

Home runs by Tyler Wade, Aaron Hicks and Luke Voit allowed the Yankees to bash their way to an 11-4 win against the Miami Marlins at empty Yankee Stadium.

“That’s what’s great about our lineup. I always feel like we’re one swing away,” Voit said after Saturday’s breakout performance.

After five straight games without a Yankees home run, “all of a sudden you hit three in about 30 minutes,” Boone said of a barrage that allowed his club to exhale a bit.

“To come out and pour it on and have a lot of people contribute was good,” Boone said. “But these guys know there’s much bigger fish to fry moving forward here … that we’re capable of something special.

“But we also know we’ve got to play well to do that.”

Badly in need of a boost, the Yankees received a four-hit, three-RBI game by DJ LeMahieu and a solid start by rookie Deivi Garcia, who pitched into the seventh inning.

Heading into Sunday’s regular-season finale, LeMahieu (.359) was poised to capture his second batting title, his first as an American Leaguer.

And with a league-leading 22 homers, Voit was trying to hold off Chicago’s Jose Abreu for the AL home run title.

“I think they’re big deals and they should be celebrated,” Boone said, regardless of the 60-game season abbreviated by the COVID crisis.

Though it remained unclear Saturday where the Yankees (33-26) would open their first-round playoff series, one thing was certain:

“We need to get hot,” Voit said. “And (Saturday) was a good starting point for this playoff run we’re about to go on.”

Following a 10-game winning streak, the Yankees’ recent slide had ended all hope of clinching the No. 4 AL postseason seed and home field in the dangerous best-of-three series.

Still, “the great thing about our situation is we control the narrative,” Boone said.

A day after making four more errors in a 10-inning, 4-3 loss that clinched a postseason spot for Miami, the Yankees trailed 3-0 entering Saturday afternoon’s fifth inning.

Don Mattingly’s club scored three times in the third inning, coming on soft contact RBI hits against Garcia.

But the Marlins showed off their speed and smarts, scoring on Miguel Rojas hit-and-run single, sacrificing and stealing bases to put runners in scoring position.

Meanwhile, the Yankees had been waiting around since last Sunday for a three-run homer.

They finally broke through against Miami’s bullpen, with Wade’s two-run shot in the fifth, followed by Hicks’ tie-breaking two-run blast in the sixth.

“The energy’s fine, the vibe’s been great,” said Wade, who wasn’t immediately aware his blast ended the club’s long dry spell. “You can’t hold us down for long.”

Voit completed a seven-run sixth with his three-run shot to right.

Wade’s third homer of the year was the Yankees’ first in 50 innings, since Voit belted one last Sunday at Boston.

Plus, all five Yankees who drew walks in the fifth and sixth innings came around to score.

Just as encouraging, Giancarlo Stanton’s game-tying, RBI double in the fifth — at 112.9 mph according to Statcast — came after he’d extended his slide to 1 for 21 with 12 strikeouts.

Hicks’ homer, off ex-Yankee lefty Stephen Tarpley, was just his second as a right-handed hitter in 50 plate appearances this year.

Wade received Saturday’s start at shortstop over Gleyber Torres (3 for 20). Clint Frazier’s slide continued (1 for 21, 11 strikeouts) but he stole a base and scored after being hit by a pitch in the sixth.

Making his sixth MLB start, Garcia (3-2) lasted 6 2/3 innings, charged with four runs — the last being an inherited run yielded by Adam Ottavino, still searching for consistency with his slider.

Bouncing back from a rough start last Sunday at Boston (3 IP, 6 ER), Garcia gave up seven hits and one walk and had seven strikeouts.

Relying more on his slider and curveball, “I wanted to be aggressive, to execute pitches in certain situations (and) not show any weakness out there,” said Garcia, who isn’t concerned about his postseason assignment.

“For me, it’s about focusing on the job and responsibilities I have,” he said through an interpreter. The idea is to “keep executing” so that a postseason opportunity presents itself.

Garcia’s playoff role “remains to be seen,” Boone said, but “if we’re going to make a deep run, he’s going to play an important role.”

Rookie Clarke Schmidt will start Sunday’s regular-season finale, after which the Yanks will set their postseason roster.

As a team, “consistency certainly has been an issue for us in the regular season this year,” Boone said. “And we’ve got to find that consistency if we’re going to be a championship club.”


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