NEW YORK — Aaron Judge did his best to bring his offseason alter ego to life on Thursday, setting fire to the Giants with his first swing of the 2023 season.
Judge, aka “Arson” after an erroneous report sent him to San Francisco over the winter, took Giants pitcher Logan Webb deep in his first at-bat on opening day in the Yankees’ 5-0 win.
The first-inning solo shot, a 422-foot drive into Monument Park, started the scoring for the Yankees as Judge picked up where he left off after clubbing a team and American League-record 62 dingers a season ago.
The reigning American League MVP followed his blast up with an RBI bloop in the seventh.
Gerrit Cole, meanwhile, did some record setting of his own on Thursday, notching a new franchise opening day mark with 11 strikeouts. Webb claimed the same record in the Giants’ history books with 12 strikeouts, though he allowed four earned runs in the loss.
Cole didn’t surrender any over six frames and held San Francisco to just three hits. He also walked two on 95 pitches.
Gleyber Torres and DJ LeMahieu provided the Yankees’ other runs. Torres lofted a two-run homer to right off Webb in the fourth inning, while LeMahieu picked up an RBI single in the seventh.
Anthony Volpe, meanwhile, made his highly-anticipated debut. The shortstop and No. 9 hitter became the first rookie to appear in an opening day Yankees lineup since Judge did so in 2017.
Volpe, a New Jersey native and childhood Yankees fan, had plenty of familial support in the stands while he forced a walk, swiped a base and struck out during his first-ever Yankee Stadium opener.