Jasson Domínguez became the youngest Yankees player to homer in his first career at-bat and Aaron Judge reached 250 home runs faster than any other major leaguer as New York slugged its way to a 6-2 win over the Houston Astros on Friday night.
DJ LeMahieu sent Justin Verlander’s second pitch into the right-field seats for a leadoff shot, and there were two outs in the first inning when Verlander walked Giancarlo Stanton.
Then, on the second pitch he saw and his first swing in the majors, Domínguez, who has drawn comparisons to Bo Jackson and Mike Trout, connected off Verlander (10-7) to make it 3-0.
At just 20 years, 206 days old, the highly touted Domínguez became the youngest Yankees player to homer in his first MLB game. He was the first Yankees hitter to go deep in his initial big league at-bat since Judge on Aug. 13, 2016.
After Domínguez swatted his opposite-field home run to the short porch in left off a three-time Cy Young Award winner twice his age, TV cameras panned to his family, who screamed and jumped around after watching the ball leave the yard.
Austin Wells, also making his MLB debut Friday night, singled to start the second, but the Yankees couldn’t get anything else going in that inning.
José Abreu hit a solo homer in the bottom half to get the Astros within two. But the Yankees padded the lead when Stanton hit a two-run homer in the third.
Kyle Tucker hit an RBI double that cut it to 5-2 in the bottom of the inning.
Judge launched a solo shot off Verlander in the fifth, becoming the fastest player in major league history to 250 home runs. The 2022 AL MVP reached the milestone in his 810th career game, besting Philadelphia slugger Ryan Howard, who did it in 2010 in his 855th game.
Leading off the fifth, Judge sent the first pitch to the train tracks above the left-field stands to extend New York’s lead to 6-2. Judge smiled broadly as he rounded the bases and was greeted at the dugout with high-fives from many of his teammates.
It was the 30th homer of the season for Judge, who missed nearly two months with a toe injury. The slugger hit 62 last year, breaking Roger Maris’ American League record of 61 set in 1961.
Verlander allowed eight hits and six runs in six innings. The four homers he served up were a season high, after he hadn’t allowed more than two in a game this year.
New York starter Carlos Rodon (2-4) yielded three hits and two runs in five innings.
Domínguez is expected to be the team’s everyday center fielder after Harrison Bader was claimed off waivers by the Cincinnati Reds. The prized prospect provided an immediate boost to the last-place Yankees, who have shifted their focus toward the future for the last month of this disappointing season.
Domínguez became the youngest player to appear in a game for the Yankees since 19-year-old pitcher José Rijo in July 1984 — and the youngest position player since 20-year-old outfielder Stan Javier in April 1984.
Yankees: 2B Gleyber Torres was scratched from the lineup about 90 minutes before the game with lower back tightness.
Astros: 2B Jose Altuve exited after one inning with a bruised left leg. … INF Grae Kessinger was reinstated from the 10-day injured list after missing 12 games due to health and safety protocols.
New York RHP Luis Severino (4-8, 6.64 ERA) opposes RHP Hunter Brown (10-9, 4.47) when the series continues Saturday night.
Reporting by The Associated Press.
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