NEW YORK — — The Yankees have found a hideout in Round Rock.
Less than a month after languishing in the minors, Matt Carpenter has shown why his bat has become popular with his New York teammates – with that bushy mustache.
Carpenter homered twice and tied his career high with seven RBIs, powering an 18-4 rout of the Chicago Cubs on Sunday that completed a weekend sweep and gave the major league-leading Yankees their 11th victory in 12 games.
“It’s quite difficult to be in Triple-A and to imagine that you will have this opportunity,” said the 36-year-old.
Carpenter tied on homeruns as New York chased Keegan Thompson (6-2) in a five-run first and hit a three-run homer off Daniel Norris for an 8-1 lead in the second.
Carpenter added a two-point drive against Alec Mills in the sixth for his first multihomer game in four years and an RBI brace in the seventh against Sean Newcomb as the Yankees sent Chicago to its sixth straight loss.
All the more impressive considering Carpenter had only had two plate appearances since June 3.
“I put it in the garage for a week and took it out for a ride,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “It’s impressive.”
Kyle Higashioka added his first two home runs this season, after hitting seven in spring training. Giancarlo Stanton and Isiah Kiner-Falefa had three RBIs each as the Yankees tossed a season-high 17 hits and scored their most runs since beating Toronto 20-6 on the 15th. September 2020.
Higashioka and Carpenter were added to the roster late because second baseman Gleyber Torres was nauseous and receiver Jose Trevino suffered from back pain.
Carpenter raised his average to .333 with 13 RBIs. Signed May 26 due to injuries to Giancarlo Stanton and Josh Donaldson, Carpenter became the first Yankees player to hit six home runs in his first 10 games and only the second major league player to have six home runs among his first seven hits. safe after the story of Trevor from Colorado in 2016.
“I was confident with what I was doing at home plate, I was hoping it would potentially happen, and now it’s a lot of fun to watch it unfold,” Carpenter said.
A three-time All-Star with St. Louis, Carpenter had just three home runs and 21 RBIs last season. He exercised an opt-out at the Round Rock branch in Texas on May 19 and returned home.
“I went from Triple-A to my couch for a week, I didn’t know if it would work,” he said.
Signing with the Yankees couldn’t have worked better. He matched his seven RBIs against the Cubs in July 2018, when he played his only three-home run during a six-game long-hitch streak.
Carpenter played flawlessly at third base with two assists in his first major league game on the field this year.
“I was waiting for that first roll call,” he said of the laundryman’s creatures.
After shaving off his longtime beard to comply with Yankees rules, Carpenter joined mustachioed pitcher Nelson Cortes in inspiring Marwin Gonzalez and Lucas Luetge to try fuzzy upper lips.
“Super professional. He acts like he’s been a part of the team forever,” said Jameson Taillon (7-1), who went undefeated in 11 starts, allowing three runs and seven hits in five innings.
Manny Bañuelos pitched three innings for his first save in the big league. New York is 44-16 and opens an 8½ game lead over AL East and has won 11 straight home games, one of its most since the new Yankee Stadium opened in 2009.
“That they had the faith to sign me means a lot,” Carpenter said, “and I appreciate that.”
Higashioka received the quiet treatment after his third-inning drive, then homered in the eighth on a 35-mph eephus pitch from Frank Schwindel, a first baseman making his second appearance on the mound in 10 days.
Chicago’s six-game skid is its longest this year, dropping the Cubs 13 games below .500 at 23-36. The Yankees beat Chicago 28-5 in the three-game series and improved to 15-4 against the Cubs, 23-4, including World Series sweeps in 1932 and 1938. The Cubs are 0- 12 in the Bronx. … Thompson allowed five runs – three earned – three hits and three walks while getting two outs. His ERA has gone from 1.99 to 3.67 in his last two starts. Thompson and Norris scored six goals in the first two innings and scored all.
“When you play against one of the best teams in baseball, you realize we have areas to improve,” Cubs manager David Ross said.
Cubs RHP Michael Rucker was opted for Triple-A Iowa and Newcomb, out since May 7, was activated from the 15-day IL.
Cubs: OF Seiya Suzuki, sidelined since May 26 with a sprained left ring finger, is still suffering from swelling and will not participate in baseball activities for at least five days. He called it common ground after speaking with Ross and president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer.
Yankees: Trevino’s back started to bother him on Saturday. … RHP Jonathan Loaisiga, out since May 22 with an infammation in his right shoulder, is due to start a free throwing program on Monday … LHP Aroldis Chapman (left Achilles tendinitis) is due to throw on flat ground Tuesday.
Cubs: LHP Justin Steele (1-5, 4.79) is scheduled to be on the mound for Monday’s home opener against San Diego and Yu Darvish (5-3, 3.61).
Yankees: RHP Gerrit Cole (5-1, 3.63) starts Tuesday’s series opener against Tampa Bay after giving up a career-high five homers last week at Minnesota. Former Yankee Corey Kluber (3-2, 3.88) starts for the Rays.