|Gardner: 3-5, 6 RBI|
Without some of their best players, the Yankees looked to reliable Brett Gardner for leadership and he delivered, driving in six runs from his spot atop the batting order.
Making his presence felt early, Garnder doubled and scored in the third inning, tying the game at 1-1. After Houston took a 3-1 lead, the Yankees exploded for five runs in the sixth, Gardner driving in the go-ahead run with a two-out single, later scoring on a wild pitch to make it 6-3 Yankees.
Putting his stamp on the game, Gardner came to the plate with the bases full, delivering a grand slam that put the Astros away for the night. Overall, Gardner was 3-for-5 with three runs and six RBI in the 13-4 rout, keeping the Yanks a game behind Boston - 7-4 winners in 11 over Toronto - in the AL East.
Gardner is batting .261 with 15 homers and 40 RBI. Normal starters, Matt Holliday, Aaron Hicks and Starlin Castro all are out of the Yankee lineup with various maladies.
Houston hosts the Yankees in game two of the series, Saturday, 7:15 pm ET.
|Barnes: 2 HR, GS, 7 RBI|
Los Angeles finished the month of June with a 21-7 record. They're 19-3 since June 7 and have surged to the lead in the NL West, currently holding a 3 1/2 game advantage over Arizona in the division.
LA knocked out 19 hits against the Padres, but the biggest blows were dealt by rookie back-up catcher, Austin Barnes, who got the Dodgers rolling with a first inning grand slam, and completed the scoring with a three-run homer in the sixth inning, for a career-high seven RBI.
Barnes has played in parts of both the 2015 and 2016 seasons, but has had only 37 plate appearances in each season. In 95 at-bats this season, Barnes has four home runs, 18 RBI and a .284 batting average in 41 games.
The Padres haven't played the Dodgers since early May, with the Dodgers now holding a 6-1 advantage over their neighbors to the South. Game two of the series is slated for Saturday, 7:10 pm PT at Petco Park.