WASHINGTON (AP) — The Yankees did not let the Washington Nationals toot their own horn — the reigning World Series champs had an actual, honest-to-goodness trumpet in their dugout — because Gleyber Torres homered in the seventh inning and hit a go-ahead single in the eighth to rally New York to a 3-2 victory Sunday.
On a sunny afternoon, with the temperature topping 90, the Yankees trailed 2-0 entering the seventh before the Nationals’ bullpen blew the lead.
New York took two of three games in the season-opening series.
Washington left-hander Patrick Corbin retired New York’s first 11 batters and 18 of the first 19, Trea Turner homered off Jonathan Loaisiga, and Eric Thames provided an RBI single.
But with one out in the seventh, Torres took Corbin deep on a first-pitch fastball to make it 2-1. That was it for Corbin, and Nationals manager Dave Martinez turned to a key new reliever, Will Harris, expected to help the team fare better in late innings than it did for much of 2019.
Harris surrendered a tying homer to Luke Voit, who flexed his biceps as he returned to the dugout.
In the eighth, after lefty reliever Sean Doolittle (0-1) put men on via a walk and single, Torres pushed New York ahead with his third hit of the day.
New York’s bullpen was better, with Chad Green (1-0) working two innings for the win.
After a throwing error by Torres and Adam Eaton’s double put runners on second and third for the Nationals in the eighth, Tommy Kahnle struck out Starlin Castro and Thames to get out of the jam.
Serving as the Yankees’ primary closer while Aroldis Chapman is on the COVID-19 injured list, Zack Britton worked around a leadoff infield single and a passed ball charged to Gary Sánchez in the ninth for his first save of 2020.
This helped New York: On ball four to Victor Robles, pinch-runner Emilio Bonifácio tried to steal third but overslid the bag and was thrown out by Sánchez.
Bonifácio is the utility player who brought his brass instrument to the ballpark in hopes for trumpeting a win as part of a jazzed-up victory celebration. He even polished his horn with a white towel while sitting on the bench during the game.
It might just be this year’s replacement for Washington’s “Baby Shark” shenanigans of 2019: Bonifácio had red T-shirts made with a drawing of a gold horn, and Nationals have been pretending to play notes after base hits.
NO RESULTS FOR SOTO
Martinez said before the game the team hadn’t received any follow-up coronavirus test results for slugger Juan Soto since he tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday. Soto already had gotten a late start to summer camp, missing the first two weeks because he was exposed to someone with the coronavirus.
“We tried to push him to get as many at-bats as we possibly can when he missed so much time. Got him up to 20-something at-bats,” Martinez said. “And now, all of a sudden, we’ve kind of got to start over with him, which kind of stinks a little bit.”
OUT OF LEFT FIELD
Miguel Andújar started in left field for New York, the first appearance in the majors anywhere other than third base or DH.
Nationals: RHP Stephen Strasburg, who missed his start Saturday because of a nerve issue in his pitching hand, is “getting better,” Martinez said, but couldn’t offer much more of an update. “Tomorrow, we’ll see where he’s at. He might be able to play catch, who knows?”
Yankees: Continue their season-opening road trip with a pair of games at the Philadelphia Phillies. LHP J.A. Happ (12-8, 4.91 ERA in 2019) will start for New York on Monday against RHP Jake Arrieta (8-8, 4.64). Happ said he figures he could go up to about 90 pitches.
Nationals: Have four more games at Nationals Park coming up, all against the Blue Jays — the first two with Washington as the home team, and the next two with Toronto as the “home” team. On Monday, Washington RHP Aníbal Sánchez (11-8, 3.85 ERA in 2019) starts against RHP Trent Thornton (6-9, 4.84).