Giancarlo Stanton had himself a night on Thursday, helping power the Yankees to a 15-7 victory courtesy of a three-hit night in which he had two home runs and a two-run single. From a sheer volume standpoint, it was his most productive game as a member of the Yankees, as his six runs batted in were the most he’s ever tallied in a single game during his excellent 13-year career. (You can watch the clips here.)
Inspired by Stanton’s memorable night, I decided to dive into the archives with an assist from Stathead to see which Yankees have posted six-RBI games since the start of the 2017 season. Over the past five years and change, the Yankees have hit this milestone a total of 11 times in the Baby Bomber Era. Let’s take this trip down memory lane.
Warning: Baltimore Orioles fans, look away.
June 1, 2017: Aaron Hicks (6 RBI)
Entering the 2017 season, Hicks was the fourth outfielder, having lost the starting right field job to a rookie Aaron Judge in spring training. By the start of June, however, he had taken advantage of not-so-surprising injuries to center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury to seize the starting center field job.
Facing the Toronto Blue Jays on June 1st, Hicks had the biggest regular season game of his career, driving in half the Yankees’ runs. What was unique about this one, however, is the fact that none of these runs came off the long ball; instead, it was a trio of doubles – a first inning two-bagger off Marco Estrada that brought home Judge, Matt Holliday, and Starlin Castro, a seventh-inning double that plated Didi Gregorius, and a ninth-inning double that scored Holliday and Gregory.
June 30, 2017: Brett Gardner (6 RBI)
It’s not often that the leadoff hitter drives in six runs in a game, but that’s exactly what Gardner did, as the 2017 Yankees framed the month of June with a pair of six-RBI games by their outfielders. This time, it led to a 13-4 victory over the Houston Astros.
For the early portion of the game, the Yankees struggled to get anything going against Houston starter Lance McCullers Jr., with Gardner grounding out to the pitcher in his first plate appearance before being stranded on second after a double leadoff in the third and grounding out to second in the fifth. In the top of the sixth, however, Gardy came to the plate with Chris Carter at first, Ronald Torreyes at second, and the score tied; he grounded a single through the right side of the infield, driving in Torreyes to give the Yankees the lead.
While the Yankees expanded the lead to 6-3, Gardner would blow the game open in the seventh, hitting a two-out grand slam off reliever James Hoyt. With the game already in hand, the veteran notched his sixth and final RBI in the ninth with a sacrifice fly. That matched his previous career-high, set against Toronto during the nightcap of a doubleheader on September 12, 2015.
September 14, 2017: Aaron Judge (6 RBI)
Judge’s rookie 2017 sure was special, wasn’t it? As the Yankees chased the Red Sox into the division and Judge strove to overcome Jose Altuve’s “David vs. Goliath ”advantage in the AL MVP race, the rookie right fielder decided to add another feather to his cap with the Yankees’ third six-RBI game of the season.
The Yankees absolutely obliterated Baltimore starter Wade Miley, chasing him from the game after retiring just one batter, Matt Holliday. Judge, however, did not drive in his first run until the fourth inning, when he launched a three-run home run into the right field to extend the Yankees ’lead to 9-1. Just two innings later, he did it again, this time launching a three-run shot into the second deck in left field.
With a pair of three-run shots under his belt, the Yankees pinch-hit for Judge with Greg Bird in the seventh, just to get him off his feet a bit. Even despite playing just six and a half innings, however, it was the most productive game by RBI of Judge’s career.
April 7, 2019: Gary Sanchez (6 RBI)
Ah, remember the days when El Gary was an elite young catcher with limitless potential at the plate who excited the fanbase almost as much as Judge did? Yeah, me too. And there’s no better way to remember our excitement than to look back at one particular early-April game against those same Orioles in 2019.
We were still in the early days of #NextManUp. Giancarlo Stanton had hit the IL, replaced in the outfield by Clint Frazier. Gio Urshela had only just taken over the hot corner from Miguel Andújar. Because of these injuries, the Yankees got into the routine of playing Sanchez as the DH, especially against lefties, just to keep his bat in the lineup when Austin Romine was behind the plate. And on that night, he showed everyone why they needed to fear the Kraken.
When Sanchez belted his first home run, it was still a ballgame, as Baltimore starter David Hess had kept the Yankees to just two runs – a pair of solo shots – through the first 2.2 innings. After Gardner led off the third with a double, Hess induced a pair of lazy fly outs from Judge and Luke Voit, and it looked like he was going to escape unscathed. But Gary had other ideas, depositing the first pitch he saw into the left field seats in Camden Yards, right where it would be a fly out today.
That would not be the end of Gary’s night, however, as he added another home run in the seventh, this time a two-run shot off reliever Mike Wright … and then another in the eighth, a two-run shot off Dan Straily. The trio of two-run homers gave him six RBIs on the day, as the Yankees pounded the O’s, 15-3.
August 12, 2019: Gleyber Torres (6 RBI)
Gleyber Torres Vs. the Baltimore Orioles in 2019. Yeah, it shouldn’t be surprising to see this game on the list. Matt even once wrote an entire investigation on the man’s distaste for orange.
It was the second game of a day / night doubleheader at Yankee Stadium. After mostly being shut down in the matinee (well, by 2019 Orioles standards, he had “just” a solo home run), Torres exploded in the nightcap. With the Yanks ahead 5-3 in the 5th, Gleyber hit a three-run homer off reliever Evan Phillips, who had just come on in relief of Ty Blach. The next inning, he did it again, this time taking Thomas Eshelman deep … sending O’s announcer Gary Thorne into a daze.
The next time he came up, the Orioles opted to intentionally walk him to load the bases rather than give him a shot at three three-run home runs in one day. 2019 Gleyber was fun, wasn’t he?
September 11, 2020: Luke Voit (6 RBI)
With Judge and Stanton on the shelf for much of the abbreviated 2020 season (and both Torres’ and Sanchez’s bats absent despite being in the lineup), Voit carried the Yankees lineup alongside DJ LeMahieu. Nowhere could that be seen more than the second game of the traditional doubleheader between the Yankees and Orioles on September 11th.
With the Yankees leading 4-1 in the 4th, Voit launched a 1-2 pitch from future Yankees pitcher Asher Wojciechowski into the Yankees bullpen, bringing home both Thairo Estrada and LeMahieu. The following inning, the 2020 home run champ launched a 2-0 Woj pitch and deposited a souvenir for the ghosts in the left field seats; it was another three-run blast, giving him six RBIs for the game.
September 5, 2021: Gary Sanchez (6 RBI)
You really couldn’t get any more “2021” than this game. Sánchez, who had been struggling for large stretches of time at the plate all season, had himself a day, Relegated to the No. 9 spot in the order – hitting behind Rougned Odor! – he came to the plate with the bases juiced in the bottom of the second. Gary did very, very bad things to the baseball, launching it into the second deck for a slam to give the Yankees a 4-1 lead.
Unfortunately, the Yankees were unable to put the O’s away early, and Baltimore clawed back to trail 5-4 headed into the bottom of the sixth. Not wanting to see the Yankees, who were in the process of undoing everything they had gained from the 13-game win streak, blow it, the catcher took matters into his own hands and launched another home run, this one a two-run shot .
For some reason, the Yankees decided to turn to Andrew Heaney to hold the lead. It didn’t last half an inning, and the Orioles took an 8-7 advantage before the Yankees recorded even two outs. The rest of the lineup was unable to do anything against the O’s staff, resulting in the Yankees somehow losing a game in which one of their hitters drove in six runs (the lone loss in this retrospective). Absolutely ridiculous – and absolutely 2021.
April 26, 2022: Anthony Rizzo (6 RBI)
Coming into the season, fans were at best skeptical, at worst openly hostile, at the Yankees ’decision to re-sign Anthony Rizzo rather than acquire Matt Olson or Freddie Freeman to play first base. Rizzo’s April, however, did a lot to get fans on his side – particularly during an April 26th matchup against the (surprise, surprise) Baltimore Orioles (this is their sixth time on this list).
After the Yankees struggled to get anything going off Baltimore starter Jordan Lyles the first time through the order, Anthony Rizzo porched a ball down the right field line, a 346-foot home run that would have been an out in every other stadium, driving in both Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Kyle Higashioka. Two innings later, Rizzo did it again, extending the lead to 6-0 with another home run that wasn’t quite a porch shot, but was certainly no moonshot, either.
Finally, to top it all off, Rizzo went back-to-back with Aaron Judge in the ninth inning with one of the strangest home runs of the year.
The hat trick bomb had an xBA of just .010. It looked like it was going to go foul, but then sliced back into fair territory at the last second. Rizzo himself was “shocked” when it went out. But none of that matters – it was home run number three on the night, and RBI number six.
July 23, 2019: Didi Gregorius (7 RBI)
Now, we’re taking a small step up in RBI production. Everybody remembers this game – one of the Yankees ‘best of the past 25 years – for Hicks’ diving catch with the bases loaded to cap off an epic matchup with the Minnesota Twins, and rightfully so. But before Hicks could save the game, Didi had to win it.
After missing the first two months due to offseason Tommy John surgery, Gregorius had struggled to find himself at the plate. In his 32nd game of the season, the shortstop had himself a big game. First, he opened up the scoring with a two-run double in the first inning off Twins starter Kyle Gibson. Three innings later, he would cut the 9-2 deficit to 9-5 with a three-run home run off Gibson, and two innings after that, with the Yankees having cut a 9-5 deficit to 9-8, he doubled off Ryne Harper to give the Yankees a 10-9 lead.
Eventually, the Yankees would find a way to overcome multiple blown leads to gain the W. While history has remembered the blown leads (and the almost-blown leads), they wouldn’t have gotten there if it weren’t for Didi’s big day .
April 3, 2018: Didi Gregorius (8 RBI)
Remarkably, Didi’s seven-RBI night was not his most productive as a member of the Yankees; that came over a season and a half prior, in the fifth game of the 2018 season.
With runners on first and second, one out in the second, and the game tied up at one, Gregorius took Tampa Bay starter Chris Archer deep to give the Yankees a 4-1 lead, although the Rays would tie it up later. Three innings later, right after Tyler Austin scored on an error on a Gardner sac bunt attempt, he gave the Yankees an 8-4 lead with his second home run of the game. Finally, at the bottom of the eighth, he had a two-out, two-run single off Sergio Romo that extended the lead to 11-4.
It was a historic day for the shortstop, as he not only became the first player in MLB history to drive in eight runs during his team’s home opener; he also set the franchise record for RBIs in a game by a shortstop.
The only Yankees player this century to even match Didi’s eight-RBI night is Alex Rodriguez, who famously drove in 10 while belting three homers off Bartolo Colon on April 26, 2005.
Since getting Tommy John surgery a few years back, Gregorius hasn’t quite been the same player he once was. But in his prime, right smack in the middle of the Yankees lineup, he sure was special.