LONDON — Rest assured, British fans: Most baseball games are not like this, not even the crazy ones between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox.
Major League Baseball arrived in Europe on Saturday night with Ye Olde Slugfest. Each team scored six runs in a first inning that stretched nearly an hour, with Aaron Hicks hitting the first European homer. Brett Gardner had a tiebreaking, two-run drive in the third, Aaron Judge went deep to cap a six-run fourth and the Yankees outlasted their rivals 17-13.
Before a sellout crowd of 59,659 at Olympic Stadium that included fans from Britain, Beantown and the Big Apple plus royalty, batters behaved like good tourists and minded the gaps — and the fences. As a Union Jack fluttered above center field along with the Stars and Stripes, both teams jacked and jacked and jacked.
DJ LeMahieu had four hits and five RBIs, including a three-run double in the fourth and a two-run single in the fifth that opened a 17-6 lead. Luke Voit had four hits, including three doubles, before leaving with an injury in the fifth.
No British reserve with these offenses.
New York set season highs for runs and hits by the fifth inning and outhit Boston 19-18 overall as both teams batted around twice. The 30 runs were the most in a big league game since Boston beat Baltimore 19-12 last Aug. 10, according to STATS.
Rookie Michael Chavis hit a pair of three-run homers for the Red Sox, the second in a six-run seventh. Jackie Bradley Jr. had four hits, including a home run. Shortstop Xander Bogaerts left in the eighth after appearing to hurt a leg while running the bases.
Boston starter Rick Porcello and New York’s Masahiro Tanaka got hammered — fittingly in the home of the Premier League soccer club West Ham, nicknamed the Hammers. Neither got out of a first inning that lasted 58 minutes and included 20 batters and 94 pitches. It took 1:51 to play the first three innings and 2:58 for 4½, but unlike in cricket, the teams did not break for tea. Zack Britton retired Marco Hernandez on a bases-loaded grounder that ended the eighth, and Aroldis Chapman retired Sam Travis on a double play to end the game after 4:42 — three minutes shy of the record for a nine-inning game.
Chad Green (2-2) allowed four hits in two scoreless innings. Steven Wright (0-1) lost in his first decision and second appearance since an 80-game suspension for a positive drug test.
New York, which began the day seven games ahead of second-place Tampa Bay in the AL East, won for the 12th time in 13 games and reached the halfway point at 53-28, one fewer win than last year. The defending champion Red Sox dropped a season-high 10 games back at 44-39.
The 2,200th regular-season meeting between the teams was a scorcher — the hottest day of the year in London at 93 degrees Fahrenheit (34 Celsius), and still 92 when the first pitch was thrown at 6:10 p.m.
While Boston was the home team and hit last, both teams wore their white home uniforms. Prince Harry and wife Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, took part in the ceremonial first pitch but did not make the toss. Former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani was on hand, as he was when the Yankees played Tampa Bay at the Tokyo Dome in 2004.
Organizers brought touches of home, such as the grounds crew dancing to the Village People’s “YMCA” and the sound system played “Sweet Caroline” in the eighth and “New York, New York” after the final out.
But there were misfires, too. When Gary Sánchez struck out in the second, music was played that usually follows a New York run being scored at Yankee Stadium.
Porcello got just one out in the shortest of his 324 career starts and Tanaka two outs as he failed to finish the first inning for the first time in 149 major league starts. It was the first time in the rivalry that both teams scored six or more runs in the opening inning and the first big league game involving any teams in which that occurred since visiting Toronto led Oakland 7-6 on June 23, 1989.
Both starters gave up six runs. The last time neither pitcher finished the first was Sept. 21, 1989, when San Diego’s Dennis Rasmussen and Cincinnati’s Jack Armstrong both allowed five runs and got no outs.
Voit and Edwin Encarnación hit RBI doubles around Didi Gregorius’ two-run double, and Hicks drove a changeup 386 feet over the Boston bullpen in right field for a two-run homer on Porcello’s 33rd and final pitch.
Rafael Devers and Brock Holt had RBI singles in the bottom half around Christian Vazquez’s sacrifice fly, and Chavis chased Tanaka with his first homer.
Jason Diamond, visiting from New York, won the third-inning race against The Freeze, who came over from Atlanta. … Freddie Mercury won the racing mascots, beating Winston Churchill, King Henry VIII and the Loch Ness Monster.
Yankees RF Michael Tauchman made a diving backhand grab to rob Sam Travis in the seventh.
Encarnación struck out five times.
Yankees radio broadcaster Suzyn Waldman wore a fascinator, more commonly seen at Royal Ascot than a baseball game.
Yankees: RHP Domingo Germán is scheduled to return from a strained hip flexor and start Wednesday at the New York Mets, a day after LHP J.A. Happ starts the opener of the two-game series. LHP CC Sabathia will start in the following series at Tampa Bay. … RHP Luis Severino (lat strain) had another setback and still has not thrown off a mound. Yankees manager Aaron Boone said an MRI showed the lat is about 90% healed and Severino probably will resume throwing in 5-7 days. … RHP Dellin Betances (lat strain) probably will resume throwing next week.
Red Sox: LHP Brian Johnson was put on the 10-day IL because of an unspecified medical matter not related to baseball.
LHP Eduardo Rodriguez starts Sunday’s series finale for Boston. New York plans to use its bullpen.AlertMe