NEW YORK – Every once in a while, Giancarlo Stanton hits a ball so hard and so far that Yankees manager Aaron Boone almost is puzzled it was humanly possible.
Stanton smashed a titanic home run to center field, Aaron Judge also went deep and Jhony Brito won his brilliant major league debut as New York beat the San Francisco Giants 6-0 on Sunday.
“Yeah, G is weird. Every time he comes in after one of those, I just tell him, ‘You’re weird. You’re different,'" Boone said.
Kyle Higashioka also homered off Ross Stripling, who served up all three long balls in his first start for San Francisco, and the Yankees took two of three in the initial series of the season.
Brito (1-0) yielded two hits — one a bunt single — over five impressive innings after needing 27 pitches to get through the first. He struck out six and walked one, showcasing a polished changeup to put away batters.
“I think he's going to be one of those frontline starters for the Yankees years to come,” Giants first baseman J.D. Davis said. “Deadly fastball-changeup combo.”
With projected starters Carlos Rodón, Luis Severino and Frankie Montas sidelined by injuries, the 25-year-old right-hander from the Dominican Republic won a spot in New York's rotation with a strong spring that included 5 1/3 perfect innings against Toronto his last time out.
“I thought he was fantastic,” Higashioka said. “We need guys to step up, and he definitely rose to the occasion.”
Brito went a combined 11-4 with a 2.96 ERA at Double-A and Triple-A last season.
“Very at ease out there,” Boone said. “Just a really good performance and an important performance for us.”
Stripling (0-1) escaped a bases-loaded jam in the first, but Judge lined his second home run of the season to left field in the third.
Anthony Rizzo followed with a sharp single and Stanton launched a 485-foot drive to nearly straightaway center field that soared way over the tinted restaurant windows above Monument Park. The ball even cleared the camera perch above that and landed on a pedestrian walkway in front of a bar.
Stanton lingered a bit to admire the 118-mph drive and then tossed his bat aside before rounding the bases. It was his second-longest home run since Statcast began tracking in 2015, behind a 504-foot shot at Coors Field in August 2016, and the third-longest at Yankee Stadium during that time, behind two homers by Judge in 2017 that surpassed 490 feet.
“That’s cool that it’s up there. I don’t worry about that too much. It just put us in a good spot to win," Stanton said. “As long as it goes over the fence, that’s cool with me.”
Stanton also homered Saturday but then grounded into a game-ending double play with the bases loaded in a 7-5 loss.
Higashioka connected leading off the fourth against Stripling, who gave up four runs in five innings. The right-hander won 10 games with a 3.01 ERA for Toronto last season before signing a $25 million, two-year contract with the Giants.
New York added two runs in the seventh without a hit, thanks to three walks and three wild pitches by 6-foot-11 reliever Sean Hjelle. Rizzo drove in rookie Anthony Volpe with a sacrifice fly.
Ron Marinaccio put down a San Francisco threat in the sixth and struck out the side in the seventh. Colten Brewer worked two hitless innings in his Yankees debut to finish the three-hitter.
It's the first time the Yankees have thrown two shutouts within the first three games of a season.
New York improved to 29-2, including the playoffs, when Judge and Stanton homer in the same game.
“We've got to keep doing it," Stanton said.
CENTER OF ATTENTION
Isiah Kiner-Falefa made a good catch in the first inning and had no trouble in center field for the Yankees — his first major league appearance in the outfield.
“I felt really good," he said.
Kiner-Falefa was New York’s primary shortstop last season but was shaky in the field and provided little offense. He has been moved to a utility role this year.
Giants: Placed catcher Joey Bart on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to March 31, with a strain in the middle of his back. “We don’t expect it to be a long-term thing,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “We discussed the possibility of like, seven days. Maybe a few more.” Hjelle was recalled from Triple-A Sacramento.
Yankees: RHP Tommy Kahnle (biceps tendinitis) will probably start playing catch in the next couple of days, Boone said. ... INF DJ LeMahieu was rested.
Giants: RHP Anthony DeSclafani starts Monday afternoon against White Sox RHP Michael Kopech in Chicago's home opener. San Francisco plays nine straight day games to begin the season.
Yankees: All-Star LHP Nestor Cortes gets his first start of the season Monday night at home against NL champion Philadelphia. RHP Taijuan Walker makes his Phillies debut.