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Soto, Judge and Stanton give Yankees first teammates trio of season with double-digit homers

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Soto, Judge and Stanton give Yankees first teammates trio of season with double-digit homers
Sport

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Soto, Judge and Stanton give Yankees first teammates trio of season with double-digit homers

2024-05-19 05:49 Last Updated At:05:50

NEW YORK (AP) — Juan Soto stopped his slump with flair, joining Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge to make the New York Yankees the first team this season with a trio of double-digit home run hitters.

“It tells how much damage we can do,” Soto said after his first multihomer game for New York powered the Yankees over the Chicago White Sox 6-1 on Saturday for their first six-game winning streak since September 2022.

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New York Yankees' Juan Soto, left, celebrates with Aaron Judge after hitting a home run during the first inning of a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox, Saturday, May 18, 2024, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

NEW YORK (AP) — Juan Soto stopped his slump with flair, joining Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge to make the New York Yankees the first team this season with a trio of double-digit home run hitters.

New York Yankees' Juan Soto flips his bat after hitting a home run during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox, Saturday, May 18, 2024, in New York. The Yankees won 6-1. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

New York Yankees' Juan Soto flips his bat after hitting a home run during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox, Saturday, May 18, 2024, in New York. The Yankees won 6-1. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

New York Yankees' Juan Soto celebrates with teammates after hitting a home run during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox, Saturday, May 18, 2024, in New York. The Yankees won 6-1. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

New York Yankees' Juan Soto celebrates with teammates after hitting a home run during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox, Saturday, May 18, 2024, in New York. The Yankees won 6-1. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

New York Yankees' Juan Soto celebrates with teammates after hitting a home run during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox, Saturday, May 18, 2024, in New York. The Yankees won 6-1. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

New York Yankees' Juan Soto celebrates with teammates after hitting a home run during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox, Saturday, May 18, 2024, in New York. The Yankees won 6-1. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

New York Yankees' Juan Soto, right, celebrates with third base coach Luis Rojas as he runs the bases after hitting a home run during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox, Saturday, May 18, 2024, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

New York Yankees' Juan Soto, right, celebrates with third base coach Luis Rojas as he runs the bases after hitting a home run during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox, Saturday, May 18, 2024, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

In this image taken with a slow shutter speed, New York Yankees' Juan Soto runs the bases after hitting a home run during the first inning of a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox, Saturday, May 18, 2024, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

In this image taken with a slow shutter speed, New York Yankees' Juan Soto runs the bases after hitting a home run during the first inning of a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox, Saturday, May 18, 2024, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

New York Yankees' Juan Soto hits a single during the eighth inning of a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox, Saturday, May 18, 2024, in New York. The Yankees won 6-1. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

New York Yankees' Juan Soto hits a single during the eighth inning of a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox, Saturday, May 18, 2024, in New York. The Yankees won 6-1. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

New York Yankees' Juan Soto hits a home run during the first inning of a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox, Saturday, May 18, 2024, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

New York Yankees' Juan Soto hits a home run during the first inning of a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox, Saturday, May 18, 2024, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

A day after his batting average briefly dipped below .300, Soto went 4 for 4 with a walk. He is hitting .317 with 11 homers, 37 RBIs and a .975 OPS, recovering from a 3-for-25 slide during a six-game road trip.

Yankees manager Aaron Boone noticed a change with some hard-hit balls in Friday night's series opener.

“I could just see his body language,” Boone said. “Just really locked in today, all the way 'til the end there. So just one of those days that Juan's capable of.”

Soto tied the score in the first inning with a 417-foot drive deep into the right-field bleachers off Brad Keller, had an RBI single in the second and hit another solo shot in the fifth with a 437-footer deeper into the right-field bleachers. It was the 18th multihomer game for Soto.

“There’s a consistency of what he does and a confidence to what he’s doing,” Boone said. “He has a real good understanding of himself and hitting and knows the things that he wants to work on.”

Stanton and Jose Trevino also homered for the Yankees, who emerged from the game leading the major leagues with 66 long balls. Aaron Judge has 12 homers, recovering from a slow start, and Stanton has 11.

Their offense has propelled New York to 12 wins in 14 games. The Yankees boosted their record to an AL-best 32-15 despite ace Gerrit Cole missing at least the first two months of the season with an elbow injury.

New York's pitchers lead the major leagues with a 2.83 ERA. Rookie Luis Gil struck out a career-high 14 over six innings against the White Sox, winning his fourth straight start and fifth consecutive decision.

“With those three guys hitting the ball well, swinging the bat well, and having those starters doing what they’ve been doing, I think it’s just more than enough to win games,” Soto said, referring to himself, Judge and Stanton.

A three-time All-Star acquired by the Yankees from San Diego in December, the 25-year-old already has become a fan favorite. New York owner Hal Steinbrenner said this week he was open to in-season negotiations on a long-term contract for Soto, who can become a free agent after the World Series.

“It’s been great this past month-and-a-half,” Soto said. “The fan base, teammates, everything has been going in a good way.”

Soto was on the field Friday for batting practice after conferring with coaches and watching video.

“Definitely working on my swing, try to find that feeling again where I was hitting the ball in the first month and getting that feeling back and just get that confidence back,” he said. “You got to try everything that you have to to help yourself. It’s not going to happen overnight.”

Soto had just a single putout in right field on an afternoon Gil and relievers struck out 16 batters. He's not an advocate of Crash Davis, the “Field of Dreams” catcher who told pitcher Nuke LaLoosh: "Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they’re fascist. Throw some ground balls — it’s more democratic."

"Hell no. You want to strike out all the guys, I’m more than happy to see that," Soto said.

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New York Yankees' Juan Soto, left, celebrates with Aaron Judge after hitting a home run during the first inning of a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox, Saturday, May 18, 2024, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

New York Yankees' Juan Soto, left, celebrates with Aaron Judge after hitting a home run during the first inning of a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox, Saturday, May 18, 2024, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

New York Yankees' Juan Soto flips his bat after hitting a home run during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox, Saturday, May 18, 2024, in New York. The Yankees won 6-1. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

New York Yankees' Juan Soto flips his bat after hitting a home run during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox, Saturday, May 18, 2024, in New York. The Yankees won 6-1. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

New York Yankees' Juan Soto celebrates with teammates after hitting a home run during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox, Saturday, May 18, 2024, in New York. The Yankees won 6-1. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

New York Yankees' Juan Soto celebrates with teammates after hitting a home run during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox, Saturday, May 18, 2024, in New York. The Yankees won 6-1. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

New York Yankees' Juan Soto celebrates with teammates after hitting a home run during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox, Saturday, May 18, 2024, in New York. The Yankees won 6-1. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

New York Yankees' Juan Soto celebrates with teammates after hitting a home run during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox, Saturday, May 18, 2024, in New York. The Yankees won 6-1. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

New York Yankees' Juan Soto, right, celebrates with third base coach Luis Rojas as he runs the bases after hitting a home run during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox, Saturday, May 18, 2024, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

New York Yankees' Juan Soto, right, celebrates with third base coach Luis Rojas as he runs the bases after hitting a home run during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox, Saturday, May 18, 2024, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

In this image taken with a slow shutter speed, New York Yankees' Juan Soto runs the bases after hitting a home run during the first inning of a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox, Saturday, May 18, 2024, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

In this image taken with a slow shutter speed, New York Yankees' Juan Soto runs the bases after hitting a home run during the first inning of a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox, Saturday, May 18, 2024, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

New York Yankees' Juan Soto hits a single during the eighth inning of a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox, Saturday, May 18, 2024, in New York. The Yankees won 6-1. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

New York Yankees' Juan Soto hits a single during the eighth inning of a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox, Saturday, May 18, 2024, in New York. The Yankees won 6-1. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

New York Yankees' Juan Soto hits a home run during the first inning of a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox, Saturday, May 18, 2024, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

New York Yankees' Juan Soto hits a home run during the first inning of a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox, Saturday, May 18, 2024, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

STRASBOURG, France (AP) — Ursula von der Leyen pledged to be a strong leader for Europe in a time of crisis and polarization as she made her final leadership pitch in a speech to lawmakers at the European Parliament ahead of a vote Thursday afternoon on whether to grant her a second five-year term as president of the European Union's executive commission.

The secret ballot at the 720-seat parliament comes hot on the heels of strong gains by the far right in last month's election for the European Parliament. Voting gets underway at 1 p.m. (1100 GMT) and results are expected by 3 p.m. (1300 GMT).

“I will never let the extreme polarization of our societies become accepted. I will never accept that demagogues and extremists destroy our European way of life. And I stand here today ready to lead the fight with all the Democratic forces in this house,” von der Leyen said.

If a majority of the lawmakers reject her candidacy, it would leave leaders of the 27-nation bloc scrambling to find a replacement as Europe grapples with crises ranging from the war in Ukraine to climate change.

In a speech that sought to shore up support from across the political spectrum, von der Leyen pledged to strengthen the EU economy, its police and border agencies, tackle migration and pursue policies tackling climate change while also helping farmers who have staged protests against what they call stifling EU bureaucracy and environmental rules.

She also took a swipe at Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and his recent visit to Russia shortly after his country took over the rotating six-month EU presidency.

"This so-called peace mission was nothing but an appeasement mission,” von der Leyen said as she vowed that Europe would remain shoulder-to-shoulder with Ukraine.

One radical right lawmaker, Diana Iovanovici-Sosoaca of Romania, was escorted out of the parliament's chamber for heckling a speaker during the debate following von der Leyen's speech. Iovanovici-Sosoaca briefly wore what appeared to be a muzzle and held up religious icons before being led out of the room.

Over the past five years, von der Leyen has steered the bloc through a series of crises, including Britain’s exit from the EU, the COVID-19 pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. She has also pushed a Green Deal aiming to make the EU climate-neutral by 2050.

As the debate ended, she told lawmakers: "I hope to have your trust and confidence for the next years. Long live Europe."

Von der Leyen's election came as newly elected U.K. Prime Minister Keir Starmer was welcoming some 45 heads of government to discuss migration, energy security and the threat from Russia as he seeks to restore relations between the U.K. and its European neighbors.

The leaders signed off on the conservative German von der Leyen at a summit meeting late last month. The 65-year-old von der Leyen’s bid was boosted when the European People's Party, which includes von der Leyen’s Christian Democratic Union, remained the largest group at the EU Parliament after the elections.

But her reelection is not a foregone conclusion as some lawmakers within her own center-right European People’s Party could still vote against her. She needs a straight majority of 361 votes to secure a second term

The German politician has been praised for her leading role during the coronavirus crisis, when the EU bought vaccines collectively for its citizens. But she also found herself receiving sharp criticism for the opacity of the negotiations with vaccine makers.

The EU general court ruled Wednesday that the commission did not allow the public enough access to information about COVID-19 vaccine purchase agreements it secured with pharmaceutical companies during the pandemic.

Following the elections for EU Parliament, European Union leaders agreed on the officials who will hold the key positions in the world’s biggest trading bloc in the coming years for issues ranging from antitrust investigations to foreign policy. At the side of von der Leyen will be two new faces: Antonio Costa of Portugal as European Council president and Estonia’s Kaja Kallas as the top diplomat of the world’s largest trading bloc.

While Costa’s nomination only needed the leaders’ approval, Kallas will also need to be approved by European lawmakers later this year. The Estonian prime minister is a staunch supporter of Ukraine and a fierce critic of Russia within the European Union and NATO.

Corder reported from The Hague, Netherlands. Associated Press Samuel Petrequin in Brussels contributed.

Member of European Parliament Diana Iovanovici-Sosoaca, center, holds a religious image during a debate in the plenary at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, eastern France, Thursday, July 18, 2024. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen was making her final pitch Thursday to lawmakers at the European Parliament ahead of a vote on whether to grant her a second five-year term as president of the European Union's executive commission. (AP Photo/Jean-Francois Badias)

Member of European Parliament Diana Iovanovici-Sosoaca, center, holds a religious image during a debate in the plenary at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, eastern France, Thursday, July 18, 2024. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen was making her final pitch Thursday to lawmakers at the European Parliament ahead of a vote on whether to grant her a second five-year term as president of the European Union's executive commission. (AP Photo/Jean-Francois Badias)

Member of European Parliament Diana Iovanovici-Sosoaca, rear center right, holds a muzzle on her face during a debate in the plenary at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, eastern France, Thursday, July 18, 2024. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen was making her final pitch Thursday to lawmakers at the European Parliament ahead of a vote on whether to grant her a second five-year term as president of the European Union's executive commission. (AP Photo/Jean-Francois Badias)

Member of European Parliament Diana Iovanovici-Sosoaca, rear center right, holds a muzzle on her face during a debate in the plenary at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, eastern France, Thursday, July 18, 2024. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen was making her final pitch Thursday to lawmakers at the European Parliament ahead of a vote on whether to grant her a second five-year term as president of the European Union's executive commission. (AP Photo/Jean-Francois Badias)

Member of European Parliament Diana Iovanovici-Sosoaca, center right, wears a muzzle on her face during a debate in the plenary at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, eastern France, Thursday, July 18, 2024. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen was making her final pitch Thursday to lawmakers at the European Parliament ahead of a vote on whether to grant her a second five-year term as president of the European Union's executive commission. (AP Photo/Jean-Francois Badias)

Member of European Parliament Diana Iovanovici-Sosoaca, center right, wears a muzzle on her face during a debate in the plenary at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, eastern France, Thursday, July 18, 2024. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen was making her final pitch Thursday to lawmakers at the European Parliament ahead of a vote on whether to grant her a second five-year term as president of the European Union's executive commission. (AP Photo/Jean-Francois Badias)

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, center, greets European commissioners as she arrives in the plenary of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, eastern France, Thursday, July 18, 2024. Ursula von der Leyen was making her final pitch Thursday to lawmakers at the European Parliament ahead of a vote on whether to grant her a second five-year term as president of the European Union's executive commission. (AP Photo/Jean-Francois Badias)

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, center, greets European commissioners as she arrives in the plenary of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, eastern France, Thursday, July 18, 2024. Ursula von der Leyen was making her final pitch Thursday to lawmakers at the European Parliament ahead of a vote on whether to grant her a second five-year term as president of the European Union's executive commission. (AP Photo/Jean-Francois Badias)

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen addresses the plenary at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, eastern France, Thursday, July 18, 2024. Ursula von der Leyen was making her final pitch Thursday to lawmakers at the European Parliament ahead of a vote on whether to grant her a second five-year term as president of the European Union's executive commission. (AP Photo/Jean-Francois Badias)

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen addresses the plenary at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, eastern France, Thursday, July 18, 2024. Ursula von der Leyen was making her final pitch Thursday to lawmakers at the European Parliament ahead of a vote on whether to grant her a second five-year term as president of the European Union's executive commission. (AP Photo/Jean-Francois Badias)

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen addresses the plenary at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, eastern France, Thursday, July 18, 2024. Ursula von der Leyen was making her final pitch Thursday to lawmakers at the European Parliament ahead of a vote on whether to grant her a second five-year term as president of the European Union's executive commission. (AP Photo/Jean-Francois Badias)

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen addresses the plenary at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, eastern France, Thursday, July 18, 2024. Ursula von der Leyen was making her final pitch Thursday to lawmakers at the European Parliament ahead of a vote on whether to grant her a second five-year term as president of the European Union's executive commission. (AP Photo/Jean-Francois Badias)

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen addresses the plenary at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, eastern France, Thursday, July 18, 2024. Ursula von der Leyen was making her final pitch Thursday to lawmakers at the European Parliament ahead of a vote on whether to grant her a second five-year term as president of the European Union's executive commission. (AP Photo/Jean-Francois Badias)

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen addresses the plenary at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, eastern France, Thursday, July 18, 2024. Ursula von der Leyen was making her final pitch Thursday to lawmakers at the European Parliament ahead of a vote on whether to grant her a second five-year term as president of the European Union's executive commission. (AP Photo/Jean-Francois Badias)

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, center, speaks with European Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton, third left, and other European commissioners as she arrives in the plenary of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, eastern France, Thursday, July 18, 2024. Ursula von der Leyen was making her final pitch Thursday to lawmakers at the European Parliament ahead of a vote on whether to grant her a second five-year term as president of the European Union's executive commission. (AP Photo/Jean-Francois Badias)

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, center, speaks with European Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton, third left, and other European commissioners as she arrives in the plenary of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, eastern France, Thursday, July 18, 2024. Ursula von der Leyen was making her final pitch Thursday to lawmakers at the European Parliament ahead of a vote on whether to grant her a second five-year term as president of the European Union's executive commission. (AP Photo/Jean-Francois Badias)

FILE - President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen listens during a session at the European Parliament, Tuesday, April 23, 2024 in Strasbourg, eastern France. Ursula von der Leyen was making her final pitch Thursday, July 18, 2024 to lawmakers at the European Parliament ahead of a vote on whether to grant her a second five-year term as president of the European Union's executive commission. (AP Photo/Jean-Francois Badias, File)

FILE - President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen listens during a session at the European Parliament, Tuesday, April 23, 2024 in Strasbourg, eastern France. Ursula von der Leyen was making her final pitch Thursday, July 18, 2024 to lawmakers at the European Parliament ahead of a vote on whether to grant her a second five-year term as president of the European Union's executive commission. (AP Photo/Jean-Francois Badias, File)

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