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Yankees prospect Juan Soto preserves Opening Day win with game-saving defense in 9th inning


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this Juan Soto The Bronx’s time has begun.

this new york yankees A 5-4 Opening Day victory over the arch-rival Houston Astros might not have happened without their newest superstar.

Yankees acquire perennial MVP candidate in blockbuster trade san diego padres The team finished the offseason with an 82-80 record, the franchise’s worst record in a generation. The team’s .227 batting average last year was the second-lowest in baseball and their lowest win total for a full season since 1993.

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New York Yankees’ Juan Soto warms up in the outfield before Thursday’s game against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park in Houston. (Michael Stargill/MLB Photo via Getty Images)

On Thursday, Soto hit an RBI single to start the Yankees’ comeback — they trailed 4-0 in the second inning but scored three runs in the fifth, one in the sixth and one in the seventh. The inning allowed one run, while starter Nestor Cortez settled in and relief pitchers Jonathan Loaisiga, Ian Hamilton and Clay Holmes eventually closed the door.

But Holmes had some trouble making the save, as he got runners on first and second out in the ninth. Kyle Tucker hit a single to right field, and the Astros sent Mauricio Dupont to third to try to get the ball out. Tie, Soto shoots.

He threw an absolute dart.

Dupont was called out on the field, and after a lengthy review, the ruling stood. The next batter, Alex Bregman, struck out on a fielder’s choice, giving the Yankees the winning run.

Juan Soto and Gleyber Torres, Yankees

New York Yankees second baseman Gleyber Torres, left, and right fielder Juan Soto celebrate after a game against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park in Houston on Thursday. (Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports)

Look at the time

The Yankees brought in Soto to give their offense a much-needed boost, so anything they get on defense is a bonus — which is certainly a bonus.

Mike Trout hits first home run to open 2024 MLB season

In true Soto fashion, he reached base twice in the win. Entering Opening Day, his .421 career on-base percentage since 2019 is the best in the majors (he’s ahead of slugger Aaron Judge, whose .982 OPS since 2017 is also the best in the majors) The highest in baseball. The best in baseball).

Soto is expected to be a free agent after this season, so the Yankees are certainly taking a chance since he could command at least $500 million in a new deal.

Juan Soto and Aaron Judge

New York Yankees’ Juan Soto, left, and Aaron Judge watch Thursday’s game against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park in Houston. (Michael Stargill/MLB Photo via Getty Images)

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But now, the Yankees are celebrating, of course, on their way to 162-0.

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