By Steve Keating
TORONTO (Reuters) - The New York Yankees new "Murderers' Row" provided the opening day fireworks many expected with an explosive 6-1 win over the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday that will have sent a shudder through Major League Baseball pitching staffs.
The Yankees' bats were booming led by prized off-season signing National League home run king Giancarlo Stanton, who crushed a pair of homers on his debut while Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez also contributed to the New York hit parade.
"I felt good about today stacking those three guys," said Yankees rookie manager Aaron Boone, who had his trio of sluggers batting second, third and fourth. "Hopefully those guys create problems."
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They certainly created plenty for Blue Jays pitchers.
Stanton, Judge and Sanchez registered six of the Yankees 11 hits and drove in five of their six runs but more significantly set the early tone by bringing across the first four runs to give New York a lead they would never surrender.
"We knew it was tough to go through them before Stanton showed up," said Toronto manager John Gibbons. "I guess if you are going to be in a new city that's the way to open it up.
"They can do a lot of damage up top, you've got to pitch them tough, you can get them out if you pitch them tough but they can also burn you a time or two."
Stanton led the assault, cracking a first inning two run homer in his first at bat in the Yankees pinstripes then closed out the scoring with a ninth inning solo shot.
He also had an RBI double while Sanchez also drove in a run with double and Judge had a pair of hits and scored a run.
Brett Gardner also contributed a solo homer to the Yankees cause.
"They've got to alter their whole approach when they see us coming up," said Stanton. "From the top to bottom we are going to be tough."
Home runs and the men who hit them have always held immense fascination for baseball fans.
It is a love affair launched by Yankees great Babe Ruth, whose towering drives changed the game forever and brought him the nickname "Sultan of Swat".
Judge and Stanton appear to have been cast from the same classic slugger mould.
Stanton led the major leagues with 59 homers in 2017 and alongside AL Rookie of year Judge, who hammered 52, will form baseball's most feared one-two power punch since the Roaring '20s pinstriped partnership of Ruth and Lou Gehrig fronted the original Murderers' Row and was followed in the Sixties by the M&M Boys of Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris.
Sanchez also comes with a sluggers pedigree joining Ruth and Maris as just the third Yankee to hit 30 homers in first 90 games.
(Editing by Peter Rutherford)