Joey Gallo, meet life as a left-handed hitter at Yankee Stadium.
After a quiet first week since the Yankees landed him in a trade, Gallo had his coming-out party Thursday night in The Bronx. With some help from the short porch in right field, the slugger boomed a towering three-run homer in the seventh inning to lift the Yankees to a 5-3 win over the Mariners.
Gallo’s first homer as a Yankee — capping off a huge night that also included a pair of doubles that keyed prior rallies — looked like it might never come down, but when it did, it barely scraped over the wall.
The 331-foot Yankee Stadium special, hit off former Mets reliever Paul Sewald, turned a one-run deficit into a two-run lead as the Yankees (59-49) opened a critical four-game series against a fellow AL wild-card competitor in emphatic fashion. They moved to a season-high 10 games over .500 with their eighth win in the last 10 games.
The Mariners (58-52) arrived in The Bronx one game behind the Yankees in the wild-card race, with both teams trailing the Athletics for the final spot. With the win, the Yankees got within 1 ½ games of the idle A’s.
Gallo put the finishing touches on his night by catching a fly ball on the warning track in left field to help Aroldis Chapman — who allowed three-ball counts against all five batters he faced — to escape the ninth inning with runners stranded at the corners.
Gallo’s moonshot came a half-inning after former Mets prospect Jarred Kelenic had also visited the short porch to give the Mariners a 3-2 lead with a solo homer off Chad Green.
Entering the day, Gallo was 2-for-23 with two doubles in six games as a Yankee, watching as fellow trade-deadline acquisition Anthony Rizzo made an instant impact in every game. But Gallo joined the party on Thursday, going 3-for-4 with three clutch extra-base hits.
The left fielder had doubled in the second inning, moving Giancarlo Stanton to third so he could score on a sacrifice fly by Gleyber Torres for the 1-0 lead.
After the Mariners went ahead 2-1 on Nestor Cortes Jr. (five innings, two runs), Gallo led off the fourth inning with another double and eventually scored on a swinging bunt by Kyle Higashioka to tie the game.