LONDON — Rest assured, British fans: Most baseball games are not like this, not even the crazy ones between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox.
Major League Baseball arrived in Europe on Saturday night with Ye Olde Slugfest. Each team scored six runs in a first inning that stretched nearly an hour, with Aaron Hicks hitting the first European homer. Brett Gardner had a tie-breaking, two-run drive in the third, Aaron Judge went deep to cap a six-run fourth and the Yankees outlasted their rivals 17-13.
Before a sellout crowd of 59,659 at London Stadium that included fans from Britain, Beantown and the Big Apple plus Prince Harry and wife Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, batters behaved like good tourists.
A Union Jack fluttered above center field along with the Stars and Stripes.
British fan Ian Muggridge appreciated the mood in the park, with the playing of the U.S. and British national anthems before the game.
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“I like the fact that it’s got quite a patriotic feel about it,” he said. “You don’t often get that in British sports. We tend to avoid that, whereas in America you just put it out there.”
For New York, DJ LeMahieu had four hits and five RBIs — three on a double in the fourth, and two on a single in the fifth that opened a 17-6 lead. Luke Voit added four hits, including three doubles, before leaving with an injury in the fifth.
No British reserve with these offenses.
The Yankees set season highs for runs and hits by the fifth inning and outhit Boston 19-18 overall as both teams batted around twice. The 30 runs were the most in a big-league game since Boston beat Baltimore 19-12 on Aug. 10, according to STATS.
Rookie Michael Chavis hit two three-run homers for the Red Sox, the second in a six-run seventh. Jackie Bradley Jr. had four hits, including a home run. Shortstop Xander Bogaerts left in the eighth after appearing to hurt a leg while running the bases.
Boston starter Rick Porcello and New York’s Masahiro Tanaka got hammered — fittingly in the home of the Premier League soccer club West Ham, nicknamed the Hammers. Neither got out of a first inning that lasted 58 minutes and included 20 batters and 94 pitches. It took 1:51 to play the first three innings and 2:58 for 4½, but unlike in cricket, the teams did not break for tea.
Zack Britton retired Marco Hernandez on a bases-loaded grounder that ended the eighth, and Aroldis Chapman got Sam Travis to hit into a double play to end the game after 4:42 — three minutes shy of the record for a nine-inning game.
But fans lapped it up.
“It’s brilliant, it’s amazing, it’s so American as well,” said Jack Lockwood, 23, who pitches and plays catcher in an amateur baseball league in the city of Sheffield. “I’ve been to hundreds of football (soccer) games and it’s just such a different atmosphere. I just like the American positivity.”
Lockwood said it would be impossible to have fans from two rival English soccer teams sit in the same stands — intermingled as Yankees and Red Sox fans were at Saturday’s game — without violent scenes.
“You put two rival football teams’ fans in the same stands, you’ll get a fight,” he said. “In baseball, you can put the fans together and you can have a laugh with anyone.”
Ronald Blum is an Associated Press writer.
This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/Ye-Olde-Slugfest-Yankees-top-Red-Sox-17-13-in-14061507.php.