Then, with a bunch of family members and friends packed in the stands, he stepped up to the plate with the bases loaded, hoping to do something really special in his home debut at Yankee Stadium.
Oh, he did.
Frazier had an unforgettable first at-bat wearing the pinstripes, grounding into a rare run-scoring triple play as the New York Yankees beat the Cincinnati Reds 4-2 Tuesday night.
“I might’ve set a record,” Frazier said. “Got to be a record.”
“Can laugh about it now. At the time, I was pretty upset,” he said. “It was just unbelievable. Hopefully, that doesn’t ever happen again.”
Rookie Jordan Montgomery took a no-hit try into the sixth inning , and Didi Gregorius hit his third homer in two games to boost the AL East contenders.
Last-place Cincinnati lost for the 10th time in 12 games. Billy Hamilton’s bid for a tying extra-base hit in the eighth was thwarted when pinch-hitter Zack Cozart, out of the starting lineup to rest his tender quadriceps, hobbled into third.
Cozart, an All-Star shortstop, was pulled as a precaution.
“I’ve kind of asked Zack to try and stay away from exacerbating some things,” Reds manager Bryan Price said.
Back in the Bronx for the first time since the All-Star break, the Yankees brought along Frazier and relievers David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle, all acquired last week in a trade with the Chicago White Sox.
Frazier made the two-hour drive from his hometown of Toms River near the Jersey shore, and the veteran third baseman had his own personal rooting section in tow.
With three on and none out in the second inning, Frazier hit a hard grounder up the middle that shortstop Jose Peraza gloved. Peraza quickly stepped on second and threw to first.
Gregorius, who had been on second base, held up when the ball was hit, in case it was caught. He was late to advance, and first baseman Joey Votto’s throw across the diamond caught him in a rundown. Gregorius was called out for running wide of baseline trying to avoid a tag.
“I just tried to get a double play,” Peraza said through a translator.
At least there was some consolation for Frazier — a run scored, rarely seen on a triple play, because Matt Holliday scampered home before Gregorius was trapped.
It was the Reds’ first triple play since 1995, and the first any team has turned against the Yankees since 2011. It was the first time a team scored on a triple play since Seattle against Minnesota in 2006.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi could only hang his head on the dugout railing at the bizarre sequence.
“A strange play,” he said.
Peraza started in place of Cozart. Peraza was part of a three-team trade involving Frazier in 2015.
Montgomery (7-5) held the Reds hitless until Scott Schebler broke an 0-for-20 slump with a leadoff double in the sixth. Montgomery gave up two hits in 6 2/3 innings.
Aroldis Chapman closed for his 12th save in 15 chances, giving the Yankees their fourth win in five games.
Rookie Luis Castillo (1-4) gave up three runs in five innings. Despite the loss, he left with a memory, thanks to Frazier’s ball.
“I will never forget that. Triple play, bases loaded, that’s amazing,” he said. “If double plays the best friend of a pitcher, what about a triple play?”
Yankees slugger Aaron Judge lined a foul ball that hit a fan sitting beyond the first-base dugout in the eighth inning. The ball left Judge’s bat at 105 mph, and EMTs attended to the man. After a few minutes, with a bloody bandage around his head, he walked to an exit with help.
Officially, the triple play went Peraza to Votto to third baseman Eugenio Suarez and back to Peraza. This was just the second 6-3-5-6 triple play in major league history, according to the Society for American Baseball Research. The other was on June 6, 1970, when Pittsburgh shortstop Gene Alley, first baseman Al Oliver and third baseman Richie Hebner did it on a ball hit by the Dodgers’ Wes Parker. … There have been 712 triple plays in the majors, 30 by the Reds.
Reds: Cozart grounded into a force play as a pinch-hitter in the eighth. He recently came off the disabled list after a strained quadriceps.
Yankees: OF Aaron Hicks (oblique) and 1B Tyler Austin (hamstring) are ready to ramp up their hitting activity. No timetable yet for their return.
Reds: RHP Homer Bailey (2-4, 8.56 ERA) won his only previous start at Yankee Stadium in 2012.
Yankees: RHP Luis Severino (6-4, 3.21) has permitted one run in 14 innings over two starts since making the All-Star team.
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