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

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The Juan Soto era in the Bronx is off to a hot start.

The New York Yankees stole a 5-4 win against their archrival Houston Astros on Opening Day, and it probably would not have happened without their newest superstar.

The Yankees acquired the perennial MVP candidate in a blockbuster trade with the San Diego Padres in the offseason after their 82-80 campaign was the worst the franchise has seen in a generation. The team’s .227 batting average last year was the second-lowest in baseball, and it was their lowest win total in a full season since 1993.

Soto had an RBI single that kick-started the Yanks’ comeback on Thursday — they were down 4-0 in the second inning, but scored three runs in the fifth, one in the sixth and another in the seventh, while starter Nestor Cortes settled in and relief pitchers Jonathan Loaisiga, Ian Hamilton and Clay Holmes ultimately shut the door.

But Holmes ran into some trouble when going for the save, as he allowed runners on first and second with one out in the ninth. Kyle Tucker laced a base hit into right field, and as the Astros sent Mauricio Dubon around third in an attempt to tie the game, Soto came firing.

And he threw an absolute dart.

Dubon was called out on the field, and after a lengthy review, the ruling on the field stood. The next batter, Alex Bregman, grounded into a fielder’s choice to give the Yanks the win.

Yankees' Juan Soto and Gleyber Torres


The Yankees acquired Soto to give their offense a much-needed boost, so anything they get on defense is an added bonus — and this was certainly an added bonus.


In true Soto fashion, he walked twice in the victory. Entering Opening Day, his career .421 on-base percentage since 2019 is the most in the majors (he’s hitting in front of slugger Aaron Judge, whose .982 OPS since 2017 is also the best in baseball).

Soto is slated to be a free agent at the end of this season, so the Yankees are certainly taking a risk, as he’ll likely garner at least $500 million in a new contract.

Juan Soto and Aaron Judge

But for now, the Yankees are celebrating, and are, of course, on pace to go 162-0.

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