‘He’s been everything we could’ve hoped for’

Rougned Odor points after home run 7/18

Before the Yankees broke out a 9-1 rout of the AL East-leading Boston Red Sox for a three-game series win Sunday at Yankee Stadium, Rougned Odor sparked New York’s fifth- and seventh-inning separation.

After the seventh-batting Odor dropped a leadoff bunt single down the first-base line, went first to third on Ryan LaMarre‘s knock through the right side and scored on Greg Allen‘s sacrifice fly to center as the Yankees built a 3-0 fifth-inning lead, he added an exclamation point in the seventh.

Following Brett Gardner‘s leadoff single, Odor’s first-pitch hack flew into the right-center bleachers, a 419-foot bomb to give the Yankees a 5-0 cushion and open the floodgates for a four-run inning.

“I’ve been feeling pretty good at the plate,” said Odor, who went 2 for 3 with a walk, after the game. “I’m just trying to help my team to win, when they give me the opportunity to play the game, and that’s it. I feel really good at the plate and our team is feeling really good, too, at the plate.”

In a series where the Yankees were without a number of starters, Odor was chief among the players to step up. Odor, whom the Yankees traded for from the Texas Rangers April 6, entered Sunday slashing .283/.338/.567 with four home runs and eight RBI in his past 20 games (15 starts) — dating back to June 8.

“That he’s a great teammate and great competitor — that’s what I’ve learned,” said Yankees manager Aaron Boone. “I’ve been so impressed and it’s been awesome to have him. He’s consistent, as far as who he is, each and every day — whether we’re going through a tough spell, whether we’re hot as can be, whether he hasn’t played in a few days, whether he’s playing every day. He’s having conversations in game with his teammates about what a pitcher might be doing, what a pitch might be doing.

“He’s really been awesome. He really has. He’s a great guy that likes to play baseball, likes to play baseball and compete with his teammates, and likes to see his teammates do well and is interested in helping them as much as he wants to help himself. And obviously, couple that with the fact that he’s been productive for us, he’s been everything we could’ve hoped for.”

As the Yankees (48-44) look to build off their third straight series win, entering a two-game home set Tuesday and Wednesday against the Philadelphia Phillies (47-45), they find themselves feeding off Odor’s energy. The 27-year-old 2B keeps his approach simple.

“I just try to be myself,” he said. “I like to win games. I don’t like to lose. And I think if I can bring that energy to our team, it’s going to help us to play harder, to be more focused in the game. And I’m just trying to help my team, try to keep everybody up. And this is a long season we’ve got a lot of up and downs, so I’m just trying to be the same guy all the time in the clubhouse and when I play, too. So I like to be like that.”


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