By RONALD BLUM
AP Baseball Writer
NEW YORK (AP) — Matt Carpenter homered twice and tied his career high with seven RBIs, powering the New York Yankees to complete a weekend sweep of the Chicago Cubs with a 18-4 rout on Sunday for their 11th win in 12 games.
The 36-year-old was signed on May 26 after spending the first seven weeks at Texas’ Triple-A Round Rock. A three-time All-Star with St. Louis coming off three straight seasons of decline, Carpenter became the second player since 1900 to hit six home runs in his first 10 games for a team after Colorado’s Trevor Story in 2016.
Carpenter drew a tying bases-loaded walk as New York chased Keegan Thompson in a five-run first and hit a three-run homer off Daniel Norris for an 8-1 lead in the second. He added a two-run drive against Alec Mills in the sixth for his first multihomer game in four years and an RBI double in the seventh against Sean Newcomb.
Carpenter is hitting .333 with 13 RBIs, quickly becoming a clubhouse and fan favorite known for a gritty look with thick eye black. Carpenter shaved his longtime beard to comply with Yankees rules on facial hair but kept a mustache — joining pitcher Nestor Cortes. Their style inspired Marwin Gonzalez and Lucas Luetge to give mustaches a try.
His matched his seven RBIs against the Cubs in July 2018, when he had his only three-homer game. He played flawlessly at third base with two assists in his first big league game in the field this year.
Kyle Higashioka added his first two home runs of the season, after hitting seven in spring training. He was given the silent treatment when he got back to the dugout after his third-inning drive off Norris, then homered in the eighth off Frank Schwindel, usually a first baseman.
Carpenter and Higashioka were late additions to the lineup because second baseman Gleyber Torres felt nausea and catcher Jose Trevino had back pain.
Giancarlo Stanton and Isiah Kiner-Falefa had three RBIs each as the Yankees scored their most runs since beating Toronto 20-6 on Sept. 15, 2020. New York had a season-high 17 hits.
Chicago’s six-game losing streak is its longest this year, dropping the Cubs a season-worst 13 games under .500 at 23-36.
New York opened a 10-1 lead in the third, batted around twice and swept its seventh series this season. The Yankees outscored Chicago 28-5 in the three-game series and improved to 15-4 against the Cubs, 23-4 including World Series sweeps in 1932 and ’38. The Cubs have been wiped out in the Bronx, going 0-12.
New York is a major league-best 44-16 and has won 11 straight home games, one shy of its most since new Yankee Stadium opened in 2009. The Yankees have allowed a big league-low 180 runs, their fewest through 60 games
Jameson Taillon (7-1) remained unbeaten in his last 11 starts, giving up three runs and seven hits in five innings. He escaped a bases-loaded jam by getting Schwindel on a flyout that ended the fifth.
Manny Bañuelos pitched three innings for his first big league save.
Thompson (6-2) left the mound feeling as blue as his unusually colored glove. He allowed five runs — three earned — three hits and three walks while getting two outs and throwing 19 of 37 pitches for strikes. His ERA has risen from 1.99 to 3.67 in his last two starts.
Thompson and Norris walked six in the first two innings, and all six scored.
Ian Happ, who was a double shy of a cycle, put the Cubs with a first-inning home run into the right field second deck,
Carpenter drove in the tying run when he took a low fastball for Thompson’s third straight walk, and Kiner-Falefa followed with an opposite-field, two-run double down the right-field line.
Third baseman Patrick Wisdom allowed Gonzalez’s popup to drop out of his glove in front of the plate for an error, and Joey Gallo chased Thompson with a two-run double that made it 5-1.
Cubs RHP Michael Rucker was optioned to Triple-A Iowa and Newcomb, out since May 7, was activated from the 15-day IL after recovering from a sprained left ankle that he sustained while shagging in the outfield.
Cubs: OF Seiya Suzuki, sidelined since May 26 with a sprained left ring finger, still has swelling and won’t participate in baseball activities for at least five days.
Yankees: Trevino’s back started to bother him Saturday. … With Torres out, DJ LeMahieu moved from third to second, and Carpenter played third, his first time in the field since May 17 at first base for Triple-A Round Rock. His only time at third this year had been for the final five innings on May 8 against Reno. .. RHP Esteban Loaisiga, out since May 22 with right shoulder infammation, is to start a throwing program Monday … LHP Aroldis Chapman (left Achilles tendinitis) is to throw on flat ground Tuesday.
Cubs: LHP Justin Steele (1-5, 4.79) is to be on the mound for Monday’s homestand opener against San Diego and Yu Darvish (5-3, 3.61).
Yankees: RHP Gerrit Cole (5-1, 3.63) starts Tuesday’s series opener against Tampa Bay after allowing a career-high five home runs last week at Minnesota. Former Yankee Corey Kluber (3-2, 3.88) starts for the Rays.
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