NEW YORK -- It was a dream Yankees fans had spent their winter slumber seeing with their eyes closed -- and looped on repeat in eager anticipation. At 4:06 ET Wednesday afternoon, that dream became reality.
First Stanton ... then Sanchez ... then Judge -- boom!
Before this season's second game at Yankee Stadium even got past the fourth inning, each of the Bronx Bombers' Big Three -- Giancarlo Stanton, Gary Sanchez and Aaron Judge -- had hit two-run home runs and helped New York jump out to an early lead over the Tampa Bay Rays.
It might have been the first time the Yankees' three-headed, home run-hitting monster went yard in the same game. But it won't be the last.
"That's what we're here to do," Stanton said, flashing a grin. "Hopefully, there's more like it."
You can be assured there will be more days like this. Even opponents know there will be more.
"Righty or lefty, it really doesn't matter. Those guys can hit," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "Those guys make their money off really keying on mistakes and not missing them.
"And they didn't miss them."
Stanton was the first, taking advantage of a Blake Snell mistake. In the first inning, he battered a spinning slider that didn't move the way it was intended, parking it an estimated 458 feet away deep into the left-field stands. The rocket left Stanton's bat with a 117.9 mph exit velocity, making it the hardest-hit ball in the majors this season.
Two innings later, Sanchez caught on the inside corner a 3-1 Snell changeup that missed its expected location. The towering fly ball arched its way into the first few rows of the seats behind the wall in left-center.
Finally, it was Judge who capped the power showcase in the bottom of the fourth with a 419-foot home run off Matt Andriese that gave another fan in left a souvenir.
To Judge, there was nothing special about the home run production that the middle of his lineup displayed.
"Special? No. It's just another day," he said. "We're just doing our job."
It was the first time the Yankees' Nos. 2, 3 and 4 hitters homered in the same game since Sept. 20, 2017, when Judge, Sanchez and Tuesday's two-homer hero, Didi Gregorius, did it. That was the only time last season in which the Yankees' Nos. 2-4 hitters all homered in the same contest.
While the homer show by the heart of the Yankees' order might not have been a big deal to Judge, it was still meaningful that each hit helped push the once-struggling sluggers back into a positive hitting direction.
Entering Wednesday’s game, Stanton, Judge and Sanchez were a combined 4-for-42 (.095) in their previous four games. Sanchez was doing the most scuffling of the bunch, going hitless over that stretch. The only hit he had this season coming into Wednesday afternoon was a double he ripped in a 1 for 5 performance on Opening Day at the Toronto Blue Jays.
"The adjustment I wanted to make was to keep my swing shorter and focus on hitting the ball up the middle, and don't miss your pitch," Sanchez said through an interpreter.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone said he believes all three power hitters are close to truly breaking out. He especially thinks that in regard to Judge and Sanchez, whose homers against the Rays were their first of the season.
"Aaron's been pretty close to being locked in all year. He's been getting on base a lot and getting other hits," Boone said.
"With Gary off to a little bit of a slow start the first four or five games ... I felt like his first at-bat [Wednesday] was close. I actually said something to him after his first at-bat [which ended in a strikeout] like, 'You're getting real close.' And then he was able to clip one."
"With guys like that," Boone added, "guys you know are going to hit and mash, you know they get off a little slow, you know someone's going to pay the price for that."
This time it was Snell, Andriese and the Rays. Who will be the next team to surrender homers to the Big Bomber Three? More important, how long will Yankees fans have to wait to see that?
It might not be too long.