It took longer than anyone could have anticipated for Giancarlo Stanton to make an impact on the Yankees this season, but he delivered — twice — in a 7-5 win over the Astros on Saturday night in The Bronx.
Stanton’s year had been defined mostly by injuries and disappointment. He came back to the Yankees’ lineup on Tuesday following a rehab assignment after he suffered a torn left biceps, a strained left shoulder and a left calf strain over the span of two-plus months.
And he got off to a rough start again Saturday in his fourth game back, hitless in his first two at-bats.
But Stanton came through twice with key hits in the sixth and seventh.
“Those were big at-bats by him and I hope everyone takes notice of that,’’ Aaron Boone said.
The manager seemed to be referencing the rough reception the slugger has often heard since arriving to The Bronx before last season.
Boone insisted the comment wasn’t directed toward anyone in particular.
“It’s just sometimes we forget what a good player he is,’’ Boone said. “I hope they saw his at-bats.”
Whoever “they” are saw a two-RBI, go-ahead single in the sixth that broke a 2-2 tie against Wade Miley and then another that snapped a 5-5 tie against Ryan Pressly in the seventh.
Both were hit too hard for third baseman Yuli Gurriel to handle at third, with the first recorded at 104.5 mph and the second at 107 mph by Statcast.
“When you hit a ball 110 [mph], that’s what happens,’’ Luke Voit said. “What’s great about him is it doesn’t matter if it’s in the air or on the ground.”
Stanton didn’t care how he did it, either.
“It’s good to be able to contribute to a win, finally, [and get] my first RBI,’’ Stanton said, who noted he didn’t drive in a run until June 22.
Stanton, who has played in seven games this season, also said he’s not concerned about his stats, because he has missed too many games already.
“I don’t worry about a bunch of firsts and catching up to things now,’’ Stanton said. “There’s no time for that.”
But with performances like he had on Saturday, Stanton still can put a significant imprint on the Yankees’ season.
“You’ve got to give the guy a break,’’ Voit said. “He’s got to get his feel back. He won the MVP for a reason. This was a good confidence boost.”
And it reverberated throughout the entire team.
“We’ve had a lot of guys step up,’’ Brett Gardner said. “But nobody can replace Stanton and nobody can replace [Aaron] Judge.”
Now, they don’t have to.