Stanton, Yankees power way to 9-3 win against Rays in opener

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New York Yankees designated hitter Giancarlo Stanton (27) connects for a grand slam home run against the Tampa Bay Rays during the ninth inning in Game one of a baseball American League Division Series Monday, Oct. 5, 2020, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

SAN DIEGO – Giancarlo Stanton and the Bronx Bombers made themselves right at home in Petco Park on a warm October evening in Southern California.

Stanton hit a grand slam in the ninth inning for New York's fourth home run of the game, and the Yankees beat the Tampa Bay Rays 9-3 on Monday in the opener of their AL Division Series at Petco Park.

Stanton homered to straightaway center field on a 2-2 pitch from John Curtiss. The slugger took several steps with his bat still in his hands as he watched the ball sail through the pleasant San Diego evening air before beginning his trot.

A few fans chanted “Let's Go Yankees!" from a balcony on an office building just beyond right field of the mostly empty ballpark.

“That SoCal air, man. That SoCal weather. That’s what it is,” said Stanton, who is from Los Angeles and won the Home Run Derby at Petco Park in 2016. He spent his first eight seasons with the Marlins and has nine homers in 20 games at Petco Park.

Kyle Higashioka, another SoCal native, and Aaron Judge hit the tying and go-ahead home runs off Blake Snell in the fifth to back winner Gerrit Cole. Clint Frazier hit an impressive shot into the second deck in left in the third.

The Bronx Bombers became the first team in American League history to hit a grand slam in back-to-back playoff games. Gio Urshela connected in Game 2 of the first-round sweep against Cleveland. Two NL teams have done it, the 1977 Dodgers and 2011 Diamondbacks.

Judge said he’s comfortable in San Diego, and his parents were at the game.