WATCH: Juan Soto saves Yankees Opening Day with incredible throw to stop tying run from scoring in ninth


The New York Yankees mounted a 5-4 comeback win over the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on Opening Day. For the Yanks, the late-inning hero was Juan Soto, the blockbuster trade acquisition from earlier this winter, but not in the way you might be thinking. 

Soto is of course one of the best hitters in baseball, thanks to his elite combination of plate discipline and power. He’s rightly considered a liability in the outfield, but that’s mostly because of his limited range. Soto can actually sling it pretty well out there. Last season, Statcast ranked Soto in the 58th percentile in arm strength and the 82nd percentile in arm value. With the game on the line Thursday, Soto provided a timely reminder of those skills of his. 

Down 5-4 in the bottom of the ninth, the Astros had two on with one out. Kyle Tucker laced a single to Soto in right, and Mauricio Dubón, who runs pretty well, attempted to score the tying run from second. Now let’s roll tape: 

After a somewhat lengthy replay review, Dubón was indeed ruled out, and Yanks catcher Jose Trevino was ruled not to have been blocking the plate. Closer Clay Holmes then teased a routine grounder out of Alex Bregman for the final out. 

“I actually thought once the ball left the bat, where Soto was playing there, I thought we had a shot at scoring that run,” Astros manager Joe Espada told reporters, including’s Brian McTaggart, after the game.

At the plate, Soto in his Yankees debut went 1 for 3 with a pair of walks and an RBI. Mix in that high-leverage outfield assist, that’s a made-to-order first game in (implied) pinstripes for Soto. 

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