Perhaps it has been easy to understate Giancarlo Stantons expected importance to the Yankees roster, as Aaron Boone seemed to suggest.
That changed in game No. 76, as Stanton mashed a pair of key two-run singles and helped the Yankees extend their winning streak to a season-high eight games with a 7-5 decision over the Astros at Yankee Stadium.
The Yankees own a season-high 5 1/2-game lead in the American League East, and Stanton can at last feel like he is in on the fun.
Ailed by a left biceps tear, a left shoulder strain and finally a left calf strain, Stanton disappeared from the Yanks lineup after the third game of the season but re-emerged this week, just in time to join the club for what was supposed to be its most challenging stretch of the month.