Trent Grisham responds to ‘We want Soto’ chants with clutch homer as Yankees beat Dodgers

NEW YORK — With Aaron Judge and Alex Verdugo on the corners and the Yankees down 3-2 in the sixth inning, a loud “We want Soto” chant broke out in the Bronx on Sunday. Seconds later, the man filling in for the inflamed slugger did his best impression of him.

That’s when Trent Grisham, questionably penciled in as the fifth hitter for the first time this season, smoked a Tyler Glasnow fastball to right field. The 107.7-mph, 394-foot pull shot helped the Yankees avoid a sweep with a 6-4 win over the Dodgers on “Sunday Night Baseball.”

As the ball sailed over the fence, Grisham casually flipped his bat. Meanwhile, Judge and Verdugo screamed their way around the bases.

“I was just happy that I was able to stay present in the moment and worry about myself,” Grisham said of the chants that demanded Juan Soto hit in his place.

While Grisham didn’t seem to mind fans clamoring for Soto, Judge didn’t approve.

“Grisham works his butt off every single day, and Soto’s out right now,” the captain said. “He’s gonna be back soon. He’s been carrying this team all year, and anytime you go up against good teams like this and fans pay to come see us do our thing, they want to see the best out there. But Soto’s gonna heal up and be fine. But man, Grish is a heck of a ballplayer, and he showed up tonight in a big moment when we needed him.

“I wasn’t too happy with it, but I think he got his point across there with that homer.”

To their credit, fans revised their Soto chants when when Grisham returned to the plate in the eighth inning.

“We want Grisham,” the apologetic crowd bellowed.

“I liked those too,” a smiling Grisham said.

Prior to this week, Grisham had not played much this season, and he struggled mightily at the plate when he did. But with Soto nursing forearm inflammation, Grisham has been manning center with Judge sliding over to right.

An elite defender, Grisham also hit a home run in Thursday’s win over the Twins. Three of his five hits this season have left the yard.

“I feel like he’s had some decent at-bats here these last few days getting the chance to play,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “Grish can get to heaters, and he didn’t miss it. I know a lot of people in there are really excited for him.”

Added Grisham: “It helps a little bit getting some at-bats under my belt on consecutive days.”

While Grisham gave the Yankees a late lead, Oswaldo Cabrera provided an early one with his first long ball since May 1. The third-inning solo homer preceded an RBI double from Judge later in the frame.

Glasnow ended up allowing eight hits and five earned runs over six innings despite striking out 12. He also totaled one walk and 104 pitches.

Meanwhile, the Dodgers erased the Yankees’ initial 2-0 lead, as Luis Gil finally looked hittable against one of the best offenses in baseball.

Still, the right-hander held his own, tallying 5 2/3 innings, five hits, three earned runs, one walk, five strikeouts and 96 pitches.

“I really liked this outing, actually,” Gil said, though he wasn’t happy with his change-up. “It’s a battle. They have a really good lineup, and to be able to go out there and battle against those guys, it’s fun. It was fun. And at the end of it all, the most important thing is that we had an opportunity to win this game, and we did that.”

Boone said that Gil tired a bit toward the end of the game, which showed when the Dodgers scored their first two runs on a Mookie Betts double in the fifth. Teoscar Hernández then drilled Gil’s changeup for his third homer of the series, a solo blast, in the sixth.

With Luke Weaver on the mound, Will Smith plated another Dodgers run with an eighth-inning sac fly. Judge tried his best to gun down fellow superstar Shohei Ohtani on the play, but the speedy DH beat a 93.4-mph throw to the plate.

“Man, he’s fast. You gotta make a good throw. You gotta make an accurate throw when you got a guy like that,” Judge said. “I wish I would have been 95 or 96.”

While unsuccessful on the throw, Judge got the last laugh, demolishing his 24th homer 434 feet in the bottom of the inning. The moonshot got the Yankees their run back, and they shook hands at the end of the night after Clay Holmes shut the door.

“Such a big insurance run right there in that spot,” Boone said.

While the Yankees won in thrilling fashion on Sunday, they lost just their third series of the year after dropping an 11-inning affair on Friday and getting blown out on Saturday.

The team also lost series to the Blue Jays and Orioles.

With a potential World Series preview now behind them, the Yankees will head to Kansas City. There they will play four games against the second-place Royals.

Carlos Rodón will face Seth Lugo, who is in line for an All-Star nod, on Monday. From there, Marcus Stroman, Cody Poteet and Nestor Cortes will close out the series for the Yankees.

As for the Royals, Brady Singer will start on Tuesday, while Alec Marsh will take the ball on Thursday. Kansas City had not announced its Wednesday starter at the time of publication.