Gary Sanchez faced criticism from Tampa Bay Rays first baseman Logan Morrison for earning entry into this week's Home Run Derby despite an underwhelming (relatively) total of long shots. He went out and proved himself on Monday, having a good round before tiring out and being eliminated. He seemingly resumed the event on Friday night, mashing a home run at Fenway Park that made Boston Red Sox fans cringe.

Sanchez crushes one

In the top of the fifth inning, Sanchez came up to the plate with the New York Yankees trailing their AL East rival, 3-2. On a 1-2 pitch, the catcher unleashed a swing so potent, pitcher Drew Pomeranz immediately crouched down and waited for the opponent to round the bases.

It sailed far, getting lost in the lights before coming down seemingly in another state. That's right -- Fenway Park couldn't hold the home run.

Sanchez rounded the bases with aplomb, knowing he just put the Yankees above their most bitter rivals with one swing of the bat. What he likely didn't realize at the time, however, is just how important that home run would go on to be. Neither team would score another run in the game -- a three-run fifth inning from New York was almost enough for them to capture a 4-3 victory and make up a game on the Red Sox in the standings.

Then, Aroldis Chapman gave up two runs in the ninth inning for a 5-4 Red Sox victory. The Fenway Park faithful were thrilled about that.

Sanchez rediscovering his stroke

There's always talk that the Home Run Derby has the potential to ruin people's swings. Batters try too hard to swing for the fences and it messes with their mechanics for the rest of the year, the rumor goes.

It most famously affected Bobby Abreu a year ago and there will surely be concern from Yankees fans that Aaron Judge could be afflicted next. Sanchez put that rumor to rest for himself on the first night back from the All-Star break, though.

In fact, Sanchez had been struggling from the plate prior to the Home Run Derby.

It was his first dinger since June 25, ending a 12-game drought. He now has 14 for the year and 33 for his career. After his torrid rookie debut last season, fans expected more home runs this season. While it hasn't happened yet, there are signs that the power display he showed last season is about to come. All it took was a quick trip to Miami and a journey to Fenway Park to begin what could become the turnaround of his season, providing a boost for the playoff-hopeful Yankees.

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