Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees traded for Juan Soto so he could add some life to the lineup. He rewarded his new team by carrying them in a remarkable comeback win on Opening Day in Houston.

The Yankees trailed the Astros 4-0 before loading the bases in the fifth inning, right before Soto strolled to the plate for his third at-bat. Soto was 0 for 1 with a walk and, in typical Juan Soto fashion, quickly worked a 2-1 count before flaring a single to right field. The Yankees scored and then added two more via bases loaded walks, and Oswaldo Cabrera tied it 4-4 with a solo homer.

Soto finished 1 for 3 with a pair of walks on the day and did exactly what the Yankees expected of him. He worked the count and didn’t try to do too much, seeing 25 total pitches on the day. This is only going to get better and better batting in front of former MVP Aaron Judge.

But Juan Soto did more than just have good at-bats. The Yankees’ ultimately came back to take a 5-4 lead and closer Clay Holmes struggled early. Kyle Tucker came to bat with runners on first and second and one out. His sharp single to right proved worthless, as who but Juan Soto got to the ball early and unleashed a cannon throw home.

Jose Trevino laid down the tag, Mauricio Dubon was called out, and the call withstood the Astros’ challenge.

Alex Bregman grounds to Anthony Volpe, ballgame over, YANKEES WIN.

There you have it, Yankees fans. Juan Soto basically carried the Yankees this whole game in his own quiet way, and didn’t even have to hit a home run. He is no one trick pony who lives and dies by the longball. He proved Thursday that he is a complete player who beats teams with more than his bat.

That same resilience trickled down to the rest of the lineup. Nestor Cortes put the Yankees in a 4-0 hole quickly, but the bats held firm. Panicked swings trying to do too much proved few and far between. The players took the game at-bat by at-bat, pitch by pitch.

It sure worked. New York drew nine walks on the day, including six from Astros starter Framber Valdez. He only lasted 4.2 innings, and the bullpen couldn’t hold the line.

It’s one game, but these aren’t the Yankees we once knew. Previous teams would have trailed 4-0 early and started hacking away, especially in Houston. Not this group, they stayed focused and let the game come to them.

And given how the road to the World Series almost certainly runs through Houston, the Yankees needed this. Minute Maid Park has long been a bug-a-boo for the Bronx Bombers, and they just planted their flag their to start the season.

Welcome to the 2024 New York Yankees.

Josh Benjamin has been a staff writer at ESNY since 2018. He has had opinions about everything, especially the Yankees and Knicks. He co-hosts the “Bleacher Creatures” podcast and is always looking for new pieces of sports history to uncover, usually with a Yankee Tavern chicken parm sub in hand.