NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Midway through their most lopsided home loss in more than six years, the New York Yankees were yelling at Houston outfielder Carlos Gomez from the dugout.
In reality, Ivan Nova’s first-inning flop was a much larger issue.
Gomez and Evan Gattis both homered and drove in four runs, sending Dallas Keuchel and the Astros to a 15-1 rout that briefly got testy Tuesday night.
Keuchel (15-6) held the Yankees scoreless for the second time this season and became the first 15-game winner in the American League. Gomez busted out of a hitting slump and rankled the Yankees with his flashy style.
But it was Nova who put his teammates in a huge hole, giving up five runs after there were two outs and nobody on in the first inning.
“It shouldn’t happen,” Nova said. “I should have attacked.”
It was New York’s biggest defeat since a 16-1 loss at Tampa Bay on April 19, 2014 — and its worst at home since a 22-4 drubbing by Cleveland on April 18, 2009.
Gomez jawed with the Yankees after flipping his bat aside in frustration when he flied out in the sixth inning. He turned toward the New York dugout and appeared to say “shut up” several times.
“Some of our guys took exception to it and I think they took even a little more exception when he started yelling at our dugout,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “Just got a little heated.
“I just told him, ‘Play the game right,'” Girardi added. “Show a little professionalism to the pitcher.”
On his way back across the field, Gomez stood nose to nose with young catcher John Ryan Murphy before they were separated.
“I don’t mean to disrespect anybody,” Gomez said. “If you’re screaming at me, I’m going to scream at you back.”
Both benches and bullpens emptied, but the teams quickly went their respective ways without any pushing or shoving.
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“I don’t think there’s any place for that, especially in a 9-0 game,” Murphy said. “He’s an energetic guy. Everybody knows that. We respect him as a baseball player, just, there’s a right way and a wrong way to play the game.”
His next time up, Gomez launched a three-run homer into the Yankees’ bullpen in right-center to cap a six-run seventh.
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It was hardly the first time opponents have been irritated by Gomez and his antics.
Back when he was playing for Milwaukee and current Yankees catcher Brian McCann was in Atlanta, the two got into a scuffle when McCann blocked Gomez’s path to home plate after the slugger styled on a home run.
This time, McCann was on the Yankees’ bench — rested against a lefty starter.
“He’s my friend. It’s in the past,” Gomez said. “Everybody knows what happened in Atlanta, but it’s nothing, nothing about that.”
Gomez flipped his bat and held out his arms when he lined an RBI double off Nova (5-6) in the first inning. The speedster slid headfirst into second with his first extra-base hit in 18 games and pointed toward his own dugout.
Keuchel yielded three hits in seven innings with nine strikeouts and no walks. He struck out 12 in a six-hit shutout at home against the Yankees on June 25.
“If he’s not the best pitcher in the American League, he’s top two or three,” Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira said. “His ball is moving all over the place. He throws strikes. He hits the corners. He has four pitches he can use. Just a really good pitcher.”
New York scratched out a run in the ninth this time against Vince Velasquez.
In a matchup of AL division leaders, the most effective Yankees pitcher was backup infielder Brendan Ryan. He worked two scoreless innings in his first major league appearance on the mound and was the only New York hurler who didn’t give up multiple runs.
Marwin Gonzalez homered for the Astros, who had 15 hits and batted around three times in the first seven innings.
Teixeira was back at first base after missing seven games with a bruised right shin. But he barely jogged to first on a fourth-inning groundout and was removed in the seventh. “That’s all I got. I ran as hard as I could,” Teixeira said. “It’s getting better, so that’s all I can ask for.” He finished 0 for 2 with a called strikeout. … Injured LHP CC Sabathia said he thinks he can return in September. Sabathia, placed on the 15-day DL on Monday, received a second opinion on his arthritic right knee and was glad the exam revealed no new damage.
Yankees: RHP Michael Pineda comes off the DL to start a Wednesday matinee. Sidelined since July 30 with a strained right forearm, Pineda (9-7, 3.97) owns the best strikeout-to-walk ratio (117/15) in the majors among pitchers who have thrown at least 100 innings.
Astros: RHP Collin McHugh (13-7, 3.96) takes the ball in the series finale. He tossed eight innings of two-hit ball to beat Pineda at home on June 28.
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