NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Even though Aaron Boone’s comments landing him in a bit of trouble with Major League Baseball, the Bronx “savages” were unleashed on yet another helpless opponent Friday.
Edwin Encarnación hit a grand slam and a trio of ex-Rockies beat up on their former team as the Yankees defeated Colorado 8-2.
Encarnación lined his 12th career slam in the third inning off Kyle Freeland, and first-year Yankees DJ LeMahieu, Adam Ottavino and Mike Tauchman poured it on in their first games against their old club. LeMahieu had two hits and two RBI, Ottavino struck out the side in a perfect relief inning and Tauchman had a career-high three hits, a stolen base and threw out a runner at home plate from left field.
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Aaron Judge added a two-run homer, and J.A. Happ (8-5) struck out eight while pitching two-run ball over five innings for the Yankees. New York came from behind to win for a fourth straight game and improved to a major league-best 63-33 — 30 games over .500 for the first time this season.
The news got even better for the Yankees Friday night as both Tampa Bay and Boston were routed in their games – sending New York’s lead in the AL East to a season-high nine games.
Ryan McMahon, LeMahieu’s replacement at second base, hit his 10th homer for Colorado, which has lost 12 of 14. Freeland (2-7) allowed five runs in four innings, striking out six.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone served a one-game suspension from Major League Baseball, a day after going viral for a profane rant aimed at a rookie umpire in a doubleheader opener against the Rays. Boone said the ban didn’t surprise him since he made contact with plate umpire Brennan Miller with the bill of his cap.
Bench coach Josh Bard managed in his place. Bard is from Colorado and played for Rockies manager Bud Black in San Diego.
Black was ejected for the first time this season, by plate umpire Doug Eddings after Chris Iannetta’s strikeout in the ninth inning.
Stephen Tarpley struck out six over three scoreless innings for his second save, finishing a 17-strikeout night by Yankees pitchers.
Colorado traded Tauchman to New York at the end of spring training. Speedy Garrett Hampson tested Tauchman’s arm in the second, attempting to score from third on a fly ball. Tauchman one-hopped a 91 mph throw to catcher Gary Sánchez to nab him at the plate.
Tauchman scored for both of LeMahieu’s RBIs. The latter came on a bold dash from third on a slow roller to third baseman Nolan Arenado, a six-time Gold Glove winner. Tauchman narrowly beat Arenado’s feed.
LeMahieu and Ottavino signed with New York as free agents in the offseason. LeMahieu set a career high with his 67th RBI and increased his batting average to .330 in his first season away from Coors Field. Ottavino pitched a perfect sixth.
Nicknamed “LeMachine” in New York, the focused, mild-mannered LeMahieu got a different moniker from Blackmon before the game: “silent assassin.” Black said LeMahieu was “a thinking man’s player.”
Cameron Maybin (left calf) took batting practice on the field and is progressing well. He’s expected to start a minor league rehab assignment next week.
RHP Ben Heller will be shut down for a week with a small flexor strain in his right arm.
Yankees RHP Masahiro Tanaka (6-5, 3.81) makes his first career start against the Rockies. Tanaka has allowed four homers over his past six starts and has a 6.63 ERA in that span. RHP Antonio Senzatela (8-6, 5.79) is up for Colorado. He allowed eight runs against Cincinnati but still got the win in a 10-9 victory last time out.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)