Yankees Stay Hot but Rockies Get a Little Wild
The Yankees were a triple-header of hot on Saturday.
First was the temperature at Yankee Stadium: 94 degrees at game time.
Next was the offense, which torched Colorado pitching for the second straight day, fueling an 11-5 victory that extended the Yankees’ winning streak to five.
And then came tempers: Luke Voit was hit on the chin by Chad Bettis in the fourth inning, and Austin Romine was buzzed by a pair of up-and-in pitches from Jairo Diaz in the eighth.
“That was some dangerous stuff going on up by the face,” Romine said.
The Yankees went ahead when Aaron Judge doubled in a run on Antonio Senzatela’s 10th pitch, Edwin Encarnacion chased Senzatela with a two-run double in a five-run second, and the Yankees gave Masahiro Tanaka a 9-0 lead by the fourth.
Encarnacion added an R.B.I. single in the seventh as the Yankees reached double digits in runs for the 13th time this year. He has 21 R.B.I. in 24 games since the Yankees acquired him from Seattle.
D. J. LeMahieu raised his American League-leading average to .334 with three hits, giving him five in two games against the Rockies, his former team.
“It’s a little weird,” said LeMahieu, who spent his first eight big-league seasons in Colorado. “I’ll be excited not to play them anymore.”
The Yankees began the day with a nine-game lead in the A.L. East, their largest in seven years, and improved their major-league-leading record to 64-33. The Yankees are 14-0-1 in their last 15 home series and are on their fifth winning streak of five games or more. On Sunday, they will go for their ninth series sweep of the season.
Tanaka said the heat reminded him of steamy summer games in Japan.
Romine added: “It was fine when we were walking on the grass, but as soon as you got to the plate it was like a cone of heat. It was awful. It was a struggle out there.”
The Yankees were also steamed over the inside pitches.
“I don’t think there was intent, but sometimes intent doesn’t matter,” Manager Aaron Boone said. “Throw the ball over the plate.”
Voit was hit by a 91-mile-per-hour pitch from Bettis that glanced off his left shoulder and struck the left side of his face, drawing blood. Voit scored on Gleyber Torres’s two-run single, and then returned to the clubhouse and was replaced. The Yankees said tests indicated he did not have a concussion, and Boone said he thought Voit would be available for Sunday’s game.
Colorado has lost six straight and 13 of 15 while being outscored, 127-64.
“I think there’s frustration for sure,” said Nolan Arenado, who hit a three-run homer and left in the eighth with a cramp in his right leg. “Just long innings, so that it makes it even hotter. But as the game went on, we just got used to it.”
Left fielder Raimel Tapia’s failure to throw the ball to the infield led to havoc in a 34-minute bottom of the second, and no one covered second as Romine, a slow-footed catcher, stole a base for the fourth time in his big-league career. The Rockies were also charged with two errors.
“We are not playing the defense we are accustomed to,” Manager Bud Black said.
Tanaka (7-5) needed just 46 pitches to breeze through five innings, getting nine groundouts and three strikeouts while allowing two singles. Senzatela and Bettis combined to throw 79 pitches in the first two innings alone.
Tanaka’s splitter flattened in Colorado’s five-run sixth that included Arenado’s 22nd homer, a drive that hit the top of the center-field wall and bounced over.
Senzatela (8-7) allowed six runs, seven hits and two walks in one and a third innings, the shortest of 51 career starts. His E.R.A. rose to 6.29.
Colorado came apart in the second after Didi Gregorius’s leadoff single. Torres singled to left for the first of his three hits, and Gregorius sped to third as Tapia held the ball for about four seconds and then made a soft toss toward third. Senzatela cut off the throw and flung the ball into right field as Torres headed to second, allowing Gregorius to head home.
Romine singled for a 3-0 lead and then made his steal of second with the infield shifted for LeMahieu. Romine scored on a bases-loaded single by Aaron Hicks, who had been 4 for 45 in his career with the bases full.
“I noticed no one was covering when I got halfway there,” Romine said. “I was happy about that.”
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