Edwin Encarnacion hit a grand slam, ex-Rockies D.J. LeMahieu, Mike Tauchman, and Adam Ottavino tormented their former team, and Aaron Judge added a 2-run HR as the Yanks (63-33) beat Colorado 8-2 Friday night.
With the win, the Yanks’ AL East lead grew to 9 over Tampa Bay and 11 over Boston.
The Rockies struck first, scoring two in the second off of J.A. Happ. Ryan McMahon led off the inning with a HR, then an out later, Chris Ianetta singled and then scored on a double by Garrett Hampson. Hampson advanced to third on the play on an error by Gleyber Torres. Happ got out of further trouble, when, on a fly ball to LF Mike Tauchman, Tauchman lined up perfectly to catch the ball and then threw a perfect one-hopper to Gary Sanchez to nail Hampson, who was trying to tag up and score on the flyout, at the plate.
The Yanks took over in the third inning. With one out, LeMahieu, the former Rockie (as is Tauchman and Ottavino) singled. Both Judge and Sanchez walked, and Encarnacion hit a grand slam, his 29th HR of the season, to put the Yanks’ up 4-2.
Tauchman was huge in this game. Besides throwing a guy out at the plate, his hustle came up big. He made a nice sliding catch at one point in the game, and in the fourth, with two out, blooped a hit into shallow left. He hustled it into a double, and that hustle paid off when LeMahieu singled him in to make it 5-2.
Tauchman singled with one out in the sixth, and then showed off his hustle again by stealing second. He advanced to third on a throwing error on the play and scored on a fielders’ choice grounder, beating the play at the plate. More hustle. LeMahieu reached on that play, and then Judge added a 2-run HR (11) to make it 8-2.
The Yanks got excellent relief pitching as Happ, Ottavino and Stephen Tarpley combined for 17 K.
With Nestor Cortes, Jr. having gone a few innings on Thursday, he was sent down and Tarpley brought up in order for the Yanks to have a “fresh arm.”
LeMahieu 2 hits, 2 RBI .330
Judge 2-run HR (11), threw out a guy at second.
Encarnacion grand slam HR (29), 4 RBI
Hicks 2 hits
Torres 2 hits
Tauchman 3 hits, scored two runs due to hustle, made great defensive plays.
Happ (W, 8-5, 4.86) 5 IP, 2 R, 8 H, 2 W, 8 K. Gave up 1 HR. In and out of trouble all night, helped by Tauchman and Judge.
Ottavino (H, 23) 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 3 K. 1.66
Tarpley (S, 2) 3 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 6 K. 7.30.
Manager Aaron Boone was suspended for this game due to his ejection in Game 1 of Thursday’s DH.
I can’t help but think. With the excellent defense (and hitting) LeMahieu and Urshela provide, could good bat/weak glove youngsters Clint Frazier and (the injured) Miguel Andujar be on the trade block in order to land a starting pitcher? There are only so many spots to go around to fill up a team, and someone would have to go.
My reports this weekend may be spotty, if at all. I’ll be up in Cooperstown Sunday for the Hall of Fame induction ceremony.