Where’s the mercy rule when you need it?
The Yankees made Baltimore look like a Division II college team in every facet of Saturday’s 16-3 rout, the Yankees’ fourth straight victory and one in which they also scored a season-high in runs.
From a six-run first inning to a dominant performance by Luis Severino, the Yankees continued their superb play against AL East opponents. With the win, they reached 13 games over .500 (36-23) for the first time this season.
None of the four victories has been close as the Yankees have out-scored Baltimore and Boston by a combined 41-6. Saturday’s win came in front of 45,232, their seventh consecutive crowd of more than 40,000 at the Stadium.
“A win is a win,” manager Joe Girardi said of his team’s recent dominance. “It’s good when you’re swinging the bats like we are because it takes some pressure off the pitching staff. [But] you don’t get more points for it.”
With the Red Sox’s win over the Tigers, the Yankees remained three games up in the division.
“We’re an offense [that] can score real quick,” Girardi said. “I look at that first inning, we had two outs and nobody on, and next thing you know, we had six runs. … That’s not easy to do.”
This one never was in doubt as the Yankees knocked out their personal punching bag, Chris Tillman, in the second inning after pounding him for nine runs and three homers while Severino gave up just a run on two hits in seven innings. He struck out eight and walked two in his 89-pitch outing.
In his past five starts, Severino is 3-0 with a 1.35 ERA, putting his disastrous 2016 season further behind him.
Despite long stretches on the bench while the Yankees’ offense kept putting up runs, Severino retired the first 12 batters he faced before he walked Mark Trumbo to start the fifth. Trey Mancini grounded a ball through the right side of the infield to a spot vacated by the shift two batters later for Baltimore’s first hit.
The Yankees, who tagged Tillman for five runs in just 2 ²/₃ innings at Camden Yards on May 30, battered him even more Saturday.
The bottom of the first began innocently enough as Brett Gardner struck out and Aaron Hicks grounded to first.
With two outs and no one on, Aaron Judge gave the Yankees a 1-0 lead when he ripped a line drive into the left-field seats.
It was the first of their five homers on the day.
Gary Sanchez had a two-run single, Didi Gregorius blasted Tillman’s next pitch into the right-field bleachers, and the Yankees never looked back.
They now have hit three or more homers in three consecutive games, their longest stretch since 1957, and the offense has plated eight or more runs in four straight for the first time since 2008.
Judge reached base four times in the first five innings. Matt Holliday and Sanchez also had three hits apiece. Sanchez also drove in four runs as he continues to flourish hitting sixth in the lineup.
As pleasant a surprise as the offense has been, the Yankees’ rotation continues to be a revelation. Saturday proved to be another game in which they got an excellent outing as Severino followed CC Sabathia, Michael Pineda and rookie Jordan Montgomery with a gem.
The lone exception to the starters’ success has been Masahiro Tanaka, whose next outing has been pushed back a day to Monday to avoid facing the Orioles.
Baltimore finally got to Severino when Chris Davis hit a two-out homer for the Orioles’ first run.
“When you have a game like today, you get to have a lot of fun,” Sanchez said through an interpreter. “When you combine offense and pitching, you usually wind up winning, and that’s what we want to do.”