It had been quite some time since Austin Romine had a night like Wednesday night.
The backup catcher drew a start, with Gary Sanchez spending the night as the DH, and went 3-for-4 with a two-run double that gave the Yankees some breathing room in an 8-4 win over the visiting Angels.
For Romine, it was just the fifth multi-hit game of his six-year career and the first since May 28 last season.
But perhaps more notably, Romine ended a 6-for-53 skid (.113) that caused his average to plummet from .316 on May 2 to .218 entering Wednesday night. He had one double, three RBIs and 17 strikeouts in that stretch.
“It was a good night,” Romine said. “You just smile and be happy about that and don’t get too high, don’t get too low and keep rolling with it.”
The righthanded Romine singled to the opposite field in each of his first two at-bats before drilling a two-run double that hopped to the Dunkin’ Donuts sign in left-center in the sixth inning. The Yankees already had taken a 3-2 lead on Matt Holliday’s fifth-inning solo home run, but Romine’s double gave the Yankees’ struggling bullpen a comfortable cushion.
The Yankees extended their lead to 8-2 before Tyler Clippard
allowed a two-run homer to Martin Maldonado in the ninth.
“Today [Romine] came up with some big hits,” said Dellin Betances, who struck out two in a perfect eighth inning. “Romine’s always been a good player. I got the chance to play with him a lot in the minor leagues and if he gets the chance to play it’s going to be good things.”
With Sanchez sidelined on the disabled list, Romine posted a .316/.349/.456 slashline over 19 games from April 8 to May 2. Sanchez returned, and Romine did not play again until the 18-inning win over Chicago on May 7. He went 0-for-7 in that game to start his skid, struggling to break out of it while playing sporadically.
“That’s my job,” Romine said. “I’ve got to find a way to do my job. I’m not going to sit here and make excuses. I get to play every four, five days. It is what it is. You’ve got to find a way to get it done.”
Manager Joe Girardi said he appreciated what Romine has meant to the club, despite his offensive struggles.
“He’s been great,” Girardi said. “He stepped up big in Gary’s absence. He does a great job with our pitching staff. He’s contributed offensively. He’s done a really good job, and it’s not easy because he was playing every day and he was having a lot of success offensively playing every day and then he went back to playing once every three or four days. It was good to see him have a big night.”