DENVER — The opportunity a seemingly soft road schedule presented the Yankees got off to a rough start.
With Nathan Eovaldi’s season taking a sudden nosedive with a third straight poor outing and the bullpen not any better, the Yankees — though they rallied late with a seven-run eighth inning — absorbed a 13-10 loss to the Rockies in front of 46,335 at Coors Field on Tuesday night.
It was the third straight loss for the Yankees (31-33) after a five-game winning streak. The Yanks’ offense didn’t get going until facing a 12-3 deficit through seven innings.
“This is a crazy place to play,” Joe Girardi said afterward, an apropos synopsis for the evening.
It marked the start of a six-game trip against the Rockies (31-33) and Twins (20-44), and there were few pitching positives, the deficiency of the arms overshadowing an offense that produced 15 hits, same as the Rockies. Colorado, quietly, has won seven of its last 10.
Eovaldi, however, was the headline story. The righthander came in 6-2 with a 4.42 ERA, having allowed five earned runs in each of his two previous starts and three homers.
Struggling with his secondary pitches, the splitter in particular, Eovaldi went four-plus innings Tuesday night, departing with none out and a runner on after allowing six runs and eight hits, including two homers.
“The last couple of starts, it’s been inconsistent,” Brian McCann said of Eovaldi’s split. “He had a hard time getting it down in the zone today.”
Said Eovaldi: “I think I might be trying to do too much with it. It’s very frustrating, especially the way the guys came back. I felt like if I would have held it closer, we might win right there.”
Eovaldi was 6-2 with a 3.71 ERA before coming off the rails the last three outings.
“We have to get him straightened out,” Girardi said. “We’re working at it and we’ll get it figured out.”
After Didi Gregorius’ three-run homer in the sixth got the Yankees within 6-3, Kirby Yates allowed three runs in the bottom of the inning and Richard Bleier allowed three more in the seventh to make it 12-3.
All you-know-what broke loose in the eighth, when the Yankees sent 12 to the plate to get within 12-10. Gregorius, who reached on an infield single earlier in the inning, grounded to first with two runners on to end the frame.
The newest Yankee, Ike Davis, had an RBI single as a pinch hitter in the inning and Jacoby Ellsbury had a two-run single.
Andrew Miller allowed a leadoff homer in the bottom of the eighth to Carlos Gonzalez, his 15th, to give the Rockies a three-run cushion for the ninth.
Carlos Estevez pitched a perfect ninth for his second save.
“I’ve played in a handful of games like this here,” said Chase Headley, who came up with the Padres. “Probably more so here than anywhere else these games happen. I thought we did a nice job of getting back in it.”
The hill was too steep.
Rookie shortstop Trevor Story, who injured Gerardo Par ra in the third inning inexplicably diving for a soft fly ball the leftfieldfielder had secured, hit his 17th homer, a two-run shot, in the fourth to make it 3-0. Ryan Raburn, who replaced Parra, followed with a homer to make it 4-0.
Gonzalez led the Rockies, who got five mostly forgotten shutout innings from starter Jorge De La Rosa (3-4), with four hits and two RBIs.
Rob Refsnyder, who saw a pickoff throw glance off his glove in the three-run sixth, had three hits.
“With this ballpark, anything can happen,” McCann said. “We battled and put some runs up and gave ourselves a chance.”