ARLINGTON, Texas — The Yankees praised Bartolo Colon before Monday’s game, marveling at a soon-to-be-45-year-old pitcher still winning big-league games.
Then the Yankees commenced doing what they’ve done to Colon the vast majority of his 21-year career.
They beat him up.
With 21-year-old Gleyber Torres leading the way with two home runs, the Yankees hit four off Colon, and five overall, en route to a 10-5 victory over the Rangers in front of 29,553 at Globe Life Park.
“The lineup is awesome,” said Torres, who has six homers and is hitting .321 with a .960 OPS since his call-up April 22. “Everybody helps the team and I just try to help my team, too, try to do something [whether] hit or play defense. Just try to help and try to win.”
The Yankees, with Torres playing a significant role, have been doing plenty of that. Monday made it 22 victories in their last 26 games for the Bombers (31-13), who have hit 14 homers in their last three games.
They hit four or more homers three straight games, a franchise first, and had 10 extra-base hits, making it three straight games with at least eight. That was also a first in franchise history and just the fourth time in modern big-league history that’s been achieved (the 2003 Red Sox were the last to do it).
“Obviously, we have a lot of really good hitters, a lot of power,” Aaron Boone said. “So I’m not surprised when we do these kinds of things. That’s what these guys do best, they make that other pitcher work and when we get a mistake, they’re slugging it.”
The power show, which included blasts by Aaron Judge (No. 12), Neil Walker (No. 1) and Aaron Hicks (No. 5), allowed the Yankees to overcome a subpar outing by Masahiro Tanaka.
The righthander allowed four runs, three hits, including two homers that pushed his season total to 11, and four walks in five innings. Though he improved to 5-2, Tanaka’s ERA bulged to 4.95.
“A lot of frustration there, mostly because of how good we’re playing,” Tanaka said through his translator. “But not being able to pitch effectively.”
Torres was the headliner, the case in more than a few of the 25 games he’s played so far.
Monday brought one of those quirks of the sport as Torres faced a pitcher old enough to be his father. Torres, less than 4 months old when Colon, who turns 45 Thursday, made his major-league debut in 1997 with Cleveland, roped two homers off the veteran.
Colon, the active leader in wins with 242, came into Monday 2-1 with a 2.82 ERA in nine games, seven starts. But he has rarely pitched well against the Yankees in his career, 6-9 with a 6.11 ERA in 20 career starts and one relief appearance.
And Monday night followed that script as Colon allowed six runs and eight hits, including the four homers, in 5 1⁄3 innings.
“Bartolo is a really good pitcher, he’s got a lot of experience,” Torres said. “I just focused and tried to do my job.”
The first homer, a two-run shot in the second that made it 3-0, traveled an estimated 418 feet to left-centerfield. The second was an estimated 425 feet to dead center in the sixth that made it 6-4.
After Tanaka allowed a three-run shot by Rougned Odor in the fourth to tie it at 4, Judge’s moon shot to center off Colon in the fifth put the Yankees ahead to stay at 5-4.
Hicks, whose two-run homer in the ninth made it 10-5, shook his head regarding Torres.
“Seems like he puts the barrel on the ball every time,” Hicks said. “He’s able to hit all pitches in all different locations. That’s not something you see every day.”