DETROIT – Two more wins for the Yankees.
But three more players headed home for visits with the team doctor.
After the Yankees beat the Tigers, 10-4, Thursday afternoon in the first game of a straight doubleheader sweep at Comerica Park, Aaron Boone said Edwin Encarnacion, removed earlier in the game with what the club called a “left oblique strain,” was New York-bound for additional testing.
Boone also disclosed that J.A. Happ, the Game 1 starter who allowed two runs and seven hits over 4 2/3 innings in which he struck out seven, would be headed home as well because of left biceps tendinitis near his shoulder, a condition the veteran said he’s been dealing with his last “three to five starts.”
More? Of course there was more.
In the nightcap – a 6-4 Yankees victory that included Aaron Judge’s 22nd homer of the season, Gio Urshela’s 20th, Domingo German shining over four scoreless innings piggybacking CC Sabathia’s start and Aroldis Chapman's 37th save – Gary Sanchez left the game in the bottom of the fourth inning with “left groin tightness.”
After the Yankees (97-51) moved two games ahead of the Astros (95-53) for the best record in the American League, Sanchez, also headed back to New York for tests, said the groin felt “similar” to the Grade 1 left groin strain that sidelined him from July 24-Aug. 10.
The catcher was thrown out trying to steal second — Boone gave the sign to steal after seeing the first baseman not holding Sanchez on — for the final out of the top of the third, though he caught the bottom half.
“Once I squatted behind home plate, that’s when I felt it tighten up,” Sanchez said through his interpreter.
Boone said he didn’t believe the injury for Encarnacion, who felt something in his first at-bat Thursday, homered in his second at-bat (his 34th) and walked in his third plate appearance, was severe, using the word “minor” to describe it. For now.
“This was something that Edwin even took his third at-bat and we said with that, decided it was best to get him out of there,” Boone said. “He said he wasn’t feeling anything swinging. Hopefully we’re ahead of it but we’ll see.”
Encarnacion is 11-for-34 with four homers and 10 RBIs in eight games since returning from the IL after missing a month with a right wrist fracture. “I don’t want to start speculating when we don’t know what it is and hoping it’s minor,” Boone said.
Happ wasn’t as sharp as in his two previous outings when he allowed no runs and a combined three hits, but was OK and said his biceps had no impact on Thursday’s performance. He extended his scoreless innings streak to 20 before Dawel Lugo’s two-run homer in the fifth cut the Yankees’ lead to 4-2.
Luke Voit, in a recent slump, went 3-for-5 with a homer, a double and three RBIs in the first game. The Yankees hit four homers in the doubleheader, giving them an MLB-leading 280, three ahead of the Twins (the Yankees last season hit a then-MLB-record 267 homers).
Judge crashed into the wall shoulder and wrist first making a catch in the second game but stayed in. The Yankees have put 30 players on the IL this year and, though Boone said he was “optimistic” regarding the prognosis of all three players.
“I keep saying it’s going to make for a good World Series DVD,” Sabathia said with a laugh of the non-stop injury train. “I mean, there’s nothing we can do but just keep going. That’s what we’ve done all year.”