Giancarlo Stanton, Clarke Schmidt carry Yankees in much-needed rebound win over Rockies

DENVER — The Yankees didn’t start the second half or their series against the basement-dwelling Rockies the way they wanted to on Friday, but the team bounced back with a 6-3 win on Saturday at Coors Field.

For the second night in a row, Giancarlo Stanton found himself at the center of the Yankees’ offense. After smoking a two-run home run on Friday — the Yanks’ only runs of the game — Stanton forced a three-run shot the other way off Connor Seabold in the second inning. The ball traveled 398 feet and over the right field fence, giving Stanton four home runs in his last four games and 11 longballs for the season.

Stanton has been much hotter at the plate lately after a lengthy slump, recording 15 RBI in his last 12 games. However, Aaron Boone was hesitant to say the slugger was “dialed in” all the way before and after the game.

“Definitely trending,” Stanton said. “I mean, you got to prove that you’re all the way going, and that’s with weeks on end of producing. So there’s not much talking for that. You gotta go prove it.”

Stanton, who also drove in a run with a first-inning groundout, reached 1,000 RBI for his career with the dinger.

While Stanton didn’t have any help in the scoring department on Friday, that wasn’t the case on Saturday. Kyle Higashioka picked up an RBI sacrifice fly in the second, while Gleyber Torres added an RBI single before Stanton’s blast. DJ LeMahieu also had a notable night at his old stomping grounds, scoring a run and recording his first three-hit game since April 23.

While the Yankees’ big second inning proved to be enough, all of their runs came against Seabold, who only lasted 2.1 frames.

“A lot of good, tough at-bats down in the count there to put together a big inning,” Boone said of the second. “Had some more chances later. I even thought we hit a couple of balls on the nose with runners out there where we could have broken it open even more. Good to see some guys get some results. “

Clarke Schmidt, meanwhile, continued to build on his strong end to the first half.

The righty allowed two earned runs over six innings and 92 pitches against the Rockies while also striking out eight and walking one. Colorado only picked up three hits off Schmidt.

The Rockies’ first run came on a first-inning balk from Schmidt, while C.J. Cron knocked the starter out with a solo homer to start the seventh. While Schmidt’s evening ended on a sour note, Saturday was the first time he pitched into the seventh as a major leaguer.

“That’s something I’ve been working towards for a while now,” the 27-year-old said. “To be able to accomplish it — obviously you don’t want to go up there and give up the homer. That’s probably the worst-case scenario that could happen, but it’s baby steps, and it’s a step forward being able to go deeper in games, so I’m happy for that.”

Schmidt has only permitted 17 earned runs in his last 11 outings, a stretch that includes 54 innings and dates back to May 19.

“Clarke’s been in a good spot now for really the last month and a half, two months,” Boone said before the game. “He’s been throwing the ball really well.”

Colorado scored another run in the eighth when Tommy Kahnle induced a double-play ball with a runner on third. Kahnle, pitching in his 17th game of the season, hadn’t been charged with an earned run prior to Saturday’s appearance.

Another first happened when Kahnle came in from the bullpen, as a fan stormed the field and threw what appeared to be a shirt in Anthony Volpe’s direction before being tackled by a team of security guards. Boone said the intruder looked more “mad” than the usual “drunk idiot,” and he was glad security stopped the fan quickly.

“I was pretty startled by it all,” said Volpe, who had never had such an encounter before. “But I thought the stadium security did a great job and got him out of there. I know he was saying something. I couldn’t hear whatever he was saying.”

With a second-half victory checked off, the Yankees will try to win their series in Colorado on Sunday. They’ll have an excellent chance of doing so with their ace, Gerrit Cole, on the mound.

It will be interesting to see what Cole’s stuff looks like, as Schmidt said that the Yankees noticed Carlos Rodon’s pitch shapes didn’t look right on Friday, a result of the high altitude in Denver. Schmidt made it a point to test his stuff out in the bullpen on Friday and before Saturday’s start, and his curve looked so off that he initially planned on abandoning it.

But Schmidt decided to aim for the dirt during his start, and that placed the pitch in the bottom half of the zone.

“We knew that Rodon’s shapes were a little bit shorter,” Schmidt said. “Everyone who threw [Friday], the shapes were shorter, so they were cognizant of that and we wanted to put a little more emphasis on that in the bullpen.”

Cole went 9-2 with a 2.85 ERA over 19 starts in the first half. That performance earned him the American League’s starting nod in the All-Star Game.

Chase Anderson, who has a 6.89 ERA this season, will start for the Rockies.


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