Yankees hit insane new heights with record home run stretch

ARLINGTON, Texas — Across five innings the Rangers traded punches with the Yankees on Monday night. Then, as it happens so often in sports, the better team cleared its throat and put an inferior opponent to sleep.

A pedestrian outing by Masahiro Tanaka allowed the morbid Rangers to hang around through four innings, but Aaron Judge and Gleyber Torres showed off their biceps with homers that carried the Yankees to a 10-5 victory in front of 29,553 at Global Life Park.

The 31-13 Yankees’ 22nd win in 25 games pushed them one-half game ahead of the idle Red Sox in the AL East

Torres didn’t reach the big leagues until April 22 but has quickly inserted himself into the AL Rookie of the Year conversation that is headlined by Shohei Ohtani. With a two-homer game Torres has six homers and 18 RBIs in 25 games.

Judge stopped an 0-for-17 slide with a homer to center in the sixth and Neil Walker homered in the fourth as the Yankees tagged Texas pitching for five home runs.

It was the third straight game the Yankees hit at least four homers, the first such stretch in franchise history. It is also the first time any club has accomplished the feat since the Rangers did it May 28-30, 2011.

Tanaka posted the victory but was far from impressive in a five-inning stint that yielded four runs, three hits, four walks, one hit batter and two homers. Nonetheless Tanaka’s first victory since April 28 hiked the right-hander’s record to 5-2 but increased the ERA from 4.73 to 4.95.

Bartolo Colon’s final start as a 44-year-old (he turns 45 Thursday) wasn’t good. The hefty right-hander gave up six runs and eight hits in 5 ¹/₃ innings. Half of the hits were home runs. He is 2-2.

Didi Gregorius stopped a 1-for-48 slide with an RBI double in the three-run sixth.

Chad Green replaced Tanaka to start the sixth and pitched around a leadoff double by Jurickson Profar. However, there wasn’t any way to work around Ronald Guzman’s leadoff homer in the seventh that reduced the Yankees’ advantage to 8-5.

Tanaka let a 4-1 lead vanish in the fourth when Rougned Odor launched a three-run homer that tied the score.

Judge’s leadoff homer in the fifth put the Yankees up 5-4, and Torres’ second homer and sixth of the season in the sixth extended the advantage to 6-4. It also ended Colon’s night.

Judge put an end to a 0-for-17 slide with a majestic leadoff homer in the fifth that landed in the grass beyond the center-field fence. It was Judge’s 12th homer and his first since May 12.

Giancarlo Stanton followed Judge’s blast with a single to left but Colon fanned the ice-cold Gregorius and got Gary Sanchez to foul out. A walk to Aaron Hicks kept the inning alive for the Yankees

In 10 starts Tanaka has given up at least one homer in eight of them, and the second one Monday night flushed a 4-1 lead in the fourth and hiked the right-hander’s home run total for the season to 11.

Back-to-back one-out walks in the fourth cost Tanaka dearly when Odor, a .220 hitter with two homers, launched a three-run shot off the lower façade of the upper deck in right-center field that tied the score, 4-4.

Aaron Boone’s decision to start Neil Walker at third base for the first time this season paid off in the fourth when Walker’s initial homer of the season reached the upper deck in right and pushed the Yankees’ lead to 4-1.

Working with a 3-0 advantage in the second Tanaka gave up his 10th homer of the year to Joey Gallo leading off the inning. It was Gallo’s 14th homer and continued a trend of Tanaka making pitches that leave the ballpark.

After going 0-for-4 and being one of two Yankees not to get a hit during Sunday’s 10-1 mauling of the Royals in Kansas City, Torres turned the page on that game by launching a two-run homer in the second off Colon. Torres was hit by a Colon pitch in the fourth inning.

Sanchez led off the inning with a single to center before Colon retired Aaron Hicks and Tyler Austin. Walker followed with an RBI double to left that delivered the game’s first run. Colon jumped ahead of Torres, 0-1, then missed with a high-thigh fastball that landed in the left-field seats for a 3-0 Yankees lead.

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