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Encarnacion’s slam propels Yankees to series opening win

NEW YORK — The Rockies took an early 2-0 lead but the Yankees scored 8 unanswered runs to take the series opener, 8-2, at the Stadium.

The offense looked sluggish early but a third inning grand slam from Edwin Encarnacion sparked the Yankee bats and was supported by stellar pitching from then on. The slam was the DH’s first as a Bronx Bomber but already the 12th of his long career.

J.A. Happ struggled early on but was able to grind it out in five innings of work. The left-hander gave up 8 hits but a 2nd inning home run from Ryan McMahon and a Garrett Hampson RBI-double were the only run scoring hits against him.

Adam Ottavino took over in the 6th, with New York leading 5-2, and looked stellar against his former team. His slider was nasty and allowed him to strikeout all three batters he faced.

Just as it looked like Tommy Kahnle was going to have to come in to a close game, the Bombers tacked on three more runs in the bottom half of the 6th.

The inning started out with a couple of former Rockies doing some damage. Mike Tauchman, who had three hits, led off the frame with a single. After stealing second and getting to third on an error, DJ LeMahieu drove him in on a Fielder’s Choice as Nolan Arenado was unable to throw out the speedy Tauchman at home.

The very next better, Aaron Judge, then drove a Yency Almonte pitch to deep in right field for his 11th home run of the year. The long ball blew the game open and allowed Kahnle to take a seat.

Josh Bard, who was sitting in for the suspended Aaron Boone, then decided to bring in Stephen Tarpley out of the bullpen. The left-hander then showcased electric stuff, earning the save after pitching three shutout innings. It was his 2nd save of the year.

Notably, Tauchman also made a tremendous defensive play earlier in the game, throwing out Hampson at home to keep the score, 2-0.

Masahiro Tanaka faces Antonio Senzatela tomorrow at 1:05 ET.

Current Yankees Record: 63-33