The final pitch of Bartolo Colon’s night was a batting-practice fastball delivered a few hours too late: a 2-0, 88-mile-per-hour heater that meandered over the middle of the plate.
Where it landed — on the grass berm beyond the center-field wall — was a reasonably predictable outcome.
Still, it was rather poetic that the blast came off the bat of Gleyber Torres.
If Colon, who will turn 45 on Thursday, is hanging on to the vestiges of his professional career — getting by with one pitch (a fastball) and a belly full of guile — Torres, 21, is continuing to assert his arrival.
Torres, who was born four months before Colon made his major-league debut, hit two home runs off the Rangers’ starter, driving in three runs as the Yankees beat Texas, 10-5, on a home run-filled Monday night.
The warm air and the meager pitching offered up here and over the weekend in Kansas City have been quite agreeable to the Yankees’ power-packed lineup. In addition to the two home runs by Torres, Neil Walker hit his first of the year, Aaron Judge hit his 12th and Aaron Hicks his fifth, giving the Yankees at least four home runs for the third consecutive game — the first time that has happened in franchise history.
“That’s what these guys do best,” Manager Aaron Boone said. “They make that other pitcher work and when we get a mistake, they’re slugging it.”
The five home runs also thrust the Yankees past the Boston Red Sox, who were idle on Monday, for the major-league lead with 72. The Red Sox have 68, and have played two more games.
Torres’s two homers pushed his total to six since he was called up on April 22. Though he homered once every 21.6 at-bats over his minor-league career, it is not his pop that is impressing his teammates, but the maturity in his at-bats. Torres hit his first home run on Monday to left field — turning on an 0-1 fastball on the inner edge of the plate. On his second homer, he hit the ball right where it was pitched. In his final at-bat, he lined out to first.
It is also not something you see every day from a No. 9 hitter, but Boone said Torres will remain in that slot for now — in large part because of how he sets the table for Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, who batted second and third.
“I’m always considering a time when to move him up,” Boone said. “But I just think he’s been so dynamic down there and it just seems like such an important part of the order that I really like him down there for now.”
Shortstop Didi Gregorius did not add to his homer total, but he did hit a double into the left-center gap in the sixth inning — notable because he had just one hit in his previous 48 at-bats.
The continued power was needed on a night when the Rangers flexed their own pop. Joey Gallo, Rougned Odor and Ronald Guzman each belted home runs. Odor’s three-run homer off Masahiro Tanaka tied the score at 4-4 in the fourth.
It was an uneasy evening for Tanaka, who had little command of his splitter, which the Rangers often laid off when it was below the strike zone or hammered when it was hung. Tanaka allowed just three hits — two of which were the home runs by Gallo and Odor — but he walked four and was assisted by several terrific plays by his middle infielders, Gregorius and Torres.
But Torres’s most memorable contributions came from his bat.After Walker’s two-out, bloop double scored Gary Sanchez to put the Yankees ahead 1-0, Torres hit a 1-0 fastball into the left-field seats to put them ahead 3-0.
Colon hit Torres with an 0-2 fastball in his next at-bat, but neither Boone nor Torres thought it was anything untoward. Colon managed to keep the Rangers in the game for a bit. He surrendered a home run to Judge to lead off the fifth, which put the Yankees ahead for good, 5-4. But he navigated the rest of the inning and struck out Walker to begin the sixth.
That, however, brought up Torres, who would soon begin his trot around the bases, after which Colon trudged slowly off the mound.