Encarnación hurt again as Yankees beat Tigers 10-4 in opener

Edwin Encarnación homered, then left the game with an oblique injury.

Just another up-and-down afternoon for these injury-riddled New York Yankees.

Encarnación homered for the fourth time in eight games since returning from the injured list, then left in the fifth inning with a strained left oblique muscle as the Yankees beat the Detroit Tigers 10-4 Thursday in a doubleheader opener. New York starter J.A. Happ is also dealing with some health issues, although manager Aaron Boone didn’t sound too concerned about that.

Encarnación, New York’s designated hitter, had a two-run homer in the third, walked in the fifth and was pinch hit for by Mike Ford in the seventh.

“I guess he felt it in his first at-bat,” Boone said. “Obviously, he homered in his second at-bat. My understanding is that he was fine swinging, but it bothered him when he coughed.

“We hope it is minor, but we want to get it checked out.”

It’s been an injury-plagued season for the Yankees — slugger Giancarlo Stanton has played only nine games. Encarnación missed 30 games with a broken right wrist after he was hit by pitch from Boston’s Josh Smith on Aug. 3. He was hitting .294 with 10 RBIs since returning and has 34 home runs this season.

Happ entered Thursday with a 15 1/3 inning scoreless streak and pitched shutout ball until the fifth, when Dawel Lugo hit a two-run homer with two outs. Christin Stewart singled and Boone brought in Chad Green (4-4), who allowed one run over 2 1/3 innings against the team that drafted him in 2013. The Yankees said after the game that Happ had left biceps tendinitis and would return to New York to be examined.

“It has been an issue for the last few starts — maybe the last three to five,” Happ said. “It’s something I’ve been able to pitch through, but hopefully we can find something so I can get in my work in between starts.”

Boone stressed that Happ’s pitch count was the reason he didn’t finish the fifth inning, not the injury.

The Yankees hit six homers Tuesday but lost 12-11 to the Tigers. In Thursday’s opener, they went deep twice and won.

Luke Voit put the Yankees ahead in the first with his first home run since July 22, a two-run drive off Matt Boyd (8-11). Voit became the sixth Yankees player with 20 homers, one shy of the team record set in 2009. Voit had three hits and three RBIs for the Yankees, who have 278 homers this season.

Boyd (8-11) gave up four runs — three earned — three hits and four walks in five innings. He has allowed 38 homers, four short of Denny McLain’s franchise record of 42, set in 1966.

“I missed one pitch and made a couple bad decisions on what to throw,” Boyd said. “When you make mistakes to those guys, they hit them out of the park.”

Cameron Maybin hit a two-run double in a three-run seventh and Didi Gregorius had a two-run triple in a three-run eighth.

Travis Demeritte hit a solo homer in the eighth off New York’s Ben Heller, who made his first big league appearance since Oct. 1, 2017.

CC Sabathia (5-8, 4.93) returned from his fourth trip to the IL this year to start the second game. Sidelined by a chronically painful right knee, Sabathia last pitched on Aug. 30. Spencer Turnbull (3-14, 4.68) started for the Tigers.


Yankees: Heller had Tommy John surgery on April 6 last year and had a 0.66 ERA in 13 2/3 innings over 11 appearances during a minor league injury rehabilitation assignment. … New York reinstated LHP Stephen Tarpley (left elbow) from the IL.

Tigers: UT Niko Goodrum (groin) and CF JaCoby Jones (wrist) are both expected to miss the rest of the season.


Boyd has been Detroit’s most consistent starter all season, and his 11.64 strikeouts per nine innings would be the most by any Tigers pitcher qualified for the ERA title. Max Scherzer currently has the team record of 11.08 in 2012.

However, Boyd’s 1.93 HR/9 IP also puts him on pace to break Bill Gullickson’s mark of 1.87, set in 1994.


Yankees: RHP Masahiro Tanaka (10-8) starts Friday’s series opener at Toronto.

Tigers: RHP Jordan Zimmermann (1-10) starts Friday against visiting Baltimore.


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