DENVER — Maybe it will be the Twins getting fat against the Yankees rather than the other way around.
Another bad outing by a starting pitcher Wednesday afternoon put the Yankees in a hole they couldn’t climb out of and they fell for a second straight game, 5-3, to the Rockies in front of 40,093 at Coors Field.
The Yankees (31-34) have lost four straight after a five-game winning streak put them one game over .500.
They start a four-game series against the AL-worst Twins Thursday night in Minneapolis, and Joe Girardi, for one, is tired of the narrative that accompanied his team at the start of this trip: Mainly, that with 11 games upcoming against the sub-.500 Rockies and Twins — six on the road then five more at home — the Yankees should be poised to take off in the standings.
“I don’t care who you’re playing, if you don’t play well, you’re going to get your butts beat,” Girardi said. “We didn’t pitch well here.
“Everyone wants to talk about the schedule,” Girardi continued. “If you start thinking that you’re just going to go out and throw your gloves out there [and win], that ain’t going to happen. Not in this league. They [the Rockies] have the potential to score a lot of runs. They did it both days.”
Ivan Nova was the latest starter to struggle. The righthander came in 5-3 with a 4.39 ERA but was 2-2 with a 5.76 ERA in his previous four starts.
He pitched to those numbers Wednesday, allowing five runs and a season-high 10 hits over five innings, unable to hold the 2-1 lead the Yankees gave him in the fourth.
“I was throwing the ball right over the plate, and they took advantage of it,” Nova said. “I wasn’t able to locate my pitches.”
That was especially damaging in the fifth as the Rockies (32-33), who had 13 hits as they won for the eighth time in 10 games, scored four runs to turn a 2-1 deficit into a 5-2 lead.
Nova walked Charlie Blackmon to start the inning and the leadoff man stole second. DJ LeMahieu, who went 3-for-3 with a triple, got him in with a single to center, tying it at 2. Nolan Arenado came next and, swinging first pitch, ripped a 93-mph fastball out to left, his 20th homer making it 4-2 and giving him a league-leading 57 RBIs.
Nova struck out Carlos Gonzalez for the inning’s first out, but Trevor Story doubled and came in on Mark Reynolds’ two-out single that made it 5-2.
“This ballpark, you can’t give extra baserunners,” Girardi said of the leadoff walk.
Rockies starter Chad Bettis entered 4-5 with a 5.85 ERA and had lasted five innings or fewer in four straight starts.
On Wednesday Bettis allowed three runs (two earned) and seven hits over six innings. Three Rockies relievers retired nine straight Yankees batters over the final three innings.
The Yankees got one run back with a two-out rally in the sixth, getting hits by Chase Headley, Didi Gregorius and Aaron Hicks.
Dellin Betances pitched a scoreless seventh, but Aroldis Chapman allowed a two-out single to Blackmon in the ninth followed by a LeMahieu triple to make it 6-3.
Carlos Estevez worked a perfect ninth for his third save, dropping the Yankees into last place in the AL East.
“Everyone’s talked about an important two weeks [against the Rockies and Twins], this is an important month,” Girardi said. “We can’t keep having months where we’re not making up ground. If you’re losing ground, it’s going to be tough to catch up. These are months we have to play better than the teams in front of us.”