PHILADELPHIA — As Austin Romine took off for third on a wild pitch, he was greeted by a worrying sight when he peeked toward home plate — the ball had ricocheted off the brick wall behind home plate and bounced right back to Phillies catcher Andrew Knapp.
Knapp plucked the ball out of the air and fired it to third base, where Maikel Franco reached back to slap a tag on Romine. Except Romine was not there.
His contortionist slide — popping up early and dead legging his way around Franco’s glove — was not the type of derring-do that would be expected from someone who had stolen just one base since 2013 entering Tuesday.
So perhaps that was why, as Romine brushed himself off at third base, the crusty backup catcher allowed himself a broad grin toward his teammates in the nearby dugout.
It was a laugher all around on Tuesday night for the Yankees, who outclassed the Phillies for the second night in a row and rolled to a 6-0 victory.
Aaron Hicks opened the game with a towering homer to center field, Phillies second baseman Cesar Hernandez bungled a potential double play to allow the Yankees to take a stranglehold on the game, and Luis Severino held Philadelphia in check through seven shutout innings.
If the Yankees arrived here in a sour mood after being swept at Tampa Bay over the weekend — their only three-game losing streak of the season — then the feeling has shifted to frivolity the last couple of nights.
The guffaws started during Monday night’s win when Dellin Betances, the reliever who had not taken a swing in a game since he was in high school 12 years ago, waggled his bat like Gary Sheffield and swung as if he were trying to put another crack in the Liberty Bell.
Severino, who fancies himself the best hitter among the Yankees’ pitchers, playfully mocked Betances earlier on Tuesday and then handled the bat competently in the game. He lifted a fly ball to right in his first at-bat and then, after being unable to advance Romine — who had opened the fourth with a double — with a bunt, took an abbreviated but unabashed hack after showing bunt.
“He makes me nervous,” said Hicks, who snatched an extra-base hit away from Rhys Hoskins with a leaping catch at the wall in the eighth inning. “He’s swinging way too hard.”
Severino fouled off the pitch, drawing oohs from the crowd and more giggles from the dugout, and on the next pitch, the Phillies ace Jake Arrieta bounced a curveball to the backstop that led to Romine’s artful slide.
Though Severino struck out, he had a hand — at least in a small way — in advancing Romine, who scored from third on a deep fly ball by Hicks.
“It was great,” Severino said of his work with the bat. “It was perfect.”
Romine said he had slid simply out of necessity. “I’m not the fastest guy out there,” he said. “I’m just trying not to be out.”
Asked if he thought Romine, whose brother, Andrew, is a utility player for Seattle, had a slide like that in him, Manager Aaron Boone smiled and said, “Ro’s a sneaky good athlete — not as good an athlete as his brother, who can play all over the yard.”
The Yankees’ lead grew to 6-0 in the fifth inning with Didi Gregorius’s solo homer into the left-field bleachers, providing the final indignity for Arrieta, who has been pedestrian since a scintillating April.
The damage might not have been so severe had Hernandez not made an errant flip to shortstop Mike Kingery, who dropped it as he was preparing to turn a 6-3 double play that would have ended the third inning with the Yankees leading by 1-0.
Instead, the bases were loaded with one out. Arrieta struck out Giancarlo Stanton, but Gleyber Torres lined a two-run single past a diving Franco and Greg Bird followed with a single to left to bring home another run, only his sixth run batted in.
It was an encouraging night for the slumping Bird, who reached three times, as well as for Chasen Shreve, the lone Yankee reliever who has been struggling. He walked a batter in the ninth but had a hitless, scoreless night for the first time in six outings.
The emphatic early lead allowed Severino, who improved to 12-2, to settle in. He allowed six hits and no walks, while striking out nine — including the final batter he faced. He threw a stress-free 103 pitches, and his fastball touched 100 miles per hour in the final inning.
“As I like to say, that thing was crispy tonight,” Boone said.
The economical, smooth effort will most likely allow the Yankees to bring Severino back on four days’ rest to pitch against the Boston Red Sox on Sunday night.
The Yankees will use a spot start by Luis Cessa on Wednesday night so they can push C. C. Sabathia back to open the weekend series against the Red Sox, games for which the Yankees figure to strike a more serious tone.