YANKEES 2, DODGERS 1
When it came to renewing acquaintances with former manager Joe Torre, Alex Rodriguez may have taken the fifth. But on Friday night at Dodger Stadium he let his bat do the talking.
Rodriguez doubled and scored the Yankees’ first run in the second inning and hit his 593rd career home run in the sixth inning to boost CC Sabathia and the New York Yankees over the Torre-led Los Angeles Dodgers 2-1.
Sabathia (9-3) silenced the Dodgers’ bats by giving up only four singles and three walks in eight innings of work. He struck out seven batters in notching his fifth straight victory. Mariano Rivera struck out the side in the ninth inning to post his 17th save in 18 chances and his eighth in a row.
Vicente Padilla (1-2), who drew the Yankees and his teammates’ ire last June by throwing at a number of Yankee hitters, did it again Friday by hitting Robinson Cano with a pitch in the fourth inning. Sabathia retaliated by hitting Padilla with a pitch in the fifth inning. Both benches were warned and there were no further incidents.
With the victory the Yankees raised their season record to a season-high 19 games over .500 at 46-27. They also, by virtue of the Tampa Bays Rays being no-hit by Edwin Jackson of Arizona and the Boston Red Sox’ 5-4 loss to the Giants, have taken a three-game lead in the A.L. East. The Dodgers continue there June swoon and now are 39-34.
- Sabathia was in command of the Dodgers all night, despite three walks in the first three innings. The first walk to Rafael Furcal was costly because he stole second and reached third on a groundout. Manny Ramirez then drove him in with a two-out single. After the third walk in the third inning, Sabathia retired 13 of the last 16 batters he faced with only one ball even making the outfield.
- Rodriguez showed signs in Arizona that he was breaking out of his June funk and he continued that trend at Chavez Ravine. Rodriguez stroked a lined double to right-field off Padilla in the second inning and then ripped a first-pitch fastball halfway up the left-field pavilion in the sixth inning. The 2-for-4 night raised his batting average to .283 and he now has the team lead in RBIs with 51.
- Jorge Posada is also showing signs of shaking a mild slump with an RBI single in the second inning. He also lined out hard to center and then was robbed of a double off the wall by center-field
er Matt Kemp in the sixth inning.
- Derek Jeter celebrated his reunion with his former manager he still calls “Mr. T” with a 2-for-5 night. Jeter is still struggling with his aveage, which is now at just .281.
- Rivera, coming off a two-inning effort in which he loaded the bases with no outs in the 10th on Wednesday against the Diamondbacks only to retire the next three batters, showed no ill effects from that outing on Friday. He needed only 18 pitches to strike out Ramirez, Kemp and James Loney in succession.
- Curtis Granderson had an off-night after his huge 10th inning home run to lead the Yankees over the Diamondbacks on Wednesday night. He was 0-for-4 with a strikeout.
- Brett Gardner also took an 0-for-4 collar and he was struck out twice by Padilla. Gardner did not seem to realize that National League pitchers really bear down on No. 8 hitters with two outs because the pitcher is up next and they want start the inning off with the pitcher batting. Gardner obliged Padilla in his first two at-bats by striking out swinging.
- Nick Swisher was also 0-for-4 and was called out on strikes once. Swisher and a number of Yankees hitters were unable to do much with Padilla’s 52 mph lollipop curve he kept dropping into the strike zone. He made the Yankees look bad.
A.J. Burnett pronounced himself ready to go on Saturday after a productive bullpen session on Wednesday in Arizona. Bench coach Tony Pena joined manager Joe Girardi and acting pitching coach Mike Harkey to see if Burnett might be tipping his pitches. Burnett said he believes he is “flying open” too early on his delivery and showing the batter what might be coming. . . . With a strikeout he recorded on Wednesday night in Arizona, Rivera took over ninth place on the all-time Yankee strikeout list over Al Downing with 1,029. . . . Gardner began play Friday second in the majors with a June on-base percentage of .476.
THE NEXT GAME
The Yankees will head into the second game of their series with their old rivals in Los Angeles with Burnett (6-6, 4.83 ERA) on the mound. Burnett is 0-4 with a 10.35 ERA in his last four starts. He is struggling mightily with his command. Burnett is 3-2 with a 2.45 ERA in seven career starts against the Dodgers but he has not faced them since 2005.
His will be opposed by right-hander Hiroki Kuroda (6-5, 3.06 ERA). Kuroda is coming off two consecutive quality starts. But he lost his last game against the Boston Red Sox because he got no run support. He has not faced the Yankees before.
Game-time will be 7:10 p.m. EDT and the game will be telecast nationally by FOX Sports.