YANKEES 8, ROCKIES 3
When Jason Giambi swung and missed at a slider from CC Sabathia to strike out on three pitches in the second inning he knew that it was going to be a long day for Colorado.
Sabathia was simply in command for all of his eight innings and the Yankees’ offense, led by Alex Rodriguez’s three RBIs, did the rest as New York bested the Rockies at Yankee Stadium on Saturday.
Sabathia only gave up a two-out pinch-hit single to Seth Smith in his final inning of work. He scattered seven hits and walked one while fanning a season-high nine batters to become the major-league leader in wins with 10. Sabathia also tied Chien-Ming Wang for the fastest pitcher to win 50 games for the Yankees in 30 years. Both did it in their 85th starts.
Sabathia has also won three straight starts and has also recorded wins in seven of his last eight starts. Giambi put it best when he said, “He was lights out today.”
But while CC was in charge, there was a buzz in the clubhouse about the condition of Rodriguez, despite the fact he was 2-for-3 with a single, a double, a walk, scored a run and drove in three. The Yankees finally admitted last week that Rodriguez was being treated over a period of days for a sore left shoulder.
But Rodriguez showed a noticeable limp running out his two-run double in the third inning. Rodriguez told reporters that he injured his right knee as a baserunner on Sunday night against the Cubs. Rodriguez pivoted on the knee on a wild pitch and ran back third. In the process the knee became sore. Rodriguez has 10 hits and is hitting .556 in the five games since the report about the shoulder surfaced so it does not appear the Yankees are too concerned about it.
However, manager Joe Girardi did take Rodriguez out of Saturday’s game at the end of the seventh inning.
The Yankees rocked Colorado right-hander Aaron Cook (0-3) for six runs (five earned) on 12 hits and one walk in 5 2/3 innings. Mark Teixeira added a two-run home run off reliever Rafael Betancourt in the eighth inning, his 22nd of the season and that leaves him one home run behind the major-league leader, Jose Bautista, of the Blue Jays.
With the victory, the Yankees ended a two-game losing streak and improved their season mark to 44-31. But the best news of the day actually came in the evening. The lowly Pittsburgh Pirates defeated the Boston Red Sox for the second straight night and the Yankees have now pulled into a tie with their rivals in the American League East. The Rockies fell to 38-38.
- The Yankees are very lucky to have Sabathia. He is the one pitcher they can count on to put in a good effort every five days as Bartolo Colon and Phil Hughes rehab their injuries on the disabled list. Sabathia did not get a decision in his first four starts and yet he is first major-league pitcher to reach 10 wins. Sabathia is 10-4 with 3.25 ERA. He also seems headed to a another selection for the All-Star Game in July.
- Concern about Rodriguez aside, the third baseman is making it hard to bench him when he is so hot. In the month of June, he is 25-for-75 (.333) with four home runs and 20 RBIs. He has also driven in eight runs in his last five games. Perhaps Rodriguez may be rested on Sunday with the Yankees due for a day off Monday and Girardi could use him as a DH on Tuesday.
- Name the two players who were the biggest disappointments entering June. Answer: Nick Swisher and Jorge Posada. Well, the pair combined to go 5-for-7 on Saturday with an RBI apiece. For the month of June, Swisher is hitting .319 with five home runs and 16 RBIs. Posada is hitting a sizzling .389 but, because he could not start in the recent road interleague contests, he only has a home run and eight RBIs.
- Teixeira’s home run was his sixth in the month of June and has 19 RBIs during that span. However, Teixeira is batting a meager .221 in June. He is on a home-run pace in which he could hit more than 40 homers for the first time in his career since he hit 43 for the Rangers in 2005.
- Robinson Cano had his second consecutive 0-for-4 game after an 11-game hitting streak. Among his last eight at-bats, Cano has struck once and has hit into three double plays. He has hit only two balls into the outfield.
- Whoever got the idea to recall journeyman right-handed reliever Buddy Carlyle from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Wednesday in exchange for Jeff Marquez, made a real big mistake. Carlyle was sent down on May 13 after posting a 0-1 record and 5.40 ERA in May. On Saturday, he entered in the ninth inning with an 8-1 lead and promptly walked the leadoff batter Jaosn Giambi, surrendered a two-run home run to Ty Wigginton and then walked a .230 hitter in Ryan Spilborghs. Girardi was forced to warm up Mariano Rivera before Carlyle finally decided to throw strikes and end the nonsense.
- The Yankees hit into three double plays in the game. Two by Cano and one by Brett Gardner. The Yankees as a team have into 73 double plays in 75 games. They are among the league leaders in that dubious distinction. They are shooting themselves in the foot and ending promising innings when they do it. Russell Martin leads the team with 11. Cano has 10. Rodriguez has nine.
The team was cautious in its assessment of Phil Hughes’ rehab start on Friday for Double-A Trenton at New Britain. Hughes gave up one run on three hits in 3 1/3 innings. He threw 72 pitches, 42 for strikes. He topped out at 94 mph but averaged around 91-92. It was not as good as his first start but Hughes called it progress. The Yankees said Hughes will need a few more rehab starts before being activated. . . . Derek Jeter began taking swings off a tee at the team’s minor-league complex in Tampa, FL, but he has not been cleared to begin running. Jeter has been on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right calf and could have been activated on Wednesday. But that will not happen. Jeter’s status is unclear until he begins running.
The Yankees will conduct their 65th annual Old-Timers’ Day Game beginning at 11:30 a.m. EDT. The Yankees will welcome back Lou Piniella, Joe Torre and Bernie Williams among many others. Then the Yankees will try to win the rubber game of their series against the Rockies.
The Yankees will start 24-year-old right-hander Ivan Nova (7-4, 4.14 ERA), who is coming off his best start of the season. Against the Reds on Monday, Nova gave up one run on three hits over eight innings. He also fanned seven batters. Nova has never faced the Rockies.
The Rockies are pitching a 24-year-old rookie right-hander of their own, Juan Nicasio (2-1, 4.71 ERA), who gave up six runs on seven hits in his last start against the Indians. Nicasio is facing the Yankees for the first time.
Game-time will be 2:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be televised nationally by TBS and locally by the YES Network.