YANKEES 12, BREWERS 2
The Milwaukee Brewers came to New York as a first-place off-Broadway success story. After the thorough thrashing they took from the Yankees in the Bronx on Tuesday night, they might want to retool before the second show.
Nick Swisher and Mark Teixeira each homered and drove in four runs while Freddy Garcia pitched two-run baseball over six innings as New York tagged Zack Greinke and Milwaukee early and often for their 13th win in their last 17 games.
Greinke (7-3), who spurned a potential trade to the Yankees because he was unsure he could handle the media and fan spotlight, looked as if he wished he was pitching elsewhere instead of in front of a Yankee Stadium crowd of 45,575. But his teammates did him no favors either with a series of mistakes that led to the Yankees chasing the right-hander with seven runs in only two innings. It was Greinke’s shortest outing since April 16, 2007.
It also was the first time in 180 starts in which Greinke did not record a strikeout.
It all began going downhill for Greinke on his second delivery when he hit Brett Gardner with a pitch. Curtis Granderson then lofted a routine fly ball to center-field but Nyjer Morgan slipped on the turf and the ball fell harmlessly to his right for an RBI triple that scored Gardner. Teixeira plated Granderson on an infield grounder to make 2-0.
Though Greinke escaped the first without giving up another run, he gave up a single to Alex Rodriguez, a walk to Nick Swisher and, for some reason, when Posada grounded a ball to third baseman Casey McGehee, McGehee elected to try to tag Rodriguez at third rather than throw out a slow-running Posada at first.
McGehee missed the tag and the bases were loaded. But Greinke was able to get Russell Martin to fly out to end the inning and it cost him 27 pitches.
But the second inning would be even worse for Greinke. Eduardo Nunez opened the frame with a single and Gardner drew a walk. After one out, Nunez and Granderson executed a double-steal and Nunez scored on another Teixeira groundout. Rodriguez walked and Cano laced a single to center to score Gardner from third. Swisher then made the game a laugher by blasting a 2-0 Greinke fastball into the right-center-field bleachers for his 10th home run of the season.
The line on Greinke: Two innings, five hits, seven runs, all earned, two walks, no strikeouts and a hit batter. He threw 56 pitches.
Meanwhile, Garcia was keeping the power-laden Brewers off-balance with his off-speed stuff. Though Garcia gave up an RBI single to Mat Gamel and a sacrifice fly RBI by Yuniesky Betancourt in the fourth, Garcia (7-6) ended up with his 10th quality start out of his 14 starts this season.
Teixeira added to the rout by hitting his 24th home run of the season in the sixth inning off reliever Marco Estrada. It was the third consecutive game in which Teixeira has homered and he is now tied with Jose Bautista of the Blue Jays for the major league lead.
The victory was not only sweet because it put the Yankees at a season-high 15 games over .500 at 46-31. It also was sweet because erstwhile Yankee demon Cliff Lee outdueled and shut out Josh Beckett and the Boston Red Sox 5-0. That means the Yankees now lead the flagging Red Sox by 1 1/2 games in the American League East. The Brewers record is now 44-36.
- Swisher added an RBI double in the eighth inning and was 2-for-4 with a walk in the game. Swisher, who began June hitting .213, has now raised his average to .249. He has hit .325 with seven home runs and 22 RBIs this month. Swisher also had a dazzling game in field with two outfield assists and two plays where he cut potential doubles into singles with sliding stops. Swisher threw home attempting to nail Corey Hart in the fourth inning on Betancourt’s sac fly. Hart scored easily but Martin completed a double play by throwing out Gamel trying to take second on the throw. In the sixth, Swisher fielded another single by Gamel but threw out Hart on a perfect one-hop throw to Martin.
- Teixeira’s power output over the past three games has been amazing. Tex is 4-for-13 (307) with three home runs and seven RBIs in that span and he has eight home runs and 24 RBIs for the month. However, Teixeira is only hitting .221 in June. When Teixeira signed with the Yankees before the 2009 season, he had only one season in which he had less than .281 (He hit .259 in his rookie season). However, in 2010 Teixeira hit .256 and this season he his hitting .246.
- It is going to be tough for the Yankees to decide what they are going to do when Phil Hughes returns to the rotation. Garcia and Ivan Nova are making it hard on manager Joe Girardi. Garcia went a solid six innings and threw only 76 pitches, 49 for strikes. He gave up two runs on eight hits, no walks and he fanned one. Garcia lowered his ERA to 3.28, which is third best among the starters. Bartolo Colon leads the team with a 3.10 ERA and CC Sabathia is next at 3.25.
- Rodriguez quietly had another very good game. He reached base in three of his four plate appearances and was 2-for-3 with a pair of singles, a walk and two runs scored. Rodriguez singled in first inning to where normally a second baseman would play. The Brewers employed an odd shift that had second baseman Rickie Weeks playing to the right of second base. No other team has employed that shift against Rodriguez because when Rodriguez is hitting well he hits a lot of balls to right-center.
There was nothing that could be termed negative in this game. Pitching, defense and timely hitting were all there. The Yankees look like an elite club now.
Colon pitched an exceptional 60-pitch simulated game on Monday that has the Yankees thinking he could start this weekend in the Subway Series at Citi Field. Colon has been on the 15-day disabled list since June 11 with a mild left hamstring strain. Colon took part in bunting drills on Tuesday in Tampa, FL, an indication the Yankees may be considering activating him. Colon will re-evaluated in by the training staff in New York on Wednesday and a decision will be made then. If Colon is unable to pitch this weekend, Brian Gordon will start for him for the third time. . . . The Yankees other man in Tampa, Derek Jeter, also made some progress on Tuesday. Jeter, on the DL since June 14 with a right calf strain, took part in batting practice, fielded grounders and ran the bases for the first time. But Jeter only ran at about 50 percent. Jeter likely will have a two-game rehab assignment when he is able to run 100 percent over several days.
The Yankees will try to win their three-game series with the Brewers on Wednesday.
They will start right-hander A.J. Burnett (7-6, 4.15 ERA). Burnett remains the most vexing pitcher the Yankees have ever had. He became the first pitcher in Yankees’ history to strike out four batters in an inning but he gave up four runs and lost to the Colorado Rockies in his last start. Though he has a 3.26 ERA in his last three starts, he is 1-2. He is 1-2 with a 6.39 ERA lifetime against the Brewers.
For the second straight game, the Brewers will start a right-hander who pitched in the American League and knows the Yankees well. Shaun Marcum (7-2, 2.95 ERA) lasted just three innings in his first start after recovering from a left hip flexor injury. He is 1-4 with a 6.55 ERA against the Yankees in his career.
Game-time will be at 7:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be telecast by the YES Network.