YANKEES 6, RED SOX 0
The New York media hounded Yankees manager Joe Girardi for days about his decision to start Vidal Nuno on Friday instead of skipping him in favor of rookie sensation Masahiro Tanaka. The pundits pointed out Nuno’s 0-3 record and his 7.09 ERA at home and the fact he had not won a game at all since May 7.
Well, Nuno, buoyed by Girardi’s faith in him, managed to shut those windbags up real quick.
Nuno pitched 5 2/3 innings of shutout baseball and he got the backing of three home runs as New York continued its mastery over struggling rival Boston in front of a sellout crowd of 48,522 at Yankee Stadium.
Nuno (2-4) yielded just two hits and and two walks while he fanned five in what easily was his best start of the season. The 26-year-old left-hander used his fastball to set up his slider and curve to keep the Red Sox at bay, retiring 10 batters in a row at one stage.
The only hits he gave up were a lead off single to Jonny Gomes in the second inning and a one-out double to Brock Holt in the third.
Meanwhile, the Yankees used the long-ball to their advantage against right-hander Brandon Workman (1-1).
The Yankees broke on top in the first inning when Derek Jeter stroked a one-out single and former Red Sox Jacoby Ellsbury delivered a ringing double down the right-field line. Mark Teixeira then scored Jeter with a sacrifice fly.
But the Yankees added to their lead in the fourth when Brian McCann slapped an opposite-field single to left and two outs later Kelly Johnson blasted a two-run shot into the back end of the lower-level bleachers in right-center for his fifth home run of the season.
Just after Johnson got his final high-five in the Yankees’ dugout Brett Gardner hit a high-arcing shot that landed in the first row over the auxiliary scoreboard in right for his seventh home run of the season.
Workman managed to settle in long enough to pitch seven innings, giving up four runs on seven hits and two walks while striking out five.
The Yankees added a pair of runs off left-hander Craig Breslow in the eighth when Teixeira led off with a single and McCann followed one out later with a majestic blast into the second deck in right-field on a 3-1 fastball for his ninth homer of the season.
The bullpen trio of Dellin Betances, Adam Warren and Matt Thornton held the Red Sox scoreless over the final 3 1/3 innings, surrendering just one hit and one walk while they struck out four.
The Red Sox entered the contest 13th in the American League in runs scored.
With the victory the Yankees improved their season record to 41-37. They are just a half-game behind the second-place Baltimore Orioles and they trail the first-place Toronto Blue Jays by just two games in the American League East. The flagging Red Sox, however, fell to 36-44 and they are eight games behind the Blue Jays in fourth place in the division.
- Nuno entered the game having yielded 15 home runs in 61 2/3 innings this season, many of those homers (9) were two- and three-run shots. But Nuno was spot on with his location on Friday and he was able to keep the Red Sox off balance throughout his outing. This game not only was helpful for the Yankees in their division fight but it also saved Nuno’s job as the team’s fifth starter.
- After losing his role as the team’s primary third baseman to Yangervis Solarte, Johnson languished on the bench. But he has been getting more starts lately and his 1-for-2 evening with a walk and strikeout extended his modest hitting streak to three games. Johnson did hit 16 home runs in only 366 at-bats with the Tampa Bay Rays last season so his power could be helpful to the Yankees, especially at home.
- McCann has been a major disappointment in the first half but he is quietly beginning to get untracked. He was 2-for-4 on Friday and now is 8-for-27 (.296) with two homers and seven RBIs in his past seven starts. The Yankees desperately need a power source in the middle of the lineup besides Teixeira.
You could almost guess there are not going to be any negatives from this game. Nuno and the bullpen shut out the Red Sox and the Yankees were able to put some balls into the seats for a change. That makes for a perfect night in the Bronx, NY.
Girardi got a little heated on Friday when the media kept asking about why he was not skipping Nuno in favor of Tanaka. Girardi bristled at the notion that he was answering the question, he said, for the 10th time. Girardi explained that Tanaka is used to pitching on seven days rest, rookie Chase Whitley is new to starting, David Phelps just came out of the bullpen and Hiroki Kuroda got tired late last season. Girardi said the team is in a stretch of 17 games without an off day until the All-Star break and his pitchers could use the rest. So there! . . . Left-hander CC Sabathia is expected to throw between 40 to 45 pitches on Saturday in his first rehab start for High Class A Tampa at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Sabathia, 33, has been on the disabled list since May 10 with a degenerative weakness in his right knee. He is expected to make three starts during his minor-league rehab stint.
The Yankees will continue their weekend home series against the reeling Red Sox on Saturday.
Tanaka (11-2, 2.11 ERA) will finally get the start that will please the New York media. Tanaka had his five-game win streak snapped by the Orioles on Sunday. He gave up only three runs on six hits and a walk while he struck six in seven innings but he got no run support in what ended up an 8-0 loss.
The Red Sox will counter with left-hander Jon Lester (8-7, 3.14 ERA). Lester gave up two runs on four hits and two walks and fanned four batters in 7 2/3 innings against the Oakland Athletics on Sunday in a no decision.
Game-time will be 7:15 p.m. EDT and the game will be broadcast nationally by FOX Sports.
YANKEES 7, BLUE JAYS 3
For most of the season, the Yankees have been wondering where their All-Star slugging catcher Brian McCann was because the one they have been watching was hitting ,220 with seven homers and 28 RBIs. Well, cross your fingers and do a sign of the cross, but there was a rare McCann sighting at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday night.
McCann lined a two-run home run to put the Yankees ahead and later added a three-run triple as part of a career-best-tying five RBIs to lead New York past Toronto to bring them to within 2 1/2 games of the first-place Blue Jays in the American League East.
A paid crowd of 41,342 in the Bronx, N.Y., watched the Yankees win their 15th consecutive game over the Blue Jays at home.
Chase Whitley (3-0), buoyed by an early 1-0 lead, held the Blue Jays scoreless until the fourth inning when he was stung by back-to-back two-out RBI singles by Dioner Navarro and Colby Rasmus, who was just activated from the 15-day disabled list prior to the game.
But the Yankees were able to answer in the bottom of the fourth against left-hander Mark Buehrle (10-4), who has now lost his past three starts.
Carlos Beltran led of the frame with a single and McCann, after battling Buehrle to a 2-2 count in a nine-pitch at-bat, lined a curveball into the second row of the bleachers in right-field to give the Yankees a lead they would not relinquish the rest of the evening.
The home run was McCann’s eighth of the season but his first since May 23 at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago.
Buehrle was also touched for an unearned run in the first inning when Brett Gardner led off with a single, one of his four singles on the night. Derek Jeter then reached when Blue Jays third baseman Brett Lawrie misplayed Jeter’s slow roller into an error.
Two batters later, another one of the Yankees struggling sluggers, Alfonso Soriano, slapped Buehrle’s first pitch up the middle to score Gardner.
Buehrle was charged with three runs (two earned) on six hits and two walks with four strikeouts in six innings.
Whitley, however, was able to hold on for his third straight victory and the Yankees are now 7-0 in his starts since he was called up from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on May 15. He yielded two runs on five hits and one walk with two strikeouts in five innings.
The Yankees were able to put the game away in the seventh inning against right-hander Chad Jenkins and left-hander Brett Cecil.
Gardner singled and, two outs later, Jacoby Ellsbury and Mark Teixeira hit consecutive singles to load the bases. Blue Jays manager John Gibbons replaced Jenkins with Cecil and pinch-hitter Ichiro Suzuki drew a walk for score Gardner.
McCann then followed with a base-clearing triple into the gap in right-center to become the first Yankees catcher to hit a home run, a triple and drive in five runs in a game since Elston Howard did it in 1962.
The Blue Jays scored a run in the eighth off rookie right-hander Jose Ramirez on a leadoff double by Melky Cabrera and an RBI double off the bat of Jose Bautista. But the bullpen combination of Adam Warren, Dellin Betances and David Robertson pitched four scoreless innings on no hits, one walk and six strikeouts to close out the victory for Whitley.
The Yankees’ season record is now 37-33 and they only trail the Jays by one game in the loss column in the tightly bunched A.L. East. The Blue Jays fell to 41-32.
- McCann was 2-for-3 with a walk and his five RBIs on Tuesday leave him in a tie with Teixeira for the team lead with 33. McCann, 30, a career .274 hitter, is still hitting only .226 but the Yankees are hoping that he is about to break out of what has been a prolonged power and hitting drought to provide what he did for the Atlanta Braves in his previous eight seasons.
- Gardner entered the game hitting .325 at Yankee Stadium this season and he added to it with a 4-for-5 night with four singles and two runs scored. In 30 games at home, Gardner is now 41-for-119 (.345) with four home runs and 15 RBIs. In his past nine games, Gardner is 14-for-38 (.386) with two homers and five RBIs.
- Whitley, who turned 25 on Saturday, got caught up in a heavy pitch count in trying to battle the major league’s best home run hitting team. But he kept the Yankees in the game until the Yankees were able to take the lead in the fourth. Whitley’s walk to Cabrera with one out in the fifth was the first he has issued since May 21 against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. In 38 2/3 innings, Whitley has walked just four batters. It looks like he is going to be a keeper in the rotation.
There are hints that the Yankees may be ready to bust out of their offensive funk and it could not have come at a better time because the Yankees are in the midst of 15 games against teams in their division. They have now won the first two of those 15 games against the best team in the division. They need to keep it going.
Left-hander CC Sabathia threw a bullpen session at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday for a second consecutive day and he is expected to throw another bullpen session on Saturday. Sabathia, who was limited to throwing just fastballs on Tuesday, mixed in some sliders on Wednesday and reported no problems with his right knee after the session. Sabathia has been sidelined since May 10 after having a stem-cell injection in his right knee. . . . Manager Joe Girardi told reporters on Wednesday that he is not considering any shakeup in the starting rotation but he is watching left-hander Vidal Nuno closely. Nuno is 1-3 with a 5.90 ERA this season and he was shelled for eight runs on eight hits in three-plus innings against the Oakland Athletics on Sunday. With right-hander Shawn Kelley back in the bullpen after a stint on the DL, Warren could be inserted into the rotation if Girardi needs to make a move.
The Yankees have a chance to sweep the first-place Blue Jays on Thursday and draw to within 1 1/2 games of the lead in the division.
Right-hander David Phelps (2-4, 4.32 ERA) gets the start for the Yankees. Phelps, 27, is coming off what may have been the best start of his career on Saturday when he shut out the A’s on two hits and three walks while fanning four in 6 2/3 innings. That victory broke a string of four straight losses for Phelps.
Right-hander Drew Hutchison (5-4, 3.62 ERA) will pitch for the Blue Jays. Hutchison, 23, shut out the Baltimore Orioles on six hits with no walks and three strikeouts in seven innings for his fifth victory on Friday. He was lit up for six runs on six hits and three walks in 3 1/3 innings by the Yankees in Toronto on April 6.
Game-time will be 7:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be broadcast by the YES Network.
Here is what would the perfect scenario for Robin$on Cano’s return to Yankee Stadium tonight:
CC Sabathia gets Cano to roll over on a breaking pitch and he grounds the ball weakly to Brian Roberts at second base. Cano loafs out of the batter’s box because, after all, you have to protect your hamstrings at all times. But Roberts bobbles the ball and it squirts away. Cano sees the bobble and speeds up but Roberts recovers and nips him by a step at first base.
That would make Yankee fans get up off their feet for a standing ovation. It is tribute to your legacy as a Yankee after all.
Although the newest Seattle Mariners millionaire seems to believe he left the Bronx on good terms with the fans and his teammates, he is sorely mistaken.
Cano left the Yankees for two reasons: (1) He was jealous over the seven-year, $153 million contract for which the Yankees signed Jacoby Ellsbury. Ellsbury, in Cano’s mind, is an inferior player to him and Ellsbury was overpaid. (2) Cano was looking for a 10-year contract worth $310 million and he knew the Yankees were not going to give it to him.
So Cano did what any self-respecting money whore would do and jumped a plane to Seattle to meet with Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik to tell him that he would sign for $240 million as long as he could get his 10-year deal. The Mariners agreed and Cano parted ways with the only team he had ever known.
Now things in Seattle are a lot different. While the Yankees routinely go to the playoffs and have a roster filled with All-Stars and Hall of Fame players, the Mariners roster is filled with free agents other teams don’t want and young players who have yet to show any true potential.
But Cano told reporters he loves Seattle because the fans are still hung over about the Seahawks winning the Super Bowl that they don’t really care about the Mariners winning so much. He also said that the atmosphere is less tense. That is so very good to know, Robin$on.
That means they can cheer you as you hit about 18 home runs and drive in 80 runs while hitting .290 and collecting your $24 million as they team barely wins 70 games year after year after year.
It also frees Robin$on to not get his uniform dirty diving for ground balls because the team is not going anywhere anyway. It also allows him to loaf around the bases as he loves to do because hustling just doesn’t make him look cool. The emphasis is always on looking cool out there.
I am sure Robin$on will set a great example to the young players on the Mariners who have never seen a World Series ring or even know what the playoffs are like unless they bought a ticket or tuned into a broadcast of one. They will see that keeping that uniform clean and not straining to hurt those quads or hamstrings so you can stay healthy enough to collect fat paychecks is the way to go.
Those young Mariners will be laughing from the dugout as Derek Jeter sprints hard to first base on that surgically repaired ankle on a routine come-backer to the pitcher. They will say, “Robin$on is right. Why hustle on a play like that when you are so obviously going to get thrown out 99 out of 100 times.”
Yes, you have to save that energy. There is spring training and 162 games to play. Plus, since we are not playing in October we get to rest up, eating all the nachos, wings and drinking all the beer we want before getting ready for the next season of failure.
So you got to protect those legs. You are no good to the team if you are hurt. Relax.
The fans don’t care either. They are only happy when “King Felix” tosses a shutout or Cano hits a double off the wall. Home runs are hard to come by at Safeco Field but doubles are like manna from heaven.
So there are no real hard feelings from the fans, Robin$on. Why should there be. The Yankees gave your number 24 to a journeyman infielder Scott Sizemore this spring. They signed a 36-year-old switch-hitter in Roberts who will actually bunt, dive, steal and hustle because he cares about the game he is playing right.
The Yankees also added a No. 3 hitter in Carlos Beltran who will occasionally hit the other way against a shift. He also has made a career of actually playing his best in the postseason. Beltran carries a .333 average with 16 home runs and 40 RBIs in only 180 at-bats in the postseason.
You, on the other hand, are hitting .222 with eight homers and 33 RBIs in 203 at-bats in the postseason. But, you are correct that you get paid the same whether you hit .333 or .222. So why sweat it?
All those days of less pressure are worth it when you are making good money to play a game that comes so easy to a talented player like yourself. The fact that you are playing with an organization that has not seen the postseason since 2001 and is not looking like it will be going back in the coming 10 years is good enough for you and good enough for those fans.
This October when you have nothing to do will give you plenty of time to count you money. Here is a tip for you, Robin$on. Have one of those young Mariners players count it for you while you soak in your hot tub in the palace you bought in Seattle.
Send out another one of those young players for the Pike Street Market to pick you up some fresh salmon. Then you have a another one of those youngsters cook it for you on your custom four-surface grill out by the pool. Then you can have some of those adoring Seattle female fans feed it to you while they gently fan you with some palm leaves.
Ahhhh! This Seattle life is just great for you Robin$on. No worries. No distractions. You make the Hall of Fame out here and you did not even have to really work for it as your team sinks to last each season.
We, the fans in the Bronx, wish you all the best, Robin$on. Those 10 years will go by quickly so please savor each one. By the way, the Yankees soon will be on television playing for the American League championship. You better have your big screen theater system properly installed for it.
Is makin’ me late
Is keepin’ me waitin’ “
– By Carly Simon
YANKEES 4, RED SOX 1
The New York Yankees have bided their time for two years to see Michael Pineda pitch off the mound in Yankee Stadium in pinstripes and on Friday they finally got a front-row seat. Judging by the results of his outing it was well worth the wait.
Pineda (1-1) threw six-plus dazzling innings of one-run, four-hit baseball while striking out seven in his debut in the Bronx as New York struck the first blow against their hated rival Boston in front of paid crowd of 42, 821.
The 25-year-old Dominican right-hander did not give up a hit until Xander Bogaerts singled to lead off the fifth inning, he walked two and he threw 64 of his 94 pitches for strikes. The only run he surrendered was a leadoff home run to Daniel Nava in the seventh inning.
Meanwhile, the Yankees were able to score a pair of runs in the fourth and fifth innings against right-hander Clay Buchholz (0-1).
The Yankees used an error by third baseman Jonathan Herrera on Jacoby Ellsbury’s slow roller to lead off the fourth to score a pair of unearned runs. Carlos Beltran followed with a single through an exaggerated shift in right-center to advance Ellsbury to second.
Brian McCann, who entered the game hitting .152 and was hitless in his previous 14 at-bats, then delivered an RBI single down the right-field line to score Ellsbury.
Beltran advanced to third and scored on a double-play grounder off the bat of Alfonso Soriano.
The Yankees padded their 2-0 lead with one out in the fifth when Dean Anna, who was playing in order to allow second baseman Brian Roberts rest, hit his first major-league home run 15 rows deep into the right-field bleachers.
With two out, Derek Jeter laced a ground-rule double to right and Ellsbury, playing in his first game against the team for which he played for seven major-league seasons, slapped an opposite-field single to left to score Jeter.
Left-hander Cesar Cabral and David Phelps held the Red Sox hitless over the final three innings to preserve the victory.
Phelps pitched 2 1/3 innings of perfect relief while striking out three to earn his first major-league save.
But no one shined brighter than Pineda on this evening with a national television audience watching on the MLB Network.
The Yankees acquired Pineda and 19-year-old right-hander Jose Campos from the Seattle Mariners on Jan. 23, 2012 in exchange for catcher Jesus Montero, the Yankees’ No. 1 prospect, and right-hander Hector Noesi.
Pineda ended spring training in 2012 with a torn labrum in his right shoulder that required surgery. He missed all of the 2012 season and he only pitched 10 games in three minor-league stops in 2013 rehabbing after the surgery.
For the Yankees the wait was a long one but the on-field result could not have been much better if they scripted it.
With the victory the Yankees evened their season record to 5-5. The Red Sox fell to 4-6.
- On the heels of his tough-luck loss against the Toronto Blue Jays last Saturday, Pineda is looking like the best No. 5 starter in baseball. He has yielded two runs on nine hits and two walks while he has struck out 12 in his first 12 innings. His ERA is a team-best 1.50 among the starters and his WHIP is an amazing 0.92. Pineda’s slider looks devastating because all seven of his punch-outs on Thursday were swinging.
- As a seven-time All-Star, McCann is just too good a player to struggle with the bat for long. Perhaps his RBI hit Thursday will get him going. Although McCann is hitting .152, he only has struck out four times in 33 at-bats. So it only is only a matter of time before some opponents start paying the price.
- Phelps, 27, entered the game with a 9.62 ERA and he had given up three home runs in his first 3 1/3 innings this season. But Phelps came into the game with two outs in the seventh and retired seven Red Sox in a row to earn a save for a bullpen that had closer David Robertson on the disabled list and his replacement Shawn Kelley unavailable to pitch.
When your No. 5 starter is as dominant as Pineda was and you are getting a home run from the 25th man on the roster in Anna than you do not have much to complain about. That is especially true when the opponent you beat is the Red Sox. To me that is a, pardon the pun, a red-letter day.
Pineda, Cabral and Phelps saved the Yankees by pitching so well on Thursday. Manager Joe Girardi told reporters that Kelley would not pitch because he threw 30 pitches in the ninth inning when he gave up two runs in 5-3 loss the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday. Adam Warren, who had pitched in three of the previous four games, and Vidal Nuno also were unavailable. That left Girardi with left-handers Cabral and Matt Thornton and right-handers Phelps, Dellin Betances and rookie Shane Greene. . . . Ellsbury, 30, and Thornton, 37, will be presented their 2013 World Series rings by Red Sox manager John Farrell on Friday.
The Yankees will continue their four-game series with the Red Sox on Friday with a battle between the team’s aces.
Left-hander CC Sabathia (1-1, 7.50 ERA) will be on the mound for the Yankees. Sabathia yielded four runs on seven hits in six innings to defeat the Blue Jays on Sunday.
He will be opposed by left-hander Jon Lester (0-2, 2.51 ERA). Lester surrendered four runs (two earned) on seven hits and a walk in 7 1/3 innings against the Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday.
Game-time will be 7:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be broadcast nationally by the MLB Network and locally by the YES Network.
ORIOLES 14, YANKEES 5
The definition of the astronomical term “nova” is a star that suddenly bursts into extreme brilliance and then gradually reduces in intensity. That is an apt description of Ivan Nova, whose talent can burn brighter than any Yankee pitcher and then just as vexing it can fade like he did on Tuesday.
Delmon Young and Matt Wieters each homered and drove in three runs apiece as Baltimore pounded out 20 hits to drub New York in front of paid crowd of 35,864 at Yankee Stadium.
Nova (1-1) was raked for seven runs on 10 hits and no walks while he struck out three in 3 2/3 innings. The Orioles also scored seven runs on eight hits and two walks in 3 1/3 innings off left-hander Vidal Nuno in what was Nuno’s worst outing in the major leagues.
Wei-Yin Chen (1-1) was credited with the victory although he was tagged for four runs on nine hits and no walks while he fanned three batters in five innings.
But the Orioles jumped on Nova early and often, scoring three runs in the first inning capped by a two-run home run by Adam Jones.
They added a single run in the second and chased Nova with three runs in the third highlighted by RBI singles by Young and Chris Davis.
The Orioles turned the game into a rout in the sixth when Young blasted a two-run off Nuno as part of a four-run inning, Nuno had entered the comest having yielded only five earned runs in his major-league career.
With the loss the Yankees’ season record fell to 4-4. The Orioles improved to 3-5.
- After a spring training in which he was slowed by the flu and starting the season 0-for-17, Alfonso Soriano is finally showing what he can do with his bat. Soriano was 2-for-4 with a double and his first home run of the season, which he hit leading off the fourth inning against Chen. In the past three games, Soriano is 5-for-10 (.500).
- Yangervis Solarte is quickly becoming the new darling of the Bronx after he went 2-for-4 with two doubles and a RBI on Tuesday. Solarte’s two doubles give him six on the season, which leads the major leagues. Solarte’s .458 average also ties him with Chase Utley of the Philadephia Phillies for the fourth best in the majors.
- Jacoby Ellsbury is on a tear of his own over the past five games. The 30-year-old outfielder was 3-for-4 with a double on Tuesday and is 12-for-22 (.636) since April 4. Unfortunately, Ellsbury has driven in only two runs in that span because nobody is getting in scoring position ahead of him.
- Nova’s talent is undeniable but he makes you want to tear your hair out when he pitches like he did on Tuesday. He threw 45 of his 61 pitches for strikes (74%), but the strikes he threw were nearly all belt high in the middle of the plate. The Orioles made him pay, too. In his two starts, Nova has yielded nine runs on 16 hits and five walks in in 9.1 innings. His ERA is 8.68 and the Yankees know he is better pitcher than that.
- Nuno, 27, also is capable of pitching better. He entered the sixth inning with the Yankees trailing 7-4 and he ended up getting shelled for four runs, which turned the game into a rout. Because this is the first time Nuno has taken a pounding you have to give him a pass. He has been very effective for the Yankees and the Yankees do need a good left-hander in the bullpen.
- Brian McCann continues to struggle at the plate. He was 0-for-4 on Tuesday with two pretty weak infield rollers of his bat. McCann is 5-for-29 (.172) with no homers and two RBIs in seven games this season. There is no need to panic but the Yankees do need him to pick it up with Mark Teixeira on the disabled list.
The Yankees recalled left-hander Cesar Cabral from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Tuesday to replace closer David Robertson, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained groin. Cabral, 25, pitched 9 1/3 innings of scoreless relief for the Yankees this spring but did not make the 25-man roster. Cabral pitched one-thrd of an inning on Tuesday, giving up a hit and a walk. . . . Manager Joe Girardi opted to use backup catcher Francisco Cervelli at first base on Tuesday. It was first time Cervelli had ever played first base in the major leagues. With Teixeira on the disabled list Girardi believes Cervelli can be a serviceable backup for Kelly Johnson at first base.
The Yankees can still salvage the three-game series with a victory on Wednesday against the Orioles.
Right-hander Masahiro Tanaka (1-0, 2.57 ERA) will make his Yankee Stadium debut after he won his major-league debut on Friday against the Toronto Blue Jays. Tanaka gave up three runs (two earned) 0n six hits and no walks while he struck out eight in seven innings.
The Orioles will counter with right-hander Miguel Gonzalez (0-1, 18.90 ERA) was shelled for a career-high seven runs on nine hits and one walk in just 3 1/3 innings against the Detroit Tigers on Friday.
Game-time will be 7:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be broadcast by the YES Network.
YANKEES 4, ORIOLES 2
On a cold and gusty afternoon in the Bronx, the Yankees reunited the “Core Four” to throw out a pair of ceremonial Opening Day pitches at Yankee Stadium. Andy Pettitte threw to Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera did the same to Derek Jeter, who will join the other three in retirement at the end of the season.
Then Jeter took the field for his final home opener and cracked a double and scored a run to help lead New York to a victory over the Baltimore Orioles in front of a sellout crowd of 48,142.
Hiroki Kuroda (1-1) held the Orioles to just two runs on eight hits and no walks while he fanned four to pick up his first victory of the season.
The Yankees, meanwhile, made Orioles right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez (0-2) throw strikes to run up his pitch count to 109 in less than five innings.
The Yankees took a 1-0 lead in the third inning when Yangervis Solarte drew a leadoff walk and Brett Gardner advanced him to third with a single to center. Jeter then rapped into a double play that allowed Solarte to score.
The Orioles tied it in the fourth when Adam Jones singled and advanced to second on a flyout off the bat of Chris Davis. He then scored on an RBI single by Matt Wieters.
But the Yankees reclaimed the lead for good in their half of the fourth when Alfonso Soriano stroked a one-out single and Kelly Johnson drew a two-out walk. Solarte, who came into the game leading the team in RBIs with five, then slapped a single to right to score Soriano.
The Yankees added a pair of runs and chased Jimenez from the game in the fifth.
Jeter led off the frame with a high arcing drive to left that Jeter thought was a home run. However, the ball hit just below the top of the wall and Jeter had to scramble into second to beat a relay throw from left-fielder David Lough.
Jacoby Ellsbury then looped the next pitch into right-center to score Jeter.
After Ellsbury was thrown out attempting to steal second, Carlos Beltran singled. One batter later, Soriano singled and Jimenez walked Brian Roberts to load the bases.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter removed Jimenez and called in left-hander Zach Britton.
Johnson then drew another walk on to score Beltran to give the Yankees a 4-1 lead.
Jimenez was charged with four runs on eight hits and five walks while he struck out four in 4 2/3 innings.
The Orioles did mount a rally in the seventh off Kuroda when Davis led off with a double. Wieters followed with a bloop single to advance Davis to third and Nelson Cruz singled to score Davis.
However, Kuroda retired Steve Lombardozzi on a line out to left and relievers Matt Thornton and David Phelps retired Ryan Flaherty and Jonathan Schoop, respectively, to end the threat.
Kuroda yielded two runs on eight hits and no walks and he struck out four in 6 1/3 innings.
Adam Warren hurled a scoreless eighth and Shawn Kelley pitched a perfect ninth to earn his first career save.
With the victory, the Yankees moved over the .500 mark for the first time this season at 4-3. The Orioles fell to 2-5.
- It seems that in every game he plays Solarte does something to help the team win. Today he was 1-for-3 with a walk, a run scored and an RBI. On the season the 26-year-old rookie from Venezuela is 9-for-20 (.450) with four doubles and six RBIs. In the eighth, Solarte cranked a high drive off right-hander Ryan Webb that looked to be home run to right-field. However, the wind held it up and Nick Markakis caught it just in front of the wall.
- Soriano entered the game 1-for-19 after beginning the season 0-for-17. But he was 2-for-3 with a walk and a run scored in the game and he looks to be coming out of his early-season funk. Soriano had been swinging at pitches that were bouncing in the dirt.
- Despite looking shaky in the seventh inning, Kuroda actually pitched a very good game. In his two starts Kuroda has given up four runs on 11 hits and one walk while he struck out nine in 12 1/3 innings. Kuroda gave up only two runs to the Astros last Wednesday but got no run support and ended up losing the game. He got some run support on Monday and he won.
- Brian McCann was 0-for-4 in the game and he is 5-for-25 (.200) with no homers and two RBIs this season. Despite the slow start at the plate, McCann is playing well defensively. In the fifth inning he picked off Schoop straying too far away from second base to end the inning.
The season is just one week old and the Yankees have now suffered their second significant injury. The Yankees will have to place closer David Robertson on the 15-day disabled list with a Grade 1 strain of his left groin, manager Joe Girardi told reporters on Monday. Robertson sustained the injury on Sunday closing out the Yankees’ 6-4 victory in Toronto against the Blue Jays. Kelley, who closed out Monday’s victory over the Orioles will assume the closer’s role. The Yankees could recall either left-hander Cesar Cabral or right-hander Shane Greene to take Robertson’s spot on the roster. . . . Mark Teixeira, who is on the 15-day disabled list with a Grade 1 strain of his right hamstring, was cleared on Monday to begin an exercise program on Tuesday. Teixeira hopes to be able to return on April 19, the day when he is first eligible to come off the DL. . . . The Yankees announced on Monday that they have traded infielder Eduardo Nunez to the Minnesota Twins in exchange for 20-year-old minor-league left-hander Miguel Sulbaran. Nunez was designated for assignment on March 31 after the Yankees elected to make room on the 40-man roster for Solarte. Sulbaran is 21-10 with a 3.15 ERA in 55 games (45 starts) in the minors. The Twins assigned Nunez to Triple-A Rochester.
The Yankees will continue their three-game home-opening series with the Orioles on Tuesday.
Right-hander Ivan Nova (1-0, 3.18 ERA) will start for the Yankees coming off a victory over the Astros on April 3. Nova won despite giving up six hits, walking five and hitting two batters in 5 2/3 innings of work. Nova used four double plays to hold the Astros to only two runs.
Nova will be opposed by left-hander Wei-Yin Chen (0-1, 6.35 ERA), who was blasted for four runs on 12 hits in 5 2/3 innings in a loss to the Boston Red Sox last Wednesday. He is 0-2 with a 4.86 ERA in three career starts at Yankee Stadium.
Game-time will be 1:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be broadcast nationally by the MLB Network and locally by the YES Network.
YANKEES 3, ROYALS 2
Stop the presses! There is earth-shattering news out of the Bronx on Tuesday! Reserve the Canyon of Heroes for a ticker-tape parade in New York City on Wednesday!
The Yankees have finally won a major-league baseball game!
It was not pretty but it still counts. Phil Hughes pitched a solid six innings and the Yankees pushed across two runs with the bases loaded in the fifth inning as New York defeated Kansas City to break a slide in which the team had lost six of its last seven games.
Hughes (4-5) gave up just two runs on five hits and two walks and fanned seven batters to pick up his third victory in his last four starts. A bullpen combination of Cory Wade, Boone Logan, Cody Eppley and Clay Rapada shut down the Royals for two innings and Rafael Soriano tossed a scoreless ninth for his third save of the season.
The Yankees, trailing 2-0 in the bottom of the fourth inning, picked up a run on a solo home run off the bat of Robinson Cano, his fifth of the season.
They then loaded the bases against right-hander Luke Hochevar (3-5) in the fifth inning. For the past week or so, having the bases loaded for the Yankees has been an advantage to the pitchers they have faced because they had failed miserably in scoring even a single run.
But on Tuesday it worked out quite differently.
Mark Teixeira led off with a single and he was able to advance to second on an error by right-fielder Jeff Francouer. Hochevar then grazed Russell Marrtin with a pitch and Dewayne Wise followed with a sacrifice bunt he was able to leg into a single.
Knowing the Yankees were hitless in their last 14 at-bats with runners in scoring position, a paid Yankee Stadium crowd of 37,674 took out their four-leaf clovers, St. Christopher medals and rabbit’s feet and prayed for an end to the misery that has befallen their team.
Derek Jeter answered those prayers by looping a 2-2 pitch from Hochevar into right to score Teixeira with the tying run. Curtis Granderson followed with a slow roller to first that scored Martin and the Yankees had their first lead in the series against the Royals.
Of course, all major slumps are very tough to break and after Cano was walked intentionally to load the bases again, Alex Rodriguez and Raul Ibanez struck out looking. So they were 2-for-7 with RISP in the game? So what? They won!
Hochevar gave up three runs on six hits and three walks and struck eight in 6 2/3 innings.
The Royals scored their first run in the third inning on a one-out RBI double by Humberto Quintero, which followed a leadoff single by Irving Falu. The Royals added a run in the fourth on a two-out solo home run off the bat of Francouer.
With the victory the Yankees climb a game above .500 at 22-21. The Royals are 17-25.
- I very much like the way Hughes pitched in this game. He was aggressive early in the count with his fastball. The Quintero double was on a very bad 0-2 pitch that was over the plate. The home run by Francouer came when he fell behind 2-0 and he had to throw a fastball. Hughes’ best pitching came when he walked the bases loaded in the sixth with two outs. He was able to get Falu on a flyout to left to preserve his victory. In his last four starts, Hughes is 3-1 with a 2.81 ERA and he has struck out 23 batters in his last 25 2/3 innings.
- Soriano is settling in nicely as the closer. He is 3-for-3 in save opportunities and he is 2-0 with a 2.35 ERA on the season. He has also posted 12 scoreless outings of his 16 appearances this season. He may not be Mariano Rivera but he still is pretty good.
- When Cano last faced Hochevar in Kansas City on May 6 he hit a grand slam home run that led the Yankees to a 10-4 victory that split the series. Cano has six hits off Hochevar in his career, three of them home runs and two of those have been grand slams.
It is not good to dwell on the negative when there has been so much negative associated with the team this month. We are not going down that road.
Rivera paid his first visit to the Yankees clubhouse on Tuesday since he suffered his torn anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus in his right knee on May 3 in Kansas City. Rivera is walking without the aid of crutches but he will not undergo knee surgery until he is first treated for a blood clot in his right calf and he strengthens his right knee. . . . The team entered Tuesday’s game 6-for-72 (.083) with runners in scoring position in the past nine games and they were also just one for the last 21 at-bats with the bases loaded until Jeter singled with the bases loaded on Tuesday. Their last hit with bases loaded was Cano’s grand slam off Hochevar on May 6.
After the ticker-tape parade and the presentation of the key to the city by the mayor, the Yankees will play the rubber game of their three-game set with the Royals.
Left-hander Andy Pettitte (1-1, 2.51 ERA) will get the start for the Yankees. Pettitte, 39, is coming off a vintage performance on Friday against the Reds in which he pitched eight shutout innings. He gave up just four hits and one walk while striking out nine in only his second start of his 2012 comeback. In the last 10 seasons against the Royals, Pettitte is 8-2 with a 3.80 ERA.
The Royals are starting 22-year-old left-hander Will Smith, who will be making his major-league debut. He was 1-3 with a 4.01 ERA at Triple-A Omaha. I guess manager Ned Yost figures why not throw a rookie because the Yankees’ offense may be in no condition to do much damage to him.
Game-time will be at 7:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be telecast by the YES Network.
Now that the pitchers and catchers have reported to the Yankees’ spring home in Tampa, FL, the target date is March 3.
After the Yankees begin the spring with an exhibition against the University of South Florida on March 2 at George M. Steinbrenner Field, the Yankees will open their official spring training schedule with the Philadelphia Phillies in Clearwater, FL.
My calendar officially begins the next day when the Yankees return the favor against the Phillies and host them for their home opener. I received my spring season tickets this week and I am chomping at the bit to get the 2012 season started. In addition, I want to make sure my coverage of the Yankees this spring is the best you will read anywhere.
I plan to attend 18 Yankee games this spring, including the Yankees’ two road contests against the Braves at Lake Buena Vista, FL, and a road contest against the Astros in Kissimmee, FL. The rest of the games I will either see on ESPN or MLB-TV or I will hear on MLB Radio.
So it is clear that I will be able to provide Yankee fans – whether you live in Boise, ID, or the Bronx, NY – with the best on-site coverage I can possibly offer. I want to continue, as I have through the offseason, with the most accurate information about the players, the news, the rumors, the aches and pains and the deals going on behind the scenes.
This is what I pledged to do since I started this blog three years ago and I have tried to improve that coverage each season.
I have a B.A. in Communications and an A.A. in Journalism. I have worked for five news organizations over the course of 13 years as a writer, columnist and editor. So I approach my craft with a journalistic intent to cover the story fairly and accurately. But, as a lifelong Yankee fan, I am not afraid to give you my opinion on the news as it unfolds.
This week I am going to be looking at the Yankees’ competition in the American League East. Despite the fact that the Yankees really made very few moves this winter, I did not notice a lot of activity with the Red Sox, Rays, Orioles or Blue Jays. So just how strong is the division this season? Do the Yankees have clear sailing to repeat as division champs?
Stay tuned to this blog for my analysis, which begins with the Orioles on Monday. Red Sox fans will have to wait until Thursday to see how I see them in 2012.
In addition, I will be looking at the Yankees’ keys to victory in 2012. Some players need to prove they stay healthy (Alex Rodriguez). Others need to step up their games to remain viable starters (Brett Gardner). I will also try to answer the hard questions about how the starting rotation stacks up.
I also will look at the spring battles. There are few spots available on the Yankees’ roster but I will let you know who is leading in those battles. I also will give some detailed analysis on the Yankees prospects who trying to make their way up to the big-league roster. If you want the scoop on top Yankee prospects like Manny Banuelos, Dellin Betances, Austin Romine, Gary Sanchez, Brandon Laird and David Phelps, I will try to provide insight on how they are progressing and what they need to do to take the big leap forward.
By the end of spring training I will have enough information to forecast the 2012 pennant chase and how the Yankees should fare in that race. Last season, if you were reading, I told you that I thought the “so-called” solid rotation of the Red Sox was not so solid. I actually thought the Yankees’ quintet – even with Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia – was better. I rankled a few Red Sox fans but I do not care when I am right.
Let’s see what 2012 holds and if I can rankle a few more Red Sox fans with my predictions.
Thank you for letting be part of your interest in baseball and I hope you love the game even half as much as I do. Let’s have some fun and “Let’s Go Yankees.”