Tagged: David Hernandez

Yankees Sting D-Backs On Hafner’s Pinch-Hit Blast



Raul who?

In a very short time Travis Hafner, nicknamed “Pronk” for “Project Donkey,” is making fans in The Bronx forget all about Raul Ibanez and his trademark clutch home runs in 2012.

Hafner carved out his own niche on Wednesday with two out in the eighth inning when the pinch-hitter grabbed a piece of lumber that looked like a maestro’s baton in his beefy hands and swatted the first pitch he saw from David Hernandez (0-1) and sent the ball into a high-arcing orbit into the right-centerfield bleachers to give New York a dramatic 4-3 come-from-behind victory over Arizona at Yankee Stadium.

Hafner’s fourth home run of the season followed a dramatic three-run rally in the seventh inning against Diamondbacks left-hander Wade Miley and reliever Tony Sipp.

CC Sabathia (3-1) was looking like a sure loser trailing 3-0 heading into the bottom of the seventh inning. The Diamondbacks jumped on him in the first inning for two runs on a leadoff single by A.J. Pollock and a two-run opposite-field home run by Paul Goldschmidt.

The D-backs added another run in the fifth on a leadoff triple off the bat of Josh Wilson and a sacrifice fly by Pollock.

Miley, meanwhile, kept the Yankees off-balance all evening with his assortment of tailing fastballs, sliders and change-ups. Through the first six innings, the Yankees had just two hits, a walk and a hit batter to show for an offense. Miley retired 17 of the 20 hitters he faced after Brett Gardner led off the game with a single.

But Miley appeared to run out of gas and lose his control in the seventh.

With one out, Ben Francisco singled down the left-field line and one out later Brennan Boesch hit an opposite-field, excuse-me-swing double into left to advance Francisco to third.

Miley then walked Eduardo Nunez on a 3-2 pitch and he followed that by issuing a bses-loaded walk to Jayson Nix that scored Francisco and put the Yankees on the scoreboard.

Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson removed a spent Miley in favor of the left-hander Sipp and Gardner greeted him with a two-run single to left to score Boesch and Nunez and tie the game.

Sabathia pitched a scoreless eighth and he left the game having given up three runs on six hits and one walk while he struck out four.

Miley also yielded three runs on four hits and three walks and struck out three in 6 2/3 innings.

Mariano Rivera pitched a perfect ninth inning and earned his fourth save of the season and his second in two nights against Arizona.

The Yankees have now won eight of their past nine games and they are 8-5 on the season. The D-backs fell to 8-6.


  • It was Hafner’s fourth career pinch-hit home run and he became a big hero to the most of the paid crowd of 34,369 at Yankee Stadium. Hafner, who is hitting .342 with four home runs and eight RBIs, was held out of the lineup with the left-handed Miley on the mound. But when the Yankees tied the score on Gardner’s two-run single, the D-backs elected to use the righty Hernandez in the eighth. That gave manager Joe Girardi the perfect opportunity to use Hafner to pinch-hit for Francisco with two out and Hafner delivered a huge hit.
  • “The Replacements” did it again. Francisco and Boesch singled in the seventh. Then Nunez, who is subbing for Derek Jeter, and Nix drew walks to score the team’s first run. Gardner drove in Boeasch and Nunez and Hafner won the game with his big home run.
  • Sabathia did not look good at all in the first inning. He gave up the single and the two-run home run to Goldschmidt and then gave up a walk and single before retiring the last two hitters. He threw 31 pitches that inning. Yet he settled in and retired 23 of the last 26 batters he faced to earn his third victory. So many times Sabathia has rescued the Yankees but this time the Yankees’ late offense rescued him.


  • It is very odd but Robinson Cano and Kevin Youkilis were a combined 0-for-7 with two strikeouts between them on Wednesday. They managed to get only one ball out the infield. Cano and Youkilis have been the heart and soul of the team’s recent run of success and they are human after all. 
  • Francisco Cervelli also struggled in this game. He was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. He also committed a throwing error in the sixth inning but it did not cost Sabathia and the Yankees a run. It appears that Cervelli has taken the reins of the catching duties away from Chris Stewart because he is hitting .310.


Injured first baseman Mark Teixeira received clearance on Wednesday to start swinging a bat and he is cautiously optimistic that he will be able to rejoin the team in May. Teixeira is on the 15-day disabled list with a torn sheath in his right wrist, an injury he suffered working out with Team USA before a an exhibition game in March.  . . .  Cano and Teixeira were presented with trophies before the game for winning Gold Gloves from Rawlings at their respective positions in 2012. Cano won his second award within the past three seasons for his fielding at second while Teixeira collected his fifth award as a first baseman.


The Yankees can earn a sweep of their three-game inter-league series with Arizona on Thursday.

The Yankees will start right-hander Phil Hughes (0-2, 10.29). Hughes has shown signs of obvious rust in his first two starts of the season after missing all of spring training with a bulging disk in his upper back. In his last start the Baltimore Orioles clubbed three home runs off him and he left the game in the fourth inning. Hughes has never faced the D-backs.

The Diamondbacks will start left-hander Steve Corbin (2-0, 1.50 ERA). Corbin outdueled fellow lefty Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers in his last start, pitching six shutout innings in a 3-0 victory. Corbin has never faced the Yankees.

Game-time will be 7:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be telecast by the YES Network.



Yankees ‘Nick’ O’s Then Barely Hold On For Sweep


After the first four innings Yankee fans were barely paying attention to the game, which had become a 7-1 rout. But by the last out, though, Yankee fans were blue in the face holding their breath with a 7-5 victory.
Nick Johnson and Nick Swisher each hit solo home runs to lead the offense and Andy Pettitte pitched five innings of one-run baseball as the Yankees won their fourth game in a row and swept the Orioles on Wednesday at Yankee Stadium.
Pettitte (4-0) gave up a bases loaded walk to Nolan Reimold in the third inning for the Orioles’ only run off of him. Pettitte scattered six hits, walked two and struck out before leaving the game with stiffness in his left elbow.
With Mariano Rivera unavailable due to stiffness in his left side and Joba Chamberlain unavailable because he was used to save the two previous games, manager Joe Girardi was looking for anyone who could close out the game in the ninth. After David Robertson and Boone Logan failed to do the job Alfredo Aceves came in with two on and two out to nail down his second career save.
David Hernandez (0-4), who struggled all day with location and ended up surrendering six earned runs on six hits and four walks, took the loss.
The Yankees improved their season record to 19-8. The Yankees remain one game behind the Tampa Bay Rays in the A.L. East. Meanwhile, the last-place Orioles dropped to an abysmal 7-21.

  • Pettitte has now beaten the Orioles for the 27th time versus only six losses. The 27 wins by Pettitte against the Orioles is the most wins he has in his career against any A.L. East division rival.
  • Johnson looked like a different hitter at the plate. He was 3-for-3 with two walks, two runs scored and a RBI that came on his long home run in the second deck in right field. Johnson raised his average to .371 and he is showing signs of coming out of his season-long slump.
  • Speaking of coming out of slumps, Mark Teixeira stroked a key two-out, two-run double in the fourth inning that made the score 6-1. It ended up being the game-winning hit.
  • Everybody in the Yankee lineup contributed at least one hit except Robinson Cano, who took a 0-for-4 collar. His batting average fell to .362.
  • The Yankees infield defense turned four double plays in the game and three of them came with Pettitte on the mound.

  • There has to be some concern about a 37-year-old pitcher who leaves a 6-1 game in the fifth inning with elbow stiffness. The Yankees, who already have lost reliever Chan Ho Park and outfielder Curtis Granderson to the disabled list and have Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera nursing seemingly minor injuries, can ill afford any more injuries.
  • Sergio Mitre was sailing along in the eighth inning having faced the minimum six batters in two innings before he gave up a single to Julio Lugo and a two-run home run to  Ty Wigginton with one out. That made the score 6-3 at the time.
  • David Robertson ended the eighth inning by getting the final out and he started the ninth by getting the first out. However, the wheels came off the wagon when he gave up back-to-back solo home runs to Matt Wieters and Nolan Reimold that made the score 7-5. Robertson’s struggles continue. His ERA jumped to 14.21 and he has not been effective at all this season. His fastball periodically came to the plate at eye level and his mechanics are all out of whack.
  • Boone Logan, who had an impressive spring training and has opened eyes with his 97-mile-per-hour fastball, didn’t help matters much in the ninth by walking pinch-hitter Rhyne Hughes and Lugo to bring the potential lead run to the plate. Girardi then pulled Logan  and Aceves retired Wigginton on a routine fly ball to end the game.

An MRI taken after Pettitte left his start after the fifth inning indicated a mild inflammation of his left elbow. The Yankees will be cautious with the veteran left-hander and he will re-evaluated. He is now listed as day-to-day. Pettitte did release a statement saying the elbow discomfort is not in the same area of the flexor tendon that he had surgery on in 2004 with the Astros.  . . .  Derek Jeter played in his 2,164 game as a Yankee on Wednesday and he tied Lou Gehrig for second on the all-time Yankee games played list. The only player who has played more games is Mickey Mantle, who played 2,401 in his career.  . . .  With Pettitte’s victory against the Orioles, the Yankees’ starting rotation is 16-4 this season. If you subtract Javier Vazquez and his 1-3 record, Pettitte, CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Phil Hughes are a combined 15-1 this season.  . . .  Girardi kept to his word to the media and held Rivera out of Wednesday’s game. With a day off scheduled for Thursday, Rivera will likely be available for the three-game weekend series at Fenway Park against the Boston Red Sox. Rivera said the stiffness in his left side had healed and he was ready to pitch but Girardi played it safe with the 40-year-old veteran closer.

The Yankees are heading off to Boston tonight but they will not play until Friday. Is it just this blogger or isn’t it odd that the Yankees are playing their second series in Beantown when the Red Sox have not stepped foo
t into Yankee Stadium? 
The Yankees decided to skip their scheduled starter Vazquez and Hughes (3-0, 1.44 ERA) will pitch the opener instead. Hughes has been sensational in each of his four starts, having given up only 10 hits and his ERA is second in the American League. Hughes pitched seven scoreless innings and gave up just four hits against the White Sox on Saturday.
The struggling Red Sox will start their struggling ace Josh Beckett (1-0, 6.31 ERA). Beckett did pitch seven innings and gave up only two runs on just six hits in a no-decision against the Orioles on Saturday. Beckett pitched against the Yankees on Opening Night and gave up five runs on eight hits in 4 2/3 innings in a game the Red Sox won 9-7 after he left the game. Beckett is 9-5 but has a 5.51 ERA against the Yankees in his career.
Game-time will be 7:10 p.m. EDT and the game will be broadcast by the YES Network.

Swisher, Five Yankee Homers Sink Orioles


The Baltimore Orioles may actually ask the New York Yankees to send them Nick Swisher in a trade. After all, the 28-year-old outfielder might be the best home run hitter at Camden Yards.
For the second straight night Swisher unloaded a home run in Baltimore and the two-run shot he hit in the seventh inning proved to be the game-winning blow as the Yankees, boosted by five home runs in all, outslugged the Orioles 9-6 on Tuesday night for their fifth straight victory.
Swisher now has four home runs this season and 13 home runs in 85 at-bats in his career at Camden Yards. His homer followed a Robinson Cano double to begin the seventh inning off Orioles reliever Chris Ray (0-3). It was his 23rd home run of this season and his 20th road home run.
“Everybody’s got each other’s back,” Swisher told MLB.com. “It seems like if we’ve got one guy struggling, another guy is there to pick him up. A.J. [Burnett] knows he didn’t have his good stuff tonight, but we were there.”
The Yankees lived up to their Bronx Bombers nickname by hitting five home runs in a game for the fourth time this season. They lead the major leagues with 207 home runs.
“Our guys swung the bats good,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “We were patient and when we got runners on, we broke through a couple of times and had some big home runs tonight. Our guys have done a really good job. You get what you need and keep going.”
Cano started the barrage in the second inning with a two-run blast, his 22nd home run of the season, off Orioles starter David Hernandez to give the Yankees a 2-1 lead.
Jorge Posada then tagged Hernandez for a solo shot in the third inning and a two-run home run in the fifth. Posada’s two home runs gave him 19 on the season and the second home run gave the Yankees a 5-3 lead.
While Posada had a productive night at the plate, he also received quite a bit of ribbing for his teammates for twice losing track of the count in separate at-bats. In the second inning Posada stood at home plate after Hernandez had thrown a ball on a 3-2 count. 
Home-plate umpire Angel Hernandez had to tell him that he could take first base. Cano followed with his two-run home run.
In the fifth inning, Posada actually started to walk back to the Yankees dugout when the pitcher Hernandez threw a strike on a 3-1 pitch. Umpire Hernandez again had to tell Posada he was still batting and Posada sheepishly returned to the batters’ box as his teammates howled with laughter on the bench.
Two pitches later, Posada hit his two-run home run, the 16th time multi-homer game of his career.
“He’s swinging the bat great,” Girardi said to MLB.com. “I think those couple of days off [with a bruised left ring finger] probably helped rejuvenate him a little bit. Since then, he’s come back and been great, but he’s had a good year for us all year offensively.”

“I’m happy that I’m back and playing and helping,” Posada said. “It’s fun to be out here. We’ve got a great bunch of guys.”
Despite the early power surge, the Yankees did not manage to get a big knockout blow on a very wild Hernandez. Despite walking six batters and giving up three home runs, Hernandez actually left the game with a 6-5 lead because he only surrendered four hits and he struck out seven batters.
A.J. Burnett, who has not won a game in six starts, did not pitch well at all in this game. Problems with his command forced Burnett to throw too many fat pitches when he was behind in the count and the Orioles made him pay.
Burnett gave up a 5-3 lead in the fifth inning by surrendering back-to-back singles by Nick Markakis and Nolan Reimold and then giving up a towering three-run home run down the right-field line to Luke Scott.
“The difficult part is to look these guys in the eyes after they give me a couple of leads and I blow them,” Burnett said to MLB.com. “It’s tough, but everybody in this room respects each other. It’s a great team to be a part of.”
Burnett pitched 5 1/3 innings, he gave up six earned runs on 11 hits and two walks. In his last three starts, Burnett has given up 18 earned runs on 22 hits and 7 walks in 16 1/3 innings for an ERA of 9.92 and a WHIP of 1.78.
“He was flat tonight,” Girardi said. “His stuff was flat. He wasn’t downhill, and when you’re like that, sometimes it’s a struggle. You do your best to fight through it, struggle through it, and he did that tonight.”
But, as it has been for so many games this season, the bullpen rescued the game for the Yankees and gave their offense time to unload on the Orioles’ bullpen.
After Hernandez left after five innings, the Yankees immediately started a rally on Dennis Sarfate. Melky Cabrera walked and Derek Jeter beat out a chopper off the plate for an infield single.
Orioles manager Dave Trembley brought in lefty Alberto Castillo, who retired both Johnny Damon and Mark Teixeira. But Trembley then called in Chris Ray (0-3) to pitch to Alex Rodriguez and the veteran third baseman tied the game up with a single to center to score Cabrera.
That set the stage for the seventh inning when Cano doubled and Swisher followed with a mammoth shot to right-center-field off Ray. Eric Hinske then followed with an opposite field shot to left for the Yankees’ fifth home run of the night and Hinske’s sixth homer since joining the Yankees.
The Swisher-Hinske back-to-back home runs gave the Yankees 14 of them this season.
“You try to keep the game tight and within distance,” Posada told MLB.com. “With this lineup, it seems like we don’t die down. We get good at-bats and the guys later on got on base. Swisher’s home run was key, he got a fastball to hit and he hit it well.”
Damaso Marte (1-1), David Robertson, Phil Coke and Mariano Rivera closed out the game by retiring 10 of the last 12 batters and they gave up just two hits of 3 2/3 innings of shutout baseball.
Rivera pitched the ninth for his major-league leading 39th save in 40 chances. He also has now converted a career-best 34 games in a row, which also is the longest current streak in the majors.
The Yankees’ victory, their eighth straig
ht over the Orioles, gives them a major-league best record of 84-48. They also are at a season’s best 36 games over .500. They are also a red-hot 33-11 since the All-Star break.
Thought the second-place Red Sox beat the Tampa Bays Rays 8-4 on Tuesday night, the Yankees still managed to maintain their 6 1/2 game lead over the Red Sox in the American League East.
If the Yankees were to go 14-15 in their last 29 games of the season, the Red Sox would have to go 22-7 in their 29 games to pass the Yankees. 
The Yankees now can sweep the three-game series with the Orioles with CC Sabathia (15-7, 3.56 ERA) going to the mound for a major-league best 16th victory. Sabathia has not lost since July 28. In the six starts since then he is 5-0 with a 2.64 ERA. 
In his last start, he allowed two runs on eight hits and fanned a season-high 10 in seven innings. Sabathia last faced the Orioles on May 8, the same game that Alex Rodriguez returned to the Yankees lineup. Sabathia pitched a complete game four-hit shutout.
The Orioles will go with rookie right-hander Jason Berken (4-11, 6.33 ERA). Berken has won his last two starts by coming up with a two-seam sinking fastball. He has also won three of past five outings after losing nine straight decisions. 
Gametime is 7:05 p.m. EDT.