Tagged: David Wright

Mets Sink CC, Yankees With Home Run Barrage

GAME 21

METS 7, YANKEES 0

The Mets hit three home runs off left-hander CC Sabathia and right-hander Matt Harvey shut out the Yankees over 5 2/3 innings as the Bronx Bombers’ crosstown rival handed them an embarrassing loss at sold-out Tradition Field in Port St. Lucie, FL.

Juan Lagares opened the bottom of the first inning with an inside-the-park home run. Lucas Duda added a two-out solo shot to right-center in the same inning. Two innings later, David Wright tagged Sabathia with a one-out, two-run blast to make it 4-0.

Sabathia (0-2), making only his second start of the spring, left in the third inning after having given up four runs on five hits and no walks and he struck out four batters.

However, Harvey (1-0) was impossible for the Yankees to solve. He yielded just two hits with no walks and fanned four in 5 2/3 innings to earn the victory.

Eric Campbell added to assault on the Yankees with a two-out solo homer in the ninth off left-hander Chasen Shreve.

With the loss, the Yankees’ spring record falls to 12-8.

FIELD FOCUS

From 2008 through 2010, right-hander Scott Baker was sitting atop the world with the Minnesota Twins.

During those three seasons, the right-hander was a combined 38-22 with a 4.11 and he was clearly the ace of the young Twins’ staff. But in 2011, Baker  –  sporting an 8-6 record and sparkling 3.14 ERA after 21 starts  –  had his season ended with an elbow injury that required Tommy John surgery.

He missed the entire 2012 season and Twins cut him loose, unsure about his future recovery and unwilling to pay him a multiyear deal.

So Baker has bounced around from the Chicago Cubs in 2013 to the Texas Rangers in 2014, making only 28 appearances in those two seasons. But the Yankees decided to take an chance on the 33-year-old veteran and they signed him to a minor-league contract on Jan. 30.

Baker was invited to spring training and he has a chance to earn $1.5 million if he makes the major-league roster. Baker was immediately thrown into the mix of potential starters for the spring but his importance grew larger when No. 5 starter Chris Capuano suffered a Grade 2 quad strain on March 11.

He may soon be paying a big dividend to the Yankees with what he did on Sunday.

Baker, making only his third appearance, entered the game in the fourth inning and promptly began mowing down the same Mets hitters that had no trouble hitting Sabathia and Shreve. He ended up being the highlight of the day for the Yankees.

Baker pitched 4 1/3 innings and gave up just a scratch looping single to Travis d’Arnaud to leadoff the seventh inning. He walked none and fanned two in needing only 53 pitches (37 of them strikes) to retire 13 batters.

It gives manager Joe Girardi some pause before just handing the fifth starter spot to right-hander Adam Warren, who is 2-0 with a 2.77 ERA. Warren has been battling with Baker along with right-handers Esmil Rogers, Chase Whitley and Bryan Mitchell.

But Baker may have something to say about it.

After a rough start against the Houston Astros on March 7, Baker has been sensational. He has yielded just one run on three hits in 7 1/3 innings with no walks and five strikeouts.

If Sunday’s game is any indication, Baker may just be of some help to the Yankees in 2015. The question now is just a matter of when that will be.

PINSTRIPE POSITIVES

  • There were no positives. The Yankees might have been better off skipping the long bus ride from Tampa, FL, and just forfeited the game considering the fact they mustered no runs on three singles, hit into three double plays and their pitchers gave up four home runs.

NAGGING NEGATIVES

  • The party line on the Yankees is that Sabathia’s velocity is up to as high as 93. They also are saying that his right knee is healthy and that is the important thing. But after two outings Sabathia also has been hammered for six runs on nine hits in 4 2/3 innings and he is 0-2. “For him it’s just just getting back to the consistency and getting him some work,” Girardi told reporters. Fine. We will see if Girardi is saying that in May. We need to start seeing results. Results, period.
  • Girardi brought the starting infield of Mark Teixeira, Stephen Drew, Didi Gregorius and Chase Headley. Teixeira was 1-for-3 and even stole a base off Harvey. But the rest were a combined 0-for-8 with a walk for Headley. They also combined for three strikeouts. Granted, Harvey is a tough pitcher but the regulars are not getting it done with the bat this spring and it is very troubling.
  • The lefty Shreve, 24, came over with David Carpenter from the Atlanta Braves in the trade for left-hander Manny Banuelos and he has been touted as potential third left-hander in the bullpen. Girardi may want to revisit that idea because Shreve was lit up after there were two outs in the ninth inning for a solo home run by Campbell, a single by Kirk Niewenhuis and RBI double by light-hitting Ruben Tejada. In his past two outings, Shreve has given up five runs (four earned) on six hits in just 1 2/3 innings. Shreve may need some time refining his craft at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

BOMBER BANTER

On Thursday, Girardi elected to try infielder Jose Pirela in center-field in game against the Philadelphia Phillies. In the ninth inning, Pirela dropped a routine fly ball for a three-base error that allowed two additional runs to score in the inning. Girardi decided again on Sunday to try Pirela in center and he lasted one batter. Pirela, 25, failed to catch a fly ball off the bat of Lagares and ended up crashing into the wall. He sustained a concussion and had to be removed from the game. A CT scan and MRI conducted at Tradition Medical Center came back with no anomalies but Pirela will not be able to resume baseball activities until he completes the concussion protocol and it is unclear how long he will be out. Blame this on Girardi. Pirela has no business playing center.  . . .  Right-hander Dellin Betances threw a bullpen session in Tampa and told reporters that he will throw his first back-to-back outings of the spring on Tuesday against the Detroit Tigers and Wednesday against the Mets.

ON DECK

The Yankees will travel to play the Washington Nationals on Monday at Space Coast Stadium in Viera, FL.

Mitchell, 23, will get the start for the Yankees. He is 0-1 with a 9.00 ERA in two appearances this spring.

Right-hander Doug Fister will pitch for the Nationals. He faced the Yankees earlier in the spring and pitched two shutout innings. He is 0-1 with a 3.24 ERA in three starts overall.

Game-time will be 1:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be broadcast nationally by the MLB Network.

 

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Yankees’ Young Guns Shut Out Mets On Three Hits

GAME 40

YANKEES 1, METS 0

In the 1990 Western “Young Guns II,” Sheriff Kimbrel (Jerry Gardner) is asked to go after Billy the Kid (Emilio Estevez). His reply was classic. He said, “I’d rather drink turpentine and piss on a brushfire. I ain’t touchin’ this one.”

That is pretty much how the New York Mets’ hitters must have felt on Thursday as they were gunned down one by one by the New York Yankees’ own version of Young Guns.

Chase Whitley, Dellin Betances, Adam Warren and David Robertson, all who are products of the Yankees’ minor-league system, combined to shut out the Mets on three hits while striking out 14 batters as the Yankees earned a split of the 2014 Subway Series in front of a paid crowd of 40,133 at Citi Field in Flushing, N.Y.

Whitley, 24, made his major-league debut and threw 4 2/3 innings, yielding just two hits and two walks while fanning four batters. He even managed to pick up his first major-league hit in his first at-bat in the third inning against Mets right-hander Jacob deGrom, who also was making his major-league debut.

The Yankees managed to push across the only run of the game against deGrom in the seventh inning on a misplayed double-play grounder.

Mark Teixeira drew a one-out walk and Brian McCann followed by hitting a routine ground ball to second baseman Daniel Murphy, who gunned down Teixeira with a throw to third baseman David Wright. Wright, the third baseman who was playing shortstop in an extreme  shift on McCann, threw the relay to first baseman Lucas Duda into the dirt and McCann was able to reach first base safely.

Alfonso Soriano then stroked a double into the gap in left-center that rolled to the wall and allowed the slow-footed McCann to score from first base for the first time in a game since the 2009 season.

Though deGrom (0-1) was tagged with the loss he pitched as brilliantly as Whitley. He gave up just the one run on four hits and two walks while he struck out six batters over seven innings.

Betances (2-0) relieved Whitley and he earned the victory in relief by retiring all seven batters he faced and he struck out the final six batters, four of them looking. Betances entered the game in the fifth with two on and two out but he escaped when he induced Eric Young Jr. to ground out.

Warren struck out two in the eighth but he left with pinch-runner Juan Lagares on third after a walk to pinch-hitter Bobby Abreu and Murphy on first after a single.

But Robertson came in to retire Wright on a ground out to end the threat. He then pitched perfect ninth with two strikeouts to earn his seventh save in seven chances this season.

The game marked the first time since Sept. 7, 2010 that two pitchers squared off in their major-league debuts since the Mets’ Dillon Gee, who coincidentally was replaced as the starter for this game by deGrom because a strained lat muscle landed him on the 15-day disabled list on Wednesday, faced off against Yunesky Maya of the Washington Nationals.

After giving up 21 runs on 24 hits in the two Subway Series games at Yankee Stadium, the Yankees held the Mets scoreless on seven hits and three walks with 22 strikeouts in their two victories at Citi Field. Masahiro Tanaka tossed his first major-league complete-game shutout on Wednesday, holding the Mets to just four hits while striking out eight.

With the victory the Yankees improved their season ledger to 21-19. They are in sole possession of second place in the American League East a half-game behind the first-place Baltimore Orioles. The Mets fell to 19-21.

PINSTRIPE POSITIVES

  • Whitley has found a niche as a starter this season after being mostly a relief pitcher in the minor leagues. Though his velocity hovers in the low 90-mile-per-hour range, Whitley was able to stymie the Mets by keeping his fastball, slider and change-up down. Wright struck out swinging in his three at-bats against Whitley, who was starting in place of the injured CC Sabathia.
  • Betances is drawing raves from pundits who believe he could be a closer now. Betances threw 20 of 27 pitches for strikes in his dominant 2 1/3-inning outing. Betances has recorded 39 strikeouts out of the 67 batters he has retired this season. He lowered his ERA to 1.61 and batters are hitting a miserable .154 off of him.
  • Soriano struck out in his first two at-bats but he doubled and singled to end the night 2-for-4. The Yankees are still waiting for Soriano to go off on one of his hot streaks as he did last season after the Yankees acquired him from the Chicago Cubs. Soriano is hitting . 248 with five homers and 16 RBIs.

NAGGING NEGATIVES

The offense could have been better but the Yankees seem to always struggle against pitchers they have not seen before. But I will give them a mulligan because Whitley, Betances, Warren and Robertson were so brilliant. They dominated the Mets and made them look bad.

BOMBER BANTER

The Yankees placed outfielder Carlos Beltran, 37, on the 15-day disabled list with a bone spur on his right elbow. But Beltran told reporters that he still hopes to avoid having surgery, which could sideline him for six to eight weeks. Beltran first noticed the pain in his elbow when he was taking swings in the batting cage during Monday’s game against the Mets. Beltran had a cortisone injection and he hopes that will relieve the pain when he is eligible to be reinstated. To replace Beltran on the roster the Yankees purchased the contract of Whitley from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. To make room on the 40-man roster for Whitley the team activated right-hander Bruce Billings from the disabled list and designated him for assignment.  . . .  Thursday’s game was the final visit to Citi Field for Derek Jeter and the 39-year-old shortstop was awarded a subway tile mosaic with his No. 2 and featuring both Yankee and Met colors. The Mets also handed Jeter a check worth $222, 222. 22 for his Turn 2 Foundation.

ON DECK

The Yankees do not have far to go home to Yankee Stadium as they open a three-game weekend series with the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday.

Right-hander David Phelps (0-0, 4.09 ERA) will make his third start for the Yankees in place of right-hander Michael Pineda. Phelps yielded four runs on eight hits and three walks while striking out one in five innings in a no-decision against the Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday.

Phelps will be opposed by veteran right-hander Edinson Volquez (1-3, 4.36 ERA). Volquez was tagged for three runs on four hits and four walks while fanning four in 4 2/3 innings in a no-decsion against the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday.

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.

 

Cano’s Big Apple Homer Takes Bite Out Of Mets

GAME 71

YANKEES 6, METS 5

With the Yankees you can go from goat to hero in a New York minute.

Robinson Cano committed a crucial one-out error in the sixth that opened the floodgates to a three-run inning that allowed the Mets to tie the Yankees at 5-5. In the eighth, Cano atoned for the error with a solo home run that propelled the Yankees to their fifth victory in six Subway Series contests over their crosstown rivals.

They did it in front of a crowd of 42,364, the largest attendance in the history of Citi Field. That broke the record the two teams set the previous night of 42,222.

Cano’s blast, his 16th of the season, came on a 2-0 tailing fastball from reliever Miguel Batista (1-2) and Cano nearly deposited into the Mets’ giant apple within the batter’s eye in center for a 430-foot shot that seemed to symbolize that the Yankees are the undisputed kings of the Big Apple in 2012.

Boone Logan (2-0) pitched a perfect 1 1/3 innings, striking out two batters, to earn the victory in relief. Rafael Soriano pitched a scoreless ninth inning to pick up his 15th save in 16 chances this season.

The Yankees had staked themselves to a 5-1 lead with ace left-hander CC Sabathia on the mound and the team looked confident about a victory heading into the bottom of the sixth.

But Cano’s error that allowed Justin Turner to reach opened up an inning in which nine Met batters came to the plate and Sabathia was unable to finish the frame.

Ronny Cedeno followed the error with a single and after a fielder’s choice an obviously tiring Sabathia walked pinch-hitter Vinny Rottino on four pitches. Andres Torres ended Sabathia’s night with a two-run single that just slipped under Mark Teixeira’s glove and into right field.

Cory Wade entered the game and immediately was tagged for an RBI single to left by Ruben Tejada, who was just activated off the 15-day disabled list just prior to the game, and the game was tied that quickly. Wade walked David Wright to reload the bases, but he struck pinch-hitter Kirk Niewenhuis to keep the game even.

Sabathia gave up five runs (one earned) on nine hits and two walks and he struck out three in 5 2/3 innings, his shortest outing of the season.

The Yankee offense, meanwhile, was able to get to knuckleballer R.A. Dickey for four runs in the third inning. Dickey had entered the game with two straight complete-game one-hit victories and he had a scoreless inning streak that stretched to 44 2/3 innings.

With one out, Curtis Granderson drew a walk, Alex Rodriguez scratched out an infield hit and Cano also walked to load the bases.

Teixeira ended Dickey’s scoreless string by lifting a towering sacrifice fly to right to score Granderson. Nick Swisher then smacked a hanging 2-1 knuckleball into the seats in right-center for the first home run Dickey has allowed this season.

The Yankees added another run in fifth, taking advantage of an uncharacteristically wild Dickey.

Granderson was hit by a pitch and he advanced to second on a wild pitch, Dickey’s first of the season. One out later, Cano singled to left and Granderson scored from third on a fielder’s choice grounder off the bat of Teixeira.

Dickey gave up a season-high five runs on five hits and three walks and he struck out three over six innings. He entered the game as the winningest pitcher in baseball at 11-1 with a 2.00 ERA.

The Mets scored single runs in the third and fifth off Sabathia.

In the third, they took advantage of leadoff walk to Torres and an error by Chris Stewart attempting to nab a stealing Torres at second. Torres then was able to score from third on a sacrifice fly by Tejada.

In the fifth, Dickey stroked a one-out single and, with one out, Tejada also singled. Wright followed with a ground-ball single to left and Dickey was able to score just ahead of the throw from Raul Ibanez.

With the victory, the Yankees completed interleague play with a record of 13-5. They entered the 2012 season with the best overall interleague play record since its inception in 1997.

The Yankees improved their season record to 43-28 and they remain 2 1/2 games ahead of the second-place Baltimore Orioles in the American League East. The Mets fell to 39-34.

PINSTRIPE POSITIVES

  • Cano has been on a home-run binge of late. In his last seven games dating back to the series finale against the Washington Nationals on June 17, Cano has hit five home runs. All but one of them have been solo shots. With his two hits on Sunday night, Cano is hitting .299 with 16 home runs and 36 RBIs.
  • Swisher’s three-run blast in the fourth gave him 11 home runs and a team-leading 45 RBIs on the season. Swisher has been on a tear with the bat this month, hitting .333 with three home runs and 13 RBIs after hitting just .207 in May.
  • Logan and the rest of the bullpen continues to shine in the absence of future Hall of Fame closer Mariano Rivera. Logan pitched a 1-2-3 seventh and fanned Josh Thole to start the eighth. Logan has struck 37 batters in 27 2/3 innings and he has lowered his season ERA to 2.60.

NAGGING NEGATIVES

  • Stewart committed two errors but one actually could have been charged to Cano for failing to scoop a low throw in the third inning. Cano’s error in the sixth also hurt. So the usually slick-fielding Yankees committed three errors and two of them led to four unearned runs.
  • Sabathia looked out of sync most the night and the Mets were able to extend innings to get his pitch count up to 112 when he left after 5 2/3 innings. He gave up a nine hits and he walked two. You add those runners and the errors and you can understand why Sabathia ran out of steam early. Cano and the bullpen picked up the slack, however.
  • Derek Jeter took an 0-for-5 collar and he clearly was not picking up Dickey’s knuckleball well. He struck out and grounded out weakly twice in his three at-bats against Dickey. The hitless evening lowered his batting average to .305.

BOMBER BANTER

Starting catcher Russell Martin did not start on Sunday, a day after developing stiffness in his lower back. However, manager Joe Girardi said he would have been available to play, if necessary. Stewart drew his 13th consecutive start with Sabathia on the mound and was 0-for-4 and committed two throwing errors. Martin is expected to be able to start behind the plate on Monday.

ON DECK

Though the Yankees technically were on the “road” this weekend they won’t have to travel far to open a three-game home series with the Cleveland Indians on Monday.

Veteran right-hander Hiroki Kuroda (6-7, 3.57 ERA) will open the series for the Yankees. Kuroda allowed four runs over seven innings in his first loss in over a month to the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday. Kuroda has not faced the Indians in his major-league career.

The Indians will counter with right-hander Josh Tomlin (3-4, 5.12 ERA). Tomlin gave up just one in 6 2/3 innings in his last start but did not get a decision in the game. He has not won a game since June 8. He is 2-1 with a 4.26 ERA in his career against the Yankees.

Game-time will be 7:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be telecast nationally by ESPN2 and locally by the YES Network.

 

Yankees ‘Martinize’ Mets In 9th For Bronx Sweep

GAME 59

YANKEES 5, METS 4

Amid all the chatter about the struggles of Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez and talk about the team not hitting with runners in scoring position, Russell Martin was slumping worse than any of the Yankees and it was something he was suffering through silently.

He went to hitting coach Kevin Long and they worked on some adjustments and quietly they have been paying off since May 20. For the Yankees those adjustments looked golden on Sunday but for the Mets they were a source of some painful heartbreak.

Martin blasted a huge two-run home run in the bottom of the seventh inning to draw the Yankees to within a run of the Mets at 3-2. Two innings later, Martin led off the bottom of the ninth inning with a walk-off solo home run that gave the Yankees a home Subway Series sweep over the luckless crosstown Mets.

The Mets, who had led the game since the second inning 3-0, surrendered the lead in the bottom of the eighth but managed to tie it in the ninth by putting a run across off closer Rafael Soriano for his first blown save of the season.

So the Mets sent reliever Jon Rauch to the mound in the ninth and Martin managed to battle him into a 3-2 count. Rauch hung a slider and Martin deposited the mistake into the seats in left-field for his second homer of the game and his eighth of the season.

A sellout crowd of 49,010 at Yankee Stadium rose to its feet cheering as Martin headed around third toward a sea of pinstripes waiting at home plate to greet him. But Martin mistimed his leap and stumbled across home plate with the run that nonetheless gave the Yankees a huge leg up on their annual six-game home-and-away series with the rival Mets.

Boone Logan (1-0), who rescued Soriano from a first-and-third with one out jam in the top of the ninth by striking out pinch-hitter Josh Thole looking and retiring Kirk Nieuwenhuis on a hard-hit grounder Robinson Cano saved from rolling into right-field  to score the tie-breaking, got credit for the victory.

Rauch (3-6) was saddled with the loss.

The late-inning drama overshadowed a superb effort by Mets left-hander Jonathon Niese, who had shut out the Yankees through 6 2/3 innings only to be hurt by a throwing error by David Wright on a grounder off the bat of Andruw Jones. Three pitches later, Martin was able to shoot a lined shot to the right-field wall over the glove of a leaping Scott Hairston. The ball struck the padding of the top of the wall in right-field and was caught by a fan in the first row for a home run.

So Niese ended the day having given up two runs (neither earned) on seven hits and one walk and he struck out six batters.

Meanwhile, the Mets used a combination of well-placed hits, some questionable umpiring and an error to bat around in the second inning against Yankees starter Andy Pettitte.

Hairston led off the frame with a double to left-field. One out later, Vinny Rottino rolled a ground ball just past Jayson Nix at short to score Hairston to give the Mets an early 1-0 lead.

Pettitte then threw a 3-2 pitch to Omar Quintanilla that looked to be over the plate at the knees on the outside corner. However, home plate umpire Mike Muchlinski called it a ball. Then Mike Nickeas rolled a ball up the middle and Cano – in his haste to turn a double play – had the ball carom off his glove for an error that loaded the bases.

No. 9 hitter Jordany Valdespin, who entered play on Sunday hitting .133, then inside-outed a ball just past Teixeira at first to increase the Mets’ lead to 3-0.

Pettitte walked Andres Torres but got out of further trouble by striking out both Jason Bay and Wright swinging.

Pettitte recovered to pitch three scoreless innings but left the game after six innings because of a bruised pitching hand he sustained when he bare-handed a hard-hit one-hopper off the bat of Hairston to open the inning. Pettitte completed the inning but left the game to have some precautionary X-rays.

He gave up three runs (two earned) on four hits and two walks and he fanned eight.

The Yankees, meanwhile, down 3-2 in the eighth, preyed upon the departure of Niese, the weakness of the Mets’ bullpen and some more shoddy infield play.

Derek Jeter opened the inning against Mets reliever Bobby Parnell with a slow roller to Quintanilla at short. The ball rolled under his glove and into shallow center while Jeter legged it into second base with an infield single and an error. Curtis Granderson followed with a sharp single to right that advanced Jeter to third.

The Mets inexplicably decided not to deploy a shift on the lefty-swinging Teixeira and he made them pay by rolling a ball up the middle to score Jeter with the tying run and Granderson advanced to third.

Rodriguez then gave the Yankees their first lead of the day by blooping a well-placed single into shallow right-field just out of the reach of Valdespin to score Granderson.

However, the lead was short-lived when Lucas Duda greeted Soriano in the ninth with a double over the head of Granderson in center and slumping first baseman Ike Davis followed a double of his own to the wall in right-center.

After Quintanilla grounded into a fielder’s choice in which Nix deftly threw to third to nip a sliding, pinch-hitter Daniel Murphy singled to right and Soriano was replaced with Logan.

Logan’s escape from the one-out jam set the stage for Martin’s heroics in the bottom of the ninth.

The Yankee have now defeated the Mets in 52 of 87 contests in the Subway Series and it gave them their first home sweep of the series since 2003.

The Yankees are now 34-35 on the season and they remain a half-game back of the Rays in second place in the American League East. The Mets dropped to 32-29.

PINSTRIPE POSITIVES

  • Martin served notice that his season-long slump is definitely over. Martin was 2-for-4 with the two home runs and three very important RBIs. As of May 20, Martin was hitting .168. Since that time, he is 15-for-47 (.319) with four home runs and 10 RBIs. He has raised his batting average to .216 and .222 is his season high.
  • Logan bailed out Soriano and the Yankees with some excellent clutch pitching in the ninth to retire Thole and Niewenhuis with the go-ahead runner at third and one out. Logan has not been scored upon since May 20, which spans 3 1/3 innings in his last eight appearances. He has been scored upon in only four of his 29 games this season and his season ERA is now 2.66.
  • Clutch eighth-inning singles by Teixeira and Rodriguez are welcome sights to Yankee fans after watching them largely fail in those situations in the first two months of the season. Rodriguez had an RBI in each of the three weekend games and he has six RBIs this month after driving in only eight runs in May. Teixeira had only 20 RBIs on May 22, since then he has 16 in his last 18 games.

NAGGING NEGATIVES

  • Nick Swisher wins the “Bonehead Player of the Game” award handily. With two on and no outs in the second inning he took it upon himself to bunt to get the runners over despite the fact the Mets could have chose to walk Jones intentionally to pitch to Martin and Nix to get out of the jam. But he compounded that mistake by bunting the ball right to Niese, who threw Rodriguez out at third by a country mile. Swisher later grounded into a double play after Cano had singled in the seventh. Swisher was 0-for-4 in the game and his season average fell to .247.
  • Cano’s error in the second inning really hurt Pettitte and the Yankees. In what could have been at least a force play and at most a double play, the Yankees got nothing and Valdespin followed with his two-run double. A Gold Glove second baseman has to make that play. It was only Cano’s third error of the season but, boy, did it hurt.
  • Soriano was 9-for-9 in save opportunities until Sunday. The run he gave up was his first since a May 10 game at Yankee Stadium against the Rays. Soriano, who spent a portion of  2010 on the disabled list with a sore right shoulder, blew three saves in five opportunities last season.

BOMBER BANTER

X-rays on Pettitte’s left hand showed no damage but the hand was bandaged as a precaution. Pettitte said his hand was bruised and swollen but it would not prevent him from making his next scheduled start in Washington against the Nationals on Saturday.  . . .  Right-hander Freddy Garcia rejoined the team on Sunday after attending his grandfather’s funeral in Venezuela. He was activated from the bereavement list and reliever Ryota Igarashi was optioned back to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

ON DECK

The Yankees will embark on a six-game road trip that starts in Atlanta with a three-game series that opens on Monday.

Right-hander Ivan Nova (7-2, 5.09 ERA) will open the series on the hill for the Yankees. Nova limited the Rays to one run on four hits in eight-plus innings in what may have been his best major-league outing. Nova has never faced the Braves.

The Braves will start right-hander Randall Delgado (4-5, 4.26 ERA). In his last start, Delgado gave up one run on two hits over 6 1/3 innings against the Marlins. He walked one and set a career high with seven strikeouts. Delgado has never faced the Yankees.

Game-time will be 7:10 p.m. EDT and the game will be telecast by the YES Network.

 

Tex Overcomes ‘Gee’ Forces With Clutch Homer

GAME 58

YANKEES 4, METS 2

A month ago, Yankee fans did not know what was worse, Mark Teixeira’s cough or his constant choking at the plate with runners on base.

On Saturday, Teixeira did not cough up his opportunity or choke in the clutch. He launched a huge two-out, two-run home run in the bottom of the sixth inning with the Yankees losing 2-1 to Dillon Gee and the Mets and the Yankees got another strong outing from Phil Hughes to clinch the home portion of the Subway Series.

Another sellout crowd of 48,575 at Yankee Stadium watched in awe as Teixeira swung at a hanging 2-2 curveball from Gee and pulled it into the right-field bleachers for his 11th home run of the season.

Up to that point Gee (4-4) had held the Yankees hitless since the first inning when they scored a run on an Alex Rodriguez one-out RBI single, loaded the bases and – even if you were not a psychic you could have predicted this – Raul Ibanez hit into a inning-ending double play.

From that point on the Yankees could not hit Gee’s change-up if he told them it was coming. Over the next four innings, Gee only gave up a leadoff walk to Derek Jeter in the third inning and a leadoff walk to Teixiera in the fourth. (Of course, Teixiera was immediately erased on another double play off the bat of Ibanez.)

But a third leadoff walk to Curtis Granderson in the sixth proved fatal to Gee. Two outs later, Teixeira put the Yankees ahead for good.

Granderson handed the Yankees an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth inning by delivering his 18th home run of the season off Mets reliever Bobby Parnell.

Hughes (6-5), meanwhile, was victimized by the long-ball as he has been most of the season.

He gave up a solo home run to a 30-year-old shortstop who came into the game with just two career home runs when he played briefly for the Colorado Rockies in 2008. Omar Quintanilla, who broke up Hiroki Kuroda’s no-hitter with two outs in the sixth inning on Friday, blasted a Hughes fastball into the right-field seats in the third inning to tie the contest at 1-1.

Hughes then gave up a second solo home run to David Wright in the sixth inning, which put the Mets into the lead for the first time in the weekend series. With the two home runs he surrendered on Saturday Hughes has been nicked for 15 home runs in 68 innings this season.

Hughes left with one out in the in the seventh inning having been touched for six hits and two walks and he struck out six.

A bullpen combination of Boone Logan, Cory Wade and Clay Rapada pitch scoreless ball through eight innings and Rafael Soriano pitched around a walk and single in the ninth to get pinch-hitter Jodany Valdespin to fly out to earn his ninth save of the season in as many opportunities.

With the victory the Yankees imroved their season record to 32-25 and they remain a half-game out of first place behind the Rays in the American League East. The Mets fell to 32-28.

PINSTRIPE POSITIVES

  • For all the talk about how horrible the Yankees’ starting rotation was in April, Hughes has shut those critics up with his recent spate of good outings. In his last seven starts, Hughes is 5-1 with a 3.47 ERA. After missing most of the 2011 season with weakness in his right shoulder, Hughes is beginning to show the form he showed in 2010, when he was 18-8 and made the All-Star team.
  • Teixeira would also like to forget about April be he hit just .244 with three home runs and 12 RBIs that month. Since then, Teixeira has hit eight home runs and driven in 23 runs. This is despite the fact Teixeira has hit just .171 over his last 10 games.
  • Granderson’s home run in the eighth put him in third place in the major leagues with 18, trailing Adam Dunn with 19 and Josh Hamilton with 22. Granderson has also been mired in a horrific batting slump this month. He is hitting only .161 in June and has struck out 10 times in 31 at-bats this month.

NAGGING NEGATIVES

  • Although he is having a fine season for the Yankees, Ibanez was a big disappointment with the bat on Saturday. He was 1-for-3 but he hit into a double play in his other two at-bats and the first one came with the bases loaded. Ibanez has been one of the few Yankees to hit pretty well with runners in scoring position but he is 0-for-10 this season with the bases loaded.  Ouch!
  • The bottom of the order was totally useless on Saturday. Nick Swisher (batting seventh), Eric Chavez  (eighth) and Russell Martin (ninth) were a combined 0-for-9 in the game and they struck out three times. Chavez, who flew out twice, was the only one of the three to get a ball out the infield.
  • Swisher’s 0-for-3 night snapped a modest six-game hitting streak in which he was 8-for-21 (.381) with a home run and five RBIs.  Swisher has only 17 walks this season after drawing 95 last season. He also has struck out 46 times this season, which is a high total for him.

BOMBER BANTER

It seems Brett Gardner is good about teasing us with his imminent return from the disabled list only to disappoint us again. After playing in a rehab game at Class A Charleston, Gardner reported feeling pain in his right elbow on Saturday morning and he is now sidelined indefinitely. Gardner will be sent to Dr. James Andrews in Pensacola, FL, for an evaluation early next week. He also will visit with Dr. Timothy Kremchek in Cincinnati. Gardner had three at-bats and played five innings on Friday. He was expected to play again on Saturday and rejoin the team on Monday in Atlanta. Manager Joe Girardi said Gardner likely will not rejoin the team until some time after the All-Star break.  . . .  Kuroda said that he will be able to make his next scheduled start on Wednesday in Atlanta. Kuroda was struck in the left foot by a line drive off the bat of Daniel Murphy on Friday and Kuroda left the game for  precautionary X-rays, which showed just a deep bone bruise.  . . .  Rodriguez’s RBI single in the first inning marked the 1,917th RBI of his career, which ties him with Eddie Murray for seventh on the all-time list. Meanwhile, Rodriguez’s hit scored Jeter with his 1,800th run, moving him past Ted Williams for 17th place on the all-time list.

ON DECK

The Yankees will go for a sweep of the weekend series for bragging rights in the Big Apple against the Mets.

Left-hander Andy Pettitte (3-2, 2.78 ERA) will toe the rubber for the Yankees. He is coming off a stellar 7 1/3 inning performance against the Rays in which he gave up just two hits and struck out 10. He has won three of his four starts at Yankee Stadium this season and he is 8-5 with a 3.69 ERA in his career against the Mets.

Opposing Pettitte will be fellow left-hander Jonathon Niese (4-2, 4.11 ERA). Niese struck out 10 in a victory against the Cardinals on Sunday. He did not allow a run in his six innings of work. He is 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA against the Yankees.

Game-time will be 1:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be telecast nationally by TBS and locally by the YES Network.

 

CC Shows Teammates, Mets He’s Just Fine

YANKEES 9, METS 1


Manager Joe Girardi was nervous about CC Sabathia before his start against the New York Mets on Friday night.
But it did not take him long to relax as Sabathia baffled the Mets for seven strong innings and he even added a run-scoring single as the New York Yankees routed their injury-depleted crosstown rivals 9-1 in the first Subway Series game to be played at Citi Field.
Sabathia had lasted only 1 1/3 innings and 28 pitches in his last outing against the Florida Marlins before Jorge Posada insisted their was something wrong with the ace lefty. Sabathia admitted to Girardi that he had some tendinitis in left bicep and Girardi was unsure how Sabathia would pitch on Friday.
He need not have worried a bit.
Sabathia threw four perfect innings at the Mets and only faltered in the fifth inning. He gave up a leadoff home run to former Yankee Gary Sheffield and singles to Fernando Tatis and rookie Nick Evans before ending the threat with strikeouts of Omir Santos and pinch-hitter Argenis Reyes.
The Mets did not get a hit the rest of the evening.
Sabathia (8-4) went seven innings, giving up just the three hits, no walks and struck out eight batters. Veteran righthander Brett Tomko pitched a pair of scoreless and hitless innings to finish the game.
“You never want to come out of the game or miss a start and put that kind of stress on the bullpen, but I definitely felt a lot better today,” Sabathia told MLB.com. “The ball was coming out free and easy, so I have to say it was kind of like a blessing in disguise.”

The Yankees also are riding a wave of offense that has seen the team score 28 runs in their last three games following a stretch where the team scored just 18 runs in the previous seven games, two of those games they were shut out.
On Friday their victim was Mike Pelfrey (5-3). However, Pelfrey was also done in by some really shaky defense that helped contribute to a four-run Yankees outburst in the second inning. Only two of the runs were earned.
Melky Cabrera opened the inning with a swinging bunt that sent a ball bounding slowly towards third, David Wright fielded the ball but threw the ball past Evans at first, allowing Cabrera to advance to second. 
After one out, Ramiro Pena, subbing for an ill Derek Jeter, flicked a double down the leftfield line to score Cabrera. Sabathia, in his first at-bat of the season, then sent the first pitch he saw up the middle for a single to score Pena.
But the Mets, who have been plagued all season by injuries to starters such as Carlos Beltran, Jose Reyes and Carlos Delgado, were not finished playing hot potato with the baseball. Shortstop Alex Cora threw the ball past second baseman Luis Castillo on a force attempt that scored Sabathia.
Evans then inexplicably kicked an easy grounder off the bat of Mark Teixeira that allowed Brett Gardner to score, giving Sabathia an easy cushion the rest of the way.
Pelfrey did manage to settle down after the second inning to retire 11 of the next 12 batters he faced. But manager Jerry Manuel was forced to pinch-hit for him in the fifth inning and the Yankees took out the lumber to a very shaky Mets bullpen in the final two innings.
Gardner, who ended the game with a career-best five hits, three runs scored and two RBI, started the inning that put the Mets away for good with a home run off Elmer Dessens down the right field line, his third homer of the season.
Following a one-out walk to Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez drove the first Dessens offering into right-center for a two-run home run, the 564th of his career to pass former Yankee legend Reggie Jackson — who was at the game — for 11th place on the all-time home run list.

“It’s nice — it feels good,” Rodriguez told MLB.com. “And the fact that he’s here is also very nice. It’s good to win another game and play like we expect.”

The Yankees added two runs in the ninth off Mets lefty Sean Green with an RBI triple from Gardner and single from Johnny Damon to score Gardner with Yankees ninth run of the night.
“I just got lucky the first couple at-bats, got some balls to fall in,” Gardner told MLB.com. “Then I managed to take advantage of some pitches to hit later in the game.”

The Yankees managed to keep pace with the Boston Red Sox in the American League East. The victory kept them four games behind Boston, who also won on Friday. The Blue Jays also won to stay 1 game in back of the Yankees in third place in the division.
The Yankees have now won three of four games in the Subway Series and they will need only a victory on Saturday or Sunday to claim their first season series win over the Mets since 2003. To help accomplish that feat the Yankees will send righty A.J. Burnett (5-4, 4.24 ERA) to the mound on Saturday.
Burnett pitched well in his last outing against the Florida Marlins, allowing just one in 6 1/3 innings and he struck out eight batters, but he lost the game to Josh Johnson by a 2-1 score. He shut out the Mets over seven innings in a 15-0 drubbing on June 14.
Burnett’s opponent will be Tim Redding (1-2, 6.08 ERA), who pitched into the eighth inning his last time out to earn his first victory of the season. 
Gametime is 7:10 p.m. EDT.
NOTES . . . Jeter missed his first career contest versus the Mets on what was also his 35th birthday. Jeter was afflicted with a hacking cough as part of the same flu bug that shelved Melky Cabrera on Thursday night. Jeter is listed as questionable for Saturday’s game also . . . In addition to Jeter, the Yankees also were not playing with starters Jorge Posads and Nick Swisher. Posada was just given the night off so that catcher Francisco Cervelli could work with Sabathia. Swisher was just held out in order to let Gardner start and bat leadoff in place of Jeter. Swisher did enter the game in the ninth inning at first base to replace Teixeira . . . It is bad news for outfielder Xavier Nady, who was on a rehab assignment at Scranton-Wilkes Barre for a slight tear in a ligament in his right elbow. Nady felt pain while making a throw Thursday night and walked off the field
in the fifth inning. It appears Nady is headed for Tommy John ligament replacement surgery and he is likely to miss 12 months. The outfielder, acquired from Pittsburgh last July, has been sidelined since hurting the elbow on April 14 at Tampa Bay. He is scheduled to be re-examined on Tuesday by Dr. Lewis Yokum in Los Angeles. His contract with the Yankees expires at the end of the season . . . Gardner’s career-best five hits raised his average from .281 to .302. He is leading all American League rookies in stolen bases with 17 though his is not considered a starter.

The Ultimate Gift

Yankees 9, Mets 8



June 12 was Hideki Matsui’s 35th birthday and the DH blasted a three-run home run to celebrate. But at the end of this evening in the Bronx it was Alex Rodriguez who received the best gift of all.
The largesse was bestowed by former Gold Glove New York Mets second baseman Luis Castillo in the form of a dropped last out pop fly that scored two runs for the New York Yankees and allowed them to steal a 9-8 victory in the opener of the Subway Series of 2009.
There were 47,000 fans, two managers and two teams whose collective jaws dropped open in disbelief at what they just witnessed.
The bottom of the ninth had started with the Mets leading 8-7 after David Wright doubled in the top of the 8th inning to score Carlos Beltran from first base off Yankees closer supreme Mariano Rivera. Rivera, who was summoned in a 7-7 tie with two out, to retire Beltran to end the inning. He walked him instead and allowed Wright to follow to untie what had been a wid night of lead changes and momentum swings.
Little did the Mets and Castillo know that one more lead swing would be in the offing.
The Mets closer Frankie Rodriguez was summoned for his 15th save. As has been his pattern, Rodriguez had to walk a highwire throughout the frame. 
He retired Brett Gardner on a foul pop to start the inning. However, Derek Jeter reached by reaching out of the strike zone for an outside changeup he sent up the middle for a single. After striking out pinch-hitter Johnny Damon, K-Rod decided to pitch carefully to the dangerous Mark Teixeira, who had added to his American League home run total with his 20th in the third inning with Garner aboard.
Once the count reached 3-0, K-Rod intentionally walked Tex to get to A-Rod. Pitching carefully again, A-Rod managed to put K-Rod into a hitters’ 3-1 count and the Yankees third baseman was looking fastball form the Mets pitcher.
He got it and he did make contact. However, the ball popped up seemingly into a harmless spot in short rightfield. Castillo drift out, settled under it and waited for the final out to nestle in his glove. A-Rod slammed his bat in frustration and trotted to first.
But the baseball gods had other ideas and the ball hit the heel of Castillo’s glove, squirted into the air and down to the lush green turf. Jeter, who was off with the contact, was already at home plate. Teixeira, who also ran out the pop-up, was almost at third when the ball hit the turf.
He then kicked it into fourth gear and he slid home well ahead of Castillo’s throw to home to backup catcher Omir Santos.
The Yankees poured out of the dugout to jump on A-Rod with congratulations. Oddly, the person they needed to thank stood stunned in short rightfield.
This miscue certainly enters Yankees-Mets rivalry lore. But it may also get as much airplay as Bill Buckner’s ole’ in the 1986 World Series. There are errors, there are miscues and there are gaffes. But Castillo’s may been one for the ages.
He told MLB.com “I have to catch that ball. The ball was moving a little bit. I didn’t get it. I feel bad. It was a routine fly ball. … I need to get it. … I feel so bad. I don’t want to make any errors, so I feel bad about myself. I made a mistake — I feel bad.”

It was the Yankees who were felling bad most of the night. Every time it seemed they would get a lead, the Mets had an answer. Robinson Cano homered in the second inning to break the seal on the scoring. However, Yankees starter Joba Chamberlain gave it right back in the third without giving the Mets the benefit of one hit.

After a walk, a fielder’s choice, a stolen base and another walk, Chamberlain hit rookie left fielder Fernando Martinez to load the bases. He ten walked Beltran to knot the game at 1. After striking out Wright, Chamberlain then hit Ryan Church with an 0-2 pitch. Perhaps the gift-giving started in this frame.

Teixeira’s two-run blast in the bottom off the inning off veteran righthander Livian Hernandez took the lead back for the Bronx Bombers.

But the Yankees could not hold it. Chamberlain had to leave the game after four innings because he threw 103 pitches. He had only given up a single to Wright for the Mets only hit. But he walked five and hit two and did not seem to have command of his fastball most of the night.

Manager Joe Girardi summoned Brett Tomko in the fifth. Tomko then got lit up like the Fourth of July. After a double and a walk, Church doubled them both in to reclaim the lead for the Mets. DH and former Yankee Gary Sheffield followed with a towering home run down the leftfield line to make it 6-3.

Jeter blasted his ninth home run of the season to cut the lead to 6-4 in the fifth and Matsui, who celebrated his 34th birthday with a grand slam home run, took a 2-0 Hernandez fastball and sent it into the second down in rightfield to give the Yankees a 7-6 lead.

But the Mets tied it in the seventh by chasing reliever David Robertson with a double off the bat of Sheffield. David Murphy singled to right but Sheffield was held at third. Catcher Brian Schneider then rolled into a 4-6-3 double play as Sheffield crossed the plate to tie it.

That set up Wright’s heroics in the ninth off Rivera and made it look like the Mets had finally put down the Yankees for the night. However, Castillo’s misplay turned celebration into frustration.

As A-Rod told MLB. com after the game:  “I really have never seen
that before, and I’ve played for a long time,” he said . “That’s why you play for nine innings — that’s why you play hard. The lesson we take from here is to play all 27 and hustle all the time.”

Perhaps it is a good thing Jeter and Teixeira ran it out, as did A-Rod. Otherwise, the embarrassment might have been with them rather than Castillo.

The Yankees will take the gift nonetheless. After three straight losses in Boston it was just what they needed.