Tagged: Jason Vargas

Warren Courts Dominance To Overturn Royals

GAME 46

YANKEES 5, ROYALS 1

Critics assessing Adam Warren’s first six starts argued that he was ill-suited to start games, he had lost velocity he had as a reliever and he would be more productive in the bullpen. Well, after his past three starts, including the gem he threw on Tuesday, those critics need to just shut up.

Warren pitched one-run baseball into the seventh inning and Mark Teixeira fueled the offense with a double, a home run and four RBIs as New York stormed back into first place in the American League East with a victory over Kansas City at Yankee Stadium.

The Royals’ only tally came in the sixth inning on a one-out solo home run by Paulo Orlando as Warren (3-3) held the Royals to just two hits with no walks and five strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings.

The Yankees, meanwhile, jumped on left-hander Jason Vargas (3-2) with two out in the first inning when Alex Rodriguez drew a walk and Teixeira followed with a blast that caromed off the wall of the visitor’s bullpen in left-center for his 14th home run of the season.

Vargas, who was making his first start after being activated from the 15-day disabled list earlier in the day, left after four innings yielding two runs on four hits and one walk with six strikeouts.

The Yankees padded their lead in the fifth off veteran right-hander Joe Blanton.

Chris Young reached on a one-out infield hit and Rodriguez advanced him to third with an opposite-field single to right. Teixeira then lined a double into the gap in right-center that rolled to the wall that scored both runners.

Teixeira was able to advance to third when center-fielder Lorenzo Cain briefly bobbled the ball for an error. Chase Headley then scored Teixeira with a sacrifice fly.

That was all the support Warren needed. Justin Wilson got the final two outs in the seventh and the “Twin Towers,” Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller, each pitched a scoreless inning between them to seal the victory for the Yankees.

The Yankees are now 24-22 on the season and, as a result of the Tampa Bay’s 7-6 loss to the Seattle Mariners, the Yankees have reclaimed a half-game lead in the division on the Rays. The Royals dropped to 28-17.

PINSTRIPE POSITIVES

  • Warren, 27, was unable to pitch six full innings in any of his first six starts this season and in all nine of his career starts. But he now has pitched into the seventh inning in each of his past three starts. Despite losing his previous two starts, Warren in his past three starts has allowed only six runs on 13 hits and five walks with 16 strikeouts in 19 2/3 innings for a 2.75 ERA and an excellent 0.92 ERA. It appears that when right-handers Masahiro Tanaka and Ivan Nova are activated off the disabled list over the next several weeks, Warren may not be so easy to remove from the rotation.
  • Teixeira’s “turn-back-the-clock” season back to 2011, when he hit 39 home runs and drove in 111 runs, continues. Teixeira’s 14 home runs are second in the American League to Nelson Cruz of the Mariners, who has 17. His 35 RBIs are tied for third in the AL with Cruz. Teixeira, 35, is on a pace to hit 48 home runs and drive in 120 runs. His career high in homers is the 45 he hit in his final season with the Texas Rangers in 2006.
  • Though Rodriguez has not hit a home run since May 16 in Kansas City, he now has a modest five-game hitting streak and he is 8-for-18 (.444) over that span. That has raised his season average to .270. Rodriguez was 2-for-3 with two runs scored in Tuesday’s game.

NAGGING NEGATIVES

Other than Headley committing his 10th error at third base this season there is not much to criticize. After losing 10 of 11 games through Sunday, the Yankees have now got off the mat to win two games in a row against the team with the best record in baseball to retake first place. I can’t complain about that.

ON DECK

The Yankees will have a chance to sweep the Royals and win the season series four games to two with a victory on Wednesday.

Right-hander Michael Pineda (5-2, 3.59 ERA) will go to the mound for the Yankees looking to get back on track. Pineda has been blasted for nine runs on 18 hits and one walk with five strikeouts in 11 1/3 innings over his past two starts  –  losses to the Royals and Rangers.

Right-hander Chris Young (4-0, 0.78 ERA) will pitch for the Royals. Young, 36, shut out the St. Louis Cardinals on six hits and two walks with two strikeouts over six innings on Friday. He also defeated the Yankees on May 15 in Kansas City.

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

 

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Bronx Bombers Deal Royal Beating To Kansas City

GAME 45

YANKEES 14, ROYALS 1

After losing 10 of their past 11 games the Yankees went into Monday’s Memorial Day matinee just hoping to show some kind of life for a team that was 21-12 on May 11. Well, they quickly proved to the Royals that they were far from dead.

The Yankees jumped on Jeremy Guthrie for 11 runs with no outs in the second inning and Nathan Eovaldi pitched a solid seven-plus innings as New York ended a frustrating six-game losing steak by pounding Kansas City in the opener of a three-game series at Yankee Stadium.

After averaging just over three runs in their past 11 games, the Yankees received three-run home runs from Brian McCann, Brett Gardner and Stephen Drew, while also adding a pair of two-run homers by Chase Headley and rookie Slade Heathcott.

Guthrie (4-3) pitched to 13 batters in the first inning and three more in the second before departing charged with a career-worst 11 runs on nine hits (four of them homers) and three walks with one strikeout.

Headley started the Bronx bombing with a two-run shot after Gardner had led off the first with a double. Three batters later, McCann hit a hit-arcing fly ball that ticked off right-fielder Paulo Orlando’s glove and into the first row for a three-run home run.

Later in the inning, Gardner lined a round-tripper of his own to tack on three more runs, which made the score 8-0.

After McCann walked to open the second, Garrett Jones singled and both runners advanced on a fielding error in right by Orlando. Drew then ended Guthrie’s second-shortest career outing with a long blast into the second deck that padded the lead to 11-0.

Eovaldi (4-1), who was one of the worst-supported pitchers in the National League in 2014 when he was pitching for the Miami Marlins, was able to breeze his way through the Royals’ high-octane offense. He was charged with one run on eight hits and one walk with four strikeouts.

The Royals’ lone run came in the fifth inning on a one-out double by Alcides Escobar and a two-out bloop RBI single off the bat of pinch-hitter Jarrod Dyson.

The Yankees added a single run in the fifth off left-hander Franklin Morales on a one-out walk to Gardner, a wild pitch that allowed Gardner to take second and an RBI double by Headley.

They added two more in the seventh off right-handed closer Greg Holland on a leadoff walk to Didi Gregorius and the first major-league homer from Heathcott.

The 14 runs matched their season high the Yankees scored against the Boston Red Sox in a 14-4 victory on April 12. The five home runs also tied a season high set in an 11-5 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on May 11, which ended up being the beginning of a dreadful 11-game slide that started the next day.

With the victory the Yankees improved to 23-22 and they climbed to within a half-game of the first-place Rays in the American League East. Both teams are tied in the loss column. The Royals, who entered the day with the best record in Major League Baseball, dropped to 28-16.

PINSTRIPE POSITIVES

  • Gardner, Headley, McCann and Drew each drove in three runs. The Yankees now lead the majors with 48 runs scored in the first inning. They have not scored more than 25 runs in any other frame. This is the power and offense the Yankees need consistently and they also need to be able to put teams away once they do get out to early leads. Lately they have been coughing up leads and never getting them back.
  • Even with the early 8-0 and 11-0 leads, there was still pressure on Eovaldi to pitch well and go seven innings since the past three days the starters only were able to pitch 6 2/3 innings. So give Eovaldi credit for continuing to pitch into the eighth inning. Eovaldi kept the hot-hitting Royals off-balance with a mixture of a lot of off-speed pitches. He had an especially sharp slider.
  • Ostensibly, Heathcott was brought up to bolster the bench with Jacoby Ellsbury on the disabled list with a sprained knee. But the 24-year-old Texas native is 5-for-12 (.417) with a double, a homer and three RBIs in four games (three starts). Heathcott was the team’s first-round pick in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft but he has been hampered throughout his minor-league career with serious shoulder and knee injuries. He likely will get a lot more playing time going forward. It also is no coincidence that Jones, 33, is 6-for-11 (.545) with a homer and three RBIs since his three-run pinch-hit homer on May 22. Jones was hitting .150 with no homers and one RBI before that home run. Heathcott still could make Jones expendable when Ellsbury returns.

NAGGING NEGATIVES

I would hard-pressed to come up with anything negative. I could say they did not get the shutout but that would be quibbling. This is a game the Yankees really needed to stop the major bleeding this team inflicted upon itself during the previous 11 games. The thing now is to back it up with another victory, then another and another, etc.

BOMBER BANTER

The Yankees on Monday selected the contract another rookie, left-handed reliever Jacob Lindgren, from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and optioned right-hander Branden Pinder to the same the club. They also made room on the 40-man roster for Lindgren by shifting backup infielder Brendan Ryan from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day disabled list. Lindgren, 22, made his major-league debut against the Royals and pitched two scoreless innings of relief. Lindgren, a starter for Mississippi State, was the team’s first selection in the second round (55th overall) in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft. He is the first Yankee draft pick to play in the majors within 12 months of being drafted since Deion Sanders did it in 1989.  . . .  McCann was 1-for 3 with a homer, two walks, two runs scored and three RBIs on Monday despite being unsure if he would even be ready to play. McCann left Sunday’s game against the Texas Rangers in the eighth inning with tightness in his right calf and foot. McCann, 31, was able to play because the tightness turned out to be just cramps and nothing serious. Meanwhile, outfielder Carlos Beltran, 38, missed another game with flu-like symptoms. He is day-to-day, manager Joe Girardi told reporters on Monday.

ON DECK

The Yankees will continue their three-game home series with the Royals on Tuesday.

Right-hander Adam Warren (2-3, 4.26 ERA) will start for the Yankees. Warren, 27, took a tough loss on Wednesday to the Washington Nationals. He was charged with yielding just two runs on four hits and four walks with four strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings.

The Royals placed left-hander Danny Duffy on the 15-day disabled list on Monday with left biceps tendinitis and they will start left-hander Jason Vargas (3-1, 5.26 ERA) when they activate him off the disabled list on Tuesday. Vargas was on the DL with a left flexor strain and has not pitched since May 5.

Game-time will be 7:05 p.m. and the game will be broadcast by WPIX.

 

Garcia Deep-Sixes Mariners For 16th Straight Loss

GAME 99

YANKEES 10, MARINERS 3

Freddy Garcia looked as laid back as ever on the mound at Yankee Stadium on Monday. But on the inside he was hoping he would not be “The One” to lose a game to Seattle.

Whatever Garcia’s mindset was, his pitching was simply superb as he breezed into the eighth inning and New York’s vaunted offense scored him plenty of runs as the Yankees sent the luckless Mariners to their 16th straight loss, a franchise record for futility.

Garcia (9-7), who won 79 games from 1999 through 2004 for the Mariners, gave up three runs on eight hits and one walk and fanned five batters in 7 2/3 innings for his seventh quality start in his last eight outings. Staked to an early 3-1 lead that ballooned to 8-1 after the Yankees scored five runs off Mariners starter Jason Vargas in the fourth inning, Garcia merely coasted through the game recording four three-up, three-down innings.

Mark Teixeira opened the scoring on the reeling Mariners and Vargas with a one-out two-run home run to left-field, his 27th home run of the season, which ties him teammate Curtis Granderson for second in the American League to Jose Bautista of Toronto, who has 31.

Two innings later, Derek Jeter lined his fourth home run of the season into the first row in the right-field bleachers over the auxiliary scoreboard to give the Yankees a 3-1 lead.

The Yankees broke it open in the fourth thanks to four hits from the Yankees and two errors from the Mariners. Eduardo Nunez, Brett Gardner, Jeter, Granderson and Teixeira drove in a run apiece in consecutive at-bats in the inning and the barrage knocked the left-handed Vargas out of the game. Vargas was touched for eight runs (four earned) on seven hits and a walk and he fanned two in four innings as he posted his fourth straight defeat.

The fourth inning was a microcosm of how things have soured for the Mariners this season.

With one out, Russell Martin reached on an error by third baseman Adam Kennedy. Andruw Jones then was safe on what was scored a single when Vargas was late covering first on a grounder to first baseman Justin Smoak. Nunez scored Martin on a bloop single to center and Gardner drove in Jones on a single up the middle.

Vargas then got Jeter to roll a ground ball to rookie second baseman Dustin Ackley but the ensuing play pretty much shows how things have unraveled for the Mariners during this stretch. Ackley chose to throw home to get a sliding Nunez but the ball struck Jeter’s bat and rolled past catcher Miguel Olivo for the team’s second error of the inning.

Granderson followed with a sacrifice fly and Teixiera singled in Jeter to close out the scoring in the nightmare inning for the M’s where four of the five runs scored were unearned.

The game began at 9:02 p.m. EDT because of one-hour and 57-minute rain delay. Of course, the rain of runs the Yankees scored dampened the Mariners’ spirit more than any of the precipitation. It seems that a dark cloud has followed the Mariners to the Bronx from rainy Seattle.

With the victory, the Yankees reached a season-best 20 games over .500 after they failed in their four previous attempts. They are 60-40 at the 100-game mark. The better news was that the first-place Boston Red Sox got tripped up at home by the lowly Kansas City Royals 3-1 and the Yankees have now drawn to within two games of first in the American League East. The Mariners, meanwhile, slipped to 43-59. They were at the .500 mark when their losing streak began.

PINSTRIPE POSITIVES

  • For those Yankee fans who believed that Jeter was finished as a productive hitter at age 37, think again. Jeter was 2-for-5 with a triple and home run and drove in three runs and scored two. Since July 20, Jeter is 9-for-22 (.409) with a homer and seven RBIs and he has scored six runs. In fact, Jeter is hitting .324 in July and has raised his season average to .273.
  • Teixeira has been embarrassed by his .240 batting average and has been working in the batting cage with hitting coach Kevin Long. It may be paying off, too. On the homestand, Teixeira is 5-for-16 (.313) with two home runs and eight RBIs. Teixeira was 2-for-4 with a home run and three RBIs against the Mariners. He has 27 home runs and 75 RBIs despite hitting only .243.
  • Garcia was in command most of the night and the run support helped a lot. Garcia was tagged by sac fly by Ichiro Suzuki that scored Justin Smoak in the third inning. The Mariners added a run with two out in the seventh on an RBI single by Smoak. The Mariners chased Garcia in the eighth after an RBI double by Brendan Ryan. Garcia is on pace to win 15 games for the first time since he won 17 games for the White Sox in 2006.
  • Granderson was 1-for-2 with two sacrifice flies, a walk and scored a run. His two RBIs gave him 76 on the season and he is now tied for second in the A.L. with Andre Beltre of Texas. Boston Adrian Gonzalez leads with 82.

NAGGING NEGATIVES

There was nothing that bad to discuss in this game. Garcia pitched effectively into the eighth and the Yankees scored 10 runs. What more could you want?

BOMBER BANTER

The Yankees are likely to activate reserve infielder Eric Chavez from the 60-day disabled list on Tuesday and he could start at third base against the Mariners. Chavez has been sidelined since May 5 with a fractured bone in his left foot. He arrived in New York on Monday after a rehab stint at Class A Tampa to be evaluated by the team’s medical staff. Chavez was 7-for-21 (.333) in six starts for Tampa. Chavez actually healed the foot injury some time ago. But the oft-injured 33-year-old veteran was sidelined for three more weeks by a kidney stone and recurring back issues.  . . .  Alex Rodriguez is making progress in his recovery from right knee surgery and he could return to the Yankees by the second week of August, manager Joe Girardi told reporters on Monday. Rodriguez had surgery to repair a torn meniscus in the knee and he was expected to miss four to six weeks.  . . .  Reliever Rafael Soriano pitched a perfect inning of relief on Monday for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and he could be rejoining the team soon. Soriano, who has been sidelined since May 13 with right elbow inflammation, was making his first back-to-back appearance during his rehab. The Yankees likely will wait to activate Soriano until Friday when they begin a four-game weekend home series with the Orioles.  . . .  Left-hander Steve Garrison made his major-league debut on Monday in the ninth inning against the Mariners. Garrision was recalled from Scranton to replace Sergio Mitre on the roster when he was placed on the 15-day disabled list with tendinitis in his right shoulder. Garrison, 24, pitched a perfect two-thirds of an inning to end the game. Garrison likely will be sent back to Scranton when the Yankees activate Soriano.

ON DECK

The Yankees will continue their three-game series with the hard-luck Mariners on Tuesday.

There is more bad news for Seattle since the Yankees will be starting left-hander CC Sabathia (14-5, 2.62 ERA). Sabathia had his seven-game wining streak stopped by the Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday. However, Sabathia was far from bad. He gave up only two runs in eight innings in a pitchers’ duel against James Shields. Sabathia is 10-4 with a 2.49 ERA against the Mariners in his career.

The Mariners will send Doug Fister (3-11, 3.30 ERA) to the hill. The right-hander gave up four runs in seven innings against the Blue Jays in a loss last week. Fister has received only 25 runs of support in the 15 starts the Mariners have lost with him on the mound. He is 1-1 with a 7.36 ERA against the Yankees.

Game-time will be 7:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be telecast nationally by the MLB Network and locally by MY9.

Yankees Sink Mariners With 5-Run Barrage

GAME 51

YANKEES 7, MARINERS 1

Good teams hit with runners in scoring position and they also get more than their fair share of two-out hits. A big reason why the Yankees have lost 23 games this season is because they have done neither very well. On Sunday, they showed the Mariners what can happen when they do both and lo and behold the Yankees won easily.

The Yankees entered Sunday’s series finale with only six two-out hits (accounting for three of the seven runs they scored) and were a woeful 2-for-15 (.133) with runners in scoring position. In the third inning the Yankees racked up three two-out hits and they were 3-for-4 with two outs and runners in scoring position as New York crushed Seattle at Safeco Field.

Leading 1-0 on a second-inning Nick Swisher solo home run, the Yankees had runners on first and third and two out on loser Jason Vargas (3-3) with Robinson Cano up. Cano started a five-run inning by singling to left to score Curtis Granderson. After Swisher drew a walk to load the bases, Andruw Jones put the game away with a bases-clearing double to right. Eduardo Nunez scored Jones with his first career triple and the game was no longer in doubt.

Meanwhile, ace left-hander CC Sabathia (6-3) coasted to his third straight victory. Sabathia gave up a solo home run to Justin Smoak with one out in the sixth inning but otherwise he shut down the Mariners on a total of six hits and three walks and he struck out five over eight innings. Reliever Lance Pendleton pitched a scoreless ninth to finish up for Sabathia.

With the victory the Yankees improved their season record to 28-23 and they remain one game behind the first-place Boston Red Sox in the American League East. The Mariners fell to 26-26.

PINSTRIPE POSITIVES

  • Granderson remains the hottest Yankee hitter. He was 3-for-5 with two doubles and scored two runs. He also had another ht taken away by on a running catch in the right-field corner by Ichiro Suzuki. Granderson has now raised his season average to .282.
  • Jones, playing in place of Brett Gardner with a left-hander on the mound, came into the game with a total of seven RBIs in 52 at-bats. On one swing off Vargas in the third inning he drove in three runs with a double to the right-field corner. Jones is proving to be a valuable right-handed hitter off the bench.
  • Sabathia looks to be on one of those patented runs where he is nearly unbeatable as the weather turns warmer. In his last three starts, Sabathia has given up just five runs on 20 hits and four walks and he has struck out 17 batters over that same span. He has also lowered his ERA to 2.98.
  • Swisher’s home run was only his third of the season and came from the right side, where he has been hitting much better this season. Swisher believes he is beginning to come around with the bat this season after a 50-game slump. He was robbed of a home run by Mariners center-fielder Franklin Gutierrez on Friday night . He was 3-for-10 in the weekend series.

NAGGING NEGATIVES

There were a few minor issues but when every Yankee starter gets hit, the team does not commit a fielding error and the team’s ace pitches like one, there is nothing really to complain about.

BOMBER BANTER

Phil Hughes threw 30 pitches in a bullpen session on Sunday at Safeco Field and reported no issues. Hughes, who has been on the disabled list since April 15 with right shoulder weakness, threw fastballs, curveballs and change-ups in the session. The plan is for Hughes to rest for two days and throw another bullpen session on Wednesday in Oakland. Pitching coach Larry Rothshild may have Hughes face live hitters over next weekend while the Yankees are in Anaheim.  . . .  Curtis Granderson (with 16) and Mark Teixeira (with 15) are the first two Yankee teammates to have at least 15 home runs in the team’s first 50 games since Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris did it in 1961.

ON DECK

The Yankees are off to Oakland for a midweek three-game series against the Athletics.

The Yankees will open the series with 37-year-old right-hander Bartolo Colon (2-3, 3.77). Colon faltered in the sixth inning of his last start against the Blue Jays, giving up five runs fueled by three walks. He struck out eight but walked four for his third loss of the season. Colon is 6-4 with a 3.12 ERA in his career against Oakland.

Oakland will counter with ace right-hander Trevor Cahill (6-2, 2.02 ERA). Cahill gave up four runs (three earned) to the Angels on 10 hits and five walks over six innings in his second loss of the season. He is 0-2 with a 12.60 ERA in his starts against the Yankees.

Game-time will be at 4:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be telecast by the YES Network.

Mariners’ Trade Target Nunez Keys Yanks With 1st Hit, RBI

GAME 123
YANKEES 9, MARINERS 5

The rumor was the Seattle Mariners dangled ace lefty Cliff Lee in front of the New York Yankees and they originally asked for catcher Jesus Montero, pitcher Zach McAllister and second baseman David Adams but the Mariners balked at the deal because of concerns about an ankle injury Adams suffered.
Once the Texas Rangers offered first baseman Justin Smoak to their package for Lee, the Mariners then called the Yankees back and asked for shortstop Eduardo Nunez along with Montero and McAllister. 
The Yankees refused. It was a good thing, too.
Nunez not only recorded his first major-league hit in his first major-league start on Saturday, he also notched his first major-league RBi with that hit, which proved to be the game-winning hit over — ironically — the Mariners.
Nunez came up in the bottom of the seventh inning with Austin Kearns at third and Curtis Granderson at first with one out in a 4-4 game. Nunez, who was recalled on Thursday to replace Lance Berkman on the roster and who was subbing at third base for the injured Alex Rodriguez, stroked a 1-1 fastball from Mariners starter Jason Vargas to the opposite field in right to score Kearns and give the Yankees their first lead since the first inning.
Vargas was removed from the game and Derek Jeter followed with an RBI single of his own and, one out later, Mark Teixeira made it 7-4 with a sacrifice fly.
Four members of the Yankees bullpen were the other heros of the day for picking up for struggling right-hander Javier Vazquez, who gave up four runs on eight hits and a walk in only three-plus innings of work.
Chad Gaudin, Boone Logan, David Robertson and Mariano Rivera teamed up to give up only one run on four hits and no walks in the remaining six innings. Logan (1-0) pitched a perfect seventh inning to earn the victory.
Rivera, who was touched for a scratch run on two hits in the ninth inning picked up his 25th save in 27 chances this season. It was the first four-out save of the season.
Vargas (9-6) took the loss despite holding the Yankees offense to just one hit over the five innings following a horrific four-run first inning. Robinson Cano keyed the frame for the Yankees with a two-run single and Jorge Posada added a two-out, two-run home run.
Vazquez, however, who gave up solo home runs to Ichiro Suzuki and Russell Branyan in the first inning, coughed up the 4-2 lead in the second inning on another solo home by Suzuki and a two-out RBI single by Casey Kotchman that tied the game at 4. The scored remained knotted until Nunez stroked his clutch single in the seventh.
Most of the sellout crowd of 48,158 at Yankee Stadium erupted in cheers as Nunez recovered the ball and kissed it with a big grin on his face at first base.
With Rodriguez headed to the disabled list with the calf issue that slowed him this week, Nunez now becomes a very important player on the roster until the All-Star third baseman returns.
Sometimes the best trades are the ones you decide not to make. 
With the victory, the Yankees got back to their high-water mark of 19 games over .500 for the season (76-47) and they will enjoy their evening knowing they can’t be any worse than one game ahead of the second-place Tampa Bay Rays in the American League East. The Rays are playing Oakland on the West Coast. If the Rays lose, as they did on Friday night, they will be two games back.
PINSTRIPE POSITIVES

  • Cano was 2-for-4 in the game and his two RBIs give him an even 80 on the season. Cano had 85 RBIs last season and his career high is the 97 he drove in 2007. Cano is batting .324 on the season, the fifth best in the AL.
  • Posada’s home run in the first inning was his 14th of the season and his first one batting right-handed since June 13. Though he has 14 home runs and 43 RBis, Posada is batting .252, only seven points better than his career low of .245 in 1999.
  • Gaudin deserves most of the credit for the great work of the bullpen. Gaudin pitched two innings of shutout baseball on Friday in relief of a shaky A.J. Burnett. On Saturday he pitched three innings of one-hit, no-run baseball. He also struck out three batters.
  • Kearns struck out in his first two at-bats against Vargas before his one-out single in the seventh inning that started the Yankees’ three-run rally. The hit extended Kearns’ hitting streak to 10 games. He is hitting .333 in pinstripes.
NAGGING NEGATIVES

  • Vazquez has reverted back to his form of April and May. In his first five starts, Vazquez was 0-3 with a 9.78 ERA. In his next 13 starts through July 26, Vazquez was 8-4 with a 3.43 ERA. But in his last five starts — each outing lasting less than the one before — Vazquez is 0-2 with a 7.44 ERA. Vazquez has given up eight home runs in those starts, including three in Saturday’s game. Two of them to Suzuki, who had three all this season, and one to Branyan
    , who hit two home runs in Friday;s game. Branyan’s first-inning home run is actually the first to land in the third deck in right-field. Branyan also was the first player to hit the windows in center-field of the Mohegan Sports Bar last season. That gives Branyan two of the longest home runs in the new Yankee Stadium.
  • Marcus Thames, inserted into the DH spot and batting fifth because he hits left-handers well, did not have a good day at the plate. He was 0-for-4 with a strikeout and his season batting average fell to .302.
  • Granderson and Brett Gardner had a difficult day in the outfield. They let three fly balls drop in the outfield that perhaps could have been caught. They also seemed to have problems with their footing. Granderson slipped once and Gardner slid down on a another bloop single.
BOMBER BANTER

The Yankees placed Rodriguez on the 15-day disabled list after the game on Saturday. Rodriguez originally injured his left calf on Monday. After sitting out two games, manager Joe Girardi reinsterted him into the lineup Friday night. However, in his first at-bat Rodriguez reaggravated the injury on a ground ball to third base and he had to be removed from the game. The Yankees will rely on Ramiro Pena (who is hitting .197) and Nunez to play third base in place of Rodriguez. The Yankees will recall 23-year-old star rookie right-hander Ivan Nova (12-3, 2.86 ERA) from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Nova will make his first major-league start on Monday.
ON DECK

The Yankees will end their homestand on Sunday with an eye on winning the three-game series against the Mariners.
The Yankees will have ace left-hander CC Sabathia (16-5, 3.12 ERA) on the mound to do it. Sabathia held the Tigers to two runs over seven innings for his 16th victory. He is 3-0 with a 2.66 ERA in his last three starts. He is 8-4 with a 2.72 ERA in his career against Seattle.
The M’s will counter with left-hander Luke French (2-3, 4.02 ERA), who is coming off his best outing of the season. He held the Orioles hitless for 5 1/3 innings last Tuesday. He is 0-1 with a 2.35 ERA against the Yankees.
Game-time will be 1:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be broadcast by the YES Network.

A-Rod’s Two-Run Single Boosts Yanks To 6th Straight Win

GAME 85

YANKEES 3, MARINERS 1

On July 8, 1994, a tall, skinny shortatop named Alex Rdorigouez made his major-league debut with the Seattle Mariners.

Exactly sixteen years later, Rodriguez returned to Seattle and lined a two-run, two-out single to right to score Derek Jeter and Nick Swisher with the tie-breaking runs in the ninth inning as the Rodriguez’s New York Yankees defeated the Mariners 3-1 on Thursday night.

Rodriguez’s clutch single delivered a victory to Andy Pettitte (11-2), who pitched eight innings and gave up one run on only five hits and four walks. Mariano Rivera pitched a perfect ninth inning to pick up his 20th save.

The Yankees usually play pretty good “get the on, get them over and get them in” offense but against Mariners starter Jason Vargas they only accomplished the “get them on” part. They had baserunners in all eight innings against the left-hander but could not score until the eighth inning.

Even that score was fortunate after Rodriguez led off with a walk and Robinson Cano singled, Vargas was replaced on the mound by reliever Brian Sweeney. Sweeney uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Rodriguez to take third. He scored when Jorge Posada rapped into a double play that tied the game at one apiece.

Mariners closer David Aardsma (0-6) started the ninth by walking Jeter and Swisher followed with a double, his fourth hit and his second double of the night. After one out, Rodriguez cracked his single to right and the Yankees took the lead in the game for the first time.

The Yankees have now won six in a row and 10 of their last 13 road games. Their record is 54-31 and they remain two games ahead of the second-place Tampa Bay Rays in the American League East.

Seattle’s record fell to 34-51 on the season.

YANKEE POSITIVES

  • Swisher celebrated his election to the final spot on the American League roster with a 4-for-4 night, including a walk. Swisher is a sizzling 7-for-8 in his last two games.  Swisher is batting .469 in July.
  • Pettitte earned the victory after he committed yet another error on a bunt play. Much like he did twice in Los Angeles, Pettitte threw wide of a first in the sixth inning on an Ichiro Suzuki bunt. That allowed Josh Wilson to score, Michael Saunders to reach third and Suzuki to take second. Pettitte was able to keep Wilson from scoring on a bouncer to third base, he walked Franklin Gutierrez intentionally to load the bases and ended the inning without further damage by fanning Russell Branyan and Jose Lopez.
  • Rodriguez continued his RBI tear. He now has 25 RBIs in his last 16 games. He has 69 RBIs on the season and is just four RBIs in back of the major-league leader, Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers, and three behind Vladimir Guerrero of the Rangers. 
  • Swisher not only starred with his bat. Not noted as a great outfielder, Swisher made an outstanding full-out sliding catch of a fly ball off the bat of Casey Kotchman in the fifth inning.
THE NEGATIVES

  • The Yankees truthfully did not deserve to win this game the way their offense sputtered with runners in scoring position. They 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position until Rodriguez
    delivered his two-out single in the ninth.
  • Brett Gardner likely never wants to face the left-handed Vargas again. Vargas recorded only three strikeouts in his seven-plus innings and Gardner was the victim all three times. Gardner struck out twice swinging and once looking, stranding a total of four runners.
  • Pettitte’s throwing error was inexcusable and he admitted as much to reporters after the game. Intent on getting the speedy Suzuki, Pettitte did not focus on the target and just threw the ball high and wide right of first base. Pettitte has three errors this season and they have all come on throws on sacrifice bunts.
  • Double plays are part of the game but they really hurt the Yankees. Posada hit into one in the eighth inning and the Yankees scored only because Rodriguez was alert enough to dash for third on a wild pitch that did not roll far away from catcher Josh Bard. The other double play came off the bat of Mark Teixeira in the first inning after Jeter and Swisher opened the game with singles. That kind of set the tone of the seven innings of futility in which the Yankees pounded out eight hits and yet could not score a single run.
DIAMOND NOTES

Manager Joe Girardi chose to give Rodriguez a “half” day off by starting him as the DH and using Ramiro Pena at third base.  . . .  Swisher’s victory in the Final Vote was the closest in the nine-year history of the online balloting process. Swisher narrowly beat out Kevin Youkilis of the Boston Red Sox for the final All-Star spot.  He is the eighth Yankee who will be making the trip to Anaheim.  . . .  Nick Johnson felt pain in his surgically repaired right wrist while swinging a bat on Wednesday. He is now headed to New York to have additional tests.  Johnson has been on the disabled list since May 7 with a sore right wrist tendon. There is no set timetable for Johnson’s return.
THE NEXT GAME

Winning the first game of the four-game weekend series with the Mariners was important because the Yankees will be facing their nemesis in left-hander Cliff Lee on Friday.
The Yankees’ hopes are with All-Star right-hander Phil Hughes (10-2, 3.83 ERA). Hughes is 0-1 with a 8.49 ERA in his last two starts, one against the Blue Jays and one against these same Mariners. Since May, Hughes is 5-2 but has bloated 5.69 ERA.  He is 1-1 with a 4.31 ERA lifetime against the Mariners.
Lee (8-3, 2.34 ERA) is coming off a one-run, eight-inning gem against the Tigers. He has won five of his last six starts. Lee is 5-4 with a 4.72 ERA in the regular season against the Yankees. But he has won his last four starts against the Yankees, including two wins in the World Series while pitching for the Philadelphia Phillies.
Game-time will be 10:10 p.m. EDT and the game will be broadcast by the YES Network.