YANKEES 3, ROYALS 2
Stop the presses! There is earth-shattering news out of the Bronx on Tuesday! Reserve the Canyon of Heroes for a ticker-tape parade in New York City on Wednesday!
The Yankees have finally won a major-league baseball game!
It was not pretty but it still counts. Phil Hughes pitched a solid six innings and the Yankees pushed across two runs with the bases loaded in the fifth inning as New York defeated Kansas City to break a slide in which the team had lost six of its last seven games.
Hughes (4-5) gave up just two runs on five hits and two walks and fanned seven batters to pick up his third victory in his last four starts. A bullpen combination of Cory Wade, Boone Logan, Cody Eppley and Clay Rapada shut down the Royals for two innings and Rafael Soriano tossed a scoreless ninth for his third save of the season.
The Yankees, trailing 2-0 in the bottom of the fourth inning, picked up a run on a solo home run off the bat of Robinson Cano, his fifth of the season.
They then loaded the bases against right-hander Luke Hochevar (3-5) in the fifth inning. For the past week or so, having the bases loaded for the Yankees has been an advantage to the pitchers they have faced because they had failed miserably in scoring even a single run.
But on Tuesday it worked out quite differently.
Mark Teixeira led off with a single and he was able to advance to second on an error by right-fielder Jeff Francouer. Hochevar then grazed Russell Marrtin with a pitch and Dewayne Wise followed with a sacrifice bunt he was able to leg into a single.
Knowing the Yankees were hitless in their last 14 at-bats with runners in scoring position, a paid Yankee Stadium crowd of 37,674 took out their four-leaf clovers, St. Christopher medals and rabbit’s feet and prayed for an end to the misery that has befallen their team.
Derek Jeter answered those prayers by looping a 2-2 pitch from Hochevar into right to score Teixeira with the tying run. Curtis Granderson followed with a slow roller to first that scored Martin and the Yankees had their first lead in the series against the Royals.
Of course, all major slumps are very tough to break and after Cano was walked intentionally to load the bases again, Alex Rodriguez and Raul Ibanez struck out looking. So they were 2-for-7 with RISP in the game? So what? They won!
Hochevar gave up three runs on six hits and three walks and struck eight in 6 2/3 innings.
The Royals scored their first run in the third inning on a one-out RBI double by Humberto Quintero, which followed a leadoff single by Irving Falu. The Royals added a run in the fourth on a two-out solo home run off the bat of Francouer.
With the victory the Yankees climb a game above .500 at 22-21. The Royals are 17-25.
- I very much like the way Hughes pitched in this game. He was aggressive early in the count with his fastball. The Quintero double was on a very bad 0-2 pitch that was over the plate. The home run by Francouer came when he fell behind 2-0 and he had to throw a fastball. Hughes’ best pitching came when he walked the bases loaded in the sixth with two outs. He was able to get Falu on a flyout to left to preserve his victory. In his last four starts, Hughes is 3-1 with a 2.81 ERA and he has struck out 23 batters in his last 25 2/3 innings.
- Soriano is settling in nicely as the closer. He is 3-for-3 in save opportunities and he is 2-0 with a 2.35 ERA on the season. He has also posted 12 scoreless outings of his 16 appearances this season. He may not be Mariano Rivera but he still is pretty good.
- When Cano last faced Hochevar in Kansas City on May 6 he hit a grand slam home run that led the Yankees to a 10-4 victory that split the series. Cano has six hits off Hochevar in his career, three of them home runs and two of those have been grand slams.
It is not good to dwell on the negative when there has been so much negative associated with the team this month. We are not going down that road.
Rivera paid his first visit to the Yankees clubhouse on Tuesday since he suffered his torn anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus in his right knee on May 3 in Kansas City. Rivera is walking without the aid of crutches but he will not undergo knee surgery until he is first treated for a blood clot in his right calf and he strengthens his right knee. . . . The team entered Tuesday’s game 6-for-72 (.083) with runners in scoring position in the past nine games and they were also just one for the last 21 at-bats with the bases loaded until Jeter singled with the bases loaded on Tuesday. Their last hit with bases loaded was Cano’s grand slam off Hochevar on May 6.
After the ticker-tape parade and the presentation of the key to the city by the mayor, the Yankees will play the rubber game of their three-game set with the Royals.
Left-hander Andy Pettitte (1-1, 2.51 ERA) will get the start for the Yankees. Pettitte, 39, is coming off a vintage performance on Friday against the Reds in which he pitched eight shutout innings. He gave up just four hits and one walk while striking out nine in only his second start of his 2012 comeback. In the last 10 seasons against the Royals, Pettitte is 8-2 with a 3.80 ERA.
The Royals are starting 22-year-old left-hander Will Smith, who will be making his major-league debut. He was 1-3 with a 4.01 ERA at Triple-A Omaha. I guess manager Ned Yost figures why not throw a rookie because the Yankees’ offense may be in no condition to do much damage to him.
Game-time will be at 7:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be telecast by the YES Network.
YANKEES 6, ORIOLES 2
The New York Yankees on Friday decided they needed to regain some “mo” in Kansas City, MO., in their first game without Mo.
Fortunately for the Yankees, CC Sabathia pitched two-run ball over eight innings to win his fourth straight start and the offense “exploded” for same amount of runs than the team has scored in its previous four games combined as New York defeated Kansas City at Kauffman Stadium.
Sabathia (4-0) scattered seven hits, walked none and fanned five batters to help the Yankees end a three-game losing streak.
The Yankees and Royals actually were locked in a 2-2 deadlock after the first inning until Eduardo Nunez stroked a two-out triple in the seventh inning to score Robinson Cano from first base against Royals starter Bruce Chen (0-4). That hit opened the floodgates to a four-run inning that chased Chen.
Backup catcher Chris Stewart scored Nunez with a line-drive single to left and a red-hot Derek Jeter blasted a two-run home run to deep center to give the Yankees a huge four-run advantage.
The Yankees actually took a 2-0 lead on Kansas City in the first inning on a leadoff single on the first pitch from Jeter and one-out, two-run home run off the bat of Mark Teixeira, who has made a habit of making Chen’s life miserable. In his first 20 at-bats against Chen he had 10 hits, seven of them home runs.
Sabathia, however, was unable to hold the lead in the bottom of the inning.
Jarrod Dyson led off the frame with a single and Alex Gordon followed with an RBI double off the center-field wall. Jeff Francouer came to the plate two batters later and doubled to right-center to score Gordon with the tying run.
But Sabathia held the Royals there and, at one point, he rertired 12 batters in a row.
David Robertson, one of two relievers who will attempt to replace Mariano Rivera as the team’s closer this season, struck out the side in the ninth to preserve the victory.
The Yankees improved to 14-12 on the season while the Royals’ record fell to 8-17.
- Sabathia did what a “stopper” should after the Yankees struggled to score runs with 67% of their outfield injured, 40% of the starting rotation struggling and 100% of the best closer in the history of the game out for the season. Sabathia coasted to his fourth straight victory once he got some run support in the seventh.
- Jeter continues to amaze this season with how hot he is. He was 2-for-5 in the game , which left his season average at .404. His homer gave him five home runs and 15 RBIs on the season. In his last 10 games, Jeter is hitting .390 but he only has six runs scored (he scored two of those on Friday) because the rest of the lineup has been unable to generate much of any offense behind him.
- Nunez’s RBI triple in the seventh broke a personal 0-for-19 slide at the plate. Nunez’s last hit was a single in his final at-bat against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on April 21 in the game the Yankees rallied from a 9-0 deficit to beat the Bosox 15-9.
- Teixiera was 2-for 4 with a home run and two RBIs. He was 2-for-3 against Chen and he is now 12-for-22 (.545) against him in his career. After going five games without an RBI, Teixeira has driven in four runs in his last two games. He is 3-for-8 in the first two games of the four-game series against the Royals.
- The only starter who did not get a hit in the game was replacement outfielder Jayson Nix, who is is 0-for-6 since being called up from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Thursday with starters Nick Swisher and Brett Gardner unavailable to play.
- Normally I do not criticize manager Joe Girardi for being aggressive on the bases when the team is struggling offensively. However, I have to question his decision to send Teixeira from second and Alex Rodriguez from first on a double steal as Cano was swinging through a 3-2 pitch for a strikeout. Royals catcher Brayan Pena fired a throw to third baseman Mike Moustakas to get a sliding Teixeira easily for a double play. This ruined a two-on, no-out situation and the Yankees ended up not scoring at all. A slow runner like Tex has no business running in that situation.
- Though the Yankees won they should not think their hitting woes are over. They were 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position on Friday. Take away Stewart’s single and they were 0-for-7.
If Rivera was planning to retire at the end of 2012, his season-ending knee injury may have extended his career another season. Rivera, 42, vowed on Friday that he would come back and pitch next season with the Yankees. The all-time saves leader tore an anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus in his right knee while shagging fly balls in the outfield on Thursday. “Write it down in big letters. I’m not going down like this. God willing and given the strength, I’m coming back,” Rivera told reporters. . . . Girardi said that for now both Robertson and Rafael Soriano will share closing duties in the ninth inning. . . . Rivera was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Thursday and right-hander D.J. Mitchell was optioned back to Triple-A Scranton. The Yankees then recalled right-hander Cody Eppley and outfielder Dewayne Wise from Scranton. Pitcher Michael Pineda was shifted to the 60-day disabled list so that Wise could be added to the 40-man roster. Wise pinch-hit in Friday’s game and doubled in his only at-bat. . . . The Yankees are targeting a return date of Tuesday for Swisher, who is nursing a strained left hamstring. Gardner (strained right elbow) hopes to play in a pair of minor-league rehab games on Sunday and Monday and he could also be activated from the 15-day disabled list on Tuesday.
The Yankees continue their four-game weekend series in Kansas City on Saturday.
Right-hander Hiroki Kuroda (2-3, 3.69 ERA) is scheduled to start for the Yankees. Kuroda is coming off an outing in which he limited the Orioles to one run on four hits in seven innings. It was his second consecutive strong pitching performance. He has never faced the Royals before.
The Royals will send right-hander Felipe Paulino to the mound in his first start of the 2012 season. He has no record because he has been on the disabled list with a right forearm strain. He was 4-6 with a 4.11 ERA with KC last season. He is 0-1 with a 8.44 ERA against the Yankees.
Game-time will be 7:10 p.m. EDT and the game will be telecast by the YES Network.
YANKEES 9, ROYALS 7
Foul ball. Foul ball. Foul ball. Foul ball. Foul ball. Foul ball. Foul ball.
Three-run home run.
Twelve pitches from Royals left-hander Danny Duffy pretty much summed up what the Yankees do to pitchers. Robinson Cano simply took advantage of a mistake on the 12th delivery and he sent the ball careening into the fountains in right-center that broke a 5-5 tie and gave the Yankees a hard-fought victory at Kauffman Stadium on Tuesday night.
Duffy, 22, began the fourth inning having just been handed a 5-3 lead by the Royals.
Brett Gardner opened the frame with a bunt single. Derek Jeter followed with an RBI double to left. Curtis Granderson bunted weakly and Royals catcher Salvador Perez was not able to get Jeter sliding into third. Mark Teixeira followed with a lined single to right to score Jeter with the tying run.
Duffy, who had thrown 78 pitches and recorded only nine outs in his first meeting with the Yankees, really got a major-league education from Cano.
Duffy fell behind in the count 3-1 and was forced to come in with a strike or walk the bases loaded. Cano then fouled off seven consecutive pitches in a grueling, mano-on-chico battle. On pitch No. 90 of the game, Duffy tried a backdoor slider but the pitch was up and caught too much of the plate. Cano swung and, the next thing Duffy knew, Cano was rounding the bases and Duffy was being removed from the game.
The Yankees, though they did not get a very good effort from their starter Ivan Nova (12-4), held on the rest of the way to defeat the Royals and claim first place in the American League East from the Boston Red Sox, who split their day-night doubleheader with the Tampa Bay Rays at Fenway Park.
Nova was unable to command his pitches and he was hit hard for the second time this season by the Royals. He won despite giving up seven runs on eight hits and a walk in 5 1/3 innings. On May 12, Nova gave up eight runs (four earned) on 10 hits and two walks in three innings against the Royals. Nova was 8-1 with a 3.50 ERA since that game at Yankee Stadium.
But the Yankees were able to get to Duffy for eight runs on eight hits, two walks, two hit batters and Duffy fanned three in three-plus innings.
The New York bullpen, which leads the American League in ERA, once again bailed out Nova and the Yankees. Boone Logan, Rafael Soriano, David Robertson and Mariano Rivera pitched 3 2/3 perfect innings to keep the Royals off the scoreboard the rest of the way.
Rivera pitched a perfect ninth, striking out two batters, to earn his 32nd save of the season and the 591st of his career. He needs only 11 saves to pass Trevor Hoffman as the all-time saves leader in the major leagues.
The victory improved the Yankees’ season record to 73-44. They are a half-game in front of the Red Sox. The Royals fell to 50-73.
- Cano was 2-for-5 with four RBIs and he is officially on a red-hot tear. He has at least one hit in his last eight games, in which he is 15-for-35 (.429) with three home runs and 10 RBIs. He is hitting .386 for the month and he has raised his season average to .306 with 21 home runs and 85 RBIs.
- Teixeira saved Nova and the Yankees with another one of his Gold Glove-worthy plays in the bottom of the sixth. Boone Logan had come in to relieve Nova after the 24-year-old right-hander had given up a one-out two-run double to Perez that drew the feisty young Royals to within one run at 8-7. Logan struck out Mike Moustakas for the second out but Alcides Escobar sliced a hard grounder down the first-base line. However, Teixeira dove backwards and to his left to stop the ball, he got up and ran to tag first to end the inning and keep the Yankees ahead.
- Jeter continued his hot hitting with a 2-for-5 night, including an RBI double and an RBI single. In his two games against the Royals, Jeter is 5-for-10 with two runs scored and five RBIs. He has a modest five-game hitting streak but he is he is 11-for-22 in that stretch and he has raised his season average to a season-high .283.
- Gardner is also red hot. He was 2-for-5 on Tuesday with a bunt single and a triple and he scored two runs. In his last five games, he is 8-for-18 (.444).
- Nova was just not Nova from the first inning on. Eric Hosmer and Jeff Francouer tagged him for RBI singles in the first. After the Yankees had reclaimed the lead at 3-2 in the third, Nova handed it back by giving up three runs in the bottom of the inning. It included an RBI groundout by Alex Gordon, Melky Cabrera’s 16th home run of the season and an RBI double by Francouer. Despite the fact Nova did not pitch well, he did win the game and he leads all rookie pitchers in the majors in wins and win percentage.
- Designated hitter Andruw Jones was the only Yankee starter without a hit in the game. He was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts and he did not get a ball out of the infield. Jones’ season average slipped to .240.
- Though he contributed a two-run bases-loaded single in the third inning and a walk, Russell Martin looked dreadful in his three other at-bats. He struck out looking once and swinging twice. He struck out in the eighth inning against Greg Holland on a awkward half-swing on a 1-2 pitch that was out of the strike zone. This the reason why Martin is still hitting .226 on the season.
Alex Rodriguez was 1-for-3 with a single in the six innings of a rehab game he played on Tuesday night for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre against the Durham Bulls. Rodriguez singled in his first at-bat and played all six innings at third base. Rodriguez, who is rehabbing from July 11 surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee, is expected to play one more game with Scranton and then rejoin the Yankees on Thursday in Minneapolis for a four-game series against the Twins. . . . Starter Freddy Garcia, nursing a cut on a finger on his right hand, threw a bullpen session on Tuesday. However, Garcia did not throw his split-finger fastball to avoid aggravating the cut. The Yankees have him scheduled to throw another bullpen session on Thursday in hopes he can make a start either Saturday or Sunday.
The Yankees will go for a three-game series series sweep of the Royals on Wednesday.
Bartolo Colon (8-6, 3.31 ERA) will get the start for the Bombers. Colon held the Angels to two runs on five hits in six innings and he is undefeated over his last four starts with a 3.18 ERA. He has not faced the Royals this season but is 13-7 against them in his career.
The Royals will counter with a change-up tossing lefty in Bruce Chen (7-5, 4.15 ERA). Chen held the White Sox to one hit and no runs over six innings in his last outing on Friday. He has not faced the Yankees this season but he is 1-5 with a 6.71 ERA lifetime against them.
Game-time will be 8:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be telecast by the YES Network.