YANKEES 6, INDIANS 2
In his first three Major-League starts right-hander Luis Severino received a total of two runs of support in the 17 innings he had pitched. Despite giving up a run in the first inning on Saturday, the 21-year-old rookie got five runs of support in the first two innings of the game.
He pretty much took control of things from there.
Severino pitched six solid innings to notch his first Major-League victory and Brett Gardner and Brian McCann both homered in the first inning as New York downed Cleveland on Jorge Posada Day with a paid crowd of 47,031 on hand at Yankee Stadium.
Severino (1-2) held the Indians to one run on just three hits with three walks and six strikeouts in a workmanlike 100-pitch outing.
The only run he gave up was when fellow rookie Francisco Lindor laced his eighth pitch of the game into the right-field porch for his sixth home run of the season to give the Indians an early 1-0 lead.
It did not last long, however, as Gardner lined right-hander Danny Salazar’s seventh pitch off the top of the right-field wall for his 12th home run of the season. It came with Jacoby Ellsbury on first on a single and it gave Severino a 2-1 lead that he never relinquished the rest of the afternoon.
One out later, McCann crushed a 0-1 fastball into the bleachers in right-center for his 22nd home run of the season.
The Yankees added a pair of runs in the second inning after Stephen Drew and John Ryan Murphy opened the frame with singles to put runners at first and third with no outs.
Salazar then botched a potential double-play ball off the bat of Ellsbury by throwing wide of second base for an error. Ellsbury got credit for an RBI and Murphy was safe at second. After Murphy advanced to third on a fly ball by Gardner, Carlos Beltran scored him on a sacrifice fly that made it 5-1.
After entering the game pitching at least seven innings in his previous seven starts with a 1.45 ERA in that span, Salazar (11-7) was charged with five runs on eight hits with no walks and six strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings.
Meanwhile, Severino got some help in keeping the Indians from mounting a comeback in both the third and sixth innings.
After Jason Kipnis drew a one-out walk and Lindor singled to advance him to third, Michael Brantley hit a hard one-hopper to rookie first baseman Greg Bird. Bird whirled and threw the ball high and wide to shortstop Didi Gregorius at second base.
Second base umpire Dan Iassogna ruled that Gregorius kept his foot on the base to retire Lindor. But, inexplicably, Kipnis elected to stay at third base on the play.
Indians manager Terry Francona asked Iassogna, the crew chief, to review the play using replay but the crew chose only to discuss it amongst themselves. Francona was ejected from the game by Iassogna during an ensuing argument.
In the sixth inning, Severino appeared to be wobbling as he approached the 100-pitch mark by issuing two-out walks to Lonnie Chisenhall and Abraham Almonte, However, he got out of the inning when Gregorius ranged to grab Roberto Perez’s ground ball and he retired Almonte at second base on a throw from the seat of his pants.
The Indians added a run in the eighth inning off right-hander Dellin Betances on a two-out bloop single by Chisenhall that scored Lindor, who led off the frame with a double.
The Yankees got that run back against right-hander Jeff Manship on a one-out double by Gregorius, a single by Drew and a sacrifice fly off the bat of Murphy.
The victory snapped a slight two-game skid and gave the Yankees a season record of 68-54. They remain a half-game ahead of the second-place Toronto Blue Jays in the American League East. The Indians, who are in last place in the American League Central, dropped to 57-65.
- Severino actually pitched much better in his previous three starts than he did on Saturday. But run support is essential to his success. Fortunately, Severino got it and he still was able to keep the Indians from coming back despite the four walks he issued. He is 1-2 with a 2.74 ERA and manager Joe Girardi announced on Saturday that he will remain in the rotation for now.
- In only the second game he used it, McCann was able to hit a home run with a new batting stance that puts a lot more weight on his front foot to prevent him from flying open too early with his right shoulder. It also was fitting on Jorge Posada Day that McCann (who was the designated hitter) and Murphy each got a hit and drove in a run.
- Gardner’s homer was a product of the short porch in right-field, but it still counts and it was a bit overdue. That was Gardner’s first home run since July 28 at Globe Life Park in Arlington, TX. Gardner is batting .274 with 12 homers and 54 RBIs on the season.
- My only issue was the lineup Girardi chose to use against the Indians after they had lost the first two games of the series. With Mark Teixeira still nursing a sore right shin, he elected to bench Alex Rodriguez, which left Beltran hitting third, McCann fourth and the rookie Bird fifth. On Friday, Girardi benched both Ellsbury and Gregorius against a right-handed pitcher and the team lost. The Saturday moves did work but this resting philosophy with the Blue Jays breathing down the Yankees’ necks is just a bit silly.
- Odd stat of the day: The Indians collected as many hits off Betances and left-hander Andrew Miller in the final two innings than they did against Severino in six. Linder doubled and Chisenhall singled off Betances in the eighth and Miller was touched by a leadoff single by Perez in the ninth. It is rare the “Twin Towers” give up any hits at all much less as many as the starter.
Right-hander Michael Pineda will come off the 15-day disabled list to start for the Yankees on Wednesday against the Houston Astros to push Masahiro Tanaka’s next start back to Friday, Girardi told reporters on Saturday. Pineda yielded one run on three hits with no walks and three strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings in his second rehab start for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Friday. He has been on the DL since July 30 with a right forearm flexor strain. Girardi said he had no plans to remove anyone in the rotation. So it appears the Yankees will use a six-man rotation in the final month. . . . Posada was honored before Saturday’s game by having his No. 20 officially retired and a plaque placed in Monument Park. Posada played for the Yankees for 17 seasons and hit .273 with 275 homers and 1,065 RBIs. He was part of five world championship teams and was a five-time All-Star. On Sunday, the Yankees similarly will honor one of his battery-mates, left-hander Andy Pettitte.
The Yankees will have a chance to split the four-game series against the Indians with a victory on Sunday.
Left-hander CC Sabathia (4-9, 5.24 ERA) will go to the mound for the Yankees. Sabathia, 35, gave up four runs on five hits and three walks with five strikeouts in a no-decision that the Yankees won against the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday.
Right-hander Trevor Bauer (9-10, 4.62 ERA) will pitch for the Indians. Bauer, 24, was shelled for five runs on six hits and one walk in just 1 2/3 innings in a loss to the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday. In his previous start on Aug. 13, he gave up six runs in 3 1/3 innings to the Yankees at Progressive Field.
Game-time will be 1:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be broadcast by the YES Network.
PHILLIES 6, YANKEES 0
TAMPA – Jeff Manship wriggled out of trouble enough to toss four shutout innings and Ryan Howard and Marlon Byrd hit back-to-back homers in the third inning as Philadelphia blanked New York on Tuesday in front of a paid crowd of 10,894 at George M. Steinbrenner Field.
Manship (2-0) needed 80 pitches to complete his four innings and he stranded five runners to get credit for the victory. He gave up five hits, walked none and struck out a pair.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi elected to use nine pitchers to throw one inning apiece in the game. David Phelps (1-1), who gave up an unearned run in the second inning, was charged with the loss.
It was only the second time this spring the Yankees have been shut out in a game. On March 15, the Yankees were no-hit for nine innings by the Miami Marlins in a 5-0 loss in the first game of the “Legend Series” in Panama.
The game was scoreless in the second inning when Phelps was victimized by two consecutive errors by Kelly Johnson. After Johnson recovered the ball on the second error, he was able to tag Domonic Brown after he strayed too far off third base. However, former Yankee and nonroster invitee Bobby Abreu scored Carlos Ruiz with an RBI single.
An inning later, Howard and Byrd teed off on left-hander Vidal Nuno with a pair of two-out, tape-measure shots to make the score 3-0.
The Yankees are now 15-11-2 on the spring while the Phillies are 9-15.
- Brett Gardner’s terrific spring continued as he was 3-for-3 with three singles in the leadoff spot for the Yankees. Gardner has now raised his spring average to .333 and his on-base percentage is .392. If Gardner is this pesky in the No. 9 spot he is going to create a lot of havoc for opponents this season.
- Derek Jeter stroked a one-out single in the fifth inning. The hit is significant because the 39-year-old shortstop has not had a hit since March 18 and he is 6-for-47 (.128) this spring with only one extra-base hit.
- The Yankees best chance to score off Manship came in the third inning with one out and Jeter on second and Carlos Beltran on first following a single. However, Mark Teixeira and Brian McCann each struck out to end the threat.
- Teixeira, much like Jeter, has been struggling with the bat this spring. He was 0-for-4 in the game with three strikeouts and he stranded five runners in the game. Teixeira is 3-for-30 (.100) with one extra-base hit on the spring.
- With his two fielding errors on Tuesday, Johnson leads the team with five errors this spring. To be fair, Johnson has made only 12 major-league starts at third base and he is being asked to play the position this season for the Yankees as a result of the suspension of Alex Rodriguez.
Girardi made it official on Tuesday by naming Michael Pineda as the team’s No. 5 starter over Adam Warren, Phelps and Nuno. Pineda, 25, earned the job by going 2-1 with a 1.20 ERA and 16 strikeouts with only one walk in 15 innings this spring. Warren, Phelps and Nuno are now among the mix for a bullpen spots. . . . Outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury played in a minor-league game on Tuesday to test his sore right calf and is sure that he will be able to avoid the disabled list. Ellsbury, who has not appeared in a Grapefruit League game since March 14, will play in another minor-league game on Wednesday. . . . Catcher John Ryan Murphy was optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-barre on Tuesday.
The Yankees travel to Dunedin, FL, on Wednesday to play the Toronto Blue Jays.
Right-hander Chris Leroux (0-0, 0.00 ERA) will make his first start of the spring. Gardner, Beltran, Alfonso Soriano and Brian Roberts are scheduled to play in the game.
Knuckeball right-hander R.A. Dickey (0-0, 2.45 ERA) gets the start for the Jays.
Game-time will be 1:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be broadcast on MLB Radio.
YANKEES (SS) 6, TWINS 4
TAMPA – The Yankees got a small glimpse of their future on Friday at George M. Steinbrenner Field and they have to be very happy with what they saw.
Mega-outfield prospect Mason Williams broke a 4-4 tie in the bottom of the seventh inning with an infield single and Mark Teixeira followed with a fielder’s choice groundout that scored an insurance run as a New York split squad rallied from a 4-1 deficit to score five runs in the inning to down Minnesota in Grapefruit League action.
Wiiliams, 20, is the Yankees top-rated outfielder after a season in which he hit .349 with three home runs, 31 RBIs and 28 stolen bases in 68 games with Single-A Staten Island in the New York-Penn League. On Friday he was called upon to pinch-hit for Curtis Granderson in the seventh with the game tied, one out and runners at second and third after Ramiro Pena laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance them.
Williams slapped a hard grounder to second baseman Pedro Florimon and Florimon’s desperate throw home from his knees was too late to get Nunez sliding in with the tie-breaking run. With that hit, the 6-foot, 150-pound centerfielder, has a perfect 1.000 batting average with hits in his only two at-bats.
Ivan Nova (1-2) pitched seven innings to get credit for the victory. But it was one of those “Tale of Two Cities” outings for the 24-year-old right-hander. He opened the game in the “best of times” by pitching four perfect innings, striking out four and retiring four other batters on routine infield grounders.
But Nova’s “worst of times came in the fifth and sixth innings, when he was hammered for four runs on seven hits, which left the Yankees on the wrong end of a 4-0 score.
Unfortunately for Nova, Francisco Liriano was just as good or even better than he was. Liriano shut out the Yankees for five innings on four hits and one walk while striking out five.
The Yankees collected one run off Twins right-hander Jeff Manship on a leadoff home run by Pena in the sixth.
But they batted around on Manship (1-1) and right-hander Jared Burton in the seventh. Mariano Rivera and Rafael Soriano pitched a pair of scoreless innings to salt away the victory. Soriano got credit for a save.
With the victory, the Yankees improved their spring record to 11-9. The Twins fell to 12-10.
- Besides Williams, the Yankees’ hitting star of the day was Eduardo Nunez, who was 3-for-3 and he keyed the seventh-inning rally with a huge two-run double off Manship that drew the Yankees to within a run at 4-3. Nunez is hitting a red-hot .412 this spring despite missing the first two weeks with a bruised right hand.
- Pena is quietly having a good spring with the bat. He homered and put down a perfect sac bunt in the game and he is hitting .300. However, Nunez will likely win the backup middle infielder role he won from Pena last spring and Pena looks to be headed back to Triple-A for the second straight season.
- As advertised, the Yankees’ bullpen protected the lead in the eighth and ninth innings. Rivera needed only seven pitches to dispatch the Twins. Soriano pitched a perfect ninth with a strikeout to close it out. As good as last year’s bullpen was the 2012 version has the potential to be even better.
- Manager Joe Girardi probably regrets ever saying that Phil Hughes and Freddy Garcia would compete for the No. 5 spot in the rotation because it must have given Nova a false sense of security. In 19 2/3 innings over five starts, Nova has given up 16 runs (15 earned) on 23 hits and five walks. After giving up 13 home runs last season, Nova has been tagged for five home runs this spring. With Hughes pitching well and Andy Pettitte returning in May, Nova might want to start pitching better real soon.
- Granderson and Alex Rodriguez have been having the best springs amongst the regular starters. But on Friday they combined to go 0-for-6 with three strikeouts. They probably can be forgiven for their troubles because they were facing a very tough left-hander in Liriano, who has 2.00 ERA on the spring.
- Andruw Jones was 0-for-3 and he is having another subpar spring with the bat. he is hitting just .176. But Jones had even a worse spring in 2011 and it worked out OK for him. So I doubt Girardi is too concerned with him.
The Bomber Banter and On Deck features will be posted with the Yankees’ report on the second split squad game against the Phillies.