Tagged: Jeff Samardzjia

Drew’s 4 RBIs Leads Assault As Nova Tames Chisox

GAME 104

YANKEES 12, WHITE SOX 3

The past two seasons the offense for the New York Yankees struggled to score even three runs a game because injuries decimated the roster. The 2015 version is healthy and  –  as the Chicago White Sox found out on Sunday  –  they are firing on all cylinders.

Stephen Drew drove in four runs and Jacoby Ellsbury and Mark Teixeira each homered to back a strong six innings from right-hander Ivan Nova as New York captured the rubber game of weekend series at U.S. Cellular Field.

The Yankees put the game out of reach by scoring five runs in the fourth and three runs in fifth against right-hander Jeff Samardzija (8-6), who ended up leaving in the fifth inning in what was his shortest outing of the season.

The stage was set when Ellsbury led off the game with his fourth home run of the season to give the Nova (4-3) and the Yankees an early 1-0 lead.

The Yankees turned the game into a rout starting with what looked to be a routine popup in shallow center by Brian McCann that became a single that dropped between three White Sox fielders with one out in the fourth inning.

Carlos Beltran followed by drawing a walk and Chase Headley hit a lined single to right to load the bases. Didi Gregorius then looped a two-run, opposite-field single to left.

Drew singled to reload the bases and Ellsbury hit a sacrifice fly that scored Headley and Brett Gardner rolled a two-run single to center to extend the lead to 6-0.

Teixeira opened the fifth by launching his 29th home run of the season and his third in the weekend series.

Later in the inning, after two were out, Samardzjia finally succumbed to the 100-degree heat and a rising pitch count by hitting Headley with a pitch and walking Gregorius.

White Sox manager Robin Ventura replaced Samardzjia with right-hander Scott Carroll and Drew greeted him with a two-run double to left.

Samardzjia was charged with a season-high nine runs on eight hits and two walks with three strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings of work.

Nova, meanwhile, was able to hold the White Sox down despite coming off an outing in which he left after five innings with arm fatigue.

Nova kept the White Sox off the board until the sixth, when Adam Eaton drew a walk to lead off the inning and advanced to second on a groundout by Jose Abreu. He then scored on a two-out single by Melky Cabrera.

Nova yielded just the one run on five hits and two walks with seven strikeouts in six innings.

The Yankees scored three more runs off Carroll in the seventh on a two-run triple by Drew and an RBI groundout by Ellsbury.

In their past three victories, the Yankees have outscored their opponents by a combined score of 46-14.

The victory improves the Yankees’ season record to 59-45 and they hold a six-game lead over both the Baltimore Orioles and the Toronto Blue Jays in the American League East. The White Sox dropped to 50-53.

PINSTRIPE POSITIVES

  • Drew is doing a great job of recreating the Phoenix rising from the ashes. He was 3-for-5 with a double, a triple, two runs scored and three RBIs on Sunday. Drew has lost playing time this season to Gregorio Petit, Jose Pirela, Rob Refsnyder and Brendan Ryan and seemed destined to be released by the team. But he lately has been hitting the ball well as a platoon second baseman. On July 22, Drew was hitting .179. Since that time, he is 11-for-31 (.355) with a homer and seven RBIs. That has raised his season average to .199.
  • The bottom of the order did the most damage to the White Sox with Headley batting seventh, Gregorius eighth and Drew ninth. That trio combined for seven of the 11 hits, eight of the 12 runs scored and seven of the 12 RBIs. Pitchers are finding out lately that those supposed soft spots in the batting order are no longer there. Samardzija expended so much energy dodging Alex Rodriguez, Teixeira, McCann and Beltran that the bottom of the order ended being his downfall.
  • Nova bounced back nicely after leaving his last start after just 75 pitches due to concerns about his arm after undergoing Tommy John surgery last season. Nova has now won his past three starts and he has a 2.65 ERA with 13 strikeouts in 17 innings in that span. With Michael Pineda on the disabled list, it is good to see Nova begin to start to get a good groove going heading down the stretch.

NAGGING NEGATIVES

Normally reliable left-hander Chasen Shreve gave up a pair of solo home runs to Alexei Ramirez and Geovany Soto in the seventh inning but the Yankees were already leading 12-1. Other than that there was nothing to say about this victory. The offense is just devastating and it is carrying this team for the first time in three seasons.

BOMBER BANTER

The Yankees placed rookie right-hander Diego Moreno on the 15-day disabled list on Sunday due to discomfort in his right elbow. Moreno, 28, was impressive in throwing 5 1/3 innings of scoreless and hitless relief against the Texas Rangers last week to win in his Major-League debut. However, he was tagged for four runs in three innings in an 8-2 loss to the White Sox on Saturday. He reported the discomfort to the Yankees on Sunday and he is scheduled to visit Dr. Christopher Ahmad in New York on Monday. The Yankees recalled right-hander Branden Pinder from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to take Moreno’s place on the roster.

ON DECK

The Yankees will try to keep their bats hot despite a day off on Monday before opening up a three-game home series with the Boston Red Flops on Tuesday.

Right-hander Masahiro Tanaka (7-4, 3.80 ERA) will open the series of the Yankees. Tanaka gave up four runs on nine hits and three walks with three strikeouts in a loss to the Rangers on Wednesday.

The last-place Red Flops will have left-hander Henry Owens make his Major-League debut against the Yankees. Owens, 23, is 3-8 with a 3.16 ERA in 21 starts at Triple-A Pawtucket this season. The only reason he is pitching is because the Red Flops are now 13 games out and in last place in the division. So much for the pundits who predicted they would win the division. Hah!

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.

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Ellsbury Homer Rallies Yanks Past Chisox In 10

GAME 48

YANKEES 4, WHITE SOX 3 (10 INNINGS)

The Yankees seemed to have developed a pattern of looking absolutely helpless at the plate until the opponent’s starter leaves the game. Then they tie up the game on the team’s closer and later win it in extra innings. For the second time in four days in Chicago that is exactly what they did.

Jacoby Ellsbury stroked a one-out single and later scored as part of a three-run rally in the ninth to tie the game and then blasted a two-out solo home run in the top of the 10th as New York got off the deck to defeat Chicago on Saturday in front of a paid crowd of 33,413 at U.S. Cellular Field.

For eight innings the Yankees could do little with left-hander John Danks, who held them to a two-out double by Mark Teixeira in the fourth and a pair of two-out singles by John Ryan Murphy and Brendan Ryan in the eighth. Danks did not walk a batter and struck out four.

The White Sox offense, meanwhile, scored all three of their runs in the first inning off left-hander Vidal Nuno on singles by Adam Eaton and Gordon Beckham, an RBI double by Dayan Viciedo, a sacrifice fly by Adam Dunn and an RBI groundout off the bat of Alexei Ramirez.

Nuno, however, settled down and held the Chisox to no runs on six hits and one walk while fanning five over the next 6 2/3 innings.

Dellin Betances (3-0) pitched a perfect ninth with two strikeouts to earn the victory in relief. David Robertson, who was victimized by a single by Viciedo and two-run home run by Dunn in the bottom of the ninth on Friday to blow his first save of the season, gave up a single but struck out the side in the bottom of the inning for his 10th save in 11 chances.

After White Sox closer Ronald Belisario gave up the one-out single to Ellsbury in the ninth, he struck out Teixeira. But Alfonso Soriano laced an opposite-field double to left that scored Ellsbury.

With the Yankees down their last strike, Yangervis Solarte followed with opposite-field RBI single to left, Ichiro Suzuki walked and pinch-hitter Brian McCann scored Kelly Johnson, who was pinch-running for Solarte, with a looping single into left-center.

White Sox right-hander Zach Putnam (2-1) came on in the ninth and retired Brett Gardner on a strikeout and Derek Jeter on a groundout. However, Ellsbury laid into a 1-0 splitter and drove the ball just over the wall in right-field for only his second home run of the season in what proved to be the eventual game-winning hit.

Four days ago, the Yankees were shut out on four hits and two walks in seven innings by Cubs right-hander Jeff Samardzjia at Wrigley Field only to rally for two runs in the top of the ninth off Cubs closer Hector Rondon. They later scored two runs in the 13th inning on a wild pitch and an RBI single by Murphy and ended up winning the game.

The victory on Saturday halted an embarrassing nine-game losing streak for the Yankees at U.S. Cellular Field that dated back to the 2012 season.

Perhaps the game-changing play occurred in the bottom of the second inning after Nuno had given up three runs in the first inning. Marcus Semien led off the frame with a single and Adrian Nieto followed with a lined single into right.

Suzuki fielded the ball and threw towards third as Semien rounded second. But Jeter cut the throw off and ran towards Nieto, who had rounded first base too far. Jeter shuffled a toss back to Ryan. Nieto changed course, ran around Ryan and was called safe by second-base umpire Tom Woodring ash e touched the base.

However, the base umpires conferred with crew chief Jeff Nelson and reversed the call, saying that Nieto had run out of the baseline to avoid the tag of Ryan.

White Sox manager Robin Ventura came storming out of the dugout to protest the call but he ended up being ejected from the game by Woodring.

With Semien at third and one out, Nuno then fanned Leury Garcia and he escaped any further damage by getting Eaton on a flyout.

The Yankees ran their season record to 25-23. They are second place in the American League East, two games behind the first-place Toronto Blue Jays. The White Sox fell to 25-26.

PINSTRIPE POSITIVES

  • After breaking a dreadful 1-for-27 slide with two late hits against the Cubs in the 13-inning game on Wednesday, Ellsbury promptly went through an 0-for-11 skid before singling in the ninth and homering in the 10th on Saturday. It is hard to say that Ellsbury’s slump is over. But after his average hit a peak of .346 on May 3 he is now hitting .263. He needs to get it going again because the  Yankees feed off his ability to get on base and to steal bases.
  • McCann is another guy who has underachieved with the bat this season. After hitting a three-run home run in the first inning in Friday’s game, McCann came back with a very important pinch-hit, two-out RBI single to tie the game in the ninth. Though McCann is hitting just .227, he is third on the team in RBIs behind Teixeira and Solarte, who are tied with 25 apiece.
  • Betances recorded two more strikeouts in his one inning of relief to give him 49 Ks in just 28 1/3 innings. The 26-year-old right-hander is 3-0 with a 1.59 ERA and batters are hitting a lowly .153 off him this season. It is safe to say that Betances is becoming what the Yankees had hoped Joba Chamberlain would become eventually. Eventually never did come for Joba.

NAGGING NEGATIVES

  • Danks, 29, is a decent veteran pitcher but he has not recorded double-digit victories or posted an ERA below 4.33 since 2010. He also entered this game with a 3-4 record and a 5.64 ERA. So why were the Yankees able to get only one hit in seven innings and three in eight innings? You can understand why they would struggle against Samardzjia and Chris Sale but not Danks. There is no excuse.
  • Gardner and Jeter, who were batting in the first two spots of the batting order, respectively, ended the day a combined 0-for-10 with a strikeout (Gardner), a weak popup and three weak grounders. It is hard to get an offense going when those two are struggling to get on base.
  • I was all ready to give up on Nuno after he yielded three runs and five hits to the first eight batters. But he retired 17 of the next 20 batters he faced and he held the White Sox to three runs in order to give the Yankees a chance to tie it in the ninth. Nuno is 1-1 with a 4.38 ERA in his seven starts this season. Given the current state of the Yankees’ rotation, the Yankees still need him.

BOMBER BANTER

Brian Roberts did not play in Saturday’s game due to a bruised knee he sustained fouling a ball of his right knee in the fourth inning of Friday’s game. Roberts stayed in the game but was replaced at second base in the ninth inning by Ryan. Ryan played in his place on Saturday and he was 1-for-4 with a run scored. Manager Joe Girardi told reporters that the injury was not serious and Roberts was available to pinch-hit on Saturday.  . . .  Jeter on Saturday passed Luis Aparacio for second place on the all-time games played list at shortstop by playing in his 2,584th game. Jeter also became the all-time leader in games played at the position in the American League. Omar Vizquel is the all-time major-league leader at shortstop with 2,709 games. The Yankees have only 115 games left so Jeter, who has announced this will be his last season, will not have a chance to pass Vizquel.

ON DECK

The Yankees will try to earn a split of the four-game weekend series with Chisox on Sunday.

Masahiro Tanaka (6-1, 2.39 ERA) will try to bounce back after his first major-league loss on Tuesday. He yielded four runs (three earned) on eight hits and a walk in six innings to the Cubs, who won 6-1.

The White Sox will start right-hander Andre Rienzo (4-0, 4.00 ERA). Rienzo held the Kansas City Royals to two runs on five hits and two walks with eight strikeouts in six innings in a victory on Monday.

Game-time will be 2:10 p.m. EDT and the game will be broadcast by the YES Network.

 

Triple-A Subs Help Yankees Rally Past Cubs In 13

GAME 45

YANKEES 4, CUBS 2 (13 INNINGS)

When a baseball team suffers through a spate of injuries it has to rely a great deal on its players from Triple A to fill in for those injured players. Add to the fact that when a team is in a 13-inning game they up asking players to do things they never have done before.

That is exactly what happened at Wrigley Field on Wednesday and those former Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders came up big for the Yankees.

Pitcher Preston Claiborne set down a perfectly placed sacrifice bunt in his first major-league at-bat in the top of the 13th inning, Brendan Ryan scored the tie-breaking run on a wild pitch and John Ryan Murphy drove in an insurance run on a single as New York rallied for two runs in the ninth to tie it and scored two in the 13th to down Chicago.

Claiborne (2-0), who was recalled from Scranton for a second time this season on April 27 to fill a void in the bullpen, pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings of relief to earn the victory. David Robertson pitched a scoreless 13th frame to remain a perfect 9-for-9 in saves this season.

Former Yankee right-hander Jose Veras (0-1) took the loss.

Ryan, who entered the game as pinch-runner for Brian McCann and scored a run in the ninth, led off the 13th with a lined single to left off Veras. Yangervis Solarte then drew a walk to set the stage for Claiborne’s bunt.

The Yankees were out of position players and Robertson was only reliever left in the bullpen. That forced manager Joe Girardi into asking Claiborne, who had never had at-bat in major-league game, to put down a sacrifice bunt to advance Ryan and Solarte.

The Cubs, defending the bunt, actually put on the wheel play to cut down Ryan at third base, however, Claiborne’s bunt on the first pitch from Veras was deadened so much on the Wrigley Field turf that third baseman Luis Valbuena had only the play at first base.

While facing Murphy, who entered the game after Ryan pinch-ran for McCann in the ninth, Veras uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Ryan to score the tie-breaking run. Two pitches later Murphy, who was recalled from Scranton on April 15 when Francisco Cervelli was placed on the 60-day disabled list with a pulled right hamstring, laced a RBI single to right that scored Solarte.

Considering the effort of Cubs right-hander Jeff Samardzjia, it is lucky that the Yankees were able to tie it in the ninth, much less win the game.

Samardzjia entered the game with a 1.62 ERA but was sporting an 0-4 record and a 15-start streak in which he had failed to win a game dating back to Aug. 24, 2013 victory over the Padres in San Diego.

He held the Yankees to just four hits and two walks while he struck out three in seven innings. That lowered his season ERA to National League-leading 1.46.

The Cubs, meanwhile, were able to push across a run in the fourth inning against right-hander Chase Whitley, who was recalled from Scranton on May 15 and who was making only his second major-league start.

Valbuena slapped a one-out single and Wellington Castillo followed with a single of his own. Then Nate Schierholtz slashed a liner off the glove of Mark Teixeira at first base for a single that loaded the bases.

Mike Olt scored Valbuena on a sacrifice fly.

Whitley left the game with one out in the fifth and Emilio Bonifacio on third with a leadoff triple. But right-hander Dellin Betances bailed him out of the inning by retiring Anthony Rizzo on a swinging strike and Starlin Castro on a flyout.

Whitley gave up on run on six hits and one walk along with three strikeouts in 4 1/3 innings. In his two starts since being called up as an emergency fifth starter, Whitley has yielded one run on eight hits and three walks and seven strikeouts in nine innings.

The Cubs added a run in the seventh inning off right-hander Adam Warren when pinch-hitter Ryan Kalish lined a one-out triple to right and Bonifacio scored him on a bunt single.

But the Yankees both ruined Samardzjia’s great outing and saved themselves a loss by scoring two runs with the help of an error by Darwin Barney, who had just entered the game at second base as part of a double switch in the top of the ninth.

Teixeira opened the inning with a single off right-hander Hector Rondon, the Cubs’ closer. McCann followed by drawing a walk and he was replaced by Ryan.

Solarte loaded the bases with an infield single and Ichiro Suzuki followed by hitting a grounder to Castro at short. Castro fed the ball to Barney to retire Solarte but Barney’s throw to first skipped past Rizzo at first base to allow both Teixeira and Ryan to score.

Because of the length of the game, thousands of Yankee fans and a majority of the sellout crowd of 34,808 saluted Derek Jeter with repeated standing ovations when he came to the plate. Jeter ended the day 1-for-7 with a single in the sixth in his final game at Wrigley Field.

“I was hoping the game wouldn’t take that long, but I told you, the way the fans have been treating me on the road this year. It’s been unbelievable,” Jeter told reporters after the game.

With the victory the Yankees split the two-game series at Wrigley but won the inter-league season series three games to one. Their season record improves to 24-21 and they are in a statistical tie with the Toronto Blue Jays for first place in the American League East, a half=game ahead of the third-place Baltimore Orioles.

The Cubs fell to 16-28.

PINSTRIPE POSITIVES

  • Whitley certainly deserves another start after what he did against the Cubs on Wednesday. Girardi was pleased and only removed him in the fifth in favor of Betances with Bonifacio on third and Rizzo up because Girardi wanted a strikeout in the that situation. With Ivan Nova out for the season after Tommy John surgery and Michael Pineda and CC Sabathia on the disabled list, the 24-year-old right-hander is seizing a great opportunity after spending the past three seasons at Scranton.
  • Let’s also give credit to the bullpen for pitching 8 2/3 innings of one-run baseball. They allowed only five hits and three walks while striking out 12 batters. Despite the loss of setup man Shawn Kelley, who is on the DL with a lower-back strain, the team is getting help from Betances, Alfredo Aceves, Matt Daley, Matt Thornton, Warren, Claiborne and Robertson. Robertson is certainly settling in replacing the legendary Mariano Rivera.
  • Give Murphy, 22, credit for staying sharp with the bat despite getting limited playing time behind the perennial All-Star McCann. With Murphy’s single in the 13th he has raised his season average to .406. He is 13-for-32 with a home run and six RBIs. He is making Austin Romine and Cervelli irrelevant to the Yankees future plans as long as he continues to play this well.

NAGGING NEGATIVES

  • It is clear that Samardzjia is a good pitcher but the Yankees can not be happy that they played the weak-hitting Cubs for 17 innings heading into the ninth inning on Wednesday and they managed to score just a single run on 10 hits. The acquisitions of Carlos Beltran, Jacoby Ellsbury and McCann were supposed to make the offense better than it was in 2013. But those three, so far, are failing to provide much. Ellsbury singled in the 10th and the 12th innings to snap a 1-for-27 slump and he only has one home run all season.

BOMBER BANTER

More bad news on the injury front. Kelley, 30, had his rehab placed on hold Wednesday due to a recurrence of his lower back pain. Kelley felt a twinge as he was playing catch on Monday and he was told to halt all baseball activities. Tests indicated no problems with the discs in his back. But plans for the right-hander to begin a minor-league rehab stint this weekend have been cancelled.

ON DECK

The Yankees stay in Chicago but their bus will head to U.S. Cellular Field on the south side of the city to open a four-game series with the White Sox beginning on Thursday.

Right-hander David Phelps (1-0, 3.33 ERA) will start for the Yankees coming off his best start of the season. Phelps shut out the Pirates on five hits and three walks in five innings on Friday. Though Phelps had command issues throughout his outing, he got out of jams and held the Bucs scoreless.

This is just how the Yankees’ season has gone. All-Star Chisox left-hander Chris Sale (3-0, 2.30 ERA) was not supposed to pitch in this series because he was on the 15-day disabled list with a left flexor muscle strain in his left elbow. However, after he fanned 11 batters in four innings in a rehab start last Friday, Sale was summoned to Chicago and he will be activated for Thursday’s game. Oh goody, goody!

Game-time will be 8:10 p.m. EDT and the game will be broadcast by the YES Network.

 

Nunez Atones With Key Hit As Yankees Edge Cubs

GAME 69

YANKEES 4, CUBS 3

Talented young players like Eduardo Nunez can have you scratching your head when he boots a routine grounder one minute and have you marveling at his great ability to hit in the clutch the next.

And so it was on a late Saturday afternoon at Wrigley Field as Nunez committed what looked to be a costly error in the sixth inning. But he singled and scored the tie-breaking run in the sixth and stroked an RBI double in the ninth to score what proved to be the winning run as New York edged Chicago.

Nunez, who is subbing at shortstop for an injured Derek Jeter, is 7-for-18 (.389) with a home run and three RBIs in the five games he has started since Jeter was placed on the 15-day disabled list on June 14. Of course, in limited play this season he also has committed eight errors in the field this season. So you take the bad with the spectacular.

With the Yankees and Cubs tied 2-2 in the sixth, Nunez slapped a line-drive single on an 0-2 pitch from Cubs starter Ryan Dempster (5-6). He moved to second on an sacrifice bunt that landed foul and spun into fair territory by Yankees starter A.J. Burnett. Brett Gardner chased Dempster with a infield single that moved Nunez to third. Lefty reliever James Russell then surrendered a long sacrfrice fly to right that brought Nunez in with the tie-breaking run.

The Yankees then had to survive a bizarre sixth in which they had to withstand a hit batter and two errors with one out in the inning. Burnett hit Carlos Pena with a pitch but then induced Reed Johnson to hit into what looked to be a routine double-play grounder to Nunez. However, Nunez booted it and both runners were safe.

Burnett was replaced by right-hander Cory Wade and Wade got Rafael Soriano to hit a grounder to Alex Rodriguez at third. But Robinson Cano dropped Rodriguez’s relay to second and the bases were loaded. Geovany Soto then lifted a shallow line drive to left to Gardner. Gardner caught the drive and threw a one-hopper to Russell Martin at the plate that beat Pena by plenty. Pena attempted to bowl over Martin, who spent about a week nursing a back injury. However, Martin held on and popped up to show Pena the ball as the Yankees escaped holding a 3-2 lead.

Nunez again picked up the Yankees in the ninth after Cano blasted his second double of the game with one out off Jeff Samardzjia. Samardzjia then walked Nick Swisher and Cubs manager Mike Quade called in left-hander John Grabow. Grabow retired Martin on a foul popup but Nunez laced a 2-0 fastball into the gap in left to score Cano. But Swisher was gunned down trying to follow Cano at the plate on a throw from Starlin Castro. As it turned out that run Nunez drove in would come in to play in the bottom of the inning.

Mariano Rivera was brought in to pitch the ninth and he was touched for a leadoff home run by Johnson. But after a Soriano single, Rivera got a double play off the bat of Soto and then struck out Jeff Baker on three pitches to notch his 14th save of the season.

Burnett (7-5) was the winning pitcher, though he lasted only 5 1/3 innings. Burnett gave up two runs on four hits, walked three and struck out eight. His only big mistake was giving up a two-run home run to Pena in the fourth after walking Blake DeWitt, allowing the Cubs to draw even.

The Yankees, meanwhile, could not get the big hit off Dempster, who gave up eight hits and six walks in 5 1/3 innings. The Yankees collected 11 hits and 10 walks on the day off five Cubs pitchers but they had four runners cut down on the bases and they did not get key hits with runners in scoring position. They Yankees stranded a total of 13 runners on the day.

But the victory gives the Yankees a 40-29 record and the Yankees gained a game on the first-place Boston Red Sox in the American League East. They are now just 1 1/2 games out. The Cubs dropped to 29-41.

PINSTRIPE POSITIVES

  • Burnett pitched a good game despite lasting only 5 1/3 innings. From the second inning through the fourth, eight of the nine outs he recorded were on strikeouts. Five of his Ks came on swings at curveballs in the dirt. Pitch count became an issue in the sixth and Girardi removed him after Nunez and committed his error.
  • Cory Wade, Hector Noesi and David Robertson pitched exceptionally well in relief of Burnett. Wade escaped the sixth on the double play at the plate that retired Pena. Noesi and Robertson each pitched a perfect inning in the seventh and eighth, respectively. Despite injuries to Joba Chamberlain, Rafael Soriano and Pedro Feliciano, the Yankees bullpen has been holding late leads.
  • Cano was 2-for-3 in the game with two doubles, two walks, a run scored and he drove in the Yankees first run in the third inning. Cano now leads the team with a .293 average. He now has a seven-game hitting streak in which he is 12-for-29 (.414) with two runs and five RBIs. He also is hitting .328 for the month.
  • Granderson put his awful 0-for-4 game with three strikeouts on Friday behind him. On Saturday, he was 2-for-3 with a walk, a run scored and a sac fly RBI that gave the Yankees a 3-2 lead. Granderson is hitting .286 for the month with four home runs and 12 RBIs.
NAGGING NEGATIVES
  • The first inning set the tone for the whole day with the Yankees’ offense. With one out they loaded the bases against Dempster on a hit and two walks. But Cano and Swisher struck out swinging and the Yankees left three of what would become 13 base-runners on the day. They also loaded the bases with one out in the eighth inning. However, Granderson flew out to shallow left and Mark Teixeira popped up in front of home plate to Pena.
  • The Yankees also had four runners thrown out on the bases. Granderson was caught stealing in the fourth, Rodriguez was thrown out by 15 feet by Soriano trying to stretch a single into a double in the fifth, Gardner was picked off by Russell in the sixth and Swisher was nailed trying to score in the ninth. It’s real easy to see that despite 21 base-runners the Yankees only scored four runs.
  • Though’s Gardner’s relay to nail Pena at the plate saved them, Nunez and Cano are going to have to play batter defense. Cano won a Gold Glove last season but this season he has made six errors. All of them of have been of the careless variety. Nunez leads the Yankees with eight errors despite the fact he has not played much until recently. His glove-work and his throwing need to get a lot better.

BOMBER BANTER

Yankee right-hander Phil Hughes will make a rehab start at short-season Class-A Staten Island on Sunday. Hughes will throw about 65 pitches. Hughes has been on the disabled list since April 14 with right shoulder inflammation.  . . .  In the five games the Yankees have played with Jeter on the DL, Gardner and Swisher have combined to go 7-for-18 (.389) with six walks, which brings their on-base percentage to .542. They also have scored five runs.  . . .  The Yankees have come to terms with their first selection in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, Dante Bichette Jr. Bichette, 18, is a third baseman and is the son of former major-leaguer Dante Bichette. The younger Bichette has arrived in Tampa, FL, and he will join the Gulf Coast League team there. Bichette hit .640 with 10 home runs and 40 RBIs at Orangewood Christian School in Maitland, FL.  . . .  FOX Sports play-by-play schmuck Joe Buck was really embarrassed after his miscall of Johnson’s home run in the ninth off Rivera. Buck told a national audience that Johnson had tied the game at 3-3. Seeing as Buck is a useless shill who desecrates the memory of his father every time he takes the mike and he also hates the Yankees, it is fitting that he be caught with his pants down Anthony Weiner style. But, alas, we have to say it ain’t so, Joe. The Yankees had a 4-2 lead when Johnson hit his home run and the final score was 4-3. Serves you right, Joe!

ON DECK

The Yankees will go for a victory in the rubber game of the series with the Cubs on Sunday.

The Yankees will have ace left-hander CC Sabathia (8-4, 3.28 ERA) on the mound. Sabathia gave up four runs in seven innings but was pitching with a huge lead over Texas on Tuesday. The victory was his fifth in his last six starts. Sabathia is 1-2 with a 5.76 ERA against the Cubs lifetime.

The Cubs will counter with right-hander Randy Wells (1-1, 5.63 ERA), who gave up three runs on eight hits in six innings in a no-decision against the Brewers this week. This is only his fifth start since coming off the disabled list. He has never faced the Yankees.

Game-time will be 8:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be telecast nationally by ESPN.