YANKEES 9, ANGELS 2
San Diego native Vidal Nuno invited 50 family members and friends to come to see him pitch against the Angels on Wednesday night. What they got to see was the 26-year-old left-hander pitch one of his best major-league games.
Nuno (1-0) pitched into the seventh inning and yielded just one run-on four hits and one walk and the Yankees took advantage of two errors to score five runs in the first inning as New York beat Los Angeles in a series in Anaheim, CA, for the first time since 2004.
Nuno, 26, entered the game with no record and 4.50 ERA in his three previous starts. But he held the Angels high-scoring offense to only one run that scored in the third inning after back-to-back singles by Howie Kendrick and C.J. Cron and a RBI fielder’s choice grounder off the bat of Erick Aybar.
The Yankees, meanwhile, got an early break off left-hander Hector Santiago (0-6) after Jacoby Ellsbury led off the game with a single when right-fielder Collin Cowgill ran into center-fielder Mike Trout just as he was about to catch a routine fly ball off the bat of Derek Jeter for an error on Cowgill that left Ellsbury at third and Jeter at first.
Santiago then walked Carlos Beltran and Mark Teixeira made the Angels pay for the error by delivering a two-run double down the left-field line.
One out later, Yangervis Solarte lofted a sacrifice fly to score Beltran and Brett Gardner followed with an infield single in which Santiago hit Gardner with the ball and it rolled down the right-field line to allow Teixeira to score.
Jeter, who was honored before the game and presented with pinstriped paddle board by the Angels, commemorated his final regular-season game at Angel Stadium with his first home run of the season with two out in the second inning to make it 6-0. Many of the announced crowd of 44,083 gave the Yankee captain a standing ovation as he crossed the plate.
The Yankees chased Santiago in the third inning and he was charged with six runs (only two of them earned) on five hits and three walks in 2 1/3 innings. In his two starts against the Yankees this season Santiago was 0-2 with a 8.10 ERA.
In contrast, Nuno ended up giving up a two-out single to Grant Green in the third inning that advanced Aybar to third and he walked John McDonald to load the bases. But he escaped the bases-loaded jam by retiring Cowgill on a foul popup to Teixeira.
He then retired 12 consecutive batters over the next four innings until Cron led off the seventh inning with a double. After retiring Aybar on a flyout to deep left, he was removed in favor of right-hander Dellin Betances, who gave up a RBI single to Cron in the eighth inning.
But, by that time, the Yankees had padded their lead to 9-1 by scoring three runs off left-hander Nick Maronde and right-hander Cory Rasmus, keyed by a two-run double by John Ryan Murphy and a sacrifice fly by Beltran.
With the victory the Yankees improved their season record to 18-15 and they remain tied with the Baltimore Orioles in first place in the American League East. The Angels dropped to 16-17.
- After Alfredo Aceves pitched 5 1/3 scoreless innings in relief of CC Sabathia on Sunday it was generally assumed that if Nuno did not pitch well in his outing on Wednesday that Aceves could take the No. 5 spot in the rotation. For now, it appears that Nuno will remain in the rotation because he is 1-0 with a 3.54 ERA. Aceves might be better served by replacing Sabathia and his 5.75 ERA but that is never going to happen.
- Jeter entered the game with a .332 career average at Angel Stadium, the third highest among players with 500 or more at-bats. With his 2-for-5 night Jeter ended the three-game series 5-for-11 (.455), which has raised his season average to .262.
- The decision to call up Murphy to replace the injured Francisco Cervelli was a stroke of genius. The 22-year-old former second-round draft pick is hitting .348 with a home run and five RBIs. In addition, his home run and five RBIs have all come against the Angels. Murphy homered and drove in three runs in a game against the Angels at Yankee Stadium on April 26.
- The Yankees collected 12 hits on Wednesday and the only starter who did not produce one was designated hitter Alfonso Soriano, who ended up 0-for-5 with three strikeouts. Soriano has always been a very streaky hitter but he looks terrible at the plate lately. In his past five games he is 2-for-18 (.111). Perhaps he needs a day or two off.
- Even in a victory the Yankees can manage to screw up a bases-loaded, no-out situation. In the fourth inning Murphy singled, Ellsbury doubled and Jeter reached on an infield single to load the bases. But, Beltran hit a grounder to Albert Pujols and Pujols cut down Murphy at the plate. Then Teixeira hit into an inning-ending double play. The Yankees hit into five double plays in the series.
The Yankees have Thursday off before opening a three-game weekend series against the Brewers in Milwaukee starting on Friday.
Right-hander Masahiro Tanaka (4-0, 2.53 ERA) will pitch for the Yankees. Tanaka gave up three early runs to the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday but ended up with a 9-3 victory. Tanaka has 51 strikeouts in 42 2/3 innings this season.
The Brewers will counter with right-hander Yovani Gallardo (2-1, 2.47 ERA). Gallardo was charged with four runs on nine hits and a walk while striking out one in a loss to the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday.
Game-time will be 8:10 p.m. EDT and the game will be broadcast by MY9.
If the reports and rumors are true the New York Yankees soon might finally be rid of starter A.J. Burnett.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports is reporting that the Pittsburgh Pirates have inquired about the 35-year-old right-hander and a deal could be in the works.
If the reporta are true, Burnett would be a perfect fit for the Bucs. Burnett would join a Pirate rotation that includes former Yankee Jeff Karstens, Kevin Correia, Charlie Morton, John McDonald and Erik Bedard.
Bunrett was 11-11 with a 5.15 ERA and it was his second consecutive season with the Yankees in which he posted an ERA above 5.00. He is 34-35 in his 98 starts overs three seasons with the Yankees.
The Yankees recently added 23-year-old right-hander Michael Pineda and 37-year-old right-hander Hiroki Kuroda to a rotation that includes ace left-hander CC Sabathia and right-hander Ivan Nova, who was 16-4 in his rookie season. The Yankees said that Burnett will have to battle 25-year-old right-hander Phil Hughes and 35-year-old right-hander Freddy Garcia for the fifth spot in the rotation.
Burnett is currently owed $33 million on the two years left on his contract and the Yankees reportedly have offered to pay about $8 million of it. However, the Pirates may be looking to the Yankees to pay more toward that contract in order to accept a deal.
The Yankees would like to clear salary room in order to sign a left-handed-hitting designated hitter from among a group of free agents that includes former Yankees Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui and former Phillie outfielder Raul Ibanez. The Yankees would also like to re-sign veteran backup infielder Eric Chavez.
The Yankees are not likely looking for a player currently likely to make the Pirates 25-man roster in return. They probably are looking at obtaining some minor-league prospects in general manager Brian Cashman’s effort to stock the Yankees’ minor-league system.
So Yankee fans who are thinking the Pirates will trade former Yankee outfielder Jose Tabata or star center-fielder Andrew McCutcheon for Burnett are dreaming. The Pirates will be looking to keep their young stars on the roster but might part with a prospect or two that could help the Yankees down the road.
YANKEES 4, BLUE JAYS 1
When your team is ailing after giving up 23 runs in two games to the red-hot Blue Jays and needs a real shot in the arm what does the doctor usually prescribe? About 8 CCs of Sabathia.
Sabathia (14-4) calmy climbed the hill at Rogers Centre on Saturday and pitched eight solid innings of one-run baseball to earn his major-league best 14th victory and his seventh in a row as New York finally downed the Blue Jays.
Sabathia, who also has won six in a row against the Blue Jays, gave up only three hits and three walks and struck out eight batters to run his record to 11-1 since May 19. His ERA during that span is a microscopic 1.68.
However, the first inning saw the Yankees and Sabathia fall behind after Rajai Davis walked, stole second and scored one out later on a Yunel Escobar single. The run broke Sabathia’s 24-inning scoreless-inning string.
But Sabathia settled in after that and gave up only an Adam Lind single in the fourth and a John McDonald double in the eighth.
The Yankees, meanwhile, were able to reclaim the lead for good in the second inning off Jays left-hander Ricky Romero (7-9). Andruw Jones followed Nick Swisher’s one-out, ground-rule double with an RBI single to tie the game 1-1. It was Jones’ fifth RBI of the series. After a Brett Gardner double advanced Jones to third, Eduardo Nunez scored Jones on an infield groundout and the Yankees never trailed again.
The Yankees added a run in the third on a play that began with Curtis Granderson at third and Robinson Cano at first and one out. Romero threw a pitch low to Nick Swisher and it bounded to the right of catcher J.P. Arencibia. Cano broke for second and was caught in a rundown. However, second baseman Aaron Hill’s throw back to Arencibia to nail Granderson at home went awry for an error and Granderson was safe.
In the fourth inning, Gardner opened the frame with a hustle bloop double to center. Nunez bunted him to third. One out later, Derek Jeter scored Gardner with an infield single to Escobar at shortstop. Jeter had two hits in the game and with it tied Al Kaline for 26th place on the all-time hits list. He needs just four hits to pass Wade Boggs.
Mariano Rivera was tagged for two bloop one-out singles in the ninth but he struck out Hill and got Travis Snider on a groundout to record his 23rd save in 27 chances this season.
With the victory the Yankees improved their season mark to 54-37 and they remain 1 1/2 games behind the Boston Red Sox in the American League East. The Blue Jays fell to 47-48 and they fell 10 1/2 games back in the division in fourth place.
- Sabathia was not at his best or sharpest. But he was still good enough to shut down the Blue Jays, who had raked the Yankees for 31 hits in the last two games. Sabathia used his slider to keep the Jays off balance all afternoon. Sabathia is now ahead of his victory pace last season with 14 wins in 21 starts. He also lowered his season ERA to 2.64.
- Gardner is the hottest Yankee with the bat coming out of the break. In the last three games, Gardner is 7-for-11 (.636) with three doubles. On Saturday, Gardner was 3-for-4 with two doubles, a run scored and a stolen base. He has raised his season batting average from .265 to .279.
- Jones was hitting .205 with only four home runs and 12 RBIs after 81 games. In the two games in this series he has played, he is 3-for-7 with two home runs and five RBIs. Jones perhaps was hearing rumors the Yankees might make a change on the bench after Marcus Thames, who had the role last season with the Yankees, was released by the Dodgers.
- Nunez committed yet another error. McDonald led off the fifth inning with a ground ball to Nunez and Nunez’s throw to first got past Mark Teixeira at first. Nunez has now committed a team-leading 12 errors in limited play as shortstop and third base. The error did not cost the Yankees because Jeter was able to turn a double play on the Davis to erase McDonald but the errors are becoming a major concern for manager Joe Girardi.
- Despite reaching on a single in the seventh inning, Teixeira looks absolutely lost at the plate after the All-Star break. He is 2-for-14 (.143) with five strikeouts and three weak infield popups. His 1-for 5 game on Saturday kept his average at an even .240.
- Swisher was 1-for-4 with a run scored, but he had a tough afternoon with home-plate umpire Todd Tichenor and Romero. Romero caught Swisher looking on a slow curve with two on and one out in the third inning. Romero also fanned Swisher looking with one on and one out in the fifth on a 3-2 pitch that appeared to be low in the strike zone. Swisher had words with Tichenor, walked to the dugout and Tichenor then turned to the Yankee dugout and shouted. Girardi came out of the dugout and had some words with Tichenor but there were no ejections.
Injured setup man Rafael Soriano successfully completed a 25-pitch batting practice session on Saturday in Tampa, FL. The next step will be some rehab stints. Soriano has been on the 60-day disabled list since May 13 because of inflammation his right elbow.
The Yankees can tie the four-game series with Toronto with a victory on Sunday.
The Yankees will start 25-year-old right-hander Phil Hughes (0-2, 10.57 ERA), who will be making only his second start since coming off the disabled list. Hughes allowed two runs in five innings his first start against the Indians. He is 2-3 with a 4.84 ERA in his career against the Blue Jays.
The Blue Jays will counter with converted reliever Carlos Villanueva (5-1, 2.99 ERA). Villanueva has allowed three earned runs or fewer in his last five starts. He is 1-0 with a 1.29 ERA against the Yankees in his career.
Game-time will be at 1:07 p.m. EDT and the game will be telecast by the YES Network.