Tagged: Kevin Gregg

Granderson’s 5 RBIs Fuel Yankees’ Rout Of Birds

GAME 140


When you are talking about the New York Yankees since their season pinnacle on July 18 until now, it has been the proverbial one step forward and two steps back. But on Sunday their slumping bats awoke to take a giant leap forward and the Baltimore Orioles paid the price by allowing the Bronx Bombers to leave Oriole Park at Camden Yards in first place in the American League East.

Curtis Granderson has been so horrible at the plate that he was benched to start the game. But he came off the bench with a vengeance as a pinch-hitter in the sixth inning to swat the first pitch he saw into the Orioles’ bullpen in left-center. He ended the day with five RBIs to lead a relentless 14-hit attack on Oriole pitching as New York salvaged a split of their four-game battle for supremacy in the division.

It was the Yankees’ biggest blowout victory of the season and it could not have come at a much better time.

Joba Chamberlain (1-0) pitched 1 2/3 innings of scoreless relief while striking out four of the five batters he retired to earn the victory.

Meanwhile, Oriole left-hander Zach Britton (5-2) found control to be an elusive thing in the fourth inning and he was saddled with the loss.

Britton perhaps got an inkling of how frustrating the day would be when Derek Jeter opened the contest with a infield single and he advanced to second on a throwing error by third baseman Manny Machado. Britton then walked Nick Swisher.

Alex Rodriguez stopped the momentum a bit by hitting into a double play but Britton then served up an RBI single to Robinson Cano.

In the fourth, Britton found that his sinker was sinking out of the strike zone and he paid dearly for it.

Rodriguez singled to begin the inning and Britton then walked Cano and Russell Martin to load the bases.

Steve Pearce then drew a bases-loaded walk to score Rodriguez to make 2-0. After Andruw Jones struck out, Jayson Nix hit a dying quail single into shallow center to score Cano. Ichiro Suzuki followed with a “Baltimore-chop” to shortstop J.J. Hardy and Suzuki beat out Hardy’s throw to first to score Martin.

Britton then ended his day appropriately by issuing a bases-loaded walk to Jeter that made it 5-0.

Britton gave up five runs on five hits and five walks and struck out two in 3 1/3 innings.

However, the Yankees were unable to savor their four-run inning for long because starter Freddy Garcia stumbled in the bottom of the inning.

Garcia walked Nate McLouth and then hit Hardy with a pitch. Wilson Betemit followed with a two-run double to center and, one out later, Matt Wieters plated Betemit with a single to right.

Manager Joe Girardi, showing the veteran Yankee right-hander one of the shortest leashes of the season, removed Garcia in favor of Chamberlain to keep the game at 5-3.

The Yankee bullpen of Chamberlain, Boone Logan, Cory Wade and Derek Lowe threw 4 2/3 innings of scoreless baseball, surrendering just one hit and two walks the rest of the way.

At the same time, the Yankees continued to pile on the runs in front of a paid crowd of 40,346.

Granderson, who has been benched the past two games mired in a 5-for-43 (.116) slump, then teed off on Jake Arrieta’s first offering in the sixth inning for his 35th home run of the season and his 100th home run with the Yankees.

Granderson later really broke the game open with a two-run single in the seventh that ran the score to 8-3 and he and Jeter keyed a five-run eighth inning that buried the Orioles and sent their new-found bandwagon fans home disappointed.

Jeter blasted a two-run home run, his 15th of the season, off Kevin Gregg and Granderson later added a two-run double.

The Yankees ran their record against the Orioles this season to 9-9 and they are 79-61 on the season. The Orioles are 78-62.


  • Granderson’s 3-for-3 day with a homer, a double and five RBIs was a welcome sight for fans who were growing disgusted with him swinging and missing at breaking pitches in the dirt or out of the strike zone. Granderson is the team’s leading home run hitter and, in order to have a shot at the playoffs, he has got to start producing better. Sunday was a nice first step.
  • Chamberlain has never looked better and perhaps has turned the corner in his comeback from Tommy John surgery. Chamberlain reached as high as 97 miles per hour on his fastball and, even better, he had command on the location of it. It is the first time Chamberlain has struck out four batters in an outing since his electric rookie season in 2007.
  • Jeter was 2-for-4 with a home run and three RBIs. Jeter is batting .324 this season, which third in the American League. He trails Mike Trout of the Angels by .004 and he could possibly win his first batting title at age 38.


  • Garcia’s magical run as a starter may be over. He has failed to pitch five innings in three of his last four starts and he is 0-1 with a 7.64 ERA in those four starts. With Ivan Nova poised to return to the rotation and Andy Pettitte right behind him, Garcia likely will not start another game this season. He is 7-6 with a 5.19 ERA overall.
  • Swisher is in a worse slump than Granderson. He was 0-for-4 with a walk and a strikeout on Sunday and he is now hitless in his last 28 at-bats. His batting average has dipped from .271 to .255 in that span. The question is with the team in a pennant fight can they afford to bench him?
  • Jones has also fallen on hard times and he was 0-for-2 with a strikeout on Sunday. He is now batting .202. Teams are beating the bushes to toss left-handers at the Yankees because it neutralizes lefty hitters like Cano and Gramderson and benches Raul Ibanez and Eric Chavez. Jones’ ineptitude at the plate has been a big bonus for the opposing teams.


Mark Teixeira is scheduled to undergo an MRI in New York on Monday and it is possible he may miss the final 3 1/2 weeks of the season. Teixeira re-aggravated his left calf injury while unsuccessfully trying to beat out a double-play grounder that ended Saturday’s game against the Orioles. Girardi said he would use Swisher and Pearce at first base to replace Teixeira.  . . .  Pettitte is scheduled to throw a side session on Monday at Yankee Stadium and he hopes to be cleared to continue his comeback from a fractured left ankle. If the team physician clears him, Pettitte will then throw a simulated game of about 60 pitches and then could be activated off the disabled list.


The Yankees have earned a day off on Monday before resuming their pennant chase on Tuesday at Fenway Park against the Boston Red Sox.

Right-hander Hiroki Kuroda (13-10, 3.14 ERA) will open the series for the Yankees. Kuroda gave up four runs on eight hits and two walks and struck out three in six innings in a victory over the Tampa Bay Rays in his last start. Kuroda is 1-1 with a 3.45 ERA against the Bosox this season.

The struggling Red Sox will counter with left-hander Jon Lester (9-11, 4.99 ERA). Lester surrendered three runs on nine hits over six innings in a victory over the Seattle Mariners. Lester is 1-1 with a 4.67 ERA in three starts against the Yankees this season.

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 Drown Sorrows With Deluge On Orioles

GAME 104


Suffering through a miserable four-game losing streak is like a farmer suffering though a horrendous drought. But the Yankees, like the down-on-his-luck farmer, got the benefit of some rain at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday and they then showered the Baltimore Orioles with a torrent of runs that finally drowned their closest American League East pursuer.

Robinson Cano blasted a grand-slam home run and Derek Jeter drove in three runs as New York used a seven-run third inning to deliver a thrashing to a Baltimore team that was benefitting in the standings from the Yankees recent 3-8 slide in their last 11 games.

Phil Hughes (11-8) scattered nine hits, walked two and struck out two in giving up just one run in six solid innings in a game played in front of a paid crowd of 44,593 despite the fact that they had to sit through a steady downpour throughout the contest. Hughes is 6-3 with a 2.88 ERA in his last 10 starts and he now leads the team’s starters in victories.

The Orioles only scored off Hughes on a pair of one-out singles by Wilson Betemit and Mark Reynolds and an RBI groundout by Endy Chavez in the second inning, which at the time halved the Yankees’ lead at 2-1.

Meanwhile, Hughes’ counterpart, Zach Britton (1-1), seemed afraid to throw a fastball anywhere near the strike zone. Britton lasted just 2 2/3 innings and was tagged for seven runs on seven hits and three walks while he struck out three batters.

In his three career starts in New York, Britton has totaled just eight innings, giving up 20 runs (17 earned). That is a 19.13 ERA.

He gave up two runs in each of the first two innings. Curtis Granderson smacked his 29th home run of the season in the opening frame and Andruw Jones later scored in the inning on a Nick Swisher sacrifice fly.

In the second, Jeter stroked an RBI single to score newly acquired corner infielder Casey McGehee, who was making his Yankee debut. Swisher later made it 4-1 with a RBI single to left to score Jayson Nix.

Britton’s bad day ended in the third when Nix stroked an RBI double to the wall in left-center to score Russell Martin and McGehee to give the Yankees a 5-1 lead.

Orioles manager Buck Showalter brought in Kevin Gregg to face Jeter, but Jeter greeted Gregg with a two-run single to right. After Granderson singled and Swisher drew a four-pitch walk to load the bases, Cano launched a rocket into the second deck in right for the Yankees’ major-league best ninth grand slam of the season and Cano’s second.

The game was pretty much over at that point and many in the crowd left soon after.

The Yankees added a run in the eighth on a bases-loaded sacrifice fly by McGehee off reliever Tommy Hunter.

The Orioles scored single runs in the seventh and eighth off recently activated righty-hander Joba Chamberlain, who was pitching in his first game since June 5, 2011 due to Tommy John surgery on his right elbow last season and a displaced broken right ankle in March.

J.J. Hardy greeted Chamberlain with a leadoff home run in the seventh and the Orioles tacked on a run in the eighth when Chavez doubled off the wall in left to score Reynolds from first base.

Chamberlain, showing signs of a lack of velocity on his fastball, surrendered two runs on four hits and a walk with no strikeouts in his 1 2/3 innings of work.

With the victory, the Yankees improved their season ledger to 61-43 and pushed their lead over the O’s in the division back to 6 1/2 games. The Orioles are 55-50.


  • Though Hughes gave up nine hits in 6 innings, those totals are a bit misleading because he Orioles did not hit the ball hard that often off Hughes. Most of their hits were bloop or broken-bat hits that fell in perfect spots in the wet outfield. The Orioles could not have thrown them into better spots. Hughes used a pair of double plays and some excellent defense from his teammates to keep the O’s from climbing back into the game.
  • Cano was in an o-for-14 funk entering play on Tuesday. In the final two games of the three-game series, Cano went 3-for-6 with two home runs and six RBIs. He now has 24 home runs, which is second on the team to Granderson, and 62 RBIs, which second on the club to Mark Teixeira.
  • Jeter’s three-hit game give him 137 hits on the season, which is most in the American League. In his last seven games, Jeter is 13-for-30 (.433), which has raised his season average to .316 and moved him ahead of Cano (.312) for the best batting average on the team.
  • Nix, making a spot start at third base against a left-handed starter, took advantage with a 3-for-4 game, including a double, two runs scored and an RBI. Nix has five hits in his last 11 at-bats and has driven in six runs in that span. He had only seven RBIs in limited play up to that point.


After losing eight of 11 games I am not going nitpick this victory. The team could have easily lost and brought the Orioles to within 4 1/2 games of the lead, Instead, they moved them back to 6 1/2 games back. Hughes pitched well again and the team was 7-for-13 with runners in scoring position.


McGehee, 29, was acquired in a last-minute trade deadline deal with the Pirates for right-hander Chad Qualls on Tuesday. He arrived on late Tuesday and started the game at first base in place of Teixeira, who is nursing a sore left wrist. McGehee was 0-2 but walked twice, scored two runs and drove in a run on a sac fly in the eighth. Manager Joe Girardi said the veteran corner infielder would backup at first base and also will get some starts at third base until Alex Rodriguez returns off the 15-day disabled list from a broken left hand.  . . .  Ichiro Suzuki made his first major-league regular-season game start in left-field and made a spectacular leaping catch at the wall in the sixth inning on a ball off the bat of Reynolds, which saved a run from scoring. Suzuki also extended his hitting streak to nine games with an infield single in the fourth inning.  . . .  Swisher was used as the designated hitter on Wednesday, which means he has not played right-field July 20, when he left a game at o.co Stadium in Oakland with a sore left hip flexor. Girardi said Swisher could start in right-field on Friday. Jones played right-field on Wednesday and was 1-for-3 with a sac fly RBI.


The Yankees will get a well-earned day off after suffering through a spate of key injuries and losses lately. They will open a three-game weekend home series with Seattle Mariners on Friday.

Left-hander CC Sabathia (10-3, 3.57 ERA) will get the ball for the Yankees. Sabathia has not won a game since July 17 and he is coming off an outing in which the Boston Red Sox tagged him for six runs in six innings on Saturday. He is 11-4 with a 2.42 ERA in his career against the Mariners.

The Mariners will counter with right-hander Kevin Millwood (4-8, 3.90 ERA). Millwood ended a streak of 10 starts without a victory on Saturday with a good effort against the Kansas City Royals. In the past 10 seasons, he is 3-6 with a 4.40 ERA against the Yankees.

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


Swisher’s Homer Gives Yankees Sweep Of O’s



If ever Nick Swisher needed redemption it was on Wednesday night and he could not have picked a better moment for it.

After Swisher had struck out looking on a 3-2 pitch with one out and a runner at third in the eighth inning he launched a two-run home run in the 10th inning that broke a 4-4 tie and New York went on to sweep Baltimore at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

Swisher’s blast came off Orioles right-hander Kevin Gregg (0-1). Rafael Soriano (1-0) pitched a scoreless 1 1/3 innings of relief to earn the victory. Mariano Rivera came in to close out the Orioles in the 10th to earn his second save in as many nights.

For the second consecutive night, the two teams ended up in extra innings as the Yankees got a two-out, opposite-field single from Curtis Granderson in the seventh inning to tie the game up. Earlier in the game, Granderson had given the Yankees an early 2-0 lead with a two-run home run in the first inning off Orioles starter Jake Arrieta.

However, CC Sabathia surrendered that lead in the second inning when Robert Andino touched him for a two-out, two-run single with the bases loaded in the second inning.

Three innings later, Sabathia was given a 3-2 lead when Derek Jeter grounded out with the bases loaded to score Raul Ibanez with the tie-breaking run.

But, once again, Sabathia ran into trouble in the bottom of the fifth. After singles by J.J. Hardy and Adam Jones, Mark Reynolds stroked a two-out, two-run double to score both runners and the Orioles reclaimed the lead until the Yankees tied it and sent the game into extra innings.

With the victory, the Yankees evened their season record at 3-3. The hard-luck Orioles fell to 3-3 with the loss.


  • Swisher’s second home run of the season was certainly heart-warming after he had failed so miserably to score  runner from third in the eighth inning. But it also erased a bad play from Eduardo Nunez in that same 10th inning. With one out, Nunez had singled and he was on second with Mark Teixeira batting when he was picked off first base by catcher Matt Wieters. Teixeira managed to hit a bloop opposite field double off Gregg and Swisher erased his bad at-bat and Nunez’s brain cramp with a long blast into the bleachers in right-center.
  • The Yankees’ bullpen again was again stellar. Sabathia was unable to give the Yankees a long outing for which they were hoping. Instead he left after six innings after having thrown 112 pitches. But Boone Logan, Soriano and Rivera combined to shut out the O’s on two hits and two walks and struck out four in four innings of work.
  • Granderson drove in three runs after having gone 2-for-5 with a home run and a single. Granderson entered the game with a .150 average and had no home runs and no RBIs.
  • Robinson Cano turned in a dazzling defensive play in the bottom of the eighth inning. Wieters bounced a grounder up the middle for what looked like would be a single. But Cano ranged to his right to scoop it and he threw off-balance to first base to get Wieters by six strides. The fact that Cano did not win his second Gold Glove last season was a crime.


  • Though I am not worried about Sabathia in the long-term, it is still troubling that Sabathia recorded his second straight subpar performance. He gave up four runs on eight hits and two walks, although he did fan eight batters over six innings. Sabathia’s early ERA is at 6.75 but you still have to credit him for battling to keep the Yankees in the game.
  • Nunez entered the game as a pinch-runner for Alex Rodrigiuz in the eighth and stole a base. He was later stranded at third when Russell Martin struck out to end the inning. Nunez, however, remains a butcher in the field. Nunez went in to play third base and promptly made a bad throw to first on Ronny Paulino grounder. Fortunately, Teixeira saved him an error by catching the ball and tagging Paulino before he reached the bag. Girradi wisely replaced Nunez with former six-time Gold Glove third baseman Eric Chavez in the 10th.
  • Though the Yankees were 4-for-10 with runners in scoring position, they still keep failing to get big hits when they have runners on base – particularly with two outs. The Yankees loaded the bases with nobody out in the fifth and they promptly made three consecutive outs, though one run did score on a Jeter groundout. They also failed to push any runs across with runners in scoring position in the seventh and eighth innings.


The Yankees entered the game with a bullpen in tatters because David Phelps and David Robertson were unavailable to pitch and the Yankees were unsure whether Soriano would be able to throw because of a cracked fingernail on the middle finger of his right pitching hand. In addition, Rivera had pitched the past two days and his availability was unclear. Because Sabtahia was pitching and the Yankees had an off day on Thursday, they elected not call up another pitcher from Triple-A. Aa result, manager Joe Girardi shifted Phil Hughes into the bullpen just in case he was needed.


The Yankees get a well-deserved day off today and they will host their 110th home opener on Friday against the Los Angeles Angels.

Fan favorite Jorge Posada will be honored and he will throw out the ceremonial first pitch at Yankee Stadium.

Right-hander Hiroki Kuroda (0-1, 6.35 ERA) will make his home debut for the Yankees coming off a disappointing road debut against the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday. Kuroda gave up six runs (four earned) and eight hits in 5 2/3 innings. He is 1-2 with a 2.45 ERA in his carer against the Angels.

Kuroda will be opposed by right-hander Ervin Santana (0-1, 7.94 ERA), who struggled in his first start of 2012 also. He gave up seven runs (six earned) on seven hits against the Royals on Sunday. He is 5-5 with a 5.55 ERA lifetime against the Yankees.

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



Orioles Seem To Have Stranglehold On 5th Place

As spring training camps open it is time to look at the American League East competition for the New York Yankees. How will the other teams fare as they gear up to dethrone the 2011 division champions? Do these teams have the pitching? Is there enough offense? Let’s see.


The 2011 season began with a lot of optimism because of the great job Buck Showalter did in turning around the Orioles at the end of the 2010 season.

But 2011 was much like every season for the Orioles since 1999. It fizzled into frustration in a hurry. They finished with a record of 69-93 and they were a distant fifth in the A.L. East, 28 games behind the Yankees.

This coming season promises to pretty similar because the Orioles have not made a lot of changes to their roster. With the exeption of Jeremy Guthrie, Luke Scott and Derrek Lee, this pretty much the same group that floundered through much of 2011.


One big reason is that the Orioles banked their future hopes on a collection of young starting pitchers like Brian Matusz, Zach Britton, Jake Arrieta and Chris Tillman. They progressed through the minors but none of them have established themselves as major-league quality starters. And if you want to compete in this division, you have to have good starting pitching.

The Orioles compounded that issue by trading their best starting pitcher, Guthrie, to the Colorado Rockies for starter Jason Hammel and reliever Matt Lindstrom. As a result, the Orioles’ “ace” is former Rangers right-hander Tommy Hunter, who was 4-4 with a 4.68 ERA in an injury-shortened season.

The Orioles, led by general manager Dan Duquette, are now shifting their sites overseas and the team signed two pitchers from the Japanese League in Wei-Yin Chen and Tsuyoshi Wada.

Chen, 26, is a left-hander from Taiwan who has compiled a 36-30 record and a 2.48 ERA in four seasons with the Chunichi Dragons. He also has pretty good stuff with 500 career strikeouts in 631 1/3 innings.

Wada, 30, is another left-hander and he has overcome two injury-plagued seasons to compile a combined 33-13 record with a 2.29 ERA in the last two seasons with Fukuoda Softbank Hawks. While Chen has better stuff, Wada is considered to have better control.

Both figure prominently in the Orioles plans for 2012 and both likely will be in the rotation this season, depending on how they progress in the spring.

Hammel, 29, was 7-13 with a 4.76 ERA last season with the Rockies. The tall right-hander figures to be slotted as the No. 4 starter.

The Orioles still have high hopes for Matusz, Britton, Arrieta and Tillman. But it appears Britton and Arrieta are going to get most of the attention this spring. The lefty Britton suffered a shoulder injury last season and he finished the season 11-11 with a 4.61 ERA. Arrieta was 10-8 with 5.05 ERA.


The bullpen was a strength of this team when Koji Uehara was around but he was dealt to the Rangers at the trade deadline last July.

The closer job is up for grabs between incumbent closer Kevin Gregg, who saved 22 games but blew seven chances and was 0-3 with a 4.37 ERA, and Jim Johnson, who saved nine games and was 6-5 with a 2.67 ERA. Lindtsrom, who saved 23 games for the Astros in 2010, can also be shifted into the closer role.

The rest of the bullpen will likely be made up with lefty Darren O’Day and former starters Alfredo Simon, Brad Bergesen and Jason Berken.


A few years ago, the Orioles seem to invested their future into second baseman Brian Roberts, right-fielder Nick Markakis and center-fielder Adam Jones and have built around those players.

Unfortunately, Roberts has suffered through injury after injury and Markakis and Jones have underperformed expectations.

With the Orioles lack of ability to attract high-priced free-agent talent, the Orioles have to rely on that trio as the core of the team again.

The Orioles may also begin getting what they expected out of catcher Matt Wieters, who hit 22 home runs and won a Gold Glove for his defensive work behind the plate. The former No. 1 pick also is showing some signs of leadership on the team.

Shortstop J.J. Hardy finally shook off injuries that plagued him since he was with the Brewers in 2008 as he hit 30 home runs and drove in 80 runs.

Third baseman Mark Reynolds was pretty much as advertised. He did not hit for average and struck out 196 times but he also hit 37 home runs and drove in 87 runs.

Former Rangers first baseman Chris Davis is pretty much a carbon copy of Reynolds at first base only he does most of his striking out from the left side.

The Orioles will likely platoon veterans Endy Chavez and Nolan Reimold in the outfield and look for the Orioles to make a late bid for a DH.

They could re-sign veteran Vladimir Guerrero or chose from among Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui to replace Scott.


Former Yankee Wilson Betemit will be the top reserve on the infield and middle infield reserve Robert Andino will return to provide glovework behind Roberts and Hardy. Former Rangers backstop Taylor Teagarden will be the backup to Wieters.

The Orioles could use the spring to look for some veteran help in the outfield to bolster their bench a bit.


With Jones, Wieters, Hardy, Reynolds and Davis the Orioles seem to have plenty of firepower. Plus when Roberts is healthy and Markakis is going good, they can get on base and steal a base or two. But the overall offense may be too geared towards power over putting the ball iin play and advancing runners.

The Orioles, as a team, strike out way too much and it cost them because their pitching is not that strong.

The Orioles are gambling on two Japanese League pitchers and two journeyman American starters (Hunter and Hammel) to give them time to develop their young pitchers like Britton and Arrieta. The jury is still out on Matusz, who looked like a surefire star in the making in 2010.

Without a consistent starting rotation, any effort Showalter makes in the bullpen could prove futile. A good bullpen only limits the damage. The bullpen should be strong but it is obvious they are going to tire quickly if they are constantly coming in the fourth or fifth inning.

Barring another Showalter miracle, this team is headed for more frustration in 2012. They simply can’t compete with the big boys (Yankees, Rays, Red Sox) and they merely hold their own against the Blue Jays. If I were a betting man, I would suspect that the Orioles will finish fifth again.

It is a spot for which they are built.



Yankees Rally To ‘Nick’ O’s In 10th On Swisher’s Sac Fly

YANKEES 6, ORIOLES 5 (10 Innings)
After the game Nick Swisher got a sweet taste of pie courtesy of A.J. Burnett because he gave the Yankees the taste of an even sweeter big come-from-behind victory.
Swisher’s sacrifice fly scored Mark Teixeira in the 10th inning with the winning run as New York came back from a 5-0 deficit to humble Baltimore on Thursday night at Yankee Stadium.
No-hit for four-innings by Baltimore starter Jake Arrieta, the Yankees scored four runs in the next three innings and finally tied the score on a solo home run by Jorge Posada on the first pitch delivered by Oriole closer Kevin Gregg in the bottom of the ninth inning.
In the bottom of the 10th, Teixeira began the inning with a walk off losing pitcher Mike Gonzalez (0-1). Alex Rodriguez followed with a double to left. One out later, Swisher smacked a line drive to deep right and Teixeira scored as Nick Markakis’ throw was late and up the third-base line.
Mariano Rivera (1-0) pitched the top of the 10th and earned the victory in relief.
The Yankees improved their record to 7-4 and took sole possession of first place in the American League East. Baltimore dropped to 6-5 and fell a game back in the division.
  • Bartolo Colon once again had to bail out struggling starter Phil Hughes. Colon came into the game with one out in the fifth inning and pitched three scoreless innings. He gave up three hits and a walk and struck out three. 
  • Posada’s game-tying home run in the ninth was only his seventh hit of the season, but five of those hits have been home runs. He now leads the Yankees in home runs.
  • Rodriguez and Robinson Cano continue to punish A.L. pitching. They combined to go 5-for-8 with two RBIs. Rodriguez raised his average to .412 and Cano is hitting .326.
  • Yankee defense made three sparkling plays in the field. Swisher robbed Brian Roberts of a potential two-run home run with a catch at the right-field wall in the fifth inning. Instead it was a sac fly that scored the Orioles’ fourth run. To begin the eighth inning, Derek Jeter denied Vladimir Guerrero a single by ranging to his left, spinning 360 degrees and firing a one-hop throw to Teixeira. But the play of the night came in the same inning with pinch-runner Felix Pie at third and one out and Joba Chamberlain pitching to Mark Reynolds. Chamberlain uncorked a wild pitch that ricocheted off the wall behind home plate and kicked back to catcher Russell Martin. Chamberlain blocked Pie’s slide into home as he caught Martin’s relay and tagged Pie out.
  • Though he pitched somewhat better, the Yankees still have to be concerned with the way Hughes is pitching. Hughes gave up five runs on seven hits and struck two in 4 1/3 innings. He did lower his ERA but it still is a very high 13.94.
  • Brett Gardner is in a major slump. He was 0-for-5 and struck out three times and he is one for his last 18 at-bats. He struck out to end the seventh inning with the tying run at second. In the ninth he struck out looking with the potential game-winning run at second.
  • Russell Martin committed another throwing error in the fifth inning. After Cesar Izturis bunted his way on base Martin tried a snap throw to first base to pick him off and the ball sailed over Teixeira’s head into right field. Izturis moved to third on Roberts’ long fly that Swisher grabbed and he scored on a Markakis single. 
Left-hander Jose Felicoano said he is thinking about having surgery to repair a torn capsule in his left shoulder, a serious surgery that will end his season before it ever started. An MRI showed damage in his shoulder and Feliciano will meet with Dr. James Andrews on Monday to get a second opinion on the recommendation for surgery by the Yankees’ team physician.  . . .  General manager Brian Cashman does not expect to be able to make a deal for another left-handed reliever. They are in pretty short supply and it is even tougher to make deals in April, Cashman said. The Yankees have two options at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre: 28-year-old Andrew Sisco and youngster Steve Garrison, who pitched well for the team this spring. But the team is not planning to making any moves for now. That leaves Boone Logan has the team’s lone lefty reliever.
The Yankees will open a home weekend series against the Texas Rangers in a rematch of last year’s A.L. Championship Series.
Ivan Nova (1-0, 6.10 ERA) will start for the Yankees. He gave up four runs in 4 1/3 innings against the Red Sox last Friday. Nova has never pitched against the Rangers.
The Rangers will start left-hander Matt Harrison (2-0, 1.29 ERA). Harrison allowed one run in seven innings in both of his first two starts. He is 1-1 with a 7.53 ERA in five appearances (two starts) against the Yankees.
Game-time will be 4:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be telecast nationally by the MLB Network and locally by the YES Network.