Tagged: Mark Ellis

Overbay’s RBI Single Boosts Yankees Over Dodgers

GAME 107

YANKEES 3, DODGERS 0

Facing an 0-2 count with Dodgers left-hander Paco Rodriguez on the mound, pinch-hitter Lyle Overbay knew that he had looked terrible swinging at two sliders. He also came close to swinging at a third slider for strike three but third-base umpire Bill Miller ruled he had checked his swing.

Rodriguez’s next slider was in the middle of the plate and Overbay won the game for the Yankees on Wednesday with a clutch two-out RBI single to center.

Overbay’s game-winner was all part of a three-run inning and Mariano Rivera pitched a perfect ninth for his 34th save of the season as New York paid back Los Angeles for their walk-off 3-2 victory on Tuesday in front of a sellout Dodger Stadium crowd of 53,013.

The Yankees entered the ninth inning of a scoreless game when Derek Jeter opened the frame by drawing a walk from right-hander Ronald Belisario (4-6). Robinson Cano hit into a fielder’s choice and Alfonso Soriano grounded out, leaving Cano at second with two out.

Manager Joe Girardi pinch-hit for Vernon Wells with Ichiro Suzuki and Dodgers manager Don Mattingly had Belisario walk him intentionally to bring up Brent Lillibridge.

Girardi then called upon Overbay to pinch-hit and Mattingly summoned Rodriguez to pitch to him. But Overbay’s lined single to center to plate Cano spoiled the strategy.

Overbay’s RBI also gave him three RBis in the two-game series because he had driven in both of the Yankees’ two runs on Tuesday.

The Yankees were able to tack on two unearned runs in the inning when Jayson Nix lofted a routine popup into shallow right. Though second baseman Mark Ellis was camped under the ball, right-fielder Yasiel Puig charged in to make the catch, causing Ellis to turn his head and the ball deflected off his glove to allow Suzuki and Overbay to score on the error.

The game featured a classic pitchers’ duel between Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw, who came in leading the National League in ERA at 1.96, and Yankees right-hander Hiroki Kuroda, who had toiled for the Dodgers for four seasons (2008 through 2011) before signing as a free agent with the Yankees in 2012.

Kershaw and Kuroda matched zeros through 7 1/2 innings.

Kuroda, 39, gave up five hits and a walk while he struck out eight over seven innings to record his eighth start of the season in which he had not allowed a run.

Kershaw, 25, was touched for five hits and he walked none while he fanned five over eight innings.

Kershaw was threatened only in the second and eighth innings.

In the second, Wells and Lillibridge stroked back-to-back one-out singles. But Kershaw got Nix on an infield popup and Chris Stewart grounded into a force play. In the eighth, Stewart and pinch-hitter Melky Mesa came through with a pair of two-out singles. But Kershaw ended that threat by retiring Brett Gardner on a flyout.

Kuroda only had one shaky inning  –  the seventh.

Adrian Gonzalez opened the frame with a single down the right-field line but he was thrown out trying to stretch the hit into a double on a perfect throw from Wells from right-field. One out later, Andre Ethier and A.J. Ellis notched consecutive singles.  But Kuroda fanned Skip Schumaker swinging to end the threat.

Boone Logan (3-2) pitched a scoreless eighth inning, getting out of a two-on, two-out jam by retiring Gonzalez on a flyout, to earn the victory in relief.

With the victory the Yankees improved their season record to 56-51 and they remain in fourth place in the American League East, eight games behind the first-place Boston Red Sox. The Dodgers fell to 57-49.

PINSTRIPE POSITIVES

  • Kuroda was absolutely sensational in limiting the Dodgers to five hits and a walk in seven innings and he deserved a better fate.  In his past nine starts, Kuroda is 4-1 with a 1.56 ERA. He lowered his season ERA to 2.38, which is second in the American League to Felix Hernandez of the Seattle Mariners. Kuroda also has not allowed an earned run in his past two starts covering 14 innings.
  • Overbay came off the bench to deliver a huge hit in the ninth inning for the Yankees. Though Overbay is hardly a match for the production of Mark Teixeira at first base, he still has provided the Yankees with some clutch hits this season, batting .248. with 12 home runs and 45 RBIs.  He was 2-for-5 with a home run and three RBIs and two runs scored in the two-game series with the Dodgers.
  • The bullpen, as it has so often done this season, kept the Yankees in the game long enough for the Yankees to get their offense going with Kershaw out in the game in the ninth. Logan did not bend in the eighth and Rivera was dominant in the ninth, striking out the first two betters he faced before getting A.J. Ellis on an infield roller to clinch the victory.

NAGGING NEGATIVES

Kuroda and the bullpen shut down a Dodger team that came into the game 10-1 since the All-Star break. The Yankees were facing arguably the best starter in the National League in Kershaw. So why quibble over negatives? The Yankees could have fell nine games back with a loss so this one was a big victory. Kudos!

BOMBER BANTER

Mattiingly was ejected from the game in the ninth inning by Miller. Mattingly had replaced Rodriguez with right-hander Brandon League after Ellis’ two-run error. As he was leaving the field, Mattingly talked with Miller about his failure to call out Overbay on strikes on a check swing and the discussion grew heated before Miller ejected Mattingly. Television replays indicated that Miller could have called Overbay out for a swing on the pitch.  . . .  Alex Rodriguez will play in a simulated game on Thursday and then will begin a new minor-league rehab assignment on Friday as he prepares to start his season with the Yankees despite a potential looming suspension. Rumors persist that Rodriguez might be hit with a lifetime ban from baseball if he does not agree to accept a lengthy suspension for his role in the Biogenesis drug scandal. Meanwhile, the Yankees will have Rodriguez play in the simulated game in Tampa, FL, on Thursday and he possibly could appear in a minor-league game with Double-A Trenton on Friday. Rodriguez, 38, recovering from hip surgery in January and Grade 1 left quad strain he suffered a week ago, could be activated as soon as this weekend.  . . .  Outfielder Curtis Granderson, who is rehabbing from a broken left pinkie knuckle, will be activated from the 15-day disabled list on Friday.  After playing in only seven games after recovering from a broken bone in his right wrist he suffered in his first at-bat of spring training, Granderson was sidelined on May 24 when he struck by a pitch from Tampa Bay Rays left-hander Cesar Ramos.

ON DECK

The Yankees will have Thursday off before opening a three-game weekend road series with the San Diego Padres.

Left-hander CC Sabathia (9-9, 4.65 ERA) will start for the Yankees. Sabathia is 0-2 with a 10.93 ERA in his past three starts against the Minnesota Twins, Red Sox and Rays. Sabathia is 3-0 with a 2.12 ERA in his career against the Padres.

The Padres will counter with right-hander Andrew Cashner (7-5, 3.88 ERA). Cashner yielded three runs on four hits and and five walks while striking out five in six innings in a victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks. Cashner has never faced the Yankees.

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

 

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CC Limits Athletics To One Hit To Notch His 19th Victory

GAME 134
YANKEES 5, ATHLETICS 0

Watching CC Sabathia work on Thursday was like watching Da Vinci brushing in the last few strokes of the Mona Lisa.
Watching the Oakland Athletics try to hit against Sabathia was like watching a wiffle ball team try to hit a 95-mile-per-hour fastball.
Sabathia (19-6) not only pitched the New York Yankees to a 5-0 victory but he gave up only one hit in his eight innings of work against the Athletics in notching his career-high-tying 19th victory of the season.
The game took two hours and 45 minutes but — if you witnessed it — you would have sworn that if the A’s had been allowed another eight innings to try to hit Sabathia without the Yankees getting an at-bat that the final score would have remained the same.
That is how good the veteran left-hander was on Thursday.
The hitting hero for the Yankees was not even in the starting lineup and was not expected to even play a part in the game because the Yankees were facing left-hander Dallas “Get Off My Mound” Braden.
Curtis Granderson was trying to stay cool in the Yankee dugout when he got the call to replace a limping Nick Swisher in the outfield in the second inning. Ironically. Granderson did not even do his damage against Braden.
Braden (9-10), who was matching Sabathia pitch-for-pitch for five innings and had held the Yankees to s solo home run by Jorge Posada in the second inning, suddenly left the game with a 1-2 count on Granderson in sixth inning with cramps in his left leg.
Yankees fans must have thought: “You can’t pitch? Well, get off our mound.”
The Athletics brought in left-hander Craig Breslow to pitch to Granderson because Granderson has a history of not hitting left-handers — except for recently when hitting coach Kevin Long worked on his swing against left-handers.
On the fourth pitch Breslow delivered on a 3-2 count, Granderson used his new compact stroke to launch his 16th home run of the season right down the right-field line in Yankee Stadium to give the Yankees a 2-0 lead.
An inning later, Granderson came back up again with two outs and Derek Jeter at first base. This time he was facing right-hander Michael Wuertz. On the second pitch he launched his 17th home run to straightaway right and when the ball landed in the seats he had two home runs and three RBIs and the Yankees had a commanding 4-0 lead with Carsten Charles in charge on the mound.
Game over!
The one hit Sabathia gave up came in the second inning to Mark Ellis, who rolled a ball between Robinson Cano and Mark Teixeira into right-field to lead off the inning. That was it for Oakland as far as hits.
Sabathia walked three batters and hit another and that was the extent of the Oakland offense for the day.
Sabathia struck out five batters. But to really show how dominant he was how about this: After Landon Powell’s fly-out to left-field to end the second inning, it took Oakland until the second to last out Sabathia recorded on the day — a fly-out to right -field by Coco Crisp in the eighth — to get another ball into the outfield.
In truth, the A’s never stood a chance. Sabathia is 16-0 in his last 21 starts at Yankee Stadium. His 19 wins lead the majors and he lowered his season ERA to 3.02. Though he only may be thinking of winning a second championship with the Yankees, he also may be putting himself in line for his second American League Cy Young Award.
The Yankees not only swept the four-game series with Oakland, outscoring them by a combined score of 29-11, they also extended their winning streak to six games.
More importantly, they took advantage of the idle Tampa Bay Rays to extend their lead in the A.L. East to 1 1/2 games. The Boston Red Sox are in third place and hanging by a thread at 8 games out and 6 1/2 games out of the wild-card race.
With the loss, Oakland’s season record fell to 65-68.
PINSTRIPE POSITIVES

  • Sabathia pitched his best game of the season and very close to his best as a Yankee. His near no-hitter against the Rays earlier this season was also masterful. He threw only 95 pitches in eight innings and only was prevented for completing the game by the stifling heat. Manager Joe Girardi said it best when he told reporters: “That’s as good as it gets.”
  • Granderson has hit seven of his 17 home runs in the last 19 games, which coincides with the work he and Long did to change his swing. Yankee fans are finally seeing the Granderson the Yankees thought they acquired in a winter trade with Detroit.
  • Posada’s solo home run was his 17th of the season and if he hits 20 home runs this season it will mark the ninth time in his last 11 seasons he has hit 20 or more homers. He also is on a bit of a hitting binge. In his last 11 starts, Posada is 15-for-40 (.375) with four home runs and 10 RBIs.
  • Derek Jeter robbed Ellis of a second hit with a sparkling play he made by ranging to his left, stopping his momentum and firing a strike from the outfield grass close to second base to nip Ellis. Replays showed Ellis was safe but it was still an excellent defensive play from the three-time Gold Glove shortstop.
NAGGING NEGATIVES

  • Come on, CC, giving up a hit and walking three! When are you going to straighten out? I am kidding. If there is a reason to find fault with Sabathia on Thursday, this season or since he became a Yankee, I can’t find it. If Girardi had three more pitchers like him the Yankees would be a lock for No. 28.
  • The clock may have struck midnight and Marcus Thames’ coach may have turned into a pumpkin. Since his three-run home run on Monday, Thames is 1-for-11 with five strikeouts. 
  • Cano is looking real bad at the plate lately. On Thursday, he swung at a number of Braden offerings out of the strike zone and even swung at a pitch that nearly hit him. In his last three games, he is 1-for-10.
BOMBER BANTER

Swisher left the game on Thursday in the second inning with a stiff left knee. Swisher fouled a ball of his left knee last week in Toronto and he said he felt it flare up again gong for a ball on Wednesday night. Swisher is listed as day-to-day.  . . .  The Yankees completed their season series with Oakland ending up with a 9-1 mark, their best record against the Athletics since they were 19-2 in 1919, when the A’s played in Philadelphia.
ON DECK

The Yankees will play their second in a series of five straight day games by opening a three-game weekend series with the Toronto Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium.
The Yankees will send their 23-year-old phenom Ivan Nova against the Jays for the second time within a week. Hopefully without any flareups from Jose Bautista.
Nova (1-0, 1.93 ERA) gave up a two-run home run to Bautista in his major-league debut and later brushed him back, angering Bautista and emptying the benches though no punches were thrown. Nova is coming off a his first major-league victory over the White Sox on Sunday. Nova held the White Sox to a run on five hits in 5 2/3 innings. 
The Blue Jays will counter with Brandon Morrow (10-6, 4.27 ERA). Morrow held the Tigers to one run and struck nine in six innings in a victory on Saturday. He is 5-0 in his past nine starts. He is 2-0 with a 4.46 ERA against the Yankees.
Game-time will be 1:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be broadcast by the YES Network.