YANKEES 11, ORIOLES 8
On a chilly evening in Sarasota, FL, Yankee right-hander David Phelps came out of the gates guns blazing and the offense caught fire late to back him.
Bobby Wilson broke a 3-3 tie in the sixth inning with a sacrifice fly that scored Jayson Nix and Phelps struck out nine Orioles in 5 1/3 innings of work as New York outslugged Baltimore in front of a paid crowd of 8,660 at Ed Smith Stadium.
Phelps (3-3) gave up three runs on four hits and two walks to earn the victory. Journeyman left-hander Mark Hendrickson (0-1) took the loss for the O’s. Preston Claiborne pitched a perfect ninth to earn a save.
The Yankees believed they had put the game away with a six-run seventh inning off Orioles reliever Chris Petrini, keyed by a two-run single by top outfield prospect Mason Williams, a two-run homer off the bat of Brennan Boesch and solo shot by Ben Francisco.
The Orioles did draw to within 10-8 with a five-run seventh inning off Yankees reliever Branden Pinder. Taylor Teagarden keyed the inning with a three-run home run.
The victory gave the Yankees a 13-17 record in Grapefruit League play. The Orioles are now 18-9.
- Despite a shaky fifth inning in which he was touched for a two-run home run off the bat of Nate McLouth, Phelps was outstanding. Five of his nine strikeouts were called and he only gave up one hit with no walks in his other 4 1/3 innings of work. Phelps will open the season as a starter until Phil Hughes is activated off the disabled list.
- A day after the Yankees completed a trade for outfielder Vernon Wells, the two outfield candidates most affected by the deal hit home runs. Boesch drove a blast to left-center on a 1-0 pitch in the seventh for his first homer of the spring. Francisco then followed him by launching a 2-1 pitch just to the right of where Boesch’s landed for his third home run of the spring. Neither Francisco or Boesch want to be cut or sent to the minors, However, it does appear there is no room on the roster for both of them.
- Very quietly Eduardo Nunez is beginning to get hot with the bat. Nunez was 2-for-3 with a RBI and a run scored in Wednesday’s game. Since March 14, Nunez is 13-for-29 (.448) and he has raised his spring average to .293. Nunez will begin the season replacing Derek Jeter at shortstop.
I have no real reason to complain. Oh, Pinder giving up five runs in the bottom of the seventh did let the O’s back in the game. But Pinder is not going to make the Yankees’ 25-man roster. You can’t really complain when every Yankee in the starting lineup got at least one hit in the game.
Nix played second base on Wednesday because Robinson Cano had to be scratched with a stomach virus, manager Joe Girardi told reporters. In addition, Addison Maruszak was inserted at third base in place Ronnier Mustelier. The reason for Mustelier being removed was not disclosed. . . . Jeter will not play in a minor-league game until at least next week, general manager Brian Cashman reported on Wednesday. . . . Ivan Nova gave up seven runs (six earned) on eight hits and a walk in five-plus innings against the Toronto Blue Jays’ Class-A Dunedin club on Wednesday. . . . The Yankees on Wednesday claimed right-hander Sam Demel off waivers from the Houston Astros. Demel, 27, is 4-4 with two saves and a 4.95 ERA in 72 appearances with the Arizona Diamondbacks from 2010 to 2012. To make room for Demel the Yankees released right-hander Daniel Otero, who they claimed off waivers from the San Francisco Giants on Tuesday.
The Yankees will wrap up their Grapefruit League season on Thursday at George M. Steinbrenner Field against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Right-hander Hiroki Kuroda (1-2, 2.31 ERA) will make his last tuneup start for the Yankees. Left-hander Jeff Locke will pitch for the Pirates.
Game-time will be 1:05 p.m. EDT and the game will not be telecast.
ORIOLES 5, YANKEES 1
Brian Roberts doubled twice and scored two runs and left-hander Brian Matusz pitched two scoreless innings as Baltimore defeated New York in front of a crowd of 7,335 at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, FL.
Roberts’ doubles sparked the Orioles to an early 2-0 lead. He stroked a one-out double in the first, advanced to third on a balk and scored on a two-out RBI single from Adam Jones. Roberts slapped another one-out double in the third and scored on an RBI single by Nick Markakis.
Matusz (1-0) gave up two hits to the first two batters he faced but retired the next five to earn the victory. Left-hander Vidal Nuno (0-1) took the loss despite the fact that five of the six batters he retired struck out looking, including Markakis, Matt Wieters, Chris Davis, Conor Jackson and Manny Machado.
The Yankees’ scored their lone run in the ninth inning on a walk and stolen base by Corban Joseph and an RIBI single by Walter Ibarra. The run broke a string of 19 consecutive scoreless innings for the Yankees.
The Yankees fell to 1-2 in Grapefruit League play while the Orioles are 3-0.
- Leadoff hitter Brett Gardner was 3-for-3 with three singles and second batter Jayson Nix collected two singles in three at-bats. The rest of the Yankees were 3-for-28 (.107). Gardner, who missed virtually all of the 2012 season with a right elbow injury, is hitting .667 in the early going. Nix is hitting .750 in the two games he has played.
- Though Nuno was touched for Roberts’ double and Jones’ RBI single, he certainly looked impressive in striking out five batters in his two innings of work. Nuno, 24, was signed by the Yankees last winter off the independent Washington Wild roster and he’s been dominating minor-league hitters ever since. At Double-A Trenton Nidal was 9-5 with a 2.45 ERA and 100 strikeouts in 114 innings in 20 starts last season. Since he has learned a change-up he being tabbed as an older version of Manny Banuelos, who will miss the 2013 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery.
- Josh Spence, a 25-year-old Australian left-hander, was the only Yankee hurler to pitch a perfect 1-2-3 inning and that was in the ninth. The Yankees claimed Spence off waivers from the San Diego Padres in early November after he was 4-2 with a 4.20 ERA 31 games at Triple-A Tucson.
- For the second straight day the Yankees’ offense was pretty much missing in action. If Ibarra had not driven in Joseph in the final frame the Yankees would have been 0-for-12 with runners in scoring position in their last two games.
- If Matt Diaz and Juan Rivera are seeking to stake a claim to replace Curtis Granderson as the team’s starting left-fielder as he recovers from a broken right forearm they have got to do better than they did on Monday. Diaz was 0-for-3 and stranded six base-runners. He hit into a double play and did not get a ball out the infield. Rivera also was 0-for-3 including a strikeout.
- Before you get too angry at the Yankees’ pitching staff for giving up five runs just remember that pitchers such as Nuno, Bryan Mitchell, Corey Black, Shane Greene, Ryan Pope, Kelvin Perez and Spence are not battling for roster spots. They are all headed back to the minors. The Orioles, in contrast, threw veterans like Matusz, Tommy Hunter, Pedro Strop and Mark Hendrickson.
With the Yankees looking to replace Granderson, veteran outfielder Johnny Damon told ESPN Radio’s Michael Kay that he would be interested in returning to the Yankees if he got a call to come to spring training. Damon, 39, said he is willing to fill in for Granderson for the six weeks he will miss, he would play for the minimum salary and would need about three or four weeks to get in shape. Asked about the possibility of bringing Damon to camp, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said, “We will focus on what we have at this time.” . . . Mariano Rivera threw 32 pitches in a live batting-practice session on Monday, and CC Sabathia threw batting practice to hitters for the first time this spring as the rehabbing hurlers continue prepare for Opening Day. . . . Manager Joe Girardi said that outfield prospects Tyler Austin and Slade Heathcott will not be considered to open the season in New York. . . . Yankees outfielder Melky Mesa said that even after Granderson’s injury, he still plans to leave camp to play for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic. Bench coach Tony Pena will be managing the Dominican squad.
The Yankees will travel to Clrawater, FL, on Tuesday to take on the Philadelphia Phillies.
Hot prospect right-hander Jose Ramirez will draw the start for the Yankees. He will be opposed by veteran right-hander Kyle Kendrick.
The Yankees will send Robinson Cano, Mark Teixeira, Kevin Youkilis and Travis Hafner to play in the game. Relievers Joba Chamberlain and David Robertson are also scheduled to make the spring debuts.
Game-time will be 1:05 p.m. EST and the game will be broadcast live on the MLB Network.
YANKEES 8, ORIOLES 3
When reporters ask Curtis Granderson about his chances to win the home run title this season, he claims he has no chance because he really is not a home run hitter.
Well, on Sunday night all he did was hit a pair of home runs and drive in four runs to take the major-league lead in home runs and RBIs as part of a five homer barrage that gave rookie sensation Ivan Nova and New York the runs they needed to defeat Baltimore.
Granderson flashed his MVP credentials early with the Yankees trailing 2-0 in the third inning and Eric Chavez on second and Brett Gardner on first. Granderson ripped a 1-0 pitch from left-hander Brian Matusz and deposited it into the bleachers in right-centerfield to give the Yankees a 3-2 lead.
The home run was his 37th of the season, which tied him with Toronto’s Jose Bautista for the major-league lead in home runs. The three runs batted in broke a tie with Boston’s Adrian Gonzalez for the major-league lead in RBIs with 106.
Granderson hit a solo home run in the seventh inning off a second left-hander, Mark Hendrickson, for his 38th home run of the season and his 107th RBI. Many of the Yankee fans in the crowd of 37,528 at Oriole Park at Camden Yards erupted into chants of “MVP, MVP, MVP” as Granderson crossed the plate.
Nova (14-4) did not look sharp early in giving up a run in the first on a sacrifice fly by Adam Jones in the first and an RBI double to rookie Ryan Adams in the second. The Orioles then touched him for a tying run in the third inning on another sac fly from Jones to score J.J. Hardy, who led off the inning with a ground-rule double and advanced to third on a groundout before Jones delivered the tying run.
The Yankees then continued to use the longball in the sixth inning against Matusz (1-7).
Mark Teixiera stroked a one-out single and Robinson Cano followed with his 23rd home run of the season to give the Yankees a 5-3 lead. But the Yankees did not stop there.
Nick Swisher chased Matusz from the game with his 20th home run of the season.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter called in Chris Jakubauskas to finish the inning and Andruw Jones greeted him with a tape-measure blast into the left-centerfield bleachers to give the Yankees a comfortable 7-3 lead.
Nova used that run support to pitch into the eighth inning without giving up any more runs to record his rookie-best 14th win and he extended his unbeaten streak to 11 games. Nova is 10-0 with a 3.52 ERA over that span and he has now won his last seven starts.
Nova was touched for seven hits and two walks and he fanned seven batters over seven innings before he landed into a bit of trouble in the eighth. Hardy led off the frame with a single and Nick Markakis drew a walk.
Manager Joe Girardi elected to call on right-hander David Robertson. Robertson has been sensational this season in escaping bases-loaded jams and he must have been chomping at the bit to show talent that off. He immediately gave up a sharp single to right to Adam Jones that loaded the bases with no outs.
But Robertson protected Nova’s 8-3 margin by striking out the next three batters — Vladimir Guerrero, Mark Reynolds and Ryan — swinging. “Houdini” as the Yankees call Robertson did it again. Hector Noesi pitched a perfect ninth and the Yankees had themselves a victory they badly needed.
The Yankees remain two games in back of the Boston Red Sox in the American League East chase with a season mark of 79-52. The Orioles fell to 53-78, 28 games out a first in the basement of the division, again.
- There has been a lot of buzz lately about Granderson pushing his way to the top of the MVP race. In August alone, Granderson is hitting .313 with 10 home runs and 29 RBIs. Voters are also being swayed by his 121 runs scored with 31 games left to play and the fact he is leading the A.L. in triples (10) and he is playing an excellent defensive centerfield. Bautista’s candidacy is slipping because the Jays are not in the pennant chase. So that leaves Granderson and Gonzalez of Boston to battle it out in the last month.
- Cano had his 17-game hitting streak snapped in the opener of the split-admission doubleheader. So he merely started over with two hits in the nightcap, including his 23rd home run. The two-run shot in the sixth also gave him 95 RBIs on the season, which is fourth best in the A.L. In fact, Granderson, Teixeira and Cano own the first, third and fourth spots, respectively.
- Nova is growing into a place where he can be considered the second-best pitcher on the staff behind CC Sabathia. Nova, unhappy about the way he was pitching on Sunday, went down into the clubhouse between innings and noticed he was dropping his arm slot. He made the adjustment and from the fourth through the seventh innings, he gave up only one hit, which was immediately erased by a double play in the fourth, and a two-out walk in the fifth. Nova is making a late run at A.L. Rookie of the Year.
- The three consecutive home runs by Cano, Swisher and Jones in the sixth was the first time the Yankees have accomplished it since May 20, 2009, when the Yankees did it, ironically, against the Orioles. That time Cano and Swisher also went deep along with Melky Cabrera.
- The Yankees can be a vexing team. In the first 20 innings of this truncated five-game series with Baltimore, they had been outscored 16-5 and shutout completely in the Sunday opener before they finally got their offense untracked. The Yankees losing four of their past five games cost them first place and two games to the Red Sox. When you are playing weak teams like Oakland and Baltimore you have to beat them. The Yankees did not do that and it cost them dearly.
The Yankees rested Alex Rodriguez in the second game of the doubleheader as they had planned. However, Derek Jeter also had to be scratched just before the game started because he sustained a bruised right knee in the first game by fouling a ball of his knee in the first game on Sunday. Rodriguez is being bother by a sprained left thumb he sustained in the first game he returned from the disabled list. Both may miss Monday;s finale with the Orioles. . . . The war of words in the wake of the Yankees’ frustration that the Orioles would not schedule a doubleheader on Friday knowing that Hurricane Irene would definitely wipe out Saturday’s game extended into Sunday. The Orioles are a lousy team and have been for some time with waning fan support. They look forward to big gates with a large contingent of Yankee fans when the Yankees come to town. The bottom line is they refused to schedule a Friday doubleheader because very few fans would have attended the Friday day game. So the Orioles are content in knowing they will make a few more bucks by dragging the Yankees back to play a one game on Sept. 8 before the Yankees are scheduled to fly to Los Angeles to begin a series on Sept. 9. So when you are not dealing with adults, it is hard to make logical arguments.
The Yankees complete their weekend babysitting the Orioles in their sandbox on Monday.
The Yankees will activate 34-year-old right-hander Freddy Garcia (10-7, 3.16 ERA) from the disabled list to make this start. Garcia has not pitched since Aug. 7 because he sliced his right index finger in a kitchen accident at his home. He is 5-7 with a 4.07 ERA in his career against the Orioles.
The Orioles will start right-hander Alfredo Simon (4-6, 4.30 ERA). Simon gave up only one run over eight innings in a victory over the Twins in his last start. He is 0-1 with a 5.63 ERA in his career against the Yankees.
Game-time will be 7:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be telecast by the YES Network.