YANKEES 5, MARINERS 3 (11 INNINGS)
When the Yankees obtained Garrett Jones from the Miami Marlins this winter they envisioned his left-handed power and versatility as an outfielder and first baseman would be perfect fit. But up until Tuesday, Jones has struggled to bat .232 with one home run and four RBIs.
With one swing that all changed.
Jones connected on a 2-0 pitch with two on and two out in the 11th inning for a three-run homer off left-hander Joe Beimel that allowed New York to come from behind to defeat Seattle at Safeco Field.
The Yankees were granted the opportunity to win their first extra-inning game of the season in four tries after Stephen Drew delivered a two-out RBI double off closer Fernando Rodney in the bottom of the ninth inning that tied the game at 2-2.
That set the stage for 11th, which hit a speed bump when Brian McCann had erased a leadoff single by Didi Gregorius by hitting into a double play. However, Drew singled off right-hander Tom Wilhelmsen (0-2) and Brett Gardner followed with a single of his own.
Jones, who entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the seventh and struck out, then faced Beimel. His blast off Beimel landed well into the bleachers in right-center to reclaim a lead the Yankees had lost in the third inning.
Left-hander Justin Wilson (2-0) pitched a scoreless 10th, making a spectacular diving grab of a popped up bunt by Rickie Weeks and turning it into a double play, to earn the victory.
Andrew Miller was touched for a run in the 11th on an RBI single by former Yankee Robinson Cano. But Miller struck out the major-league leader in home runs, Nelson Cruz, representing the potential winning run to earn his 16th save in 16 tries this season.
The Yankees grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top of the third inning after Gardner drew a one-out walk on a disputed checked swing and advanced to second on a wild pitch by left-hander Mike Montgomery, who was called up from Triple-A Tacoma and was making his first major-league start.
One out later, Alex Rodriguez also drew a walk on a disputed checked swing. Mariners catcher Mike Zunino and manager Lloyd McClendon were ejected from the game by first-base umpire Will Little for arguing the call. On the very next pitch from Montgomery, Mark Teixeira stroked an RBI double to score Gardner.
The Mariners responded in the bottom of the frame off left-hander CC Sabathia. Austin Jackson, who was 4-for-4 with two walks in the game, slapped a one-out single to left. One out later, Cano hit a lined single to right that Carlos Beltran bobbled to allow Jackson to reach third.
Cruz followed with an opposite-field single to right that scored Jackson to tie the game.
The Mariners broke the tie in the sixth after Logan Morrison reached on a one-out single and Welington Castillo, who had replaced Zunino in the third inning, followed one out later with a single that advanced Morrison to third. Yankees manager Joe Girardi replaced Sabathia with right-hander David Carpenter and Jackson greeted him with a double that scored Morrison.
But the Yankees tied it in the ninth off Rodney, starting with a leadoff walk by Chase Headley and a two-out single by McCann, who was pinch-hitting for John Ryan Murphy, to move Headley to third. Drew then laced a double to right that scored Headley easily.
Montgomery was charged with one run on four hits and two walks with four strikeouts in six innings of work in his debut. Sabathia was charged with two runs on nine hits and two walks with five strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings.
With the victory the Yankees improved their season ledger to 28-25 and they maintained their one-game lead over the second-place Tampa Bay Rays in the American League East. The Mariners are 24-28.
- Oddly enough, Jones’ three-run home run was his his second of the season. Jones, 33, also hit a pinch-hit three-run homer with one out in the eighth inning off right-hander Tanner Scheppers to draw the Yankees to within 10-8 of the Texas Rangers in a game the Yankees eventually lost 10-9 on May 22. At that point, Jones was batting .150 with no homers and one RBI. Since then, Jones is 9-for-19 (.474) and that surge just may have rescued Jones’ tenure with the Yankees.
- If you throw out Carpenter’s inability to get Jackson out in the sixth that lost the lead, the Yankees bullpen was spectacular the rest of the way. The Mariners had many chances to win the game but Chasen Shreve, Jacob Lindgren, Dellin Betances, Wilson and Miller combined to yield just one run on four hits and two walks with seven strikeouts in five innings. The biggest reason the Yankees are on first place is their formidable bullpen.
- Drew, 32, also may have saved his future with the team with his RBI double in the ninth and his clutch two-out single in the 11th. Drew entered the game batting .160 with five homers and 15 RBIs after he batted a combined .162 in 2014 with the Boston Red Sox and the Yankees. The Yankees hope that Drew can turn it around soon but the team’s other second baseman, Jose Pirela, is batting just .222. Second base prospect Rob Refsnyder is batting only .276 with two homers and 18 RBIs and he also has committed 11 errors in 46 games with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
- Carpenter, 29, was called upon to do one thing – get out Jackson with two outs and runners on first and third – and he failed to do it. Carpenter is 0-1 with a bloated 4.82 ERA despite being able to throw 95-mph fastballs. But Carpenter has given up 20 hits and seven walks in 18 2/3 innings (1.45 WHIP) covering 22 appearances. There is just no excuse for how awful he is pitching.
- Gregorius, 25, would have ended up with big goat horns if the Yankees ended up losing the game. Gregorius was on first on a pinch-hit single off right-hander Mark Lowe to lead off the seventh. Murphy followed with a hard-hit single to right that should have allowed Gregorius to reach third with no outs. However, Gregorius tripped over the second-base bag and ended up being thrown by Cruz. The young shortstop was 2-for-3 after entering the game but his mental mistakes and physical errors at short sometimes hurt this team.
Outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury likely will not return to Yankees off the 15-day disabled list until late June, general manager Brian Cashman told Michael Kay on ESPN Radio on Tuesday. Cashman said Ellsbury will wear an immobilizing brace on his right knee for at least another week. Then the 31-year-old veteran, who has not played since May 19, will have 10 days to resume baseball activities and perhaps begin a rehab assignment. Ellsbury is leading the team in batting (.324) and steals (19) with one homer and six RBIs.
The Yankees will have an opportunity to sweep the three-game series with Mariners on Wednesday.
Right-hander Masahiro Tanaka (2-1, 3.44 ERA) will come off the disabled list to start of the Yankees. Tanaka, 26, last pitched on April 23 and was sidelined with tendinitis in right wrist and tightness in his right forearm.
The Mariners will counter with right-hander Taijuan Walker (2-5, 6.18 ERA), who is baseball’s equivalent of the little girl with the curl. When he is good – like his last outing – he is really good. He shut out the Cleveland Indians on just two hits with no walks and eight strikeouts in eight innings on Friday. But his record and ERA indicate how bad he has been in his other nine starts.
Game-time will be 3:30 p.m. EDT and the game will be broadcast by the YES Network.
YANKEES 12, RANGERS 4
When Mark Teixeira came up to the major leagues with the Rangers, he learned a lot about hitting from his teammates Michael Young and Alex Rodriguez. On Wednesday night, it was obvious that the help they provided paid huge dividends as he got older.
Teixeira blasted a pair of home runs and drove in four runs to lead New York on an air assault on the Texas pitching staff in another laugher at Yankee Stadium.
Teixeira connected on a two-run home run hitting right-handed against left-handed starter and loser Derek Holland in the first inning to give the Yankees an early 2-0 lead. He later connected for another two-run homer in the sixth inning hitting left-handed off right-hander Mark Lowe to extend the Yankees lead to 9-4. It is the 11th time in his career that Teixeira has hit home runs from both sides of the plate in one game, tying him with Eddie Murray and Chili Davis for first on the all-time list.
It also was Teixeira’s 20th and 21st home runs of the season and ties him with teammate Curis Granderson and Toronto’s Jose Bautista for first in the major leagues. His two home runs were part of a five-home run barrage on the Rangers, giving the Yankees a major league-leading 103 home runs on the season.
Eduardo Nunez, who is replacing an injured Derek Jeter at shortstop, hit a solo home run in the fourth and Ramiro Pena, who was called up on Tuesday from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to replace Jeter on the roster, also homered in the sixth inning. Robinson Cano hit a three-run shot off Rangers closer Neftali Feliz in the eighth inning to close out the onslaught.
Ivan Nova (6-4) was the beneficiary of the run support. Nova gave up four runs on seven hits and three walks and struck out two batters over 5 2/3 innings to earn the victory.
The Yankees, meanwhile, pummeled Holland (5-2) for six runs on seven hits and five walks in only five innings. In the past two days, the Yankees have beaten two Ranger starters who were a combined 12-1 for 12 runs on 13 hits and six walks in 6 2/3 innings.
With the victory, the Yankees improved their season record to 38-28 and they are now a season-best 10 games over .500. They remain 1 1/2 games behind the Boston Red Sox in the American League East. The Rangers fell to 36-33.
- Teixeira has been on a huge tear since June 5. He is 10-for-32 (.313) during that span with five home runs and 15 RBIs. His four RBIs on Wednesday now give him the team lead in RBIs with 53, one better than Granderson. Teixeira and Granderson are the first Yankee teammates to have 20 or more home runs at this stage of the season since 1961 when Mickey Mantle had 22 and Roger Maris had 27.
- Nunez continues to impress after just two games replacing Jeter. He was 2-for-4 with a homer, a single and two stolen bases. In the last two games, he is 4-for-8 with two runs scored and two RBIs. He has raised his average to .250 from .214. In addition, Nunez turned 24 on Wednesday. Yankee players may start jokingly calling Jeter “Wally Pipp.”
- Cano’s home run was his 14th of the season and he now has 45 RBIs. Though he is far off his .363 batting average he had posted at this time last season, Cano is still producing in the No. 5 spot and no second baseman in the American League is close to his numbers.
- Pena was given a start at third base to allow Rodriguez to DH and he contributed a solo home run in the sixth inning off Rangers reliever Mark Lowe. Pena also added a single in the second inning and he finished 2-for-4 on the day.
- Despite Nunez’s fine day at the plate and on the bases, he also committed his sixth error of the season on a Josh Hamilton grounder to lead off the fifth inning. Nunez chose to play the ball off to the side and the ball bounded over his glove into center-field. It shows that although Nunez is a good hitter with execellent speed, he is still a work in progress in the field.
- Catcher Francisco Cervelli is still having issues with his throwing. In the first inning he was unable to throw out Ian Kinsler attempting to steal on a pitchout. Cervelli’s throw short-hopped past Nunez and rolled into center-field. Teams continue to take advantage of Cervelli’s throwing problems while starting catcher Russell Martin tries to recover from back stiffness.
- Nova was not sharp in his outing but he did seem to be able to limit the damage. In the first six innings, the Rangers left seven runners on base and Nova left with two outs in the sixth clinging to a 6-4 lead.
As expected, manager Joe Girardi announced that 32-year-old minor-league veteran Brian Gordon will start for the Yankees on Thursday. The Yankees signed Gordon as a free agent when he opted out of his contract with the Philadelphia Phillies’ Triple-A Lehigh Valley club. Hector Noesi, who warmed up in the fifth inning of Wednesday’s game but did not pitch, will remain as the long reliever in the bullpen. . . . The Yankees added right-handed reliever Cory Wade to the roster two days after signing him to a minor-league deal. Wade pitched the eighth inning on Wednesday and had a 1-2-3 inning with a strikeout. Wade was 2-1 with a 1.23 ERA for the Rays’ Triple-A Durham club but was released. The Yankees sent down right-hander Kevin Whelan to make room on the roster for Wade. . . . In addition, the Yankees transferred reliever Rafael Soriano to the 60-day disabled list. Soriano threw a bit on Tuesday but the Yankees were not convinced he had progressed enough to continue a throwing program. So Soriano will rest for at least a week before throwing again. Soriano has been sidelined since May 14 with right elbow inflammation. . . . Martin missed another game due to back pain. He has now missed seven of the last eight games. Girardi said although Martin’s back is better, he will start him until Martin can tell him the back pain is gone. . . . Jeter will not travel with the Yankees on their road trip to Chicago and Cincinnati but, instead, he will go to Tampa, FL, to begin a rehab program for his strained right calf. Jeter is eligible to return to the roster on June 29.
The Yankees have already won the season series with the Rangers and they have won the first two games of this three-game set. They will go for the sweep on Thursday.
The Yankees will substitute Gordon for Bartolo Colon, who is on the 15-day disabled list with a left hamstring strain. Gordon was 5-0 with an International League-best 1.14 ERA at Lehigh Valley. His only stint in the majors came with the Rangers in 2008. He gave up one run on four hits in four innings.
The Rangers will counter with left-hander C.J. Wilson (7-3, 3.09 ERA). Wilson is 3-0 with a 2.27 ERA in his last four starts. Wilson has not faced the Yankees this season. Last season, he was 0-1 with a 5.65 ERA against them.
Game-time will be 1:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be telecast nationally by the MLB Network and locally by the YES Network.