YANKEES 9, ASTROS 4
“It’s never over until it’s over.”
– Yogi Berra
KISSIMMEE, FL – This wise old saying should be on the lips of every young prospect in Major League Baseball. It certainly rang true for the young Yankee prospects on Saturday
Fueled by home runs Jake Cave and Greg Bird, New York scored two runs in the eighth inning and six runs in the ninth as New York rallied from a 4-1 deficit to stun Houston at Osceola County Stadium.
Through the first seven innings, Astros pitchers held the Yankees to one run (a Ramon Flores home run to lead of the sixth) and three hits but Cave started the rally with his solo home run to lead off the eighth off left-hander Darin Downs.
Nick Noonan then chased Downs by following Cave’s homer with a double. Then Jose Pirela greeted reliever Jordan Jankowski with an RBI triple to bring the Yankees to within 4-3. However, Pirela later in the inning was thrown out at home plate by first baseman Matt Duffy on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Bird to preserve the Astros’ 4-3 lead.
The Yankees then loaded the bases with one out in the ninth off Jankowski when Cave hit an infield roller for a single. Noonan drew a bases-loaded walk to tie the game and Pirela, one out later, gave the Yankees their first lead with a two-run single to left.
Jankowski was replaced on the mound by left-hander Kent Emanuel, who then balked to allow Noonan to score and Bird – later in the same at-bat – cracked a 410-foot home run to right-center that closed the scoring.
Chris Cotham (1-0) escaped a one-out jam with runners at second and third in the bottom of the eighth to get credit for the victory. Jankowski (0-1) took the loss.
The Yankees are 3-2 in the first week of Grapefruit League action.
Much has been said about how dysfunctional the Yankee’s minor-league system has been over the years. This spring maybe marks a stark change to the idea that the Yankees do not have much talent in their system.
Cave, Bird, Flores, Refsnyder and Pirela are prime examples the Yankees do have young position players who soon will be knocking on the door to get opportunities to play at Yankee Stadium.
As this blog pointed out in earlier posts, the Yankees have legitimately talented young players at every position:
CATCHER – Gary Sanchez, FIRST BASE – Bird, SECOND BASE – Pirela and Refsnyder, THIRD BASE – Eric Jagielo, OUTFIELDERS – Cave, Flores, Aaron Judge and Tyler Austin among others. The shortstop position has 25-year-old Didi Gregorius, who was acquired from the Arizona Diamondbacks.
If you add in young starting pitchers like Luis Severino (the team’s No. 1 prospect), Ian Clarkin and Domingo German and up-and-coming relievers such as Branden Pinder, Jacob Lindgren, Danny Burawa and Tyler Webb it becomes clear the Yankees might have a strong corps of young players who can contribute.
So while the 2015 season might hold a lot of dark clouds on how the Yankees will do with so many questions surrounding veterans like Mark Teixeira, Carlos Beltran, Alex Rodriguez and CC Sabathia. There is just a bit of hope for the near future.
Seeing it all play out with an eight-run rally in the final two innings in Kissimmee on Saturday was pretty fun to watch.
- Bird, 22, is batting a red-hot .444 in the early going and it is no accident. The 6-foot-3, 215-pound first baseman was named the Most Valuable Player in the Arizona Fall League for Scottsdale this winter and he has just picked up where he left off there. Bird likely will open the season at Double-A Trenton but he could possibly move up to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
- Refsnyder, 23, may have to work on his fielding at second since he is a converted outfielder but he can flat-out hit. After going 1-for-2 on Saturday he is batting an even .500 on the spring. He is a career .297 hitter in the minors and hit .318 in 137 games in two minor-league stops in 2014. He is ticketed for Scranton but he could advance to the major leagues should Stephen Drew get injured or fail to succeed in his switch to second base.
- Cave, 23, was 2-for-2 including his home run and now is hitting a scorching .571 early. Cave only has nine career minor-league home runs so power is not really his thing. Cave is more of line-drive gap hitter with some speed. The 6-foot, 180-pound Cave hit a combined .294 in two minor-league stops in 2014. He likely will start off in Trenton.
- Scott Baker, a 33-year-old former Minnesota Twins ace, started for the Yankees and was tagged for three runs on six hits as the Astros batted around in the first inning. Chris Carter smacked a two-run double and Luis Valbuena followed with an RBI single. Baker is a non-roster invitee trying to make the team as a spot starter and long reliever. Unfortunately, the Astros jumped on Baker’s fastball early in the count and did some damage because Baker’s fastball had very little movement. Baker was 3-4 with a 5.37 ERA in 25 games with the Texas Rangers last season and was rewarded with his release.
- The Yankees started their starting infield of Teixeira, Drew, Gregorius and Chase Headley. After leaving in the sixth inning they were a combined 2-for-11 with a walk. The exception was Teixeira, who smacked an opposite-field single in the second and lined out in the fourth. Teixeira is showing signs of recovering fully from his wrist surgery in 2013 and he also is sporting a trimmer look due to a new diet.
Masahiro Tanaka threw 29 pitches in a simulated game in Tampa, FL, on Saturday and told reporters later that he feels he is ready to pitch in exhibition games. “He’s exactly where you want him to be at this point in spring training,” Rothschild told reporters. . . . Rodriguez, 39, will play third base in one of the next two home games on Sunday or Monday, manager Joe Girardi told reporters on Saturday. In two previous spring games Rodriguez has been the designated hitter. Rodriguez is 1-for-4 with two walks and single in the early going.
The Yankees will play host to the Washington Nationals today at George M. Steinbrenner Field.
Right-hander Adam Warren will make his second start of the spring. Warren looked sharp in his first outing on Tuesday against the Phillies at Bright House Field In Clearwater, FL, giving up just one hit in two innings of work.
The Nationals will counter with veteran right-hander Doug Fister, who led the Nationals in 2014 with 16 victories and a 2.41 ERA.
Game-time will be 1:05 p.m. and the game will be broadcast on a delayed basis at 8 p.m. by the MLB Network and live by the YES Network. It also will be available on a live broadcast by WFAN in New York via MLB Radio.
YANKEES 9, BLUE JAYS 4
A lot of the experts predicted the Toronto Blue Jays would win the American League East in 2013 and that the injury-riddled New York Yankees would finish in last place. I wonder after watching Friday’s game at Roger’s Centre if those so-called “experts” feel the same way.
Andy Pettitte showed no signs of any problems with his back in pitching into the eighth inning and the Yankees teed off on the Blue Jays for three home runs – two of them by former Blue Jays – as New York pounded Toronto in front of a paid crowd of 40,028.
Pettitte (3-0) gave up three runs on six hits and one walk while he struck out five in 7 1/3 innings to notch his 23rd career victory against the Blue Jays. The 40-year-old left-hander had not pitched in 10 days because his spot in the rotation was skipped due to back spasms.
Meanwhile, the Yankees were able to build Pettitte a huge lead early against right-hander Brandon Morrow (0-2).
The Yankees scored two runs in the opening frame on Travis Hafner’s RBI double and a RBI groundout off the bat of former Blue Jays Vernon Wells.
They added three more runs in the third inning on Hafner’s fifth home run of the season and a two-base throwing on Toronto center-fielder Colby Rasmus that allowed two unearned runs to score.
The Yankees finally chased Morrow in the sixth when former Blue Jay Lyle Overbay led off with a solo home run and Francisco Cervelli slapped an opposite-field ground-rule double.
Jays manager John Gibbons replaced Morrow with left-hander Brett Cecil and Brett Gardner greeted him with an RBI triple. Robinson Cano then scored Gardner and on an RBI groundout to make the score 8-1.
Wells, who was booed heavily by Blue Jays fans each time he was introduced, closed out the scoring for the Yankees by slapping a line-drive home run to left off Cecil in the seventh.
Morrow gave up seven runs (five earned) on nine hits and one walk and he struck out four in 5 1/3 innings of work.
With the victory, the Yankees improved to 9-6. The Blue Jays fell to 7-10.
- Hafner’s early-season hot streak continued on Friday. He was 2-for-5 with a double, a home run, a run scored and two RBIs. He now leads in the team in hitting with a .349 average. He also is tied for the team lead in home runs with Cano with five and second to Cano in RBIs with 10.
- Wells and Overbay came back to the Rogers Centre with a vengeance. They were a combined 3-for-10 with a single, two home runs and three RBIs. Both were booed heavily throughout the game by the fans that used to cheer them. But they both also got a measure of revenge of against the team for which they used to toil.
- Pettitte did give up a leadoff triple to Rajai Davis that led to an RBI groundout by Melky Cabrera in the inning. He also gave up a two-run home run to Jose Bautista in the seventh following a Cabrera single. But the rest of night he was in command. He threw only 90 pitches on the night and 61 of them were strikes (68 percent). He also lowered his season ERA to 2.01.
- Kevin Youkilis was 0-for-4 and he is in a bit of batting slump over his past six games. He is 3-for-25 (.120) with no home runs or RBIs. That has lowered his season average from .424 to .293.
- Eduardo Nunez is also in a bit of a batting funk. He was 0-for-4 and his season average is at .206. Nunez got the news on Thursday that he will have a chance to start at shortstop until Derek Jeter returns after the All-Star break but he might lose the role to Jayson Nix if he does not produce.
- Shawn Kelley came in to pitch the final 1 2/3 innings and he could not resist giving up a solo home run to J. P. Arencibia with two outs in the ninth. Kelley has been tagged for four home runs in just seven innings over five appearances this season. His season ERA is 9.00.
For those baseball experts who thought the Yankees would be in big trouble without Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson on the disabled list and with free agents like Nick Swisher, Russell Martin, Raul Ibanez and Eric Chavez elsewhere here is a statistic for you to chew on. The Yankees lead the American League with 25 homers.
The Yankees will continue their weekend three-game series in Toronto on Saturday.
Right-hander Hiroki Kuroda (2-1, 2.87 ERA) will start for the Yankees. Kuroda is coming off a complete-game shutout against the Baltimore Orioles on Sunday. He gave up five hits, walked none and fanned five. Kuroda, 38, is 2-1 with a 4.67 ERA lifetime against the Jays.
The Jays will counter with left-hander Mark Buehrle (1-0, 7.31 ERA). Buehrle shut down his former Chicago White Sox teammates on just two runs for his first victory of the season. He is 1-8 with a 6.38 ERA in his career against the Yankees.
Game-time will be 1:07 p.m. EDT and the game will be telecast by the YES Network.
YANKEES 3, RANGERS 2
The final score on Wednesday should read Yankees 3, Rangers 0, Josh Hamilton 2.
On a night where a pair of mammoth solo home runs by Hamilton was all Texas could muster for an offense, Freddy Garcia and New York held on to take the first three games of a four-game series between the two top teams in the American League.
The Yankees scored three runs in the third inning off Rangers starter Scott Feldman (6-8) on an RBI double by Nick Swisher, a sacrifice fly off the bat of Curtis Granderson and a big two-out RBI single by the red-hot Eric Chavez.
That was all Garcia eventually would need. But Hamilton made it interesting by launching a 400-foot blast off Garcia into the second deck in right with one out in the fourth inning. It was the first regular-season home run Hamilton has hit in the new Yankee Stadium, which opened in 2009.
The home run also ended a drought of 20 innings in which the Rangers were held scoreless in this series by the Yankees.
The Rangers were able to load the bases on Garcia right after the Hamilton homer. However, Garcia was able to wriggle out of further trouble by inducing Geovany Soto to hit into an inning-ending double play.
But with one out in the sixth, Hamilton was able to connect off Garcia again with a moon shot measured at about 455 feet into second deck in right. It was his major-league leading 34th home run of the season.
But Garcia was able to complete 6 2/3 innings. Other than the two home runs, Garcia shut down the Rangers on just two other hits and a walk and he struck out six to win his third straight start. Garcia now has won five games since he was inserted into the rotation on July 2, which leads the team.
Garcia also is 5-0 with a 1.90 ERA in his last seven starts against the Rangers, dating back to 2004.
Jayson Nix, playing in place of an ailing Robinson Cano, opened the third against Feldman with an infield single, stole second and advanced to third on a lined single by Derek Jeter. Swisher, who was 3-for-8 with two home runs and seven RBIs in the first two games of the series, added to the Rangers’ misery with a bloop opposite-field double that landed just inside the line in left-field to score Nix while Jeter made it to third.
Granderson followed with a high fly to deep center that easily scored Jeter. Then, one out later, Chavez, who entered the day hitting .550 in his last five games, stroked an opposite-field single that scored Swisher.
But after that inning, Feldman got stingy and pitched around a lot of danger to keep the game close.
Feldman left after six innings having given up thee runs on seven hits and four walks and he struck out seven. After going 3-for-3 with runners in scoring position in the third, the Yankees were held to 0-for-8 the rest of the game and they stranded 10 runners.
Boone Logan replaced Garcia with two out and nobody on to retire pinch-hitter Michael Young to end the seventh. David Robertson then pitched a 1-2-3 eight, striking out two batters.
Rafael Soriano came on in the ninth and struck out Hamilton swinging and retired Adrian Beltre on a deep line drive to the warning track in left.
On a play in which Swisher dug out a one-hop throw from Chavez and stayed on the bag on a grounder off the bat of Nelson Cruz, first-base umpire Marty Foster incorrectly ruled that Swisher came off the bag for what was scored an error on Chavez. That added a bit of drama for the crowd of 45,921 who braved an hour and 45 minute rain delay in the Bronx to see this clash of A.L. titans.
But Soriano pitched around the error and retired David Murphy on a ground-ball force out to pick up his 29th save in his 31 opportunities this season.
With the victory, the Yankees have won seven out of their last eight games. They also have a streak of eight straight home victories over the Rangers that dates back to last season.
Their season record is now 70-47, the best record in the American League. The victory also gives the Yankees a six-game edge over the second-place Baltimore Orioles in the American League East. The Rangers fell to 67-49.
- What has been the biggest knock on the 2012 Yankees? Their supposedly suspect starting pitching, of course, with CC Sabathia and Andy Pettitte on the disabled list. But David Phelps, Hiroki Kuroda and Garcia have combined to give up just four runs on 12 hits and four walks and fanned 13 batters in 18 2/3 innings against a very good hitting Rangers team. That is a starters’ ERA of 1.93 and a WHIP of 0.86. This staff is better than they might seem just looking at their ERAs. In his nine starts since July 2, Garcia has not given up more than three earned runs in eight of them and he has an ERA of 3.69 in those starts.
- Chavez continues to turn back the clock to his 2001 season with Oakland in which he hit .288 with 32 home runs and 114 RBIs. Chavez was 3-for-3 with a walk and an RBI in the game. In his last six starts, Chavez is 14-for-23 (.609) with three home runs and seven RBIs. The 34-year-old veteran is doing more than his share filling in for an injured Alex Rodriguez.
- Swisher is just about as hot as Chavez. In the series he is 4-for-13 (.308) with two home runs and eight RBIs. In his last nine games, he is 13-for-39 (.333) with two home runs and 11 RBIs. His hot streak has raised his season batting average to .263.
- Some poor strategy and some poor execution of a bunt cost the Yankees a few potential chances to tack on to their lead. Ichiro Suzuki led off the sixth with an infield single. Instead of having Suzuki steal or having Nix bunt Suzuki over, manager Joe Girardi had Nix swing away and he hit into a double play. In the eighth, Nix did bunt after another leadoff infield single by Suzuki and Nix reached first because the bunt was so well placed. However, Jeter popped up his bunt attempt and reliever Mike Adams let it drop and turned it into a double play that killed the rally.
- Mark Teixeira had a night to forget. He was 0-for-4, struck out three times and he did not get a ball out of the infield. Teixeira entered the game with an eight-game hitting streak in which he was 11-for-32 (.344) with three homers and five RBIs.
- Russell Martin’s season from hell continues. The Rangers’ pitchers pretty much used the catcher, who entered the game hitting .199, as an escape hatch to big innings. Martin was 0-for-3 with a walk and he stranded seven runners. Martin lined out to right on the first pitch off reliever Alexi Ogando with the bases loaded in the seventh inning.
Cano was held out of Wednesday’s game due to a stiff neck, but Girardi said he did not think it was anything serious. Nix replaced Cano at second base and was 2-for-4 with a stolen base and a run scored. . . . In Rodriguez’s absence, Chavez, Nix and Casey McGehee have gone a combined 26-for-68 (.382) with seven homers, 15 RBIs and 17 runs scored in 19 starts at third base.
The Yankees can take out their brooms and complete a four-game sweep of the mighty Rangers on Thursday.
Right-hander Ivan Nova (11-6, 4.70 ERA) will get the start for the Yankees. Nova gave up two runs on five hits and a walk and struck out 10 in 7 1/3 innings to defeat the Toronto Blue Jays on Saturday. He is 2-1 with a 4.67 ERA in his career against the Rangers.
The Rangers will counter with left-hander Derek Holland (7-6, 4.92 ERA). Holland was locked in a pitching duel with Justin Verlander of the Detroit Tigers on Saturday. Holland struck out nine and retired 22 of the 24 batters he faced, but he settled for a no-decision. He may want to wear a batting helmet on the mound Thursday because he is 0-5 with a 9.26 ERA lifetime against the Yankees.
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.
YANKEES 3, RED SOX 2
Games can easily turn on the smallest things.
Up 2-0, the Red Sox loaded the bases with two out on the fifth inning and chased Yankees starter Bartolo Colon. But they failed to capitalize on it.
Tied at 2-2 in the sixth, Red Sox starter Jon Lester had just retired Robinson Cano on a bases-loaded double play. But Lester was unable to get out the inning without surrendering the lead.
Boone Logan (3-2) struck out American League batting leader Adrian Gonzalez with the bases loaded and two out in the fifth and Nick Swisher grounded a key two-out double over the bag at third to score Curtis Granderson with the tie-breaking run in the sixth as New York edged Boston to win their eighth straight game and reclaim sole possession of first place in the A.L. East.
The Yankees’ bullpen, ranked first in the major leagues in ERA, pitched 4 1/3 innings of scoreless baseball, giving up just two hits and no walks and striking out five to disappoint the Red Sox fans among of the 38,006 in attendance at Fenway Park on Friday evening.
The Yankees last stood atop the division alone on July 7. They can only surrender it completely if they lose the next two games with the Red Sox this weekend.
The Red Sox drew first blood on Colon in the third inning. Josh Reddick stroked a one-out single and Marco Scutaro followed by hitting into a fielder’s choice that erased Reddick. But Jacoby Ellsbury slammed a 3-2 fastball off the top of the Green Monster in center to score Scutaro from first easily.
The following inning, the Red Sox added a run on a two-out solo home run from David Ortiz. Colon was ahead of Ortiz in the count 1-2, but Ortiz was able to line a fastball over the Red Sox bullpen into the bleachers in right-center for his 21st home run of the season.
Lester, meanwhile, entered the sixth inning having given up only two hits, two walks and he had struck out seven. He had to feel pretty cocky, too, because he came into the game with a career record against the Yankees of 8-1 with a 3.56 ERA. But the Yankees, buoyed from Logan’s strikeout of Gonzalez in the fifth, mounted a rally that Lester could not escape.
Eduardo Nunez started it by drawing a 3-2 walk. Derek Jeter followed with a single up the middle and Curtis Granderson scored Nunez with the Yankees’ first run with a loop single into shallow center.
Lester (11-5) then walked Mark Teixeira to load the bases with no outs. However, Cano, who had a rough 0-for-4 evening with two strikeouts, hit into a 4-6-3 double play. Jeter scored from third to tie it at 2-2 but the once promising rally looked a lot bleaker with Granderson at third with two outs.
However, Swisher bounced a 1-1 pitch over the bag at third for a double that scored Granderson and gave the Yankees their first lead of the night. Because of the stellar work of the bullpen, it was all they needed.
Cory Wade, Rafael Soriano, David Robertson and Mariano Rivera followed Logan to the mound and maintained the lead. Rivera pitched a scoreless ninth, striking out the last two hitters looking, to record his 29th save in 33 chances this season.
The Yankees now have a season record of 69-42. The Red Sox, who were unable to bury the Yankees in the standings despite having their best record ever in the month of July (20-6), fell to 68-43.
- Logan has taken a lot of abuse from Yankee fans and the media this season, but he deserves the victory and all the kudos for saving the Yankees in the fifth. Since a disastrous outing against the Cincinnati Reds on June 20, Logan has allowed just four earned runs in his last 16 appearances spanning 13 1/3 innings (2.70 ERA) with only three walks and 20 strikeouts.
- Swisher’s clutch double was part of a 2-for-3 night with a walk. In his last 10 games, Swisher is hitting a sizzling (.368) with two home runs and seven RBIs. That has raised Swisher’s season average to .267. Swisher hit .326 in June and .323 in July to rescue his season after a miserable first two months.
- Granderson’s RBI single in the sixth now give him 86 on the season, which trails only Ryan Howard (87) of the Phillies and Gonzalez (91) for the major-league lead. His tie-breaking run-scored now give him 98, which leads Ellsbury by 15 runs for the major-league lead. Granderson is hitting .326 in his last 10 games with a home run and 10 RBIs.
- Having Soriano back certainly paid dividends in this game. With Logan and Wade splitting the sixth, the Yankees needed Soriano to bridge the seventh to get to Robertson and Rivera in the final two innings. He pitched a perfect inning, punctuating the good outing by striking out Ellsbury swinging for the final out. A healthy Soriano can be a huge key to bullpen the rest of the season.
- Colon did not pitch great but he really did not pitch awful either. After retiring the Red Sox on just one hit and having thrown 29 pitches in the first two innings, Ellsbury drew him into an eight-pitch at-bat that culminated with an RBI double. Colon simply got beat on a poor 1-2 pitch to Ortiz for the home run in the fourth. But the Red Sox put him through a grinding fifth in which he loaded the bases with two outs on 26 pitches. Having thrown 94 pitches, Girardi chose to use Logan to pitch Gonzalez and it worked out perfectly for the Yankees. Colon left having given up two runs on five hits and one walk and he fanned two in 4 2/3 innings.
- Cano ceratinly has had better days at the plate. He struck out his first two at-bats and seemingly ended a promising rally on Lester in the sixth by hitting into a double play. In the ninth he laced a line drive into the right-field corner but it was caught by rookie Josh Reddick. Cano’s 0-for-4 night dropped his average back under .300 at .298.
- Jorge Posada also looked lost hitting from the right side of the plate — as he has all season. He was 0-2 against Lester with a strikeout and a flyout that was turned into a double play when Andruw Jones got caught too far off first base. Posada also struck out hitting left-handed against reliever Matt Albers. Posada is hitting .234 on the season.
Girardi and the Yankees have decided to keep Ivan Nova on the roster through the three-game weekend series with the Red Sox. That means Phil Hughes will be available to the Yankees for long relief, if needed, on Saturday or Sunday. The Yankees currently are carrying 13 pitchers and only three bench players. But Nova’s one-run, 10-strikeout performance against the White Sox on Thursday kept him on the roster and reserve outfielder Chris Dickerson remains at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. It still is unclear if the Yankees intend to use a six-man rotation or what starter they will shift to the bullpen to resume a five-man rotation. . . . Alex Rodriguez increased his workload in his second day of rehab field workouts at the Yankees’ minor-league complex in Tampa, FL. Rodriguez was happy with the workout and said he is progressing in his recovery from right knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus.
The Yankees will have a chance to extend their season-high eight-game winning streak against the Red Sox on Saturday and drop them to two games back in the division standings.
They have the guy pitching who can do it, too. The Yankees will start left-handed ace CC Sabathia (16-5, 2.55 ERA). Sabathia was not sharp on Monday against the White Sox but gave up only two runs on 10 hits over eight innings to go 9-1 since June 14. Unfortunately, of his five losses this season, three have come to the Red Sox. He is 6-8 with a 3.88 ERA against them lifetime.
The Red Sox will counter with struggling veteran right-hander John Lackey (9-8, 6.23 ERA). Lackey gave up five runs on eight hits in 6 2/3 innings on Monday against the Indians. He has been the most inconsistent starter for the Red Sox this season. He is 7-8 with a 4.68 ERA against the Yankees in his career.
Game-time will be at 4:10 p.m. and the game will be telecast nationally by the FOX Sports.
letive-filled tirade after Tuesday night’s game when sportswriters had questioned him about his 0-for-8 start. After his single, Ortiz struck out his next two at-bats. . . . Though the atmosphere of the series was like October and the calendar indicated it was early April, the weather for the third game of the series was like July. The game-time temperature was 86 degrees. . . . Here is an obscure record: The Yankees set a record by winning their 17th consecutive game in which the game was tied at the end of seven innings. The previous record was held by the 1906 Giants, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. You think Rivera might have had something to do that record? . . . Granderson is the only major-league player with two home runs off Papelbon. . . . The last two Yankee victories have come down to winning the balltle of the bullpens. The last two games Red Sox relievers gave up four runs (three earned) on seven hits and five walks in seven innings. The Yankees’ bullpen, in contrast, gave up no runs, no walks and only three hits in eight innings. . . . Park’s effort was all the more remarkable because he has been battling flu-like symptoms for several days. Originally scheduled to pitch just an inning, he was so effective he ended up ptching two more innings. . . . Manager Joe Girardi opted to shelve Joba Chamberlain for Wednesday’s game after he threw 33 pitches Sunday night and nine more on Tuesday night. . . . The Yankees claimed first baseman-outfielder Chad Huffman off waivers from the Padres and assigned him to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Huffman, 24, hit 20 home runs and drove in 68 runs in batting .269 in 135 games at Triple-A Portland last season. The Yankees decided to pick up Huffman to fill a the last spot on their 40-man roster. Huffman, a former quaterback at Texas Christian, was a second-round pick of the Padres in the 2006 of the first-year player draft.