Tagged: Mike Pelfrey

A-Rod’s Slam Delivers Knockout Blow To Twins

GAME 118

YANKEES 8, TWINS 4

Great Major-League players soar to amazing peaks and yet they also can sink to some really deep valleys. The valley Alex Rodriguez was in entering Tuesday’s game was approaching the width of the Grand Canyon, having not gotten a hit in 18 at-bats and riding a 3-for-39 slide until he came to the plate in the seventh inning.

All of that changed with one big swing.

Rodriguez laced a 1-0 fastball into the Yankees bullpen in right-center for his 25th career grand slam to lead New York to a thrilling come-from-behind victory over Minnesota in front of 38,007 fans at Yankee Stadium.

Rodriguez’s 25th home run of the season and his first since his 40th birthday on July 27 came off right-hander T.J. Graham (0-1), who had inherited a bases-loaded, one-out jam from left-hander Ryan O’Rourke.

O’Rourke entered the seventh protecting a 4-1 Twins lead but Chase Headley led off with a pinch-hit single and Brendan Ryan drew a walk on a 3-2 pitch. One out later, O’Rourke also walked Brett Gardner on a 3-2 pitch to set the stage for Rodriguez’s heroics.

Rodriguez already had passed former Yankee great Lou Gehrig for the most career grand slams with No. 24 on Sept. 20, 2013 against the San Francisco Giants. No. 25 put the Yankees in the lead for the first time since the fourth inning and received a fevered request for a curtain call from the crowd, which Rodriguez obliged.

The Yankees added three more runs in the bottom of the eighth inning off Graham to pad their lead to four runs. Headley keyed the rally with a two-run double and Jacoby Ellsbury added an RBI single.

Rookie right-hander Nick Rumbelow (1-0), who was just called up from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre earlier in the day, allowed an RBI single in the seventh but completed the inning by striking out Aaron Hicks to earn his first Major-League victory.

Left-hander Andrew Miller pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings and struck out three to earn his 27th save in 28 chances this season.

The game began as a pitcher’s duel between Yankees left-hander CC Sabathia and Twins right-hander Mike Pelfrey.

Sabathia opened the game by throwing 4 1/3 innings of perfect baseball and he held a 1-0 lead after a one-out ground-rule double in the fourth off the bat of Carlos Beltran and the first Major-League RBI on a single by Greg Bird, who was in the lineup replacing an injured Mark Teixeira.

However, Sabathia allowed a one-out free pass to Trevor Plouffe in the fifth. One out later, Eduardo Escobar singled to right and Kurt Suzuki followed with a double down the left-field line that scored Plouffe.

However, Escobar was thrown out at the plate on a perfect relay from Garder in left to shortstop Didi Gregorius to catcher Brian McCann, who tagged Escobar for the final out of the inning.

The game remained tied until the top of the seventh when Sabathia issued a leadoff walk to Joe Mauer and Miguel Sano hit his next offering into the first row of the left-field bleachers for his ninth home run of the season and his third against the Yankees.

After Sabathia retired the next two batters, Escobar and Suzuki chased him from the contest with a pair of singles. Shane Robinson then greeted Rumbelow with an RBI single that extended the Twins’ lead to 4-1.

Sabathia, 35, was charged with four runs on five hits and three walks and he struck out five batters in 6 2/3 innings. Sabathia has not won a game since July 8 at home against the Oakland Athletics, a stretch of six starts.

Pelfrey, 31, was charged with one run on five hits and one walk with four strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings.

The Yankees have rebounded from a five-game losing streak to have posted five victories in their past six games. They are now 66-52 on the season and they have maintained their one-game lead in the American League East over the second-place Toronto Blue Jays.

The Twins have fallen under .500 to 59-60.

PINSTRIPE POSITIVES

  • Sabathia did pitch well but the Yankees never seem to score runs until after he leaves the game. It happened again on Tuesday. Though Sabathia is 4-9 with a 5.23 ERA, he has a 3.38 ERA in his past three starts. He also pitched deep into the seventh inning on a night the Yankees needed length from their starter after rookie right-hander Bryan Mitchell left Monday’s game with a nasal fracture in the second inning.
  • Rodriguez has always seemed to thrive on the big stage in the Bronx, NY, and he did again on Tuesday. It is not clear of his prolonged slump is over but he came up with a huge game-winning hit just when it was needed. With Teixeira nursing a bruised right shin the Yankees need Rodriguez to provide power and drive in runs. Though his season average has fallen to .261, he is second on the team in homers (25) and third in RBIs (67).
  • Headley came off the bench in the seventh and provided a single that began the four-run uprising in the inning and then he added a two-run double in the eighth to extend the lead to 7-4. Since the All-Star break, Headley os batting .327 with one home run and 20 RBIs. His clutch hitting has been overshadowed by McCann, Teixeira, Rodriguez and Beltran but he has been producing a lot under the radar.

NAGGING NEGATIVES

  • Just as they did last night with right-hander Kyle Gibson, the Yankees allowed Pelfrey to lull their bats to sleep with a steady diet of breaking pitches. Fortunately for the Yankees, the Twins eventually have to use their bullpen and it is a powder keg just awaiting a spark. In the past two nights, the Yankees are 12-for-32 (.375) against Twins relievers and they scored 10 runs on them in seven innings.

BOMBER BANTER

The Yankees placed Mitchell, 24, on the seven-day concussion disabled list after he sustained a small nasal fracture on a line drive off the bat of Eduardo Nunez in the second inning of Monday’s 8-7 victory in 10 innings. In addition the Yankees also optioned right-hander Caleb Cotham, 27, to Scranton and recalled Rumbelow and selected the contract of left-hander Chris Capuano from the same club. Manager Joe Girardi told reporters on Tuesday that it is possible that Mitchell could pitch in seven days depending how his recovery goes.  . . .  Teixeira, 35, was held out the lineup on Tuesday with a sore right leg after he fouled a pitch off himself in the sixth inning on Monday. Both X-rays and a CT scan indicate Teixeira has a deep shin bone bruise. But Girardi said it is unlikely to result in Teixeira being placed on the disabled list. Bird, 22, started in his place on Tuesday and was 2-for-4 with an RBI.

ON DECK

The Yankees can sweep the Twins in their three-game home series with a victory on Wednesday.

Right-hander Nathan Eovaldi (12-2, 4.26 ERA) will start for the Yankees riding an eight-game winning streak. Eovaldi yielded four runs on seven hits and three walks with four strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings in a victory against the Cleveland Indians on Thursday.

The Twins will counter with veteran right-hander Ervin Santana (2-3, 5.66 ERA). Santana, 32, was rocked for five runs on eight hits and two walks in six innings in a no-decision against the Texas Rangers on Friday.

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

 

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Yankees Down Twins In 10th On Nunez’s Misplay

GAME 117

YANKEES 8, TWINS 7 (10 INNINGS)

On a night where the team was literally battered, bruised and besieged leave it to a former New York Yankees shortstop to provide the Yankees with the mistake that handed them a hard-fought 10-inning walk-off victory at Yankee Stadium on Monday.

Chase Headley’s hard-hit bases-loaded grounder clanked off Eduardo Nunez’s glove just enough to allow Greg Bird to score the winning run as New York came back from a 7-5 deficit to beat Minnesota on what was Frank Sinatra Night.

And in true Sinatra-like fashion, the Yankees did their way.

Facing Twins closer Glen Perkins, Bird opened the inning with a line-drive double in the gap in right-center. The only reason Bird was in the game is starting first baseman Mark Teixeira was forced to leave the game in the sixth with a bruised right leg.

Brian McCann, who had driven in five runs on the night with a two-out three-run homer and a two-out two-run single earlier, delivered a double off the glove of left-fielder Eddie Rosario, which should have scored Bird easily with the winning run.

However, Bird went back to tag up at second base and was unable to score because Rosario got the ball in quickly.

With Bird at third and McCann on second, the Twins intentionally walked Carlos Beltran, who had tied the game up with one out in the sixth inning with a two-run home run. Twins manager Paul Molitor then replaced right-fielder Torii Hunter with infielder Eduardo Escobar and positioned him to give the Twins five infielders.

Headley then slapped a 1-2 pitch on two hops to Nunez at shortstop. But Nunez  –  who basically punched his ticket out of New York because of chronic fielding issues  –  allowed the ball to carom off his glove.

Nunez inexplicably threw to first base to retire Headley after Bird already had scored the decisive run.

I want to wake up in a city
That doesn’t sleep
And find I’m king of the hill
Top of the heap

The Yankees’ walk-off victory allowed them to extend their lead in the American League East over the idle Toronto Blue Jays to a full game.

But getting from Point A (the game) to Point B (the victory) proved extremely difficult despite the fact that McCann provided rookie right-hander Bryan Mitchell an early 3-0 lead on a night that CC Sabathia was scheduled to pitch but didn’t because Yankees manager Joe Girardi wanted to give all his starters an extra day of rest.

So the Yankees opened the first with Jacoby Ellsbury reaching on a single and Alex Rodriguez drew a one-out walk. One out later, McCann launched a 0-2 fastball off right-hander Kyle Gibson deep into the right-field bleachers for his 21st home run of the season.

The Twins got one of the runs back in the second inning when Rosario and Kurt Suzuki hit a pair of two-out singles and Nunez capped it by lining a wicked line drive that struck Mitchell in the face and the ball caromed into center-field to score Rosario.

Mitchell immediately fell to the ground with blood pouring profusely from his nose. Mitchell was able to walk off the mound with a towel covering his face with what later was diagnosed as a nasal fracture.

Girardi called upon rookie right-hander Caleb Cotham to replace Mitchell and Cotham was able to strike out Aaron Hicks to end the inning with Suzuki on third and Nunez on second after a stolen base.

But the Twins took advantage of the inexperienced Cotham in the third inning. Brian Dozier led off with a single and, one out later, Miguel Sano stroked his eighth home run of the season into the left-field bleachers.

Forced to leave Cotham in because the Yankees were a man short in the bullpen with Mitchell starting, Trevor Plouffe exploited it by singling to right and Hunter reached on a fielder’s choice in which shortstop Didi Gregorius mishandled his ground ball for an error and it allowed Plouffe to reach third.

Rosario followed with an RBI single to center and the Twins took a 4-3 lead.

But the Yankees reclaimed the lead in the bottom of the frame after Ellsbury singled, Brett Gardner walked and Rodriguez hit a hard-hit grounder that caromed past Plouffe into left-field for an error. Ellsbury, however, was thrown out at home plate on a throw from Rosario. It was his 11th outfield assist of the season.

Because the Twins were running the bases every chance they got in the game, Rodriguez decided to steal a base on a befuddled Gibson. That proved to be a very smart move.

One out later, McCann dumped a bloop single to right that allowed both Gardner and Rodriguez to score. The Yankees reclaimed the lead 5-4.

But it did not last for even one hitter in the fourth. The Twins again exploited Cotham when Hicks led off with his eighth home run of the season into the Yankees bullpen in right-field.

Two batters later Cotham left in favor of left-hander Chasen Shreve after being charged with four runs on six hits in just two innings.

But the normally reliable Shreve was ambushed in the fifth inning when Plouffe led off by cracking a 1-2 pitch that also landed in the Yankees bullpen for his 18th home run of the season.

Plouffe extended the Twins’ lead to 7-5 with two out in the sixth. After Joe Mauer and Sano reached on two-out singles off left-hander Justin Wilson, Plouffe followed with an RBI single to left.

But the seesaw game swung back again in the sixth inning after Teixeira battled Gibson to draw an 12-pitch walk. Bird pinch-ran for Teixeira after the veteran first baseman fouled a pitch off his right leg earlier in the at-bat.

Molitor replaced Gibson with left-hander Brian Duensing. After Duensing struck out McCann, Beltran tied it 7-7 with his 13th home run of the season and his third homer in his past four games.

Gibson, who entered the contest with an ERA over 10.00 in four career starts against the Yankees, was charged with six runs on four hits and three walks and struck out two in five-plus innings.

The game remained tied despite the fact the Yankees loaded the bases with one out against first left-hander Ryan O’Rourke and then right-hander Casey Fien. The Yankees had McCann and Beltran up with the bases loaded but McCann was retired by Fien on a weak infield popup and Beltran struck out swinging.

But the Yankees bullpen trio of right-hander Adam Warren (seventh), right-hander Dellin Betances (seventh, eighth and ninth) and left-hander Andrew Miller (10th) held the Twins to one hit and one walk and struck out five in the final four innings to set up the walk-off victory in the 10th.

Miller (1-2) was credited with his first victory of the season in relief. Perkins (1-4) took the loss.

The Yankees improved their season record to 65-52. The Twins dropped to 59-59.

Yes, there were times, I’m sure you knew
When I bit off more than I could chew
But through it all, when there was doubt
I ate it up and spit it out
I faced it all and I stood tall
And did it my way

PINSTRIPE POSITIVES

  • McCann had himself a MVP-like night after going 3-for-5 with a single, double, home run, a run scored and five RBIs. The five RBIs tied a career high, which he has done six times. You think that was good? Well, how about his work behind the plate? McCann threw out three Twins base-runners to become the first Yankees catcher to do that since Jose Molina did it 2011 against the Boston Red Sox. McCann threw out Dozier in the fourth, Hunter in the fifth and Nunez in the seventh.
  • Beltran’s hot streak in August continued in a big way on Monday. He was only 1-for-4 but that one was a game-tying home run. This season eight of Beltran’s 13 home runs have either tied or given the Yankees a lead. Beltran is batting .317 with five homers and nine RBIs halfway through the month. It appears Beltran is tired of being platooned with Chris Young and he now has become a must-start every day.
  • Let’s give a shout out to Brian Cashman for having the foresight to release “Eduardo Scissorhands” (Nunez) on April Fool’s Day of 2014. That seems appropriate since Nunez committed 42 errors in 270 games with the Yankees between 2010 and 2013.  Now he is the Twins’ problem and his shaky fielding handed the Yankees a victory. “It’s all my fault,” Nunez told reporters. “The pitcher did his job. I have to do my job and make the play. It’s all on my back. This game. I think I lost the game.” Well said, Scissorhands!

NAGGING NEGATIVES

  • I have no idea what the Yankees see in Cotham, 27. He looked tentative on the mound and he seemed absolutely afraid to throw a pitch in the strike zone. It might get hitters to swing out of the zone at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre but not in Major League Baseball. There is a strong possibility that Cotham will be shipped back to Scranton now that he is sporting a 7.36 ERA in just two games.
  • Rodriguez’s struggles continue and they are getting worse. He was 0-for-4 with a walk, which means he is now in a 3-for-37 (.081) skid since Aug. 6. His season average has sunk 19 points from .281 to .262 and he struck out 10 times in those 37 at-bats. He was rested on Saturday so that is not an excuse. Perhaps he needs to be lowered in the order. That is what got him going early in the season.

BOMBER BANTER

X-rays of Mitchell indicated a small nasal fracture but the team is also going to monitor the 24-year-old right-hander for concussion symptoms. He is expected to be placed on the 15-day disabled list prior to Tuesday’s game.  . . .  Precautionary X-rays taken on Teixeira’s right leg just above his knee were negative. Teixeira, 35, was unable to put any pressure on the leg after the game and he is listed as day-to-day.  . . .  As part of a salute to the late Frank Sinatra on Monday, his son Frank Jr. sang the national anthem before the game and the first 18,000 fans (21 and over) were given free Frank Sinatra music download cards.

ON DECK

A battered and tired Yankee team will resume its three-game home series with Twins on Tuesday.

Sabathia (4-9, 5.23) will pitch for the Yankees with that extra day of rest. Despite giving up two runs on nine hits and two walks in six innings against the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday, the Yankees gave him just one run of support and he took the loss.

Veteran right-hander Mike Pelfrey (6-7, 3.70 ERA) will pitch for the Twins. He held Texas Rangers to one run on four hits and one walk with four strikeouts in seven innings of a 11-1 victory on Wednesday.

Game-time will be 7:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be broadcast by the YES Network.

 

‘Homeboy’ A-Rod Boosts Yankees Over Marlins

GAME 31

YANKEES 5, MARLINS 2

When Alex Rodriguez was a teenager in Miami he dreamed of replacing Dan Mario as the starting quarterback of the Dolphins and having his friends watch him in the Orange Bowl. Years later, friends and family watched as he starred for the Yankees in a baseball game against the hometown Marlins in their new park.

Rodriguez drove in three runs and his two-run double in the fifth inning broke a 2-2 tie as New York registered its second victory of a two-game series against Miami in a Grapefruit League exhibition game on Monday at Marlins Park.

Rodriguez followed a bases-loaded walk to Robinson Cano by Marlins starter Carlos Zambrano in the third inning with a sacrifice fly to left that gave the Yankees a 2-1 lead. After the Marlins tied it up the fourth inning, Rodriguez chased Zambrano with a double off the center-field wall in the fifth to score Curtis Granderson and Cano.

The Yankees opted not to obtain Zambrano in a trade with the Cubs last season and Yankee fans saw the reason why. Zambrano (0-3) gave up five runs on four hits and a mind-numbing seven walks in four-plus innings. The Marlins’ No. 4 starter ended his spring with a 6.23 ERA.

Meanwhile, the Yankees got good efforts out of No. 2 starter Hiroki Kuroda and No. 3 starter Phil Hughes.

Kuroda gave up one run on three hits and one walk while striking out two in his three innings of work. Hughes scattered five hits, walked one and struck out four in his four scoreless innings of relief.

Rafael Soriano (1-0) pitched a scoreless one-third of an inning to get credit for the victory. David Robertson pitched a perfect ninth with two strikeouts to collect a save.

With the victory, the Yankees are now 17-11 this spring and they are 12-3 with three ties since March 14. The Marlins end up with a 11-14 spring record.

PINSTRIPE POSITIVES

  • It is always good to see Rodriguez driving in runs from the cleanup spot. That is something the team sorely missed last season when he played in only 99 games due to an assortment of injuries. With his three RBIs on Monday, Rodriguez is second on the team with 14 RBIs this spring. Cano’s bases-loaded walk gave him one more at 15.
  • Kuroda looked sharp in his tuneup for his game against the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday. Kuroda gave up a leadoff double in the first inning to Jose Reyes and Hanley Ramirez scored him one out later with a single to left. He shut down the Marlins over his next two innings. He ends the spring with a 2.92 ERA.
  • It appears that the Yankees have the 2010 version of Hughes healthy and ready to start the season. Hughes was 18-8 in 2010 but right shoulder weakness ruined his 2011 season. Hughes lost weight in the winter and compiled a 1.92 ERA this spring to earn the No. 3 spot in the rotation. Amid all the hoopla over Kuroda, Michael Pineda and Andy Pettitte coming back, Hughes just went about his business and he looks primed for a good 2012 season.
  • The Yankees were very lucky that the right foot injury to Robertson was just a bruise. He looked dominant in his one inning of work and he will join Soriano and Mariano Rivera to form a back end of the bullpen that can be called “The Bermuda Triangle” of runs.

NAGGING NEGATIVES

  • Raul Ibanez entered the game riding a torrid hot streak over the past week where he has hit three home runs. However, he was 0-for-4, including a strikeout and grounding into an inning-ending double play. His average dropped to .155 but manager Joe Girardi and the Yankees are still very proud of the way Ibanez handled the adversity of his slump this spring.
  • Sloppy play cost the Yankees a run in the fourth. Logan Morrison doubled to lead off the frame against Boone Logan and Gaby Sanchez singled to right, which would have advanced Morrison to third. However, Nick Swisher overran the ball and Morrison was able to score on the play.
  • Though the Yankees did score five runs and win the game, their offense did not really take full advantage of the nine walks they received from the Marlins. They were 2-for-7 with runners in scoring position and Mark Teixeira, Swisher and Ibanez combined to leave a total of eight runners on base.

BOMBER BANTER

With the starting rotation set, Girardi has to make only two decisions for the bullpen. One is whether to keep Clay Rapada, 30, as a second lefty with Logan. The elbow injury to Cesar Cabral pretty much cleared the way for Rapada to make the team. The other decision is with Micahel Pineda on the disabled list, who among David Phelps, D.J. Mitchell or Adam Warren will make the team as a long reliever  –  a role Hector Noesi filled last season.  . . .  Outfielder Justin Maxwell, 28, has had an exceptional spring, hitting .317 with five doubles and 11 RBIs. But the Yankees have no room on the roster for him and he is out of options to the minors. So the Yankees might look to trade him.  . . .  After saying Pettitte would not pitch in a spring exhibition game on Sunday, Girardi said on Monday that Pettitte could pitch an inning of a game on Wednesday. If he does not, Pettitte instead will pitch in a minor-league game on Thursday.

ON DECK

The Yankee regulars are on their way back home to Tampa, FL. The reserves, non-roster players and minor-league rookies are headed to Port Sr. Lucie, FL., for an exhibition game against the New York Mets on Tuesday. This will be the teams’ first spring meeting since 1998.

No. 4 starter Ivan Nova is scheduled to get the ball for the Yankees. Right-hander Mike Pelfrey and left-hander Jonathan Niese are scheduled to pitch for the Mets.

Game-time will be 2:10 p.m. EDT and the game will be broadcast nationally by the MLB Network and locally by the YES Network.

 

Yankees Erupt For 8 in Seventh To Destroy Mets

GAME 45

YANKEES 9, METS 3

I have said it. Yankees manager Joe Girardi has said it. The broadcasters on TBS hit us over the head with it for 6 1/2 innings. But finally the Yankees erupted with hits with runners in scoring position. Eight runs later and the game was a rout.

The Yankees interrupted the Mets’ 3-1 victory and the taking the road version of the Subway Series with eight runs in the seventh inning, keyed by a game-tying two-run single by Derek Jeter and a base-loaded RBI dribbler to third by Alex Rodriguez that put the Yankees ahead for good.

The inning took 26 minutes, four Mets pitchers, 35 pitches, 14 batters, six hits, a sacrifice bunt, a hit batter, a walk and one Met error. After Rodriguez’s hit, Robsinson Cano followed with an RBI single of his own and Brett Gardner and Chris Dickerson made it a rout with back-to-back bloop hits that fell into left that drove in two runs apiece.

Luis Ayala (1-0), who relieved starter Ivan Nova and retired the only batter he faced in the top of the seventh and added a perfect eighth, was credited with the victory. Mets starter Mike Pelfrey (3-4) was saddled with the loss. He gave up five runs on eight hits and two walks and struck out four in six-plus innings.

Leading the game 3-1, Pelfrey started the seventh by giving up a solid single to Gardner up the middle. He then walked Dickerson and nailed Francisco Cervelli in the left shoulder with a pitch Cervelli was attempting to bunt. Jeter then followed with his two-run single that tied the game and Pelfrey was removed from the game by manager Terry Collins. With left-hander Tim Byrdak on the mound, Curtis Granderson bunted to move Cervelli and Jeter up a base. Byrdak then walked Mark Teixeira intentionally to load the bases for Rodriguez.

Collins summoned right-hander Pedro Beato and Rodriguez tapped a dribbler slowly to third baseman Willie Harris, who had no play, allowing Cervelli to break the 3-3 tie. Cano followed with his his RBI single and the Yankees added four more runs to leave no doubt who the better team was this weekend.

With the victory, the Yankees improved the season ledger to 25-20 and they remain in a virtual tie with the Tampa Bay Rays for first place in the American League East. The Mets dropped to 22-24.

PINSTRIPE POSITIVES

  • Rodriguez collected four hits in the game. All of them were singles and two were infield hits, but the 4-for-5 game raised A-Rod’s average to .284, which is currently the highest the average among all the Yankee regulars. He was 7-for-13 in the weekend series. If his surgically repaired hip is bothering him in any way it has not affecting his hitting at all.
  • Jeter also did well in the Subway Series, as he has done in the past. He was 5-for-12 with three runs scored and two RBIs over the weekend. He raised his batting average to .268 and the two hits bring him to within 25 hits of 3,000 for his career.
  • Chris Dickerson was inserted into the starting lineup to replace a struggling Nick Swisher and ended up 2-for-3 with a walk, a run scored and two RBIs. In limited play, Dickerson is 4-for-8 and he is a much better defensively than Swisher in right-field.
  • TBS play-by-play man Brian Anderson harped all over the Yankees for the entire game about how terrible they have been with runners in scoring position this season. By the time the bottom of the seventh rolled around, the Yankees appeared to be motivated to shut him up and they did. They were 5-for-10 with RISP in the game. The only home run of the game came from Granderson in the first inning. It was his 16th of the season. So much for living and dying by the home run.
NAGGING NEGATIVES
  • Nova was touched for three runs on 11 hits and a walk over his 6 2/3 innings of work. On the surface that seems real bad. However, Nova gave up only singles and he pitched out of trouble enough to strand seven runners over seven innings. He also was helped by a pair of double plays. So although Nova was seemingly in trouble most of the day, he did deliver a quality start.
  • Teixeira was 0-for-4 in the game with one strikeout and he did not manage to get a ball out of the infield. His batting average dropped to .248.
  • Nova’s biggest problem of the day was not the 11 hits he gave up but in fielding his position. In the second inning he failed to turn two comeback grounders into double plays and it led to the Mets scoring all three of their runs in that inning. Jeter also made an error that inning, dropping a perfect throw from Cervelli to nab a stealing Jason Pridie. The Yankees are 12th in the AL in fielding despite the fact they have Gold Glove winners at every infield position, including catcher.
ON DECK

The Yankees, fresh off their defense of the home portion of the Subway Series, will play host to the Toronto Blue Jays on Monday in the opener of a three-game set. Bartolo Colon (2-2, 3.16 ERA) will start for the Yankees coming off his most dominant start of the season on Wednesday against the Baltimore Orioles. Colon shutout the Orioles on three hits over eight innings. But he did not get a decision in the game because Mariano Rivera blew his third save of the season. Colon is 8-2 with a 3.09 ERA in his career against Toronto. The Blue Jays will start right-hander Carlos Villanueva (1-0, 1.48 ERA). Villanueva is making his first start since  the 2009 season. He has 21 strikeouts in 24 1/3 innings in the bullpen. He has never faced the Yankees in his career.
Game-time will be 7:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be telecast by the YES Network.

Yankees’ 2 Homers Boost Hughes To His 10th Victory

GAME 68
YANKEES 5, METS 3

Phil Hughes got more run support for his 10th victory of the season Saturday than Andy Pettitte and Javier Vazquez combined  in their previous starts this week. 

But that has been happening to Hughes all season long as his seven strong innings and two-run home runs from Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira led the New York Yankees to a 5-3 victory over their crosstown rival New York Mets at Yankee Stadium.

The victory snapped a three-game losing streak in which the Yankees scored four runs on 17 hits.

Hughes (10-1) was tagged for consecutive solo and two-run home runs by Jose Reyes but otherwise shut the Mets down on eight hits and three walks to avenge his only defeat of the season May 22 to Saturday’s losing pitcher Mike Pelfrey (9-2) and the Mets at Citi Field.

With the victory the Yankees’ season record improved to 42-26 and they remain tied with the Tampa Bay Rays for  first place in the A.L. East. The Mets dropped to 39-29.

YANKEE POSITIVES

  • With his two-run home run in the third inning, Teixiera has now hit in nine of his past 11 games. The home run was his 11th of the season and now has 40 RBIs. The home run off Pelfrey tied the game for the second time at 3-3.
  • Granderson’s blast landed over the auxiliary scoreboard in right field and was Granderson’s fourth home run in his past 17 games.  He has six home runs on the season. 
  • Robinson Cano did not drive in a run or score a run in the game, but he did manage to go 2-for-3 including a double. The current leader for the American League MVP Award is leading the major leagues in hitting with a .371 average.
  • Give Hughes credit for a quality start. If you take away the two Reyes home runs, the Mets were held scoreless on three hits. Hughes also has the distinction of never having surrendered a lead he has been given this season. 
  • Joba Chamberlain and Mariano Rivera combined on two scoreless innings —  just the way the Yankees have drawn it up this season. Chamberlain recorded his 15th hold and Rivera earned his 16th save in 17 chances.
THE NEGATIVES

  • Despite the fact he tied the score in the first inning, Teixeira hit into a very costly double play with Brett Gardner at third and Nick Swisher on first on back-to-back singles. Gardner scored but the two outs effectively killed the inning dead in its tracks.
  • With Alex Rodriguez resting his sore hip at the DH spot and Derek Jeter out of the lineup with a bruised heel, the Yankees started Ramiro Pena at shortstop and Kevin Russo at third base.  Pena batted eighth and Russo batted ninth and they combined to go 1-for-7. (Pena singled to left in the second inning) You could tell that Pelfrey was trying to use the pair to escape potential big innings. Pelfrey walked Granderson with one out and one on in the sixth inning and got out of the inning by retiring Pena and Russo.
  • Don’t be fooled into thinking the Yankees hitting slump is over quite yet. They started the first four innings with five runs on seven hits. They did not have but one hit the rest of the game (Cano’s eighth inning double  which was actually catchable ball lost in the sun by Angel Pagan) So do not plan the ticker-tape parade down the Canyon of Heroes just yet.
  • For the second game in a row walking the No. 9 hitter cost a Yankee pitcher dearly. On Friday night, Chan Ho Park walked rookie Ruben Tejada, which led to two run eighth inning. Hughes walked catcher Henry Blanco in the third inning and then gave up his second home run to Reyes.
DIAMOND NOTES

Jeter was a late scratch from the lineup on Saturday with a bruised right heel he aggravated trying to leg out an infield hit in Friday’s game.  Jeter received treatment for the injury and he is listed as day-to-day. It was only the second game the Yankee captain has missed this season.  . . .  Hughes, the Yankees’ No. 5 starter, leads the A.L. in victories and his 3. 17 ERA is the top 10 in the league. So it is safe to assume he is heavy favorite to be invited to the All-Star Game in Anaheim, CA. Hughes grew up in nearby Santa Ana and would love to make the trip.  . . .  A.J. Burnett pitched a bullpen session on Saturday and pronounced himself ready to pitch on Monday in Arizona. Burnett was struck on the right foot by a ball off the bat of Wilson Alvarez in the second inning of Wednesday’s 6-3 loss to the Phillies. Burnett remained in the game but felt pain in the foot on Thursday.
THE NEXT GAME

The Yankees will try to win the home portion of the Subway Series on Sunday and tie the season series with the Mets.
CC Sabathia (7-3, 4.00 ERA) will pitch for the Yankees in a battle of former Cy Young Award winners. In his last start against the Phillies on Tuesday, Sabathia gave up three runs in seven innings to win his third straight start. Sabathia’s last loss came against the Mets on May 23. He gave up five earned runs (six overall) on 10 hits in five innings. Sabathia is 2-1 with a 3.15 ERA against the Mets in three career starts.
The Mets will call on their ace, Johan Santana (5-3, 3.13 ERA). In his last start in Cleveland on Tuesday night, Santana gave up four runs on seven hits and two walks in seven innings. Santana already bested Sabathia in that May 23 game at Citi Field. But last season Santana was tagged for nine runs in three innings at Yankee Stadium.
Game-time will be at 1:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be broadcast nationally by TBS and locally by the YES Network.

CC Shows Teammates, Mets He’s Just Fine

YANKEES 9, METS 1


Manager Joe Girardi was nervous about CC Sabathia before his start against the New York Mets on Friday night.
But it did not take him long to relax as Sabathia baffled the Mets for seven strong innings and he even added a run-scoring single as the New York Yankees routed their injury-depleted crosstown rivals 9-1 in the first Subway Series game to be played at Citi Field.
Sabathia had lasted only 1 1/3 innings and 28 pitches in his last outing against the Florida Marlins before Jorge Posada insisted their was something wrong with the ace lefty. Sabathia admitted to Girardi that he had some tendinitis in left bicep and Girardi was unsure how Sabathia would pitch on Friday.
He need not have worried a bit.
Sabathia threw four perfect innings at the Mets and only faltered in the fifth inning. He gave up a leadoff home run to former Yankee Gary Sheffield and singles to Fernando Tatis and rookie Nick Evans before ending the threat with strikeouts of Omir Santos and pinch-hitter Argenis Reyes.
The Mets did not get a hit the rest of the evening.
Sabathia (8-4) went seven innings, giving up just the three hits, no walks and struck out eight batters. Veteran righthander Brett Tomko pitched a pair of scoreless and hitless innings to finish the game.
“You never want to come out of the game or miss a start and put that kind of stress on the bullpen, but I definitely felt a lot better today,” Sabathia told MLB.com. “The ball was coming out free and easy, so I have to say it was kind of like a blessing in disguise.”

The Yankees also are riding a wave of offense that has seen the team score 28 runs in their last three games following a stretch where the team scored just 18 runs in the previous seven games, two of those games they were shut out.
On Friday their victim was Mike Pelfrey (5-3). However, Pelfrey was also done in by some really shaky defense that helped contribute to a four-run Yankees outburst in the second inning. Only two of the runs were earned.
Melky Cabrera opened the inning with a swinging bunt that sent a ball bounding slowly towards third, David Wright fielded the ball but threw the ball past Evans at first, allowing Cabrera to advance to second. 
After one out, Ramiro Pena, subbing for an ill Derek Jeter, flicked a double down the leftfield line to score Cabrera. Sabathia, in his first at-bat of the season, then sent the first pitch he saw up the middle for a single to score Pena.
But the Mets, who have been plagued all season by injuries to starters such as Carlos Beltran, Jose Reyes and Carlos Delgado, were not finished playing hot potato with the baseball. Shortstop Alex Cora threw the ball past second baseman Luis Castillo on a force attempt that scored Sabathia.
Evans then inexplicably kicked an easy grounder off the bat of Mark Teixeira that allowed Brett Gardner to score, giving Sabathia an easy cushion the rest of the way.
Pelfrey did manage to settle down after the second inning to retire 11 of the next 12 batters he faced. But manager Jerry Manuel was forced to pinch-hit for him in the fifth inning and the Yankees took out the lumber to a very shaky Mets bullpen in the final two innings.
Gardner, who ended the game with a career-best five hits, three runs scored and two RBI, started the inning that put the Mets away for good with a home run off Elmer Dessens down the right field line, his third homer of the season.
Following a one-out walk to Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez drove the first Dessens offering into right-center for a two-run home run, the 564th of his career to pass former Yankee legend Reggie Jackson — who was at the game — for 11th place on the all-time home run list.

“It’s nice — it feels good,” Rodriguez told MLB.com. “And the fact that he’s here is also very nice. It’s good to win another game and play like we expect.”

The Yankees added two runs in the ninth off Mets lefty Sean Green with an RBI triple from Gardner and single from Johnny Damon to score Gardner with Yankees ninth run of the night.
“I just got lucky the first couple at-bats, got some balls to fall in,” Gardner told MLB.com. “Then I managed to take advantage of some pitches to hit later in the game.”

The Yankees managed to keep pace with the Boston Red Sox in the American League East. The victory kept them four games behind Boston, who also won on Friday. The Blue Jays also won to stay 1 game in back of the Yankees in third place in the division.
The Yankees have now won three of four games in the Subway Series and they will need only a victory on Saturday or Sunday to claim their first season series win over the Mets since 2003. To help accomplish that feat the Yankees will send righty A.J. Burnett (5-4, 4.24 ERA) to the mound on Saturday.
Burnett pitched well in his last outing against the Florida Marlins, allowing just one in 6 1/3 innings and he struck out eight batters, but he lost the game to Josh Johnson by a 2-1 score. He shut out the Mets over seven innings in a 15-0 drubbing on June 14.
Burnett’s opponent will be Tim Redding (1-2, 6.08 ERA), who pitched into the eighth inning his last time out to earn his first victory of the season. 
Gametime is 7:10 p.m. EDT.
NOTES . . . Jeter missed his first career contest versus the Mets on what was also his 35th birthday. Jeter was afflicted with a hacking cough as part of the same flu bug that shelved Melky Cabrera on Thursday night. Jeter is listed as questionable for Saturday’s game also . . . In addition to Jeter, the Yankees also were not playing with starters Jorge Posads and Nick Swisher. Posada was just given the night off so that catcher Francisco Cervelli could work with Sabathia. Swisher was just held out in order to let Gardner start and bat leadoff in place of Jeter. Swisher did enter the game in the ninth inning at first base to replace Teixeira . . . It is bad news for outfielder Xavier Nady, who was on a rehab assignment at Scranton-Wilkes Barre for a slight tear in a ligament in his right elbow. Nady felt pain while making a throw Thursday night and walked off the field
in the fifth inning. It appears Nady is headed for Tommy John ligament replacement surgery and he is likely to miss 12 months. The outfielder, acquired from Pittsburgh last July, has been sidelined since hurting the elbow on April 14 at Tampa Bay. He is scheduled to be re-examined on Tuesday by Dr. Lewis Yokum in Los Angeles. His contract with the Yankees expires at the end of the season . . . Gardner’s career-best five hits raised his average from .281 to .302. He is leading all American League rookies in stolen bases with 17 though his is not considered a starter.

A-Rod, Yankees Have Lowe Down on Braves

YANKEES 11, BRAVES 7


Alex Rodriguez did not look like he needed any rest Thursday night.
But if it were up Braves manager Bobby Cox and starting pitcher Derek Lowe, the Yankee third baseman could of had the courtesy to rest just this one day for their sake. 
A much perkier A-Rod rapped out three hits, including a solo home run, and drove in four runs as the New York Yankees outscored the Atlanta Braves 11-7 at Turner Field.
The A-Rod home run in the first inning was his 563rd of his career and tied him with another enigmatic Yankees icon, Reggie Jackson, for 11th place on the all-time home run list. The blast to centerfield off Lowe also gave the Yankees a 2-0 lead.
Rodriguez added to that lead in the second inning with a solid single to center to drive in Derek Jeter, who had reached on an infield single. That gave the Yankees a 3-1 lead and the Yankees never relinquished that lead the rest of the evening, though Andy Pettitte and some Yankee defenders sure came close to doing it.
A-Rod also made Cox and the Braves pay dearly for a bit of strategy Cox employed in the seventh inning. After the Yankees took a 8-1, the Braves had rallied back to 8-6 in the fourth. The Yankees then appeared to be getting their newly rejuvenated offense going again.
After one out, Jeter again reached on a single. Johnny Damon then drew a walk. With Mark Teixeira at the plate with a 1-0 count, Jeter and Damon executed a double-steal off reliever Boone Logan. Cox then ordered his lefty to intentionally walk Teixeira to load the bases.
Cox then summoned righty Peter Moylan to face the right-hand hitting Rodriguez. 
Rodriguez lined a 2-2 pitch into right field to score Jeter and Damon to give the Yankees a more comfortable four-run margin. 

“I felt some good signs,” Rodriguez told MLB.com. “It’s been a while, but I’m really driving the ball in batting practice. Being able to do that in the game tonight was a good sign.”

The Yankees, who were held scoreless in the first 14 innings of the series against the Braves, broke out to score eight runs in the final four innings Wednesday night and followed that up with eight runs in the first four frames Thursday night.

Those eight runs (six earned) chased Lowe (7-6), who lasted just two batters into the fourth inning. He gave up 11 hits and three walks.

However, staked to a big 8-1 lead, Pettitte could not make it out of the fourth inning himself. But he also was victimized by two pop flies in the outfield that were not caught.

Garrett Anderson led off the inning with a fly ball to shallow center. Jeter lost it and Gardner was playing deep and could not catch it. After a Jeff Francouer double, Casey Kotchman doubled in both runners. 

After a Nate McLouth flyout, Martin Prado sent a fly into shallow center that Gardner got to but it ticked off his glove for an error. Two batters later, Yunel Escobar drove in two runs with a sharp line single to right.

All of a sudden Pettitte’s 8-1 cushion became 8-6. Manager Joe Girardi was forced to pull the plug on his evening by summoning Alfredo Aceves. Aceves (5-1) not only struck Anderson to end the inning, he also pitched two more innings of scoreless relief to earn the victory.

“It’s a big league ballgame, and to have an 8-1 lead and go three innings, it’s not what you’re looking for,” Pettitte said to MLB.com. “You’ve got to get out of the inning. You just figure you can get out of the inning without having the manager come out there to pull you out of the game.”

“He should have been out of that fourth inning probably giving up one run,” Girardi said to MLB.com. “It’s unfortunate, because we would have liked to see him a little bit longer tonight. He battled and threw good pitches. We just didn’t play very good defense behind him.”

Despite an 11-6 lead in the ninth inning, mop-up reliever David Robertson still required help to get out of the ninth. He surrendered a home run to Brian McCann, his second of the series and the eighth of the season. After a strikeout, Anderson then roped a single to right. Robertson then recorded another strikeout but Gregor Blanco followed with an infield single.

Girardi, taking no chances, summoned All-Star closer Mariano Rivera to get the last out. He got Diony Hernandez to fly out to center on six pitches for his 17th save of the season and the 499th of his career. He is second to Trevor Hoffman on the all-time saves list.

“It’s not how you necessarily want to win a game, but I thought our guys did a nice job,” Girardi said.

Besides the good night from A-Rod the Yankees got a great night from Jeter. He went 4-for-5 with four runs scored. Damon was 3-for-4 with 4 RBIs. Even Cody Ranson, just off the disabled list and pressed into his first start since April 24,had a two-run single in the fourth inning.

“A team like that, you have to give them credit,” Atlanta’s Jeff Francoeur told MLB.com. “They’re not going to be held hitless for a long time. They broke their bats out and didn’t stop. With a team like this, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them reel off six or seven in a row if they’re swinging like that.”

That would not be a bad thing in Girardi’s mind. The Yankees were fortunate in that the American League-leading Boston Red Sox lost to the Washington Nationals 9-3. The Yankees are in second place four games back. 

In addition, the Toronto Blue Jays lost to the Cincinnati Reds 7-5. The Jays began the day in a virtual tie with the Yankees in second place but now are a game in back.

The Yankees are back home on Friday but they actually are technically on the “road” tonight. They will face the New York Mets in the Citi Field portion of the Subway Series. The Yankees won two of three in the new Yankee Stadium from June 12 through June 14.

The Yankees will start CC Sabathia (6-4, 3.71), who left his previous start in Miami with tendinitis in his left bicep. Sabathia since threw a short bullpen session and pronounced himself healthy enough to make the start. Sabathia will be opposed by Mets right Mike Pelfrey (5-2, 4.74 ERA).

Gametime is 7:10 p.m. EDT.

NOTES . . . The Yankees officially bid goodbye to righthand reliever Jose Veras. The Yankees sent Veras, 28, to the Cleveland Indians in exchange for cash considerations. Veras struggled all season with his command. He was 3-1 with a 5.96 ERA. He walked 14 and fanned 18 batters in 25 2/3 innings. Though obviously blessed with a great arm, Veras vexed Yankees management with his inconsistency and wildness. Yankee fans had been booing him most of the season . . . The Yankees beat the Braves Thursday night without two starters in the lineup. Outfielder Melky Cabrera did enter the game as a defensive replacement in the ninth inning but has been bothered by a fever. Second baseman Robinson Cano was replaced by Ransom because he of a sore left wrist. Both problems are minor and both players are day-to-day.