YANKEES 5, BREWERS 3
In a town famous for its beer Masahiro Tanaka came into Milwaukee and dropped a baseball version of a sake bomb on the Brewers on Friday.
Tanaka pitched into the seventh inning to push his record to 5-0 and the Yankees got a three-run home run from Yangervis Solarte as part of a four-run fourth inning as New York edged Milwaukee in front of a paid crowd of 40,123 at Miller Park.
Tanaka, 25, shut the Brewers out for five innings on only two hits before yielding a pair of runs on three hits in the sixth inning. But Tanaka had already proved to the Brewers earlier in the game that he can be a tough pitcher to crack under pressure.
The Brewers leadoff man Carlos Gomez drew a walk in the first, stole second and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Scooter Gennett. But Jonathan Lucroy popped out and Aramis Ramirez struck out swinging to strand Gomez at third.
After the Brewers opened the sixth with a leadoff double by Gomez, an RBI double by Gennett and an RBI single by Lucroy off Tanaka to get the Brewers to within two runs, Ramirez hit into a double play and Mark Reynolds struck out looking.
In the seventh, Jean Segura hit a one-out single and Logan Schafer added another single to move him to third. Manager Joe Girardi replaced Tanaka on the mound with right-hander Adam Warren and Warren was able to get Tanaka off the hook by striking out pinch-hitter Lyle Overbay and catcher Brian McCann gunned down Schafer attempting to steal second in a double play that ended the rally.
Meanwhile, the Yankees were able to get to right-hander Yovani Gallardo (2-2) in the fourth when Carlos Beltran drew a leadoff walk and, one out later, McCann singled to center. Solarte then ripped Gallardo’s first offering into the right-field bleachers for his second home run of the season.
Brett Gardner then reached on an infield single and Brian Roberts laced a double down the right-field line that scored Gardner easily.
The Yankees added an insurance run in the eighth inning off right-hander Brandon Kintzler when Beltran looped an opposite-field double. Ichiro Suzuki pinch-ran for Beltran and stole third. He then scored on a slow-rolling groundoutoff the bat of Mark Teixeira.
David Robertson was touched for a solo opposite-field homer off the bat of Reynolds but he struck out the other three batters he faced to earn his sixth save in six chances on the season.
Tanaka finished the evening giving up two runs on seven hits and one walk and he fanned seven in 6 1/3 innings of work. Tanaka has now reached 41 consecutive regular-season starts dating back to Aug. 19, 2012 in Japan without suffering a loss.
Gallardo was touched for four runs on five hits and three walks and fanned seven in 5 2/3 innings.
The Yankees extended their winning streak to three games and now are 19-15 on the season. They are a half-game behind the first-place Baltimore Orioles in the American League East. The Brewers fell to 22-14.
- In Tanaka’s seven starts this season he has not pitched less than 6 1/3 innings, yielded more than eights hits or three runs and struck out less than five. He is 5-0 with a 2.57 ERA and 58 strikeouts and just seven walks in 49 innings. Tanaka has already learned that when teams lay off his split-finger fastball in the dirt he can go to his slider to get strikeouts. Even with all the hype and all the money Tanaka was paid he has proven he is well worth it.
- Solarte, 26, went through a cold streak from April 19 through May 3 in which he was 5-for-34 (.147). But the rookie infielder has put together a four-game hitting streak and he is 6-for-14 (.429) with a home run and five RBIs in that span. His 18 RBIs lead the team. It also seems that he has replaced Kelly Johnson as the team’s primary third baseman. Solarte has started 21 games at third to Johnson’s 10 this season.
- Roberts extended his hitting streak to six games and he is 9-for-24 (.324) with a home run and four RBIs in that stretch. That has raised Roberts’ season average from .213 to .253. It appears that Girardi’s faith in the 36-year-old second baseman is paying off.
- After going 5-for-11 (.455) in the three-game series against the Angels, Derek Jeter was 0-for-4 with a strikeout and he did not get a ball out of the infield on Friday. That dropped his season average to .252, which is low as it has been since he was hitting .250 on April 8.
A man interrupted play in the sixth inning by running onto the field to ask Jeter for a hug. Security personnel apprehended the man, who appeared to be in his 20s and was wearing a Ryan Braun jersey and a headband, without getting his hug from Jeter. “I said, ‘You’re going to get in trouble, man,'” Jeter told reporters. “And then he repeated that he wanted a hug, and I said, ‘Look out.’ That’s pretty much what happened.” . . . Right-hander Shawn Kelley was unavailable to pitch in Friday’s game due to stiffness in his lower back. Kelley underwent an MRI, which came back negative, after he experienced discomfort after the team’s flight from Anaheim, CA, to Milwaukee. Kelley said he hopes to be available to pitch on Saturday. . . . Former Yankees manager Joe Torre will have his No. 6 retired in a pregame ceremony scheduled for Aug. 23 at Yankee Stadium. Torre is also scheduled to be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. in July. Torre’s No. 6 will be the 17th number retired by the team and it leaves Jeter’s No. 2 as the only single-digit number that has not been retired. Of course, Jeter will have his No.2 honored in Monument Park sometime soon.
The Yankees will continue their three-game weekend interleague series with the Brewers on Saturday.
Former Brewer left-hander CC Sabathia (3-4, 5.75 ERA) will return to Miller Park after helping the Brewers make the playoffs in 2008. Sabathia, however, is nothing like the 2008 version. He was shelled for five runs on 10 hits and one walk in only 3 2/3 innings against the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday.
He will be opposed by veteran right-hander Kyle Lohse (4-1, 2.72 ERA). Lohse surrendered just two runs on eight hits and one walk in 6 2/3 innings against the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday and he did not get a decision.
Game-time will be 7 p.m. EDT and the game will be broadcast by the YES Network.
YANKEES 10, RED SOX 3
After playing most of the season with players like Brent Lillibridge, David Adams and Melky Mesa in the starting lineup it had to please manager Joe Girardi and veteran left-hander Andy Pettitte to open a series at Fenway Park with some power in the lineup.
It was that power and the pitching of Pettitte that allowed the Yankees to bludgeon the Red Sox in front of a sellout crowd of 38,143 on Friday.
Red-hot Alphonso Soriano connected for yet another home run and drove in four runs and newly acquired first baseman Mark Reynolds launched a two-run shot over the Green Monster in his first at-bat as a Yankee as New York rolled to an easy victory in an important series against Boston.
Pettitte (8-9), meanwhile, pitched into the seventh inning, giving up three runs (none earned) on six hits and a walk while striking out six batters to notch his 20th career victory against the Red Sox.
Soriano and Reynolds did most of their damage against left-hander Felix Doubront (8-6).
Soriano opened the scoring against Doubront with an RBI infield single in the first inning that scored Brett Gardner.
Reynolds launched an 0-2 fastball into the seats in left with Vernon Wells aboard and one out in the second inning to give the Yankees a 3-0 lead.
Soriano, who entered the game 10-for-14 (.714) with four home runs and 14 RBIs in his past three games, padded the lead to 6-0 when he ripped a 1-1 fastball into the Green Monster in center-field with two on and one out in the third inning.
The Yankees added a single run off Doubront in the fourth when Robinson Cano stroked a two-out RBI single to center to score Eduardo Nunez to make it 7-0.
Doubront was tagged for seven runs (six earned) on eight hits and two walks while he fanned four in four innings of work.
The Red Sox scored an unearned run off Pettitte in the bottom of the fourth after Dustin Pedroia reached second on a leadoff single off the glove off Alex Rodriguez at third and a fielding error off the resulting carom into foul territory charged to Nunez. Jonny Gomes then stroked a two-out RBI single to score Pedroia.
They Red Sox added a pair of unearned runs in the seventh after Pedroia reached on a two-base error on Nunez. David Ortiz followed with an RBI single to left that scored Pedroia but Ortiz was thrown out at second by Soriano trying to stretch the hit into a double.
Stephen Drew singled with two outs and Pettitte walked Mike Napoli. Jarrod Saltalamacchia then chased Pettitte from the game with an RBI single to center to score Drew.
The Yankees added three runs in the ninth off left-hander Drake Britton on an RBI infield single by Ichiro Suzuki, a line-drive RBI single to left by Reynolds and lined single to right off the bat of Chris Stewart.
The Yankees have now won six of their past eight games and are 63-58 on the season. The first-place Red Sox are 72-52 and have now lost six of their past eight games and their lead on the Yankees has been cut to 7 1/2 games. With the victory the Yankees also pulled to within 5 1/2 games in the wild-card standings.
- Soriano, 37, is now 13-for-18 (.722) with five home runs and 18 RBIs in his past four games. He is tied with five other players, including former Yankee Tony Lazzeri, for the most RBIs over a four-game stretch. Since being obtained on July 26 from the Chicago Cubs, Soriano is 24-for-75 (.320) with eight home runs and 26 RBIs.
- Pettitte, 41, won his first game since a July 11th victory against the Kansas City Royals six starts ago. In his 17 previous major-league seasons Pettitte has never ended up with a losing record. With his victory on Friday he is just a game under .500 for the season.
- Reynolds, 30, was picked up off waivers on Friday from the Cleveland Indians after he was designated for assignment last week and he paid immediate dividends in his first game, going 2-for-5 with a home run and three RBIs. Reynolds hit .215 with 15 home runs and 48 RBIs in 99 games with the Tribe. He will provide the Yankees with a much-needed right-handed power bat to platoon at first base with the lefty-swinging Lyle Overbay, 36, who is hitting only .200 against left-handers this season.
Although the injuries and weak offensive lineups the Yankees had to play as a result dug the Yankees a huge hole from which to climb out, their is a huge ray of hope they can do it. If the pitching can hold up for the final 41 games, the Yankees might actually have a shot to make the playoffs. This was a good first step. Nothing to complain about here.
In order to make room on the 25-man roster for Reynolds, the Yankees surprisingly shipped right-hander Preston Claiborne to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Claiborne, 25, was 0-1 with a 2.88 ERA in 34 games with the Yankees this season. In addition, infielder Luis Cruz was designated for assignment to make room for Reynolds on the 40-man roster. . . . Rodriguez denied on Friday a “60 Minutes” report that representatives of his leaked information to Major League Baseball concerning the involvement of teammate Francisco Cervelli and Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun in the Biogenesis scandal.
The Yankees will continue their vital three-game weekend series with the Red Sox on Saturday.
Right-hander Hiroki Kuroda (11-7, 2.33 ERA) will start for the Yankees. Kuroda, 38, allowed only three hits over eight innings in a victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Monday. He has not allowed more than three runs in any of his starts since June 30. He is 3-3 with a 3.72 ERA lifetime against the Angels.
Kuroda will be opposed by right-hander John Lackey (7-10, 3.32 ERA). Lackey has not won a game since July 12 and he yielded four runs on 10 hits in 6 2/3 innings in a loss to the Yankees on July 20. He is 8-10 with a 4.73 ERA in his career against the Yankees.
Game-time will be 4:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be telecast nationally by FOX Sports.
YANKEES 5, BREWERS 0
The Milwaukee Brewers must have gazed out at the huge presence of CC Sabathia on the Yankee Stadium mound and wondered what might have been.
After leading the Brewers to a three-month run at a Central Division championship in 2008, Sabathia spurned a five-year, $100 million offer to stay in Milwaukee to sign a seven-year, $160 million offer with the Yankees. After Sabathia struck out a career-tying best of 13 batters and he blanked the Brewers on six hits and two walks over eight innings what the Brewers lost must still haunt them to this day.
Sabathia won his fourth straight start and he now has won eight of his last nine starts. Sabathia (11-4) also becomes the first 11-game winner in the majors as the Yankees swept the Brewers on Thursday for their fifth straight victory and their 16th victory in their last 20 games.
Robinson Cano actually provided Sabathia and the Yankees all they really needed in the first inning with a two-run double in the first inning off Brewers starter Randy Wolf (6-5). Mark Teixeira added to the margin with a leadoff home run in the third inning, the 300th home run of his career and his fourth home run in his past five games. Teixeira now leads the majors with 25 home runs on the season.
Backup catcher Francisco Cervelli drove in the other two runs on two-out RBI singles in the third and the eighth innings.
Wolf was touched for four runs on seven hits and three walks and he struck out three batters.
The only batter that gave Sabathia any trouble was Ryan Braun, who extended his hitting streak to 20 games and was 3-for-3 with three singles and a walk. The key inning for Sabathia was when he walked Braun in the third inning to load the bases with two out and he was forced to pitch to Prince Fielder. But Sabathia fanned Fielder on three straight sliders and he never was really challenged the rest of the afternoon.
With the victory, the Yankees have now improved their season ledger to 48-31, the best record in the American League. They also kept their 2 1/2 game lead over the slumping Boston Red Flops, oops, Sox in the A.L. East. The first-place Brewers fell to 44-38.
- With the Yankees resting Curtis Granderson, Alex Rodriguez and Russell Martin, manager Joe Girardi was counting on a good effort from Sabathia. Instead he got a great one. Sabathia threw 118 pitches, 77 of them were strikes (65%). The 13 strikeouts were all swinging and Sabathia ties an outing on Sept. 14, 2007 when he struck out 13 Royals pitching for the Indians. It is now pretty clear that Sabathia is on one of his patented summer runs where he becomes almost impossible to beat.
- Give credit to Girardi for calling for a double steal with Bret Gardner at second and a slow Nick Swisher at first. Both made it safely and it set up Cano’s two-run double to left-center that scored them easily. The Yankees patience played a part in Wolf’s downfall. They made him throw 36 pitches in the first inning.
- Cervelli has not been hitting this season and his throwing has been erratic all season. But on Thursday he contributed two key two-out RBI singles. He was 3-for-4 in the game, which raised his batting average to .231. Cervelli knows Martin is the unquestioned starter and youngsters Jesus Montero and Austin Romine are coming on fast. So Cervelli has to play solid defense and get timely hits if he wants to stay the backup.
- Teixeira’s home run was a blast deep into the left-field bleachers. His 300 home runs are the most for a switch-hitter through his first nine major-league season. Mickey Mantle is second on the list with 280. The fan who caught the ball turned it over to Teixeira in exchange for a signed ball and bat and a chance to view batting practice on the field.
There was no negatives today. It was a thorough domination from Sabathia. The offense scored him five runs and the defense committed no errors. What is there to complain about? This Yankees team is beginning to look an awful lot like the 2009 version. Look out!
Sergio Mitre is back with the Yankees. Mitre, who was traded during spring training to the Brewers in exchange for outfielder Chris Dickerson, actually was activated and warmed up in the eighth inning of Thursday’s game. Mitre was designated for assignment by the Brewers before the series began. The Yankees acquired him from the Brewers for cash considerations on Wednesday night. Mitre was 0-1 with a 3.27 ERA in 33 innings with the Brewers. To make room on the roster, the Yankees designated veteran right-hander Buddy Carlyle for assignment.
The Yankees open the month of July by ending interleague play in 2011 against the crosstown rival New York Mets
The Yankees will open the series Friday with Ivan Nova (7-4, 4.26 ERA). After throwing an eight-inning gem against the Reds, Nova gave up four runs on on six hits — three of them homers — in six innings against the Rockies on Sunday. He is 0-0 with a 4.05 ERA against the Mets in his career.
The Met will counter with lefty Jonathan Niese (7-6, 3.67 ERA). Niese left his last start in the sixth inning due to a rapid heartbeat but he has been cleared medically to pitch on Friday. Niese has never faced the Yankees.
Game-time will be 7:10 p.m. and the game will be telecast nationally by the MLB Network and locally by the YES Network.
YANKEES 5, BREWERS 2
If there was any doubt that a combination of back and toe injuries had affected Russell Martin at the plate all you had to do is look at the .229 average with which he entered Wednesday’s game against Milwaukee.
He had entered May with a .293 average with six home runs and 19 RBIs. But the bruised toe and the sore back took their toll and Martin slumped most of May (.200) and all of June (.185). It had been 68 at-bats since Martin had homered. That is until the fourth inning.
Martin clubbed an 0-2 change-up from Shaun Marcum into the left-field bleachers for a three-run home run that backed the seven-plus strong innings pitched by A.J. Burnett as the Yankees downed the Brewers in front of a raucous crowd of 46,450 in the Bronx.
Martin’s heroics capped a four-run inning that erased a 1-0 lead the Brewers had staked in the first inning on an RBI single by Ryan Braun that drove in Nyjer Morgan.
Robinson Cano opened the frame with a lined triple to center off Marcum (7-3). Nick Swisher followed with a lined single to right to score Cano. Jorge Posada hit a lined shot off the right-field wall for a single and Swisher was able to reach third. Then Martin delivered the blow that was Marcum’s ultimate downfall in the game.
The Yankees wore out Marcum over five innings, making him throw 100 pitches. He gave up four runs on five hits and three walks and he fanned six batters.
Burnett, however, pitched better. He stayed out of trouble by getting the benefit of three double plays turned behind him, including a spectacular catch on a Mat Gamel drive to deep center by Curtis Gramderson, who relayed to Cano and Cano threw on to Teixeira to double up Corey Hart off first base in the second inning.
Burnett (8-6) was touched for another run on a Prince Fielder RBI fielder’s choice with the bases loaded in the sixth. But Burnett wiggled out of further danger by getting Hart to ground into a forceout to end the rally.
The Yankees added a run in the bottom of the sixth on what originally was a disputed home run by Posada. Posada lined a ball off reliever Tim Dalton that landed on the top of the wall in the right-field bleachers, but he was tagged out by Rickie Weeks because first-base umpire Adrian Johnson ruled the ball bounced back into play. However, manager Joe Girardi insisted the umpiring crew review the call with the assistance of replay and, after a brief look, crew chief Gary Cederstrom ruled it was a home run in which a fan had fumbled the ball back into play. So Posada was credited with his ninth home run of the season.
Burnett left the game with a runner on in the eighth having given up two runs on four hits and two walks and he fanned four. David Robertson struck out two in pitching a scoreless eighth and Mariano Rivera fanned one in pitching a perfect ninth for his 21st save of the season.
The Yankees have now won 15 of their last 19 games and they also have won all their interleague series this season, compiling a 10-4 record.
With the victory, the Yankees are a season-high 16 games over .500 at 47-31 and they extended their lead over the slumping second-place Boston Red Sox (or is it Red Flops?) to 2 1/2 games in the American League East. The Red Flops, er, Sox have now lost six of their last seven games and they are sinking faster than David Ortiz standing on a 10-foot-high mound of pizza dough. The NL Central Division-leading Brewers dropped to 44-37.
- Hitting coach Kevin Long and the Yankees hope that the work Long has done in the batting cage with Martin in getting him to use his legs more in his swing will now pay off with results like Wednesday night’s home run. Martin had no home runs and just five RBIs in June and he had not had any kind of an extra-base hit since a home run he hit on May 24 against Toronto. Martin is narrowly leading in the All-Star balloting for AL catchers and a bounceback at the plate could help his chances of making the team.
- Swisher extended his hitting streak to six games. He is 9-for-21 (.429) in that span with three home runs and nine RBIs. He has raised his season average to .250. He is not going to want June to end. He is hitting .325 with seven home runs and 23 RBIs for the month.
- Posada has a modest four-game hitting steak in which he is 7-for-14 (.500) with two home runs and four RBIs. Posada is now hitting a scorching hot .391 for the month of June despite not starting most of the road interleague games because he is the team’s DH.
- Burnett is simply pitching much better than he did in 2010. This season he has not failed to pitch at least five innings. Last season he had 10 starts that lasted less than five frames. He has eight quality starts out of his 17 starts this season and he lowered his ERA to 4.05. We have seen flashes of “Bad A.J.” this season but the sightings have been fewer and in much smaller durations.
- Alex Rodriguez had one of those games he would like to forget, His eight-game hitting streak was snapped and the combination of Marcum and reliever Kameron Loe made him look bad. Marcum fanned him twice and Loe got him swinging in the eighth for three awful looking strikeouts.
- Mark Teixeira did not look much better in his four plate appearances. Marcum fanned him in the first and reliever Zach Braddock fanned him in the seventh. Teixiera still is a sucker for a change-up in the dirt. He swings over it every time and he looks pretty bad doing it.
- Eduardo Nunez is making Yankee fans long for the return of Derek Jeter at shortstop. Nunez made yet another error on Wednesday. It is his 10th error overall and his ninth in limited play at short. Nunez fielded a grounder from Weeks cleanly in the eighth inning but he threw in the dirt to first and Teixiera was unable to scoop it. Sabermetricians must love Nunez’s range, but this is the reason why Jeter wins Gold Gloves. He records outs on balls he can reach. What is the point of being able to range 25 feet to your right to stop a ball when you throw the ball over the first baseman’s head?
The Yankees starting rotation got a major boost on Wednesday. The Yankees are leaning toward starting Bartolo Colon on Saturday at Citi Field against the New York Mets. Colon returned to the team on Wednesday from Tampa, FL. He will take part in batting practice and fielding drills and if there are no setbacks he will be activated on Saturday. The Yankees would use Brian Gordon if Colon is unable to make the start. Colon, 38, has been on the disabled list since suffering a mild left hamstring strain on June 11. . . . The Yankees also got great news on Phil Hughes. The right-hander was so impressive in his third rehab start on Wednesday at Double-A Trenton that they might cut his rehab short and activate Hughes soon. Hughes threw 88 pitches over 6 1/3 innings of three-hit ball. He gave up one run, walked two and struck out eight. Hughes has been on the disabled list since April 15 with right shoulder inflammation. The question is what will the Yankees do when Colon and Hughes are activated? That would give them six starters. . . . The Yankees said Jeter could play his first rehab game on Saturday for Double-A Trenton. Jeter, who is rehabbing a mild strain in his right calf, likely would need just two rehab games and could be activated on Monday in Cleveland, if there are no setbacks.
The Yankees have already clinched the three-game series with Milwaukee and they go for the sweep on Thursday.
The Yankees also will have their hottest pitcher going. Left-handed ace CC Sabathia (10-4, 3.25 ERA) is coming off an eight-inning, one-run performance on Saturday, which was his third straight victory. He has also won seven of his last eight starts. He will be pitching against his former team and he is 0-1 with 4.85 ERA against them in his career.
The Brewers will counter with veteran lefty Randy Wolf (6-4, 3.20 ERA). Wolf is 6-2 with a 2.75 ERA in his last 14 starts. He is 0-1 with a 7.20 ERA against the Yankees.
Game-time will be at 1:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be telecast nationally by the MLB Network and locally by the YES Network.