YANKEES 7, RAYS 5 (12 INNINGS)
Extra innings is a just a war of attrition and in the top of the 12th on Friday it looked as if the Yankees had just run out of ammunition to battle the Rays. The bullpen had coughed up two runs and it seemed the game was well in hand with the visitors.
But Brian McCann was not ready to give up in an important divisional game.
McCann blasted a three-run home run in the bottom of the 12th off right-hander Steve Geltz to cap an improbable four-run rally that handed the Yankees their first walk-off victory of the season in front of a paid crowd of 43,141 at Yankee Stadium.
With the victory the Yankees claimed first place in the tightly bunched American League East, one game ahead of the second-place Baltimore Orioles and two games ahead of the Rays, who have now lost six consecutive games.
Right-hander Chasen Shreve (6-1), who had a hand – along with Adam Warren – in allowing the Rays to score two runs in the 12th, was credited with the victory in relief. Geltz (1-4) took the loss.
Brett Gardner opened the 12th by drawing a walk. Alex Rodriguez followed with a one-out single and Mark Teixeira, whose three-run home run in the eighth sent the game into extra innings, laced an RBI single to score Gardner.
McCann then laced a 1-0 fastball from Geltz deep into the right-field bleachers for his 13th home run of the season and his 10th at home.
His teammates streamed out of the dugout and Gardner doused him with bucket of water after he touched home plate. It culminated in an unlikely victory on a night the Yankees had to battle from behind from very the first inning.
The Rays took an early lead against right-hander Masahiro Tanaka when Grady Sizemore led off with a double. Joey Butler drew a walk and Evan Longoria slashed a double to left to score Sizemore.
James Loney, who was activated from the disabled list earlier in the day, then plated Butler on a sacrifice fly.
The Rays added a run in the fifth on a leadoff triple off the bat of Kevin Kiermaier and a sac fly by Rene Rivera.
The Yankees, however, were unable to solve right-hander Chris Archer, was entered the game 5-0 with a 2.02 ERA in seven starts against the Yankees in his career.
In 6 2/3 innings, Archer shutout the Yankees on three hits and three walks with eight strikeouts.
But with one out in the eighth inning the Yankees mounted a rally against right-hander Kevin Jepsen.
Chase Headley hit an opposite-field single to left and Rodriguez followed with a bloop opposite-field single to right to set the stage for Teixeira.
Teixeira laid into a 1-0 change-up and drove into the second deck of the right-field bleachers for his 20th home run of the season. His four-RBI night gives him 58 on the season, which now leads the American League.
The victory improved the Yankees’ season record to 42-37. Tampa Bay fell to 42-40.
- The stuffing of the All-Star ballot box by the Kansas City Royals may rob McCann of a much-deserved trip to the All-Star Game. McCann is hitting .264 with 13 home runs and 52 RBIs. Salvador Perez of the Royals is batting .263 with 13 home runs and 34 RBIs. By any measure you want to use McCann is better than Perez. But the hicks in the sticks of K.C., who booed Robinson Cano for not selecting singles hitter Billy Butler for the Home Run Derby two years ago, are now keeping more deserving players off the All-Star team. Let’s hope the commissioner shoves it up that city’s rectum by taking the fan vote away for good. You abuse it, you lose it!
- Teixeira’s magical season continues and the injury to Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers certainly will improve Teixeira’s chances of making the All-Star team. Royals fans had Eric Hosmer starting at first base despite the fact he is hitting .286 with only eight home runs and 40 RBIs. But Cabrera overtook him in the voting and the league is under no obligation to take Hosmer at all. So Teixeira has a great chance to start at first. Suck it, Kansas City!
- After the first inning Tanaka actually pitched exceptionally well. After two shaky outings, Tanaka was charged with just one run on four hits with no walks and five strikeouts in the five innings after the first. Hopefully, this is a sign he has regrouped.
- One of the things that Archer does to the Yankees is to elevate his pitches. The Yankees just do him a great favor by swinging at them despite the fact they are balls. In addition to his eight strikeouts (some on the high fastball), Archer also induced nine air outs. If the Yankees lay off that pitch Archer ends up walking about six more hitters and he loses. But the Yankees never adjusted.
- Chris Young was the hottest hitter on this team a week ago. But being forced to start against right-handers in the absence of both Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran has exposed some weaknesses. He was 0-for-5 on Friday with two strikeouts and he also hit into a double play. Ouch!
The Yankees will continue their three-game weekend home series with the Rays on Saturday.
Right-hander Michael Pineda (8-5, 4.08 ERA) will start for the Yankees. Pineda yielded three runs (two earned) on seven hits and struck out eight in eight innings in a loss to the Houston Astros on Sunday.
The Rays will counter with right-hander Nathan Karns (4-4, 3.21 ERA). Karns gave up two runs on nine hits and two walks with seven strikeouts in a loss to the Cleveland Indians on Monday.
Game-time will be 1:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be broadcast nationally by FOX Sports 1.
ROYALS 6, YANKEES 0
Edinson Volquez threw seven shutout innings and Salvador Perez homered and drove in two runs as Kansas City blanked New York on Sunday to take the three-game series at Kauffman Stadium.
Volquez (3-3) yielded just three hits, issued no walks and fanned five.
Perez opened the scoring for the Royals with a solo home run with one out in the second inning off left-hander Chris Capuano (0-1), who was making his season debut after coming off the disabled list earlier in the day from a right quad strain.
The Royals added three runs in the fourth off Capuano and right-hander Esmil Rogers on consecutive RBI hits by Kendrys Morales, Perez and Omar Infante.
Capuano was charged with four runs on four hits and two walks with four strikeouts in 3-plus innings.
The loss dropped the Yankees’ season record to 22-17, but they remain a game ahead of the second-place Tampa Bay Rays in the American League East. The Royals improved to 24-14.
There were no positives at all for the Yankees.
- The right elbow injury to Chase Whitley forced the Yankees to rush Capuano from his minor-league rehab and it appears he is going to have to build back his stamina. He did look fine in his first three innings but he began the fourth with back-to-back walks to Lorenzo Cain and Eric Hosmer, which led to the three-run inning.
- It appears that beginning on May 12 the Yankees have fallen back into their offensive woes of 2013 and 2014. In their past six games they have lost five of them and they scored only six runs in those games. Part of the issue is the Yankees have been placed on a killer schedule of 30 games in 31 days with most of those on the road. This team needs rest and they need to get back home to get the offense going again.
- The Yankees are going to have to make a decision soon about Stephen Drew. He was 0-for-4 and is batting .177 on the season. When a team is struggling to score runs he sticks out like a sore thumb. His days in pinstripes may be numbered if he does not turn it around like right now.
First baseman Mark Teixeira left the game in the seventh inning with a right big toe contusion. X-rays taken after the game were negative for a fracture. Teixeira was hit on the right foot by a 3-0 pitch from Volquez in the fourth inning but remained in the game until Garrett Jones replaced him defensively in the seventh. Teixeira said he plans to play in the Yankees’ next game on Tuesday. . . . When the Yankees activated Capuano, 36, from the disabled list on Sunday the team optioned right-hander Bryan Mitchell back to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Mitchell, 24, was recalled on Saturday but did not appear in a game.
The Yankees will get a much needed day of rest on Monday before opening a series with the Washington Nationals on Monday at Nationals Park.
Right-hander Nathan Eovaldi (3-1, 4.14 ERA) will start for the Yankees. Eovaldi suffered his first loss last Monday against the Rays, surrendering four runs on six hits and two walks with six strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings.
He will be opposed by left-hander Gio Gonzalez (3-2, 4.25 ERA). Gonzalez did not get a decision on Tuesday in giving up five runs on nine hits and two walks with three strikeouts in five innings against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Game-time will be 7:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be broadcast nationally by the MLB Network and locally by the YES Network.
YANKEES 4, ROYALS 2
In his major-league debut on May 15 against the New York Mets, Chase Whitley drew high praise from former Atlanta Braves right-hander John Smoltz, who was providing color commentary of the game for the MLB Network. After the way the rookie pitched against the Royals on Friday, now Yankee fans can see what Smoltz noticed.
Whitley pitched seven solid innings in his longest start of his career and he went on to earn his first major-league victory behind the hitting of Brian McCann as New York edged Kansas City in front of a paid crowd of 23,418 at Kauffman Stadium.
Whitley (1-0) yielded two runs on five hits, did not walk a batter and struck out three in his first outing to last more than five innings. Whitley threw 51 strikes out of 87 pitches for a 59 percent strike ratio, keeping the Royals off balance with his fastball, slider and change-up.
Meanwhile, the Yankees were able to break a 1-1 tie in the third inning, keyed by a one-out, bases-loaded, three-run double off the bat of McCann.
Jacoby Ellsbury opened the inning with a single up the middle off veteran right-hander Jeremy Guthrie (2-6). Brett Gardner then looped an opposite-field single into left and – one out later – Guthrie brushed the right shoulder of Mark Teixeira with a pitch to load the bases.
McCann then stroked an outside fastball into the left-field corner to clear the bases and hand Whitley and the Yankees a 4-1 lead.
Guthrie was charged with four runs on six hits and one walk while he fanned two in seven innings of work. He has now winless in his past 11 starts dating back to April 9.
Dellin Betances tossed a scoreless eighth and David Robertson threw a scoreless ninth to earn his 14th save in 16 chances this season.
The Yankees took an 1-0 lead in the second inning when Teixeira led off by lining a single to right off Guthrie. Yangervis Solarte drew a one-out walk and Brian Roberts provided a two-out RBI single to center to score Teixeira.
However, the Royals were able to tie it up in the bottom of the second when Alex Gordon laced a one-out double into the right-field corner and Salvador Perez followed with an RBI single to left.
The Royals did close to within two runs in the fifth when Gordon led off the frame with a single and stole second. One out later, Lorenzo Cain bounced a ball into left-center that he was able to hustle into a double.
However, Whitley ended the threat by retiring Mike Moustakas on a groundout and Alcides Escobar on a flyout.
The 24-year-old was recalled from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on May 15 as the Yankees lost starters CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova and Michael Pineda to injury in quick succession. The converted reliever did not get a decision in his previous four starts despite the fact he is sporting an excellent 2.42 ERA.
With the victory the Yankees have won two in a row and they improved their season record to 31-29. They also were able to pass the Baltimore Orioles to claim second place in the American League East six games behind the first-place Toronto Blue Jays. The Royals, who have now lost 21 of the past 31 games to the Yankees at Kauffman Stadium, fell to 29-32.
- Whitley may end up being more than just a fill-in starter until Sabathia and Pineda are expected to return in July. His first five starts – and particularly this one – prove that Whitley deserves to stay in the rotation as long he continues to pitch this well. David Phelps is 1-3 with a 4.19 ERA in six starts and Vidal Nuno is 1-2 with a 4.50 ERA in nine starts as replacements. Whitley has simply been more impressive as a starter than they have, period.
- McCann has been a major disappointment at the plate this season after entering the season as a career .275 hitter with 20 or more homers in the past six seasons. But his big three-run double showed he is willing to hit the ball where it is pitched to beat the extreme shifts teams play on him. Since May 27, McCann is quietly resurrecting his hitting. He is 14-for-33 (.424) in that span to raise his season average to .231.
- Roberts entered the game in a 1-for-14 (.071) funk that dates back to May 31. But his two-out RBI single gave the Yankees an early 1-0 lead. The Yankees have been really disappointed with the production they have gotten from the free agents (Ellsbury, McCann, Roberts, Carlos Beltran and Kelly Johnson) they signed this past winter. They all need to really start picking it up soon.
After the team went through a horrendous four-game losing streak while the Blue Jays were red hot, they finally seem to have some life back in them. So after getting a huge victory out a pitcher they had not planned to use at all this season things may be finally falling into place. It’s about time, too.
The Yankees will continue their four-game series with the Royals on Saturday.
Phelps (1-3, 4.11 ERA) will start for the Yankees. The right-hander is coming off his worst start of the season on Monday against the Seattle Mariners. He was tagged for six runs on six hits and three walks in six-plus innings.
The Royals will start left-hander Danny Duffy (3-5, 3.05 ERA). The converted reliever will be making his seventh start and he is 2-4 with a 3.27 ERA in those starts. He shut out the St. Louis Cardinals on one hit and one walk while striking out five in six innings on Monday.
Game-time will be 7:15 p.m. EDT and the game will be broadcast nationally by FOX Sports.
YANKEES 3, ROYALS 2
A pitcher losing command of one of his best pitches is like a skilled surgeon trying to work without a scalpel. But that is what happened to Andy Pettitte in his two previous starts. He did not have a feel for his signature cutter.
But he certainly rediscovered it on Saturday as he pitched seven strong innings and struck out seven batters while Vernon Wells backed him up with a two-run home run in the fifth inning that turned a 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 lead as New York edged Kansas City in front of 30,910 fans at Kauffman Stadium.
Pettitte (4-2) settled into a groove after allowing Billy Butler to break a 1-1 tie in the bottom of the fourth inning with a leadoff home run to center-field. After that Pettitte gave up a two-out single to Alcides Escobar and walked Lorenzo Cain in the fifth. But he ended that threat by retiring Alex Gordon on a groundout.
The 40-year-old left-hander gave up two runs on five hits and walk and retired 12 of the last 14 hitters he faced to pick up his first victory since April 19.
Meanwhile, the Yankees took advantage of a big mistake by James Shields (2-3) to take control of the game.
Shields hit Chris Stewart on the left triceps on a 1-2 pitch as Stewart led off the fifth. Two batters later, Wells ripped a 3-1 fastball into the left-field seats for his eighth home run of the season that gave the Yankees a lead they would not surrender the rest of the way.
Shields gave up three runs (two earned) on six hits and two walks and he fanned five in eight innings of work.
David Robertson pitched in the eighth and struck out the side for the Yankees.
Mariano Rivera came on in the ninth and gave up a two-out double to Salvador Perez. But he retired Mike Moustakas on a flyout to Wells in left to earn his 14th save in as many chances this season.
The save for Rivera was also the 70th time in his career he has saved a game started by Pettitte, which is the most for any starter and closer tandem in major-league history.
The Yankees actually took advantage of an error on a throwing error by Moustakas in the third inning to take an early 1-0 lead.
Chris Nelson opened the inning by lacing a double down the left-field line. Two outs later, Robinson Cano slapped a bouncing ball to the left of Moustakas. The Royals’ third baseman dove, got up and threw high and wide of first base to allow Nelson to score from second.
The Royals manufactured a run of off Pettitte in bottom of the third to tie it.
Elliot Johnson reached on a swinging bunt down the third-base line and he later stole second. He advanced to third on a groundout and scored on a groundout off the bat of Cain.
The Yankees extended their current winning streak to four games and they are now 14-4 this season in games decided by two runs or less.
The victory also allowed the Yankees to claim full possession of first place in the American League East with a record of 22-13. The Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles are a full game out in second place. The Royals, who have now lost five of their past six games, are 18-15.
- In his last two starts, Pettitte was hammered for 11 runs (10 earned) on 14 hits and five walks in 9 1/3 innings. On Saturday, he looked more like the pitcher who was 3-1 with a 2.22 ERA before those two dreadful outings. Pettitte had command of the cutter and he mixed his curve and slider to keep the Royals’ batters off balance all evening. The Yankees’ top four starters, Pettitte, Hiroki Kuroda, CC Sabathia, and Phil Hughes, are a combined 14-9 this season.
- Wells was 0-for-5 in Friday’s 11-run, 16-hit explosion against the Royals but he bounced back nicely in this game. Wells is currently second on the team with a .281 batting average and has eight home runs and 18 RBIs on the season. It is going to be difficult for manager Joe Girardi to bench him when Curtis Granderson is activated form the disabled list this month.
- Robertson came out the bullpen firing seeds in the eighth inning. Robertson needed only 12 pitches to strike out Escobar and Cain looking and Gordon swinging. In his past four outings, Robertson has not give up a run or a hit and he has walked one while striking out eight in 4 1/3 innings.
How can you complain when the team got a great effort out of Pettitte and the bullpen? Wells hit a timely home run and the Yankees took sole possession of first place. Who said this team would be awful because of all of the injuries they suffered? Not me.
Shortstop Eduardo Nunez missed his sixth straight game because he was unable to shake nagging discomfort in his left ribcage and the Yankees may have to place him on the 15-day disabled list if he is unable to play by Monday’s doubleheader in Cleveland against the Indians. Nunez told trainer Steve Donohue on Saturday that he still is feeling pain when he is doing fielding drills.
The Yankees can use their big broom and sweep the Royals in the three-game series finale on Sunday.
Kuroda (4-2, 3.20 ERA) will get the start for the Yankees. Kuroda, 38, limited the Colorado Rockies to two runs on seven hits in seven innings but took the loss on Tuesday because the Yankees were blanked. The veteran right-hander is 0-2 with a 4.66 ERA in his career against Kansas City.
The Royals will start former Angels right-hander Ervin Santana (3-1, 2.36 ERA). Santana surrendered three runs on seven hits and one walk in six innings of a no-decision against the Orioles on Tuesday. He is 5-6 with a 5.90 ERA lifetime against the Yankees.
Game-time will be 2:10 p.m. EDT and the game will be telecast by the YES Network.
YANKEES 9, ROYALS 7
Foul ball. Foul ball. Foul ball. Foul ball. Foul ball. Foul ball. Foul ball.
Three-run home run.
Twelve pitches from Royals left-hander Danny Duffy pretty much summed up what the Yankees do to pitchers. Robinson Cano simply took advantage of a mistake on the 12th delivery and he sent the ball careening into the fountains in right-center that broke a 5-5 tie and gave the Yankees a hard-fought victory at Kauffman Stadium on Tuesday night.
Duffy, 22, began the fourth inning having just been handed a 5-3 lead by the Royals.
Brett Gardner opened the frame with a bunt single. Derek Jeter followed with an RBI double to left. Curtis Granderson bunted weakly and Royals catcher Salvador Perez was not able to get Jeter sliding into third. Mark Teixeira followed with a lined single to right to score Jeter with the tying run.
Duffy, who had thrown 78 pitches and recorded only nine outs in his first meeting with the Yankees, really got a major-league education from Cano.
Duffy fell behind in the count 3-1 and was forced to come in with a strike or walk the bases loaded. Cano then fouled off seven consecutive pitches in a grueling, mano-on-chico battle. On pitch No. 90 of the game, Duffy tried a backdoor slider but the pitch was up and caught too much of the plate. Cano swung and, the next thing Duffy knew, Cano was rounding the bases and Duffy was being removed from the game.
The Yankees, though they did not get a very good effort from their starter Ivan Nova (12-4), held on the rest of the way to defeat the Royals and claim first place in the American League East from the Boston Red Sox, who split their day-night doubleheader with the Tampa Bay Rays at Fenway Park.
Nova was unable to command his pitches and he was hit hard for the second time this season by the Royals. He won despite giving up seven runs on eight hits and a walk in 5 1/3 innings. On May 12, Nova gave up eight runs (four earned) on 10 hits and two walks in three innings against the Royals. Nova was 8-1 with a 3.50 ERA since that game at Yankee Stadium.
But the Yankees were able to get to Duffy for eight runs on eight hits, two walks, two hit batters and Duffy fanned three in three-plus innings.
The New York bullpen, which leads the American League in ERA, once again bailed out Nova and the Yankees. Boone Logan, Rafael Soriano, David Robertson and Mariano Rivera pitched 3 2/3 perfect innings to keep the Royals off the scoreboard the rest of the way.
Rivera pitched a perfect ninth, striking out two batters, to earn his 32nd save of the season and the 591st of his career. He needs only 11 saves to pass Trevor Hoffman as the all-time saves leader in the major leagues.
The victory improved the Yankees’ season record to 73-44. They are a half-game in front of the Red Sox. The Royals fell to 50-73.
- Cano was 2-for-5 with four RBIs and he is officially on a red-hot tear. He has at least one hit in his last eight games, in which he is 15-for-35 (.429) with three home runs and 10 RBIs. He is hitting .386 for the month and he has raised his season average to .306 with 21 home runs and 85 RBIs.
- Teixeira saved Nova and the Yankees with another one of his Gold Glove-worthy plays in the bottom of the sixth. Boone Logan had come in to relieve Nova after the 24-year-old right-hander had given up a one-out two-run double to Perez that drew the feisty young Royals to within one run at 8-7. Logan struck out Mike Moustakas for the second out but Alcides Escobar sliced a hard grounder down the first-base line. However, Teixeira dove backwards and to his left to stop the ball, he got up and ran to tag first to end the inning and keep the Yankees ahead.
- Jeter continued his hot hitting with a 2-for-5 night, including an RBI double and an RBI single. In his two games against the Royals, Jeter is 5-for-10 with two runs scored and five RBIs. He has a modest five-game hitting streak but he is he is 11-for-22 in that stretch and he has raised his season average to a season-high .283.
- Gardner is also red hot. He was 2-for-5 on Tuesday with a bunt single and a triple and he scored two runs. In his last five games, he is 8-for-18 (.444).
- Nova was just not Nova from the first inning on. Eric Hosmer and Jeff Francouer tagged him for RBI singles in the first. After the Yankees had reclaimed the lead at 3-2 in the third, Nova handed it back by giving up three runs in the bottom of the inning. It included an RBI groundout by Alex Gordon, Melky Cabrera’s 16th home run of the season and an RBI double by Francouer. Despite the fact Nova did not pitch well, he did win the game and he leads all rookie pitchers in the majors in wins and win percentage.
- Designated hitter Andruw Jones was the only Yankee starter without a hit in the game. He was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts and he did not get a ball out of the infield. Jones’ season average slipped to .240.
- Though he contributed a two-run bases-loaded single in the third inning and a walk, Russell Martin looked dreadful in his three other at-bats. He struck out looking once and swinging twice. He struck out in the eighth inning against Greg Holland on a awkward half-swing on a 1-2 pitch that was out of the strike zone. This the reason why Martin is still hitting .226 on the season.
Alex Rodriguez was 1-for-3 with a single in the six innings of a rehab game he played on Tuesday night for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre against the Durham Bulls. Rodriguez singled in his first at-bat and played all six innings at third base. Rodriguez, who is rehabbing from July 11 surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee, is expected to play one more game with Scranton and then rejoin the Yankees on Thursday in Minneapolis for a four-game series against the Twins. . . . Starter Freddy Garcia, nursing a cut on a finger on his right hand, threw a bullpen session on Tuesday. However, Garcia did not throw his split-finger fastball to avoid aggravating the cut. The Yankees have him scheduled to throw another bullpen session on Thursday in hopes he can make a start either Saturday or Sunday.
The Yankees will go for a three-game series series sweep of the Royals on Wednesday.
Bartolo Colon (8-6, 3.31 ERA) will get the start for the Bombers. Colon held the Angels to two runs on five hits in six innings and he is undefeated over his last four starts with a 3.18 ERA. He has not faced the Royals this season but is 13-7 against them in his career.
The Royals will counter with a change-up tossing lefty in Bruce Chen (7-5, 4.15 ERA). Chen held the White Sox to one hit and no runs over six innings in his last outing on Friday. He has not faced the Yankees this season but he is 1-5 with a 6.71 ERA lifetime against them.
Game-time will be 8:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be telecast by the YES Network.