Tagged: Seth Smith

Tex’s Slam Allows Pineda To Depose King Felix

GAME 52

YANKEES 7, MARINERS 2

At one time the king held court over the young prince and showed him how to hold dominion over his rivals. But on Monday the prince outlasted the king as his army was able to storm the castle and vanquish his former mentor.

Michael Pineda struck out nine over six-plus innings and Mark Teixeira blasted a grand slam home run in the fifth inning off “King Felix” Hernandez as New York defeated Seattle at Safeco Field.

Hernandez (8-2) pitched three perfect innings to open the contest, striking out three and not allowing a single ball out of the infield. However, a heavy rain in the bottom of the third inning muddied the mound as the top of the fourth started and Hernandez was unable to command his pitches the rest of the evening.

Brett Gardner opened the fourth with a single and Chase Headley followed with a looping single to center. Hernandez then walked Alex Rodriguez and later uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Gardner to score.

Teixeira then drew a walk and Headley scored on a double-play groundout off the bat of Brian McCann.

The Yankees were able to put the game away against Hernandez in the fifth when Stephen Drew led off with a walk and rookie Ramon Flores singled to right for his first major-league hit. Gardner then walked, Hernandez’s fifth walk within the last eight batters he faced, to load the bases.

Headley launched a deep sacrifice fly to center that scored Drew and Rodriguez followed with a sharp single to left that reloaded the bases to set up Teixeira’s game-changing hit.

Teixeira entered the game with nine career grad slams. He also had posted five career home runs off Hernandez.

He was able to connect on a 2-0 fastball and sent it some 400 feet into the fourth row of the bleachers in center-field to make the score 7-0. It was also Teixeira’s 18th home run at Safeco Field, which broke a tie with Rafael Palmeiro for the most home runs by a Mariners opponent.

Hernandez entered the game with a 1.91 ERA, but left having given up seven runs on six hits and five walks with four strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings.

Pineda, who spent his rookie season in 2011 with Hernandez, coasted for six innings in his first start against his former team since he was traded in January 2012 along with right-hander Jose Campos to the Yankees in exchange for catcher Jesus Montero and right-hander Hector Noesi.

Pineda (6-2) held the Mariners to four hits and one walk and fanned nine in the first six innings. But he was greeted with a leadoff single by Kyle Seagar, an RBI triple by Seth Smith and an RBI double to Austin Jackson.

He then walked Brad Miller and was replaced by left-hander Justin Wilson, who was able to end the threat on a strikeout and a double-play groundout.

Wilson combined with right-hander Dellin Betances and left-hander Chasen Shreve to hold the Mariners to just one hit over the final three innings to seal the victory for the Yankees.

The victory improved the Yankees’ season record to 27-25 and they remain one game ahead of the second-place Tampa Bay Rays in the American League East. The Mariners have dropped four of their past five games and they are 24-27.

PINSTRIPE POSITIVES

  • Teixeira’s booming bat allowed the Yankees to put this game out of reach. Teixeira leads the Yankees with 15 home runs and 39 RBIs. He is now 20-for-66 (.303) in his career against Hernandez and that is no easy feat. Teixeira may be moving his way into consideration for the American League All-Star team.
  • Pineda seems to have righted himself after giving up nine runs on 18 hits in 11 1/3 innings in two consecutive starts. In his past two starts, Pineda has yielded just three runs on 13 hits and three walks in 12 2/3 innings. That has lowered his season ERA to 3.33. Pineda got a number of his nine strikeouts against the Mariners with a change-up that his former teammate Hernandez had urged him to learn.
  • Give Wilson a lot of credit for staving off a rally by the Mariners in the seventh. He entered the game with two runs in and runners on first and second and no outs. Wilson ended the threat by striking out Mike Zunino and getting pinch-hitter Rickie Weeks to bounce into a double play. Wilson sported a hefty 5.79 ERA on May 24 but he has not been scored upon in his past four outings covering 2 2/3 innings. That has lowered his ERA to 4.86.

NAGGING NEGATIVES

I can’t nitpick this one. Give the Yankees credit for beating a pitcher who entered the contest 9-5 against them. It is not every day that you beat one of the best pitchers in baseball on the road. So there is nothing negative to say.

BOMBER BANTER

Left-hander Chris Capuano has been shifted to the bullpen in order to make way for the return of right-hander Masahiro Tanaka from the 15-day disabled list on Wednesday, manager Joe Girardi told reporters on Monday. The decision means that right-hander Adam Warren, 27, who had replaced Capuano as the team’s No. 5 starter when Capuano was injured in spring training, will remain in the rotation. Capuano, 36, is 0-3 with a 6.39 ERA in three starts since coming of the disabled list on May 17. Warren is 3-4 with a 3.75 ERA, but he has a sparkling 2.70 ERA in his past four starts despite a 1-3 record in those outings. Tanaka, 26, will be activated in time to start the final game of the series against the Mariners. He is 2-1 with a 3.22 ERA in four starts, but he has not pitched since April 27 after sustaining tendinitis in right wrist and tightness in his right forearm.

ON DECK

The Yankees will continue their three-game road series with the Mariners on Tuesday.

Left-hander CC Sabathia (2-7, 5.67 ERA) will start for the Yankees. In his last effort on Thursday, Sabathia coughed up a 3-0 lead by yielding five runs on eight hits and one walk with four strikeouts against the Oakland Athletics.

The Mariners will activate 25-year-old left-hander Mike Montgomery to make his major-league debut. Montgomery, who was obtained during spring training from the Rays in exchange for right-hander Erasmo Ramirez, was 4-3 with a 3.74 ERA in nine starts for Triple-A Tacoma.

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

 

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Hughes Blanks A’s Over 8 Innings As Yankees Win

GAME 29

YANKEES 4, ATHLETICS 2

Phil Hughes missed all of spring training with a bulging disk in his upper back and he had to use his first two starts as “spring training on the fly.” But, if his last four starts are any indication, he is healthy and he is mowing down hitters with ease.

Hughes, 26, gave up only four hits and struck nine batters in shutting out the Athletics over eight innings as New York downed Oakland in front of a paid crowd of 41,349 at Yankee Stadium on Saturday.

Hughes (1-2) won his first game of the season and now has given up only six runs on 23 hits and five walks while striking out 30 in 28 innings over his last four starts for a 1.93 ERA.

“I feel like I’m kind of clicking right now with what I’m trying to do,” Hughes told reporters.

Meanwhile, the Yankees managed to put together enough offense against former Yankee right-hander Bartolo Colon (3-1).

Chris Stewart greeted Colon leading off the third inning by swatting a 1-0 fastball down the left-field line and into the bleachers for his second home run of the season. He entered the season with only four career home runs.

Two innings later, one of “The Replacements,” Lyle Overbay, jumped on Colon’s first offering in the fifth inning to connect for his fifth home run of the season, which landed in the second deck in the right-field bleachers.

The Yankees then added a single run in the sixth on a leadoff double off the wall in right-center by Robinson Cano and a one-out bloop opposite-field single by Travis Hafner that scored Cano and ended Colon’s afternoon.

Colon gave up three runs on six hits and no walks while he fanned three in 5 1/3 innings.

The Yankees added another run in the seventh when Eduardo Nunez laced a triple off the wall in left-center off reliever Chris Resop and he scored one out later on an infield single off the bat of Brett Gardner.

The Yankees entered the game with right-handed setup man David Robertson unavailable due to a sore left hamstring and right-hander Joba Chamberlain placed on the disabled list on Friday with a right oblique strain.

So when Hughes departed after eight innings manager Joe Girardi entrusted the Yankees 4-0 lead in the ninth to right-hander Shawn Kelley. But Kelley gave up a bloop single to left off the bat of Yoenis Cespedes to start the frame and Girardi abruptly pulled him in favor of closer Mariano Rivera.

Rivera then issued a controversial walk on a 3-2 pitch to Brandon Moss. Replays showed the ball caught the outside corner of the plate above the knee but was called a ball by fading veteran umpire Tim McClelland.

After a fielder’s choice grounder by Josh Donaldson advanced Cespedes to third and erased Moss at second, Seth Smith singled to right to drive in Cespedes.

Josh Reddick then grounded a ball to short that erased Smith but Reddick was just able to beat the relay from second by Cano to score Donaldson.

But Rivera retired Adam Rosales on a routine flyball to right to end the A’s’ threat and preserve the victory for Hughes.

With the victory, the Yankees now have won seven of their past nine games. Their season record improved to 18-11. The A’s fell to 17-14.

PINSTRIPE POSITIVES

  • The Yankees entered the season with major questions about their starting rotation behind CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda and Andy Pettitte. But Hughes is proving that his 34-21 record in his two full seasons as a starter was not a fluke. Hughes threw first-pitch strikes to 21 of the 29 batters he faced and, after giving up five home runs in his first three starts, Hughes has not given up any in his past three outings.
  • Stewart is picking up where starting catcher Francisco Cervelli left off when he was placed on the disabled list on April 27 with a fractured right hand. Since April 27, Stewart is only 4-for 17 (.235)  but he has a home run and three RBIs. Even more impressive is that he has nailed five of nine base-runners this season, which is an amazing 56 percent.
  • “The Replacements” continue to contribute to the Yankees’ offense as the team bides its time until their injured players return. Overbay is 8-for-23 (.348) with three home runs and three RBIs in his last six games. Hafner’s RBI single in the sixth inning ties him with Cano for the team in RBIs with 18.

NAGGING NEGATIVES

It is hard to complain when a starting pitcher goes eight shutout innings, the offense gets him plenty of runs to support him and the team plays errorless defense. So no negatives on this day.

BOMBER BANTER

Infielder Chris Nelson made his first start for the Yankees in place of Jayson Nix at third base and was 4-for-4 with two strikeouts. Nelson was obtained earlier this week from the Colorado Rockies for cash considerations or a player to be named later after the Yankees placed Kevin Youkilis on the 15-day disabled list with a lower back sprain.  . . .  Meanwhile, Yankees coach Mick Kelleher worked with Nix at first base before Saturday’s game so that Nix might provide the Yankees with an right-handed hitting option at the position.  . . .  When the Yankees placed Chamberlain on the 15-day disabled they purchased the contract of right-hander Preston Claiborne from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Claiborne was a perfect 3-for-3 in save chances and had a 3.48 in eight appearances with Scranton. In order to make room for Claiborne on the 40-man roster the team designated right-hander Cody Eppley for assignment.  . . .  Robertson had a MRI on his left knee on Thursday that was negative but Girardi said Robertson will not pitch until Tuesday in Colorado at the earliest.

ON DECK

The Yankees can win the three-game weekend series against Oakland with a victory on Sunday.

Pettitte (3-2, 3.86 ERA) will get the start for the Yankees. He would like to forget his last start. He was shelled for seven runs on 10 hits in 4 1/3 innings on Monday against the Houston Astros. In the past 10 seasons, Pettitte is 5-3 with 3.13 ERA against the A’s.

Oakland will counter with right-hander Dan Straily (1-0, 6.35 ERA). Straily gave up six runs on seven hits in 4 2/3 innings on Monday against the Los Angels Angels in his first start replacing left-hander Brett Anderson. Straily has never faced the Yankees.

Game-time will be 1:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be telecast by the YES Network.

 

Yanks Pay Back Cocky A’s On Martin’s Walk-Off HR

GAME 150

YANKEES 2, ATHLETICS 1 (10 INNINGS)

If you took a poll on New York sports talk shows on what Yankees has had the most disappointing season the result would come back Russell Martin. Of course, if you took a poll on who the most popular Yankee is on Friday you would come out with the same result.

Martin, suffering through a season in which he has been struggling with a batting average that is 32 points below his career low of last season’s .237, hit the second pitch he saw from left-handed reliever Sean Doolittle and parked it well into the bleachers in left-field as New York took a walk-off victory in 10 innings over a stunned young Oakland squad.

Martin’s home run, his 16th of the season, allowed the Yankees to maintain their one-game lead over the second-place Baltimore Orioles in the American League East. It also gave the Yankees a bit of payback on an Oakland team that swept the Yankees in four games in Oakland and the all the games were one-run games.

The Yankees actually thought they had the game won after CC Sabathia shut down the A’s on four hits and two walks and he struck out 11 over eight innings. However, Rafael Soriano gave up a one-out home run in the ninth to pinch-hitter Brandon Moss to tie the game at 1-1.

It was only Soriano’s fourth blown save if the season but two have them have come against the A’s.

The Yankees had forged that slim margin in the fourth inning off starter Jarrod Parker.

Nick Swisher opened the frame with a single to right and one out later Alex Rodriguez slapped a single to left-center to advance Swisher to third. Curtis Granderson then scored Swisher with a sacrifice fly.

Parker then shut down the Yankees, giving up one run on six hits and no walks and he struck out seven.

Doolittle (1-1) relieved Parker in the ninth and he threw a scoreless inning to push the game into extra innings.

David Robertson (2-7) came on for the Yankees in the tenth and retired the side in order to earn the victory in relief.

Martin then strolled to the plate and he picked out a fat 0-1 fastball up in the strike zone and blasted into the seats to bring most of the paid crowd of 40,759 at Yankee Stadium to its feet and the Yankees’ players racing out of the dugout to celebrate with their beleaguered catcher.

Doolittle is a very aptly named gentleman because the pitch he threw to Martin did do very little except hang up in the sights of the veteran Martin.

It was only the Yankees’ third walk-off victory of the season. One came against the Mets in June and the other came in April against Tigers.

Even with the walk-off heroics of Martin, the actual story of the night was the return to dominance of Sabathia.

The 31-year-old left-hander has not won a game since Aug. 24 and he had to be placed on the disabled list on two occasions this season. In his last two starts, Sabathia had given up nine earned runs on 14 hits and two walks over a span of 13 innings. There was concern that  Sabathia was concealing an injury because his velocity had dropped.

But from the opening pitch on Friday, Sabathia was crisp and clean with his pitches.

He walked the second batter of the game in Jonny Gomes but did not allow a hit until Stephen Drew’s single up the middle in the sixth inning. His 11 strikeouts were the most he has recorded since he fanned 12 Tampa Bay Rays in a loss at Yankee Stadium on June 7.

So with the playoffs just on the horizon, the opposition might want to think again about discounting the health of Sabathia.

The victory gives the Yankees a record of 87-63 on the season. They have now won six straight games and eight of their last nine contests. The A’s, on the other hand, fell to 85-65.

PINSTRIPE POSITIVES

  • Sabathia did tire a bit in the eighth. He gave up a one-out single to Drew, a two-out single to Collin Cowgill and he hit Gomes with a pitch to load the bases. But he got out of the jam by inducing Josh Reddick to hit a weak fly ball to left. He had struck out Reddick in his three previous at-bats. This was vintage Sabathia and it should give manager Joe Girardi more confidence in his ace as he looks toward the playoffs.
  • There is now visual proof Ichiro Suzuki is not just red hot with the bat. He is lucky, too. Suzuki was 2-for-3 in the game and one of his hits was a tapped comebacker to Parker on the mound in the third inning. But the ball rolled up Parker’s right arm and fell into his A’s jersey, preventing him from making a play on Suzuki. Since Sept. 6, Suzuki is 20-for-38 (.526) with eight RBIs and eight runs scored.
  • After kind of stinking up the joint in his three games against the Blue Jays, Rodriguez came through with two hits against the A’s. His hit in the fourth inning to advance Swisher to third was huge because it set up Granderson’s scoring fly ball that gave the Yankees’ their 1-0 lead. The power may not be there but Rodriguez is getting key hits.

NAGGING NEGATIVES

  • It is real easy to get down on Soriano because he blew the save. However, Soriano has been overused of late and it showed in his work on Friday. In addition to giving up the home run to Moss, Soriano gave up two-out walks to Derek Norris and Drew before striking out pinch-hitter Seth Smith swinging. Soriano actually warmed up on Thursday but could not go because he had pitched in six games in the previous seven days, including both games of a doubleheader on Wednesday.
  • Robinson Cano is back to hitting like a rockhead. He was o-for-4 in the game with two strikeouts and he also hit into an inning-ending double play in the sixth inning. Cano is fouling off pitches he normally crushes and he is starting to swing at some pitches out of the strike zone again. It pains me to see him getting himself out by not having the discipline to hit only the pitches he can hit squarely. His season average has dipped to .297.
  • Despite his sac fly RBI, Granderson struck out in all three of his other at-bats. His 179 strikeouts are a new career high and he has earned every one. Every time you see the change-up heading for the dirt at home plate you just know Curtis is going to swing and miss it.

BOMBER BANTER

Girardi chose to play Eduardo Nunez at shortstop and allow Derek Jeter to rest his bone bruise on his left ankle as the designated hitter on Friday.  . . .  Jeter laughed when ESPN’s Rick Reilly blew up a national story that said Jeter would consider playing for another team. Reilly twisted what Jeter was saying to him about Peyton Manning having to leave the Indianapolis Colts to play for the Denver Broncos. Jeter said that if the Yankees decided they did not want him anymore and he still wanted to play he would have to look elsewhere. Reilly made it seem if Jeter wanted to leave, which is not the case.

ON DECK

The Yankees will continue their three-game “Payback The Punks” series with Oakland on Saturday.

Right-hander Ivan Nova (12-7, 4.85 ERA) will get the start for the Yankees. If Nova is anything like he was in his last start, the A’s are in trouble. Nova came off the disabled list to throw six innings of two-run baseball and he struck out eight Rays in one of his best outings of the year. Nova is 1-0 with a 3.29 ERA lifetime against the Athletics.

Nova will be opposed by left-hander Travis Blackley (5-3, 3.36 ERA). Blackley is taking the place of Brett Anderson in the rotation and this will be his first start since Aug. 29. He is 4-3 with a 3.97 ERA as a starter. Blackley has never faced the Yankees.

Game-time will be 1:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be telecast by the YES Network.

 

Kuroda Becomes Road Warrior, Blanks Athletics

GAME $7

YANKEES 2, ATHLETICS 0

The Yankees’ weekend trip to Oakland should be called the  “Road to Redemption.”

First, Mark Teixeira’s long slumbering bat came to life and on Sunday the fabled right arm of Hiroki Kuroda started to pay dividends outside of the Bronx.

Kuroda pitched eight shutout innings to end a three-game losing streak and collect his first road victory of the season as New York blanked Oakland for a three-game sweep at o.co Coliseum.

Kuruda (4-6) entered the contest 0-4 with a 6.23 ERA away from Yankee Stadium this season, but he shut down the Athletics sputtering offense on just four hits and one walk while striking out three batters to win his first game since May 11 at home against the Seattle Mariners.

Meanwhile, the Yankees put up just enough runs against rookie left-hander Tommy Milone (6-4) to win their eighth consecutive game at o.co Coliseum, a streak that dates back to July 2011. Milone had entered the contest 4-0 with a 0.30 ERA at home this season.

Designated hitter Andruw Jones put the Yankees on the board early by blasting a first-pitch fastball from Milone over the wall in left-center to lead off the second inning.

That run stood up until the seventh inning, when the Yankees tacked on an insurance run with two outs. Curtis Granderson singled to right and Teixeira followed with a double off the wall in right-center that scored Granderson. Teixeira began the series in a terrible slump and was 8-for-14 (.571) with three home runs and eight RBIs in the series.

Milone gave up two runs on eight hits and two walks and he struck out three in 6 2/3 innings.

Rafael Soriano pitched a scoreless ninth, striking out Seth Smith swinging as the tying run at the plate, to earn his fifth save in as many opportunities on the season.

The A’s, meanwhile, suffered their fifth straight loss as the Yankees racked up their fifth straight victory.

The Yankees’ season record now stands at 26-21. The A’s fell to 22-26.

PINSTRIPE POSITIVES

  • For as bad as Kuroda has been in his last three starts, he was exceptional against the A’s. He faced the minimum through the first four innings and he did not allow a runner to reach second base until the seventh inning. He also pitched out of a jam in the seventh with Coco Crisp on third and Smith on first and one out by striking out Kila Ka’aihue and retiring Josh Donaldson on a routine fly ball. With his eight shutout innings, Kuroda lowered his ERA from 4.56 to 3.96.
  • Teixeira was 2-for-4 in the game with two doubles, including the one that padded the Yankees’ lead in the seventh inning. Manager Joe Girardi even entrusted him by batting him third in the lineup after he has spent most of the season batting fifth. Teixeira entered the series hitting .226 and he leaves with his average up to .254.
  • Jones’ home run was his fifth of the season and his first home run since May 11 against the Mariners. Oddly, that was the same game in which Kuroda won his last game. Perhaps it is something in the combination that is at work here.

NAGGING NEGATIVES

  • The Yankees loaded the bases in the first inning against Milone when Derek Jeter led off with a single, Granderson walked and, one out later, Alex Rodriguez singled sharply to right-field. However, Robinson Cano and Nick Swisher popped up weakly to end the threat. The Yankees are one for the last 30 at-bats with the bases loaded.
  • In addition, the Yankees were 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position in the game. Swisher struck out swinging at a pitch in the dirt with two on and one out in the third inning and he left a total of five runners on base in the game.
  • Advancing runners has also been a problem. In the second inning, Jayson Nix followed Jones’ home run with a double. However, Chris Stewart failed to advance him when he popped up a bunt. In the third, Teixeira led off with a double and Rodriguez grounded out to third and failed to move him up. This is why the Yankees struggle to get runs across.

BOMBER BANTER

Jeter’s single to lead off the game gave him 3,155 hits in his career and he passed Royals Hall-of-Famer George Brett to claim 14th place on the all-time hits list. Next up on the list is Cal Ripken, who is in the 13th place with 3,184 hits.  . . .  Starting catcher Russell Martin was held out of Sunday’s game with a stiff neck. Stewart caught Kuroda instead. The Yankees do not think the condition is serious and they hope Martin will be able to play on Monday.

ON DECK

Having swept Oakland, the Yankees head on to Anaheim for a three-game series that starts on Monday.

Phil Hughes (4-5, 4.94 ERA) will return to pitch in front of family and friends at Angel Stadium, which is near where he was born. Hughes has won three of his last four starts and beat the Royals on Tuesday, giving up just two runs on five hits in six innings. He is 3-2 with a 7.61 ERA in his career against the Angels.

He will face Angels right-hander Jered Weaver (6-1, 2.61 ERA). Weaver gave up just one run in eight innings against the Athletics on Wednesday, but he did not get a decision in what ended up as a Los Angeles victory. Weaver is 5-2 with a 4.79 ERA against the Yankees in his career.

Game-time will be 9:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be telecast nationally by the MLB Network and locally by the YES Network.

 

Sabathia Wins Tenth As Yankees Roll Rocks

GAME 75

YANKEES 8, ROCKIES 3

When Jason Giambi swung and missed at a slider from CC Sabathia to strike out on three pitches in the second inning he knew that it was going to be a long day for Colorado.

Sabathia was simply in command for all of his eight innings and the Yankees’ offense, led by Alex Rodriguez’s three RBIs, did the rest as New York bested the Rockies at Yankee Stadium on Saturday.

Sabathia only gave up a two-out pinch-hit single to Seth Smith in his final inning of work. He scattered seven hits and walked one while fanning a season-high nine batters to become the major-league leader in wins with 10. Sabathia also tied Chien-Ming Wang for the fastest pitcher to win 50 games for the Yankees in 30 years. Both did it in their 85th starts.

Sabathia has also won three straight starts and has also recorded wins in seven of his last eight starts. Giambi put it best when he said, “He was lights out today.”

But while CC was in charge, there was a buzz in the clubhouse about the condition of Rodriguez, despite the fact he was 2-for-3 with a single, a double, a walk, scored a run and drove in three. The Yankees finally admitted last week that Rodriguez was being treated over a period of days for a sore left shoulder.

But Rodriguez showed a noticeable limp running out his two-run double in the third inning. Rodriguez told reporters that he injured his right knee as a baserunner on Sunday night against the Cubs. Rodriguez pivoted on the knee on a wild pitch and ran back third. In the process the knee became sore. Rodriguez has 10 hits and is hitting .556 in the five games since the report about the shoulder surfaced so it does not appear the Yankees are too concerned about it.

However, manager Joe Girardi did take Rodriguez out of Saturday’s game at the end of the seventh inning.

The Yankees rocked Colorado right-hander Aaron Cook (0-3) for six runs (five earned) on 12 hits and one walk in 5 2/3 innings. Mark Teixeira added a two-run home run off reliever Rafael Betancourt in the eighth inning, his 22nd of the season and that leaves him one home run behind the major-league leader, Jose Bautista, of the Blue Jays.

With the victory, the Yankees ended a two-game losing streak and improved their season mark to 44-31. But the best news of the day actually came in the evening. The lowly Pittsburgh Pirates defeated the Boston Red Sox for the second straight night and the Yankees have now pulled into a tie with their rivals in the American League East. The Rockies fell to 38-38.

PINSTRIPE POSITIVES

  • The Yankees are very lucky to have Sabathia. He is the one pitcher they can count on to put in a good effort every five days as Bartolo Colon and Phil Hughes rehab their injuries on the disabled list. Sabathia did not get a decision in his first four starts and yet he is first major-league pitcher to reach 10 wins. Sabathia is 10-4 with 3.25 ERA. He also seems headed to a another selection for the All-Star Game in July.
  • Concern about Rodriguez aside, the third baseman is making it hard to bench him when he is so hot. In the month of June, he is 25-for-75 (.333) with four home runs and 20 RBIs. He has also driven in eight runs in his last five games. Perhaps Rodriguez may be rested on Sunday with the Yankees due for a day off Monday and Girardi could use him as a DH on Tuesday.
  • Name the two players who were the biggest disappointments entering June. Answer: Nick Swisher and Jorge Posada. Well, the pair combined to go 5-for-7 on Saturday with an RBI apiece. For the month of June, Swisher is hitting .319 with five home runs and 16 RBIs. Posada is hitting a sizzling .389 but, because he could not start in the recent road interleague contests, he only has a home run and eight RBIs.
  • Teixeira’s home run was his sixth in the month of June and has 19 RBIs during that span. However, Teixeira is batting a meager .221 in June. He is on a home-run pace in which he could hit more than 40 homers for the first time in his career since he hit 43 for the Rangers in 2005.

NAGGING NEGATIVES

  • Robinson Cano had his second consecutive 0-for-4 game after an 11-game hitting streak. Among his last eight at-bats, Cano has struck once and has hit into three double plays. He has hit only two balls into the outfield.
  • Whoever got the idea to recall journeyman right-handed reliever Buddy Carlyle from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Wednesday in exchange for Jeff Marquez, made a real big mistake. Carlyle was sent down on May 13 after posting a 0-1 record and 5.40 ERA in May. On Saturday, he entered in the ninth inning with an 8-1 lead and promptly walked the leadoff batter Jaosn Giambi, surrendered a two-run home run to Ty Wigginton and then walked a .230 hitter in Ryan Spilborghs. Girardi was forced to warm up Mariano Rivera before Carlyle finally decided to throw strikes and end the nonsense.
  • The Yankees hit into three double plays in the game. Two by Cano and one by Brett Gardner. The Yankees as a team have into 73 double plays in 75 games. They are among the league leaders in that dubious distinction. They are shooting themselves in the foot and ending promising innings when they do it. Russell Martin leads the team with 11. Cano has 10. Rodriguez has nine.

BOMBER BANTER

The team was cautious in its assessment of Phil Hughes’ rehab start on Friday for Double-A Trenton at New Britain. Hughes gave up one run on three hits in 3 1/3 innings. He threw 72 pitches, 42 for strikes. He topped out at 94 mph but averaged around 91-92. It was not as good as his first start but Hughes called it progress. The Yankees said Hughes will need a few more rehab starts before being activated.  . . .  Derek Jeter began taking swings off a tee at the team’s minor-league complex in Tampa, FL, but he has not been cleared to begin running. Jeter has been on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right calf and could have been activated on Wednesday. But that will not happen. Jeter’s status is unclear until he begins running.

ON DECK

The Yankees will conduct their 65th annual Old-Timers’ Day Game beginning at 11:30 a.m. EDT. The Yankees will welcome back Lou Piniella, Joe Torre and Bernie Williams among many others. Then the Yankees will try to win the rubber game of their series against the Rockies.

The Yankees will start 24-year-old right-hander Ivan Nova (7-4, 4.14 ERA), who is coming off his best start of the season. Against the Reds on Monday, Nova gave up one run on three hits over eight innings. He also fanned seven batters. Nova has never faced the Rockies.

The Rockies are pitching a 24-year-old rookie right-hander of their own, Juan Nicasio (2-1, 4.71 ERA), who gave up six runs on seven hits in his last start against the Indians. Nicasio is facing the Yankees for the first time.

Game-time will be 2:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be televised nationally by TBS and locally by the YES Network.