Yanks too much for sloppy Brew Crew

The Zack Greinke the Yankees faced Tuesday night was not the Zack Greinke who won the American League Cy Young Award in 2009. Now in the National League with the Brewers, Greinke went into the game with a good record – 7-2 – but a poor ERA – 4.77 – which only got worse – 5.63 – after his two dreadful innings.

The Yankees had success against Greinke in his years with Kansas City when he was 2-3 with a 5.27 ERA against them, but Tuesday night was simply ridiculous. They knocked him out with seven runs on five hits and three walks in two innings. Greinke also hit a batter, threw a wild pitch and gave up a well-struck home run to Nick Swisher, who has been on fire lately.

The first inning was truly bizarre. Greinke began it by hitting Brett Gardner with a pitch. Curtis Granderson followed with a fly ball that center fielder Nyjer Morgan misplayed into a triple. Morgan turned the wrong way and then tripped as the ball fell free without his touching it. The Brewers played the infield back conceding the second run as Granderson scored on a grounder to second by Mark Teixeira.

Milwaukee next applied a shift defense against Alex Rodriguez with the second baseman, Rickie Weeks, playing behind the bag. This didn’t make sense to me since A-Rod has been hitting the ball to the right side quite a bit lately. Sure enough, he hit a grounder to the right side for a gift single.

One out later, the Yankees had the bases loaded after a walk to Swisher and a weird fielder’s choice on a grounder inside third by Jorge Posada. Third baseman Casey McGehee made a diving, back-handed stop but instead of going straight to the bag for the third out on a force he tried to tag Rodriguez, who eluded him and arrived safely.

Greinke avoided further damage when Russell Martin flied out to end the inning, but the Yanks started up quickly again in the second. Eduardo Nunez led off with a single. Gardner won a nine-pitch at-bat and walked. The two pulled off a double steal. Teixeira got his second RBI grounder, which was the second out, but Greinke couldn’t finish the inning off. He walked A-Rod, gave up a run-scoring single to Robinson Cano and grooved a 2-0 fastball to Swisher, who connected for his 10th home run.

Swish hit .213 with three home runs and 20 RBI over the first two months of the season in 169 at-bats. His low point was May 27 when he was batting .204. In 29 games since then, Swish has batted .320 with 14 runs, 8 doubles, 8 home runs, 23 RBI and 23 walks in 97 at-bats. The switch-hitter had been atrocious from the left side, but he has gradually worked those stats up to where he is finally over .200 (.211) with 7 home runs and 29 RBI in 175 at-bats.

Swisher, who got a fourth RBI with a double in the eighth, was active on both sides of the field Tuesday night. He threw out Corey Hart trying to score to end the sixth and was part of another inning-ending play in which a Brewers runner, Mat Gamel, was thrown out on the bases in the fourth.

After getting two RBI on balls that did not leave the infield, Teixeira picked up two more RBI in the sixth on a ball that left the yard, for his 24th home run. That kept Tex in a tie for the home run lead with the Blue Jays’ Juan Bautista, who also slugged his 24th at Toronto.

The Yankees poured it on to the extent that by the seventh when he was trailing, 11-2, Brewers manager Ron Roenicke started emptying his bench. So did Yanks manager Joe Girardi. That same inning, Hector Noesi took over for Freddy Garcia and threw 34 pitches – 24 combined to only two batters. Jonathan Lucroy got a well-earned single in a 13-pitch at-bat, and Noesi struck out Weeks on the 11th pitch of that at-bat.

There was plenty of weird stuff to go around in this one, but it was a great night all around for the Yankees, who pushed their lead in the AL East to 1 ½ games over the Red Sox, who were shut out by Cliff Lee at Philadelphia, and moved to a season-high 15 games over .500.

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