Mo will go for save No. 602 in final homestand
The Yankees wheezed their way to the end of a 4-city, 11-day, 10-game trip through Baltimore, Anaheim, Seattle and Toronto and were lifeless in Sunday’s 3-0 loss to the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. The Yanks were 4-6 on the arduous trip with four walk-off losses but had a couple of highlights with Mariano Rivera earning career saves Nos. 600 and 601 to tie Trevor Hoffman’s major-league record.
Mo can try to make the record his own at Yankee Stadium where the Yankees will play eight games over the next seven days on the last regular-season homestand of the season. To say it will be good to get home is a major understatement.
With the Rays continuing to encroach on the Red Sox’ lead in the wild-card race and pushing Boston 4 ½ games behind the Yankees in the American League East, manager Joe Girardi had the opportunity to rest some players Sunday, which he did by giving three regulars the day off. Derek Jeter, Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira weren’t even used in pinch-hit situations as the Yankees went down meekly to Brandon Morrow, who pitched eighth brilliant innings, and Frank Francisco, who worked the ninth for his 16th save.
Against Morrow, the Yankees scratched out only four hits – three of them in the infield – and a walk while striking out eight times. Eduardo Nunez, who played second base as Robinson Cano was the designated hitter, had three hits, including a double off Francisco in the ninth, but was thrown out on the bases trying to stretch his second hit into a double. Nunez was the only one of the Yankees to get to second base, which he did twice.
Freddy Garcia had his third straight poor outing and was undone by two home runs from Adam Lind, who had a monster series (6-for-12, 2 doubles, 2 home runs, 5 RBI, 3 runs). Garcia did not get through the fifth inning. He has allowed 15 earned runs and 21 hits, including six homers, in 12 1/3 innings (10.95 ERA) over his past three starts in which his season ERA has swollen from 3.09 to 3.77.
Garcia’s early exit allowed Girardi the chances to see some relievers who are auditioning for postseason roster spots. The most impressive was lefthander Raul Valdes, who began the year with the Cardinals and was claimed off waivers by the Yankees Aug. 16 and pitched at Double A Trenton. He entered the game in the sixth with one out, the bases full and Lind at bat. Valdes got him looking at a third strike and retired Edwin Encarnacion on a ground ball to end the threat. It was one bright spot in a gloomy day for the Yankees.