Results tagged ‘ Alex Rodriguez ’

Terrible timing for another A-Rod injury

Monday’s open date, the Yankees’ last day off until May 23, did not appear to do anything to invigorate them. In fact, it may have done the opposite. While they did lose Sunday night to finish off being swept by the Red Sox, the Yankees scored seven runs.

Come Tuesday night in Baltimore, the Yankees went right back to their piddling offense. One measly run is all they could muster against the Orioles, who moved back into first place in the American League East with a 4-1 victory that jumped Baltimore back over the Red Sox, who lost to the White Sox.

And to make matters worse, Alex Rodriguez, the Yankees’ hottest hitter on this trip, came up lame in the fifth inning and will undergo an MRI exam on his right hamstring Wednesday. A-Rod missed only two games in Texas at the start of the trip due to an oblique injury, so the Yankees are hopeful they can be that lucky again, except that is a 40-year-old hamstring.

A-Rod’s health was always going to be an issue this season, but the timing of his likely absence from the lineup could not be worse. Rodriguez has hit .353 with four runs, two doubles, three home runs and six RBI in 17 at-bats on a trip in which the Yankees have scored only 16 runs in seven games (2.3 per game), six of them losses. The Yanks have now lost twice as many games as they have won mostly because of an anemic offense and inconsistent starting pitching.

Luis Severino, who had been expected to emerge as a possible staff ace this season, fell to 0-4 with a 6.31 ERA. The righthander also embarrassed himself with two dropped balls trying to cover first base. One of the errors resulted in a run. Despite the PFP (pitchers fielding practice) blunders, Severino was hurt more by two fat pitches to Mark Trumbo, who homered off both of them in driving in three runs.

It was another disappointing outing from a starting pitcher. The Yankees’ rotation has a 4-11 record with a 5.13 ERA in 135 innings in which it has allowed 154 hits. With the margin for error so slim because of the weak run support, the Yankees cannot afford to have starters put them behind early in games.

The Yankees actually gave Severino a 1-0 lead in the second on Didi Gregorius’ two-out, RBI single, but the first of Trumbo’s two homers leading off the bottom half of the inning immediately tied the score. The Orioles filled the bases with two outs with Severino’s first error fueling the rally, but he got Manny Machado, the American League Player of the Month for April, on a popup to first baseman Mark Teixeira on the first pitch.

Baltimore took the lead in the fourth with an unearned run on Severino’s second dropped feed from Teixeira that allowed Jonathan Schoop, who had doubled with two out, to score.

Machado pulled a rock in the fifth when after he led off with a double tried to cross to third base on a grounder to the left side and was thrown out at third by Gregorius. Severino struck out Chris Davis but got victimized by Trumbo again.

The Orioles went down meekly after that as their last 10 batters were retired with Kirby Yates and Johnny Barbato pitching a shutout inning apiece. Baltimore was actually worse than the Yankees were in situations with runners in scoring position. The Orioles were 0-for-6 and the Yankees 1-for-7. The Yankees are actually hitting better with runners in scoring position on the trip (.225) than they are overall for the season (.201).

The Yankees left one runner on base in each of the first six innings against winning pitcher Chris Tillman, who finished strongly by striking out the side in the seventh.

Bats come alive, but Yanks drop 5th straight

On a night when the Yankees showed encouraging signs of breaking out of their offensive malaise, their pitchers were responsible for another loss that completed a three-game sweep by the Red Sox at Fenway Park and extended the losing streak to a season-high five games.

The 8-7 final marked the first time in eight games that the Yankees scored more than three runs in a game and only the sixth time in 23 games this year. They were 4-for-8 with runners in scoring position and totaled five extra-base hits, including career home run No. 692 for Alex Rodriguez, who has recovered quite nicely from that tweaked oblique last week. After missing two games, A-Rod has batted .429 with four runs, two doubles, two home runs and six RBI in 14 at-bats.

Sunday night’s game was a reversal for the Yankees in that the sluggish offense was not the culprit in a defeat. For the second time in three nights, Dellin Betances gave up a two-run home run in a late inning that supplied the deciding run. Friday night it was David Ortiz’s blast in the eighth on a first-pitch curveball. Sunday night, it was a monster shot to left field that went entirely out of the park by Christian Vazquez on a first-pitch fastball in the seventh.

Betances shouldered the blame for both games, but he certainly was not alone. Starter Nathan Eovaldi, who flirted with a no-hitter in his previous outing, surrendered leads of 3-1 and 6-4 in the bottom half of the innings in which the Yankees had gone ahead. Eovaldi was back to his old ways in giving up 10 hits in five-plus innings.

The loss was charged to Ivan Nova (1-1), who replaced Eovaldi in the sixth after a leadoff walk. Travis Shaw, who clocked a game-tying, two-run home run off Eovaldi in the fifth, singled off Nova with one down in the seventh. Brock Holt followed with a grounder to third baseman Chase Headley, who had trouble removing the ball from his glove as the Yankees were able to get a force at second base but not a double play. Betances then was summoned to pitch to Vazquez and allowed a home run for his third consecutive appearance.

Vazquez’s homer put David Price in position for the winning decision that ran his record with his new club to 4-0. It was not a pretty outing for Price, who raised his career mark against the Yankees to 14-7 despite a 4.17 ERA. The lefthander yielded six earned runs and eight hits in seven innings and heard booing at Fenway Park where he has pitched to an 8.34 ERA in four starts totaling 22 2/3 innings. Since the start of 2014, the Yanks have batted .303 with 17 doubles, four triples and six home runs against Price.

Jacoby Ellsbury’s second double of the game tied the score at 1 in the third inning. Two batters later, Rodriguez launched his fifth home run this season to make it 3-1. The Red Sox moved back ahead, 4-3, in the bottom half on a two-run single by Hanley Ramirez and a two-out, RBI single by Holt.

Rodriguez doubled home two runs in the fifth and scored on a single by Mark Teixeira as the Yankees regained the lead, 6-4. Again, Eovaldi could not hold it in yielding the bomb to Shaw. The Yankees made it a one-run game in the eighth with a run on a wild pitch by Koji Uehara, but that would be as close as they came.

While the Yankees sank deeper in the basement of the American League East with an 8-15 record, the Red Sox took over first place in the division by a half-game over the Orioles, who await the Bombers at Camden Yards for a three-game series that begins Tuesday night.

Yanks offer no resistance in blanking to Red Sox

Ronald Torreyes pinch-hit for Alex Rodriguez in the ninth inning Saturday night. It was the first time a player with no home runs in his career batted for a player with 691 homers. That is all you need to know about how the Yankees fared in the game.

This spring-training sort of finish explained the Yankees’ situation. Nothing A-Rod could have done in that at-bat in the final inning was going to do anything other than to avoid a shutout. The Red Sox pushed the Yankees all over Fenway Park for an 8-0 victory behind unbeaten Rick Porcello (5-0), who fashioned a start that the Bombers have seldom gotten from their rotation.

Porcello shut down the Yankees on five hits and a walk with six strikeouts in seven innings as he pitched six or more innings for his 13th straight start since last August. On the other hand, Michael Pineda (1-3) lasted only five innings for the second straight start. Coming off a game in which he yielded five home runs, Pineda kept the ball in the yard this time but exhibited trouble pitching with two outs.

Boston scored two runs after two were gone in the second inning on a single by Christian Vazquez and doubles by Jackie Bradley Jr. and Mookie Betts. Pineda actually pitched well after that, but his pitch count was so high that he had to come out after the fifth.

The Yankees’ bullpen could not keep the game close. Chasen Shreve gave up two runs in the sixth with Bradley a culprit again belting an RBI triple and then scoring on a single by Betts. David Ortiz, who won Friday night’s game with a two-run home run in the eighth, greeted Johnny Barbeto with a solo shot in the seventh. The Red Sox added three more runs on a walk, a single, an error by second baseman Starlin Castro and a two-run triple by Bradley, who has been a one-man wrecking crew in this series. Bradley is 4-for-6 (.667) with two doubles, two triples and five RBI in the series. And he is the 9-hole hitter!

Nevertheless, this was a game the Yankees were still in until the seventh, but their sleepwalking offense had another silent night. The Yankees had five singles and were 0-for-2 with runners in scoring position. They have scored three of fewer runs in 17 of their 22 games, including each of the past seven games.

Manager Joe Girardi is not ready to push the panic button, but the first month of the season is complete and his team has an 8-14 record amid a four-game losing streak with David Price (3-0) looming Sunday night.

Red Sox pound Green Monster late for comeback win

Fenway Park has been a comfort zone for the Yankees in recent years. Red Sox fans could not have been pleased that the Yankees won seven of nine games there last year and were 23-13 at Fenway since the start of 2012, their best four-year run in the rival team’s home in 49 years.

Masahiro Tanaka certainly looked comfortable at Fenway Friday night. Until the seventh inning, that is. Tanaka was working on a three-hit shutout through six when the tide turned against him. Three left-handed batters went to the opposite field for hits that wiped out a 2-0 deficit.

A double off the wall by Jackie Bradley that scored Travis Shaw and Brock Holt, each of whom had punched singles to left field with one out, was the killer for Tanaka, a stunning development since it came one pitch after the righthander had struck out Ryan Hanigan on a 94-mph fastball. 

Given new life, the Red Sox struck again in the eighth against Dellin Betances. David Ortiz drove a hanging curve ball over the Green Monster for a two-run home run. Just like that, the Yankees were 4-2 losers. Yankees fans have seen Ortiz do such dramatics over the years against the Bombers. Ortiz is a career .307 hitter with 48 home runs and 160 RBI in 834 career at-bats against Yankees pitching. Fourteen of those homers have given Boston leads in games. Yankees fans are happy this is his last season.

That the Red Sox were still in position to make a comeback was due primarily to the failure of the Yankees’ offense to take advantage of all the base runners they had over the first six innings against lefthander Henry Owens, who entered the game with a career 13.50 ERA against them. Brett Gardner’s two-out, RBI single in the fifth was the Yanks’ only hit in five at-bats with runners in scoring position. Alex Rodriguez’s fourth home run accounted for the other Yankees run. They had 10 runners on base in the first five innings against Owens, and only two scored. The Red Sox turned four double plays behind Owens.

Rodriguez’s 691st career home run was also career hit No. 3,082, which pushed him past Hall of Famer Cap Anson into 20th place on the all-time list. Next up is another Hall of Famer, Dave Winfield, at 3,110.

Boston relievers Matt Barnes, Koji Uehara and Craig Kimbrel each retired the side in order in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings, respectively. The Yankees’ opportunities came against Owens, but they let them slip away, just like the game.

A-Rod, Hicks not on disabled list — yet

So Alex Rodriguez did not go on the disabled list after all. Neither did Aaron Hicks as the Yankees apparently have decided to play short in the three-game series against the Rangers that opened the 11-day, nine-game trip, which begins Monday night in Arlington, Texas, and continues to Boston and Baltimore.

Rodriguez, who was forced out of Sunday’s game at Yankee Stadium against the Rays because of stiffness in his left oblique, told reporters in Texas that he was feeling better and might even be able to pinch hit if called upon. Knowing manager Joe Girardi’s history of caution with ailing players, that would seem doubtful. Still, it was a good sign that A-Rod did not go on the DL and might be back earlier than expected.

Hicks, on the other hand, is probably a no-go for the Texas series as he has yet to do any serious work while nursing bursitis in his left shoulder. With yet another lefthander on the mound, Rangers rookie Cesar Ramos, Hicks would have been in the lineup if healthy.

Due to the roster shortage, Girardi was forced to start three left-handed hitting outfielders. Dustin Ackley was to make his first major-league start in right field (and only his third game there overall) in joining left fielder Brett Gardner and center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury. Regular right fielder Carlos Beltran took Rodriguez’s place as the designated hitter. Second baseman Starlin Castro was moved to the 5-hole to give the Yankees some right-handed pop in thge middle of the order with the switch-hitting Beltran, Mark Teixeira and Chase Headley.

There was more troubling news on the injury front. James Kaprelian, the Yankees’ first-round selection in last year’s First Year Player Draft, was examined by team physician Dr. Chris Ahmad in New York and found to have inflammation in his right elbow after an MRI exam. The righthander will rest the elbow before beginning a throwing program. Kaprelian was off to a strong start for Class A Tampa in the Florida State League with a 2-1 record and a 1.50 ERA.

After getting a second opinion from noted orthopedist Dr. James Andrews, pitcher Branden Pinder has decided to have Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. He will be out for the remainder of the season.

Five Rays homers cost Yanks shot at sweep

Michael Pineda endured a nightmare of a first inning Sunday that put a damper on a bright, sunshine day in which the Yankees were shooting for their first series sweep since Aug. 28-30 last year at Atlanta. Instead, they fell back into the cellar of the American League East and hobbled their way to Arlington, Texas, to begin an 11-day, nine-game trip that starts Monday night against a Rangers team that is tied for first place in the AL West.

Five pitches into Sunday’s game before a crowd of 40,931 at Yankee Stadium, Pineda had two outs and nobody on base. He then gave up hits to the next six batters, including two doubles and two home runs, as the aggressive Rays attacked him early in the count to put up a five-spot against which the Yankees brought little resistance in falling, 8-1.

The only positive for Pineda Sunday was that he managed to pitch through the fifth inning, which spared manager Joe Girardi of digging too deep into his already overworked bullpen. Masahiro Tanaka’s seven-inning start Saturday helped, but Girardi knew from the outset Sunday that he did not have Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller available. This game turned out not to be the type in which either of the late-inning shutdown guys works.

Birthday boy Steven Souza celebrated turning 27 with two home runs, a two-run shot in the first and a solo blast in the fifth. Pineda also gave up dingers to Corey Dickerson following a two-out double off the top of the center field wall by Evan Longoria in the first inning and to Steve Pearce leading off the third. Logan Forsythe, who had three hits, joined the home run derby with Tampa Bay’s fifth of the game, a solo shot in the eighth off Nick Goody.

It was also Carlos Beltran’s birthday. The Yankees right fielder turned 39 but did not have as explosive a game as Souza. Beltran was 1-for-4. His first-inning single off eventual winning pitcher Drew Smyly was career hit No. 2,472 for Beltran, who tied Ted Simmons for 10th place among switch hitters. In ninth place at 2,605 is Tim Raines.

The day turned grimmer for the Yankees when Alex Rodriguez, who has driven in their only run with a two-out double in the fourth inning, could not bat when his turn came up again in the sixth. Girardi had to use the left-handed hitting Dustin Ackley as a pinch hitter against the lefty-throwing Smyly (although Ackley singled for his first hit of the season, in his eighth at-bat).

An MRI exam on Rodriguez’s sore left oblique was negative, but the situation shows the dilemma the Yankees are in with Aaron Hicks already out several days because of traumatic bursitis in his left shoulder. The Yanks have proved vulnerable to left-handed pitching. They are 2-5 against left-handed starters and are batting .225 with two home runs overall in 213 at-bats off lefties. Against right-handed pitching, the Yankees are batting .246 with 16 home runs in 358 at-bats.

The Yankees said that A-Rod will make the trip to Texas. But if he cannot play right away, and that is very likely considering how lingering oblique injuries tend to be, and with Hicks out as well, the Yankees lose two right-handed bats. Switch-hitter Nick Swisher, who was released by Atlanta and signed a Triple A contract with the Yankees, is playing for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre but is not on the 40-man roster. The Yankees are not believed interested in dropping anyone off the 40-man roster at this time, which limits their options if they make an internal move for outfield and DH help. The best bet for a call-up would be outfielder Ben Gamel, who is hitting .300 with a .368 on-base percentage at SWB but alas bats left-handed.

The Yanks have known along that staying healthy is a challenge to a team with aging players. The upcoming trip that continues to AL East rival stops in Boston and Baltimore could be a major test for them.

Hicks well-armed for Yankees

Aaron Hicks, who made some news Wednesday night for his arm strength, drew first blood for the Yankees offensively Thursday night with a single on a soft fly ball to center field to drive in a run. The Yankees entered the game batting .189 in 111 at-bats with runners in scoring position (.089 over their previous eight games), so a clutch hit was welcomed.

It was also a boost to Hicks, who had been hitless in his 17 prior at-bats. He had another strong game in the field. In the fourth inning, he climbed the wall along the left field line to glove a foul fly by Chris Coghlan. Two innings later, Hicks showed off that powerful arm again by throwing out Jed Lowrie trying to stretch a single into a double.

Those plays accounted for the highlights in another Yankees loss, 7-3, to the Athletics, who swept the three-game series.

Hicks was in the starting lineup for the second straight night because manager Joe Girardi wanted to load up on right-handed hitters against Oakland lefthander Rich Hill, who gave up one earned run and three hits with 10 strikeouts in six innings. An errant pickoff by Hill allowed Alex Rodriguez to cross from first base to third base in the fourth inning and resulted in an unearned run with A-Rod scoring on a dribbling single to the left side by Austin Romine.

Brett Gardner was on the bench still nursing a stiff neck, although Girardi said the left fielder would have started if the Athletics had started a right-handed pitcher. Romine started behind the plate for Brian McCann, who is 1-for-18 (.056) in the homestand.

Also on the bench was lefty-hitting shortstop Didi Gregorius with righty-swinging Ronald Torreyes starting instead. Girardi had been critical of Gregorius’ poor base running Wednesday when he ran them out of a rally but told reporters not to read anything into Gregorius sitting down and claimed it was just part of getting another right-handed bat in the lineup.

The only left-handed batter in the Yanks’ lineup was center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury. Good thing, too. After a shaky few games in the field, Ellsbury made a diving catch in the top of the first inning to rob Mark Canha of a potential run-scoring extra base hit. Ellsbury had a good night at the plate as well with three singles.

Gardner, McCann and Gregorius all entered the game as pinch hitters in the seventh inning when Hill was replaced by righthander Fernando Rodriguez. Yankees starter Luis Severino failed to hold two one-run leads in six innings, but the loss went to Chasen Shreve, who gave up home runs to Khris Davis and Coco Crisp on the first two pitches of the seventh. Coghlan homered off Johny Barbato in the eighth. It was a grim night for the bullpen (five earned runs, three hits, three walks, two strikeouts, three home runs in three innings).

Hicks’ throw from left field that cut down Oakland’s Danny Valencia at the plate to end the fourth inning Wednesday night was recorded at 105.5 miles per hour by MLB Statcast. It was the fastest throw by an outfielder since Statcast debuted at the start of the 2015 season. The previous best was 103.1 mph by the Astros’ Carlos Gomez in September 2015.

It was announced Wednesday that the Grapefruit League drew an average of 7,096 fans per game this spring, the first time in the 100-year history of spring training in Florida that teams eclipsed 7,000 in attendance. The Yankees averaged 10,053 fans per home game at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa to lead the Grapefruit League in attendance for the third consecutive season.

Extra-inning loss drops Yanks into cellar

The Yankees’ first extra-inning game of the season ended on a sour note. Tuesday night as the Athletics pulled it out in the 11th, 3-2. The loss also dropped the Yankees into last place in the American League East with a 5-7 record, including falling below .500 (3-4) at home.

The Yankees have scored only nine runs in the four games on the homestand due mostly to getting only two hits in 42 at-bats with runners in scoring position. That is a .048 batting average in clutch situations. For the season, the Yankees are batting .206 under those conditions.

One of those hits was a two-out single in the first inning by Alex Rodriguez that was an an encouraging sign. Alas, the Yankes did not get another one.

The opportunities were there. Brett Gardner led off the third with a double and moved no farther than second base. Carlos Beltran’s sacrifice fly in the fifth also put Starlin Castro on third base, but he was stranded. Chase Headley led off the ninth with a single, but Didi Gregorius could not get a bunt down and eventually flied out, and Jacoby Ellsbury pinch running was thrown out trying to steal second.

The Yankees ended up wasting a good outing by Michael Pineda (two runs, seven hits, one walk, seven strikeouts in six innings) and a shutout inning apiece from Chasen Shreve, Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller before Oakland pushed home the deciding run against Johnny Barbato in his second inning. Jed Lowrie doubled, his fourth hit, and scored on a two-out single by Mark Canha.

Meanwhile in Boston, the Red Sox and Rays also went extras with neither team scoring in regulation, a rarity at Fenway Park, where the Rays won, 3-0, in the 10th. That lifted Tampa Bay above the Yankees in the standings. The Rays will come to town over the weekend. The Yankees hope not to be still in their rear window by then.

The Yankees are 5-13 in their past 18 games against the A’s.  . .Yankees pitchers had at least 10 strikeouts for the third straight game and eighth time in 12 games this season. Their 120 Ks are a club record through 12 games (previously 119 in 2012).

Rest benefits three Yanks who support CC

That day of rest Friday paid off for Alex Rodriguez, Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran Saturday. The trio combined for five hits in 12 at-bats (.417), including two home runs, in the Yankees’ 8-4 victory over a Detroit team that had shut them out on three hits Friday. Six of the Yankees’ runs were scored by one of three aging veterans who were on the bench the day before.

Those booming bats proved comforting to CC Sabathia, who was perfect through three innings and had a 6-0 lead by the fourth. Sabathia was the first Yankees starting pitcher to take the ball into the seventh inning this year. Manager Joe Girardi decided not to push the big guy any further after the lefthander gave up a leadoff single in the seventh on his 90th pitch.

No longer the overpowering pitcher he was back when he was winning the American League Cy Young Award, Sabathia relied on cut fastballs and sliders to get through the Tigers’ deep lineup with a bevy of right-handed pop. CC did walk four batters after the Yankees had not issued a free pass the previous two games. He had a tough fourth inning when Detroit used three walks and two singles to score two runs. The Tigers got the first two batters on base in the fifth, but Sabathia defused the rally as he initiated a double play on a comebacker by Justin Upton and then retired Miguel Cabrera on another ground ball.

Sabathia was encouraged toward the end of last season when he was 2-1 with a 2.17 ERA in his final five starts pitching with a new brace on his troublesome right knee. However, his spring training was nothing tonight home about (1-3, 5.51 ERA) as he barely beat out Ivan Nova for the fifth starter’s spot. Sabathia’s effort Saturday was a positive sign that he can still batters out despite a noted drop in velocity.

Rodriguez gave CC a lead before he took the mound with an impressive home run to center field with two out in the first inning off Mike Pelfrey, the off-season, free-agent acquisition who pitched poorly in his first outing for the Tigers (six earned runs and eight hits in 3 2/3 innings). It was career homer No.688 for Rodriguez, who had homered in his first at-bat in the spring but did not go deep again after that until Saturday.

McCann continued his career success against Pelfrey with a leadoff single in the second and came around to score on a two-out single by Didi Gregorius. McCann walked in the fourth and was again driven home by Gregorius, this time on a sacrifice fly. In 43 career at-bats against Pelfrey, McCann has batted .465 with eight doubles, two home runs and seven walks. Much of their history dates to their years in the National League East when McCann was with the Braves and Pelfrey the Mets.

A bases-loaded triple later in the fourth by Jacoby Ellsbury spelled the end for Pelfrey. McCann got his second single of the game with one down in the fifth and scored on Beltran’s second home run of the season, a jolting blow to right-center off reliever Buck Farmer.

It was certainly a much stronger lineup the  Tigers faced Saturday than Friday. Starlin Castro bounced back from a 0-for-4 game Friday with two hits Saturday, including career No. 1,000 on a single in the seventh. Ronald Torreys got a start at third base and had three singles to raise his batting average to .800.

Yes, it is April.

Power bats sparking Yanks in early going

The long ball is back for the Yankees at Yankee Stadium, which they will continue to need if their starting pitchers cannot pick up the pace. One game after Michael Pineda lucked out behind a 16-run, 17-hit attack, Nathan Eovaldi struggled through five innings only to be saved by his teammates’ wiping away 3-0 and 5-2 deficits in an 8-5 victory over the Astros Thursday in the rubber game of the season-opening series.

Mark Teixeira’s second three-run home run in two days unlocked a 5-5 score in the seventh inning and was a great sign from a player who has a history of grim Aprils and is coming off a leg injury that ruined the final portion of his — and the Yanks’ — 2015 season. Tex is batting .364 with two homers and seven RBI after a somewhat lackluster spring training during which he expressed concern about his poor timing at the plate. He has come alive at the right time. His 193rd home run with the Yankees pushed him past Tino Martinez into 17th place on the club’s all-time list.

There were plenty of other good signs from the Yankees in a game that began with a 12-minute rain delay but stayed dry the rest of the way. Starlin Castro continued his torrid hitting with two more knocks, including his second home run. Brian McCann got on the board with this first homer of the season and is batting .455 with three RBI. Mac’s 50th homer since joining the Yankees was his 36th at the Stadium. The Yankees belted seven home runs in the series, including three in each of the past two games.

Alex Rodriguez still has not homered since his first at-bat of the exhibition season, but he broke out of a 0-for-9 season start with a single in the fifth that scored the tying run. A-Rod also singled in the seventh and scored on Tex’s homer, an opposite-field blow off Ken Giles thaty cleared the left-field wall. Jacoby Ellsbury entered the game batting .111 and contributed two doubles and an RBI.

For the second straight game, the Yankees got four scoreless innings from their bullpen. Wednesday night all four frames were handled by Ivan Nova. Thursday, it was an ensemble effort with a shutout inning apiece from Kirby Yates, Chasen Shreve, Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller, who earned his first save. Miller allowed two hits but struck out the side in showing no ill effects from a chip fracture in his right (non-pitching) wrist. Betances bounced back from the Opening Day loss with a 1-2-3, two-strikeout eighth.

Eovaldi’s five-inning start was a mixed bag. He did not walk anybody, which was good. He had seven strikeouts, which was good. But the righthander was touched for two home runs, which was not good, that came in successive at-bats in the second inning by Tyler White and Preston Tucker. White made it a four-RBI game when he singled in two more runs in the fourth as Houston regained its three-run lead. The power bats of McCann and Castro came to Eovaldi’s rescue, and he got off the hook when Rodriguez knotted the score in the fifth. It was A-Rod’s 1,066th RBI with the Yankees as he passed Jorge Posada for 11th place on the franchise’s career list.

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