Results tagged ‘ Alex Rodriguez ’
While Alex Rodriguez is on the road back to good health and expected to rejoin the Yankees for Thursday’s late-afternoon series finale against the Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium, there are other physical concerns disrupting the club.
Rodriguez homered in two at-bats for Double A Trenton Wednesday night after going 2-for-4 with a run batted in Tuesday night on an injury-rehabilitation assignment. It is too bad A-Rod did not take to playing first base a couple of years ago because the Yankees may have a real need there.
Mark Teixeira was out of the lineup Wednesday night because of neck stiffness, the same ailment that forced him to miss two home games earlier this month against the Royals. It has been a rough month for Teixeira, who is batting .164 with three doubles and two RBI in May that has driven his season batting average down to .195. Tex was 4-for-25 (.160) on the recent trip to Phoenix and Oakland. He went 16 games without an RBI from May 3-21, the longest stretch of his career. He was 1-for-4 with two strikeouts in Tuesday night’s 6-0 victory over the Blue Jays. Teixeira has not homered since April 13, another career-worst stretch of 124 at-bats.
Dustin Ackley was at first base batting sixth in the order Wednesday night. Manager Joe Girardi conceded he does not have that many options at that position. He said he could use backup catcher Austin Romine at first base or use Romine behind the plate and have regular catcher Brian McCann at first. Romine was taking grounders at first base during batting practice.
Gary Sanchez, the catcher Romine beat out in spring training for the role of McCann’s caddy, is also hurt. Playing at Triple A Scranton/Wilkes Barre, Sanchez took a foul ball off his right hand Tuesday night and sustained a bone fracture in this thumb that placed him on the disabled list.
A former Yankees catcher was a primary reason the Yankees’ six-game winning streak came to an end. Russell Martin, who entered the game without a home run and only one extra-base hit in 122 at bats, cranked two home runs to drive in three runs for Toronto in its 8-4 victory that dropped the Yankees back below .500(22-23).
The Yanks got a pair of home runs on back-to-back solos by Chase Headley (No. 3) and Didi Gregorius (No. 4) in the seventh but it was too little too late. For the seventh straight game, the Yankees’ starter pitched six innings or more. Ivan Nova (2-2) lasted two outs in the seventh before he hit Edwin Encarnacion with a pitch and was replaced by Chase Shreve, who gave up a two-run homer to Patrick Saunders.
The Blue Jays were not finished with Shreve. Justin Smoak doubled and Martin followed with his second homer of the game. His first came leading off the sixth against Nova, who was charged with four earned runs in 6 2/3 innings. A couple of two-out infield singles in the fourth hurt Nova, who then yielded a bases-clearing double by Ryan Goins.
Martin’s sixth-inning homer came in his 125th at-bat, the second longest drought at the start of a season in his career. Martin did not hit a home run in 2009 until his 218th at-bat for the Dodgers. Martin’s bid for a three-homer game came in the ninth but center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury caught his drive on the warning track.
Toronto starter Marco Estrada earned his first victory in eight starts since April 10. The righthander, who had received scant run support prior to Wednesday night, loaded the bases with none out in the second on singles by Headley and Gregorius and a four-pitch walk to Aaron Hicks but gave up only one run on an infield out. Gregorius had three hits, including a singe off lefthander Chad Girodo, which raised his team-leading batting average against southpaws to .368 in 38 at-bats.
Rodriguez has played only two games at first base, both in 2015, in his career and was not a bit comfortable on that side of the infield as he has been over the years as a shortstop turned third baseman. A-Rod made one error in his 9 2/3 innings as a first baseman.
The Yankees are hopeful Teixeira’s health issues are short-term. If the problem should linger, they would have to weigh all options. After a hot start at SWB, Nick Swisher has cooled off to a .260 batting average with four home runs and 13 RBI. He has been platooned there with Chris Parmelee, who is batting .244 with six homers and 18 RBI.
Alex Rodriguez’s return from the 15-day disabled list will be delayed for at least another day or two. Rodriguez, who was placed on the DL May 4 due to a strained right hamstring, went on an injury-rehabilitation assignment to Double A Trenton Tuesday night. The Thunder has night games Tuesday and Wednesday.
Rodriguez has been eligible to come off the DL since May 19, but he was not activated during the Yankees’ recently completed four-game sweep at Oakland. Carlos Beltran was the DH in all four games and was 9-for-18 (.500) with three runs, five doubles, one home run and eight RBI.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi explained before Tuesday night’s opener of a three-game series against the Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium that the decision on Rodriguez was reached Monday during a conference call with club officials. Girardi said the thinking was that A-Rod has been idle for three weeks and needs at-bats. With three righthanders starting for Toronto in this series there is less of a need to hurry Rodriguez back.
And although it is purely coincidental, the Yankees have gotten hot during A-Rod’s absence. They are 12-6 since he went on the DL. DHs have hit a combined .323 with 10 doubles, five home runs and 19 RBI in 62 at-bats. Almost all of the damage has been by Beltran, who started 12 of 15 games as the DH (there was no DH in a three-game series in the National League city of Phoenix) and batted .367 with 11 runs, nine doubles, five home runs and 18 RBI in 49 at-bats. The Yanks were 10-2 in those games.
Using Beltran as the DH spares his aging legs, improves the outfield defense with Aaron Hicks in right field and offers some playing time for Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre call-up Rob Refsnyder. Girardi did say that once Rodriguez returns he would again be the full-time DH, but for the time being there is no emergency.
The Yankees made a player move Tuesday in claiming pitcher Layne Somsen off waivers from the Reds and optioning him to SWB. The righthander, 26, made his major league debut with Cincinnati this season and appeared in two games. Somsen pitched a scoreless inning May 14 at Philadelphia and allowed five earned runs in 1 1/3 innings May 16 at Cleveland.
The South Dakota native also made 10 appearances with Triple-A Louisville This year and posted a 1.89 ERA in 19 innings without any decisions. In 86 games, including seven starts, over parts of four minor league seasons, Somsen has a 9-5 career record with a 2.50 ERA.
The Yankees’ 40-man roster now stands at 40.
The quality start is somewhat of a bogus statistic. It is rewarded to a starting pitcher who allows three or fewer runs in six innings. Since three runs allowed in six innings converts to an earned run average of 4.50, the quality start can be a pretty hollow stat.
However, a 4.50 ERA looks pretty good these days to Michael Pineda, whose ERA stands at 6.34 after what qualified Sunday as a quality start for him as the Yankees won their fifth straight game and completed their first four-game sweep at Oakland since 1979.
That Pineda had one of those six innings-three runs quality starts was just fine with the Yankees, who have been waiting for him to come close to one and falling in line with the rest of the rotation in creating this winning streak. The more important stat for Pineda was the “W,” a winning decision that ended a winless stretch of eight starts since his only other victory April 6. On that day, the righthander allowed six earned runs in five innings (10.80 ERA) and benefit from his teammates scoring a season-high 16 runs.
Pineda showed progress to some degree in pitching from the stretch and displayed improved control of his slider, which has been wayward to say the least. The most quality of his innings was the sixth because in retiring the side in order Pineda held onto a 4-3 lead and set up the rest of the game for Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman to finish off the Athletics.
Carlos Beltran helped the situation further with a two-out, RBI double in the seventh for a 5-3 Yankees advantage. Betances had two strikeouts in a 1-2-3 seventh, but Miller had to work to avoid having the A’s tie the score in the eighth after consecutive errors by shortstop Didi Gregorius and second baseman Starlin Castro gave Oakland runners on the corner with none out. Miller got a huge strikeout of Danny Valencia before pinch hitter Billy Butler drove in a run with a groundout to third. Another grounder to third by pinch hitter Khris Davis ended the threat before Chapman worked a perfect ninth for his sixth save.
This was the fifth time all three power relievers appeared in the same game. They have combined for a 1-0 record with five saves, a 1.17 ERA and 27 strikeouts in 15 1/3 innings in those games. Overall, the Yankees’ bullpen over the past 20 games is 4-1 with seven saves and a 2.10 ERA in 60 innings.
Yet it has been starting pitching that has done the most to shape the winning streak. Starters were 5-0 with a 2.03 ERA this turn through the rotation and allowed 19 hits and four walks with 26 strikeouts in 31 innings.
After winning the first three games of the Oakland series with only one home run (by Beltran), the Yankees got solo shots from Brian McCann and Jacoby Ellsbury off A’s starter Jesse Hahn. After the A’s regained the lead in the fifth on a two-out, RBI double by Stephen Vogt, the Yankees got a pair of two-out hits of their own to move ahead for good.
Mark Teixeira greeted reliever John Axford with an infield single to end a 0-for-19 stretch and get his first run batted in since May 1 covering 71 plate appearances. The legs of Brett Gardner got that RBI for Tex by scampering home from second base on the grounder that was knocked down by A’s second baseman Chris Coghlan in shallow center field. Castro got the Yankees back in front with a single to left-center.
Beltran finished off an incredible series that brought the Yankees’ season record within one game of .500 (21-22) in which he had nine hits in 17 at-bats (.529) with eight RBI. His fifth double of the set was career No. 515, which tied Hall of Famer Joe Cronin for 50th place on the all-time list. With Alex Rodriguez due to come off the 15-day disabled list when the Yankees open a brief homestand Tuesday night, Beltran will have to surrender his designated hitter duties.
The Yankees are 13-6 since A-Rod went on the DL. Beltran’s productivity has been a major factor in that record. In 12 games as the DH, Beltran hit .367 with nine runs, nine doubles, five home runs and 18 RBI in 49 at-bats. The Yankees were 10-2 in those games. Rodriguez has big shoes to fill.
Alex Rodriguez has been eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list since Thursday, but the Yankees seem in no hurry to activate him. The main reason is that he has not appeared to be 100 percent in running drills, which is crucial for a player disabled due to a strained right hamstring.
Another reason is that the Yankees have been able to use the designated hitter spot previously occupied almost solely by Rodriguez in a manner that is helpful for a club with aging players. Manager Joe Girardi has had the luxury of giving games off the field for catcher Brian McCann, first baseman Mark Teixeira and most notably right fielder Carlos Beltran.
Of the 17 games A-Rod has been out of the lineup, Beltran has served as the DH in 10 of them and sparing his battered legs has produced dividends to the offense. Beltran has been an absolute wrecking crew in Oakland where the Yankees have knocked off the Athletics two nights in a row in ending a four-game Athletics winning streak and putting together a three-game winning streak for the first time this season.
Beltran had three doubles and drove in three runs in Friday night’s 8-3 victory, one night after another three-RBI game with a double and a home run in Thursday night’s 4-1 triumph. In 41 at-bats as the DH in Rodriguez’s absence, Beltran has batted .342 with eight runs, eight doubles, five home runs and 16 RBI. The Yankees are 8-2 in the games Beltran has been the DH and 11-6 overall since A-Rod went on the DL.
Beltran doubled with two out in the first inning off Sonny Gray, who the Yanks would rough up later in the game, but was stranded. Beltran’s second double knocked in two runs in the Yankees’ four-run fourth that also included a two-run triple by Ronald Torreyes and a run-scoring wild pitch, one of three in the game by Gray, who also gave up six hits and four walks in 3 1/3 innings. The Oakland righthander finished third last season in the American League Cy Young Award voting behind winner Dallas Keuchel and runner-up David Price but has struggled big-time this year with a 3-5 record and a 6.19 ERA.
Beltran doubled in the Yankees’ sixth run in the sixth inning off reliever Ryan Dull. The offensive outburst was sufficient support for CC Sabathia, who in his first start since coming off the DL held the A’s to one run, three hits and one walk with eight strikeouts in six innings. Having a five-run lead in the seventh meant Girardi could stay away from Dellin Betances and give Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman the night off as well.
Jacoby Ellsbury continued his hot hitting with two hits, including a two-run triple in the ninth. The center fielder is batting .395 with 10 runs, four doubles, two triples, six walks, five stolen bases and five RBI in 38 at-bats this month.
The winning decision was Sabathia’s 100th victory with the Yankees. With 106 victories for the Indians, Sabathia became the eighth pitcher since 1900 and the second with the Yankees to win at least 100 games with multiple franchises. Mike Mussina (Orioles) was the other Yankees pitcher to pull off the feat. The others were Grover Cleveland Alexander (Phillies and Cardinals), Lefty Grove (A’s and Red Sox), Nolan Ryan (Angels and Astros), Dennis Martinez (Expos and Orioles), Greg Maddux (Cubs and Braves) and Randy Johnson (Mariners and Diamondbacks).
Jacoby Ellsbury’s trip around the bases in the first inning Friday night proved costly as the center fielder hurt his right hip while scoring the Yankees’ first run. Ellsbury came out of the game at inning’s end and was to undergo an MRI exam. This is the same hip that Ellsbury injured last year that placed him on the disabled list.
Ellsbury entered the game with a career slash line of .429/.448/.929 in 28 career at-bats against Red Sox starter Rick Porcello, who brought a 5-0 record and a 13 1/3-inning scoreless streak into the game. Ellsbury helped put an end to that by drawing a four-pitch, leadoff walk, stealing second and third base and scoring on a two-out double by Brian McCann. On the trot home Ellsbury pulled up lame. Dustin Ackley came out to play right field at the start of the second inning with Aaron Hicks moving to Ellsbury’s spot in center.
Ackley tied the score for the Yankee in the bottom of the second with a two-out, RBI single. The Red Sox had scored in the first inning against Michael Pineda on a two-run home run by David Ortiz, his third homer in four games against the Yankees this year and the 50th of his career against them.
Ellsbury’s injury comes at a time when the Yankees are pretty beat up. Alex Rodriguez and CC Sabathia are on the DL. Brett Gardner returned to the lineup after not starting Thursday night in Baltimore because of a a bruised right triceps.
Just when the Yankees’ rotation was beginning to click, a wrench has been thrown into the mix. It came in the form of a strained left groin to CC Sabathia, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list two days after he pitched seven shutout innings at Baltimore’s Camden Yards in one of only two victories the Yankees had in their nine-game trip.
Back at Yankee Stadium Friday night against the Red Sox to start a 10-game homestand, the Yankees had bad news regarding Sabathia, who joins Alex Rodriguez on the DL. The Yankees recalled lefthander Phil Coke from Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Coke, who pitched for the Yankees in 2008 and ’09, will be in the bullpen. Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that Ivan Nova will fill in for Sabathia in the rotation.
Sabathia beat out Nova for the fifth starter’s spot in spring training and has a 2-2 record with a 3.81 ERA. Girardi called CC’s outing Wednesday night the best he has seen in the past two years. One of the amazing things about it is that Sabathia felt soreness in his groin in the fourth inning and was able to pitch quality ball through the seventh.
Masahiro Tanaka followed Sabathia’s effort with a gem of his own Thursday night, although the Yankees lost, 1-0, in 10 innings. Tanaka shut out the Orioles for eight innings in lowering his ERA to 2.29.
Matching Tanaka through eight was Orioles starter Kevin Gausman. It marked the major leagues’ first game in which both starters pitched at least eight scoreless innings since Aug. 24, 2015 when the Yankees’ Nathan Eovaldi and the Astros’ Scott Feldman did it in a 1-0 Yankees victory at the Stadium.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it was the third time in 1,028 games between the Yankees and Orioles (since the team moved to Baltimore from St. Louis in 1954) that neither team scored through nine innings. The others were June 3, 1981 at the Stadium (a 2-0 Yankees victory in 11 innings) and Sept. 12, 2014 at Camden Yards (a 2-1 Orioles victory in 11 innings).
Tanaka’s eight scoreless innings Thursday night was the longest start by a Yankees pitcher this season and the longest since Eovaldi’s game Aug. 24 last year. The last time a Yankees starter went at least eight scoreless innings on the road was exactly a year ago, by Michael Pineda May 5, 2015 at Toronto. Along with Sabathia’s start Wednesday night, Yankees starters have thrown at least seven scoreless innings in consecutive starts for the first time in exactly one year: Chase Whitley threw seven innings May 4, 2015 at Toronto and Pineda’s eight the next day.
After the three-game, weekend series against the Red Sox, the reigning World Series champion Royals come to town for four games followed by the American League Central-leading White Sox for a three-game set.
Alex Rodriguez Replica Bat Day will take place Saturday, May 14. The first 10,000 people in attendance, 14 years of age and younger, will receive a replica bat, courtesy of Bank of America.
Ticket specials will run Monday, May 9 (Military Personnel Game), Tuesday, May 10 (MasterCard $5, Military Personnel and Senior Citizen Game), Wednesday, May 11 (Military Personnel and Student Game), Thursday, May 12 (Military Personnel Game), Saturday, May 14 (Youth Game) and Sunday, May 15 (Youth Game).
For a complete list of ticket specials, including game dates, seating locations, and terms and conditions, fans should visit http://www.yankees.com/ticketspecials. Please note that all ticket specials are subject to availability.
The homestand will also feature the following promotional items and dates:
Saturday, May 7 – Yankees vs. Red Sox, 1:05 p.m.
Sunscreen Day, presented by Blue Lizard, to all in attendance.
Monday, May 9 – Yankees vs. Royals, 7:05 p.m.
Cap Night, presented by the Robin Hood Foundation, to all in attendance.
Tuesday, May 10 – Yankees vs. Royals, 7:05 p.m.
Dunkin’ Donuts Card Night, presented by Dunkin’ Donuts, to first 18,000 in attendance, 21 and older.
Thursday, May 12 – Yankees vs. Royals, 7:05 p.m.
Yogi Berra Museum & Learning Center Commemorative Bookmark Night-Free Museum Admission Ticket, presented by the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center, to all in attendance.
Friday, May 13 – Yankees vs. White Sox, 7:05 p.m.
Yankees Reusable Tote Bag Night, presented by MLB Network, to first 40,000 in attendance.
Sunday, May 15 – Yankees vs. White Sox, 1:05 p.m.
MLB Play Ball Weekend-Plastic Bat and Ball Set, to first 10,000 in attendance, 14 and younger.
Tickets may be purchased online at http://www.yankees.com, http://www.yankeesbeisbol.com, at the Yankee Stadium Ticket Office, via Ticketmaster phone at 877-469-9849, Ticketmaster TTY at 800-943-4327 and at all ticket offices located within Yankees Clubhouse Shops. Tickets may also be purchased on Yankees Ticket Exchange at http://www.yankees.com/yte, the only official online resale marketplace for fans to purchase and resell tickets to Yankees games. Fans with questions may call 212-YANKEES [926-5337] or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For information on parking and public transportation options to the Stadium, please visit http://www.yankees.com and click on the Yankee Stadium tab at the top of the page.
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.
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.
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.
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.