Results tagged ‘ Alex Rodriguez ’

Yankees made a wide turn in July

The Yankees may look back at July as the turning-point month of the 2015 season for them. They entered July with a 41-37 record and in third place in the American League East albeit only a half-game out of first.

They won the first three games in the month and went on to a 17-7 record for a .709 winning percentage, the best mark in the major leagues and their most victories in a calendar month since September 2012 when they were 17-11 (.607).

By the end of July, the Yankees had a 58-44 record and were in first place in the division with a six-game lead. They have had a non-losing record in July in each of the past 23 seasons with a winning mark in 22 of them. The exception was 2012 when they played .500 ball at 13-13.

Mark Teixeira emerged as a serious candidate for American League Most Valuable Player honors by batting .333 with nine home runs and 19 RBI in 23 games and 87 at-bats while playing superlative defense at first base. It was his highest homer total in a calendar month since June 2011 when he also had nine. Alex Rodriguez matched Tex in homers last month and hit .286 in 84 at-bats.

Third baseman Chase Headley batted .370 with 15 RBI in 21 games and 81 at-bats in July to raise his season batting average from .246 to .273. It marked his most hits in a calendar month since July 2014 (31) and his most RBI since September 2012 (30). His .370 average was his highest in a calendar month in his career (minimum 15 at-bats).

Shortstop Didi Gregorius hit .317 with 13 RBI in 24 July games and 82 at-bats, his most in a calendar month in his career. His previous high was 10 RBI in May 2013. Gregorius has raised his batting average each month this season (.206 in April, .232 in May, .258 in June and .317 in July).

The Yankees did not import any starting pitching prior to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, but they will bring up one of their top pitching prospects to join the rotation next week. Righthander Luis Severino, 21, will start for the Yankees Wednesday night against the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium. Severino was 7-0 with a 1.91 ERA in 11 starts for Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre after his promotion from Double A Trenton where he was 2-2 with a 3.32 ERA.

Last shall be first with Yanks’ lineup lately

It has been a bottoms-up situation for the Yankees’ batting order in recent games. Monday night, the six-through-nine hitters in the Yankees’ starting lineup were a combined 7-for-14 (.500) with four runs, one doubles, one triple, one home run, four RBI and two walks in the 6-2 victory over the Rangers at Arlington, Texas.

Sunday, the 6-9 hitters drove in all seven runs in the Yankees’ 7-2 victory over the Twins at Minneapolis. Over the past two games, 6-9 in the order are batting a combined .393 (11-for-28) with eight runs, one double, one triple, three homers, 11 RBI and two walks. For the season, the seven-through-nine hitters (not counting pitchers in inter-league competition) rank fifth in the American League with a .649 OPS (on-base plus slugging averages) and have the second most home runs (28).

Third baseman Chase Headley has been as hot as the weather this month. In 17 games in July, Headley is batting .369 (24-for-65) with 11 runs, six doubles, one home run, and 11 RBI in 65 at-bats. He has reached base safely in 15 of the 17 games, has a .400 on-base percentage and raised his batting average 22 points to .268. . . Shortstop Didi Gregorius has also been hot. Derek Jeter’s successor homered and drove in a career-high four runs Monday in his second three-hit game over the past five in which he is 8-for-15 (.533) with three runs, one homer and six RBI to raise his season batting average from .234 to .248. The home run ended a homer-less stretch of 103 at-bats.

Yankees closer Andrew Miller has converted all 23 of his save opportunities this year, which is the longest streak of consecutive saves to begin a stint with the Yankees since saves became an official statistic in 1969 and tied for third longest for any team, equaling those of Huston Street with the Padres in 2012 and LaTroy Hawkins with the Twins over the 2000 and ’01 seasons. The longest is 44 straight saves by Brad Lidge with the Phillies over the 2008 and ’09 seasons. Second is Guillermo “Willie” Hernandez with 32 for the Tigers in 1984, the year he won both the AL Most Valuable Player and Cy Young Awards.

Alex Rodriguez, who turned 40 Monday, hit his sixth career home run on his birthday to set a major league record. He had shared the previous mark of five with Todd Helton, Chipper Jones, Derrek Lee and Al Simmons. A-Rod also became only the fourth player to homer in his teens and his 40s. The others were Ty Cobb (who played from 1905-28) Rusty Staub (1963-85) and Gary Sheffield (1988-2009). Since 1914, Rodriguez is the ninth right-handed batter (10th occasion) to hit at least 24 home runs in his age-39 season or older, and the first since Frank Thomas in 2007 (26 at age 39). The only player to hit as many as 30 homers at 39 or older was Hank Aaron, who hit 40 in 1973 when he was 39. Nine of A-Rod’s past 14 hits have been home runs, including each of his past four hits.

No. 7 proved lucky for Hall of Fame inductee

COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. — One of the many distinctions Mickey Mantle had in his legendary career was that for 45 years he was the only player who wore No. 7 to have his number retired. That changed this year when the Astros retired No. 7 in honor of Craig Biggio, who will be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame Sunday alongside Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez and John Smoltz.

I chatted with Biggio, a native New Yorker from Smithtown, Long Island, who has made Houston his home, on the veranda of the Otesaga Hotel here about that situation. I asked him if he wore the number because of Mantle.

“No,” he said. “Actually, I sort of got the number by accident.”

Biggio recalled that in his second spring-training camp he asked for a number lower than the 67 he wore the previous year as a late-season callup.

“I had worn No. 44 when I played baseball and football in high school and hoped to get that number again,” Biggio said. “But the equipment manager said I was too thin to wear a double number. So I asked him if I could have ‘4.’ The problem was that another infielder had that number — Steve Lombardozzi, who was senior to me and had played on a World Series championship team [1987 Twins]. So they gave me No. 7, the only single digit that was available at the time.

“The irony is that Lombardozzi was cut just before we broke camp, and I made the team. I could have taken ‘4,’ but since I made the team wearing ‘7’ in camp, I figured I better keep it.”

Biggio would have made Mickey proud. He was an All-Star at three positions (catcher, second base, center field) and banged out 3,060 hits, of which 668 were doubles, the fifth highest total in history and the most by a right-handed batter. The only players in front of him are left-handed hitting Tris Speaker (792), Stan Musial (725) and Ty Cobb (724) and switch hitter Pete Rose (746). The active leader among right-handed batters is Angels first baseman Albert Pujols with 574. Yankees designated hitter Alex Rodriguez has 532.

Teixeira not overwhelmed by all the heat

Mark Teixeira saw his share of blazing fastballs last week. At the All-Star Game in Cincinnati, he faced the Reds’ hard-throwing Aroldis Chapman and ended the game by swinging through a 103-mph heater from the game’s hardest thrower.

So after that, what is a 98-mph fastball to Teixeira? Mariners reliever Fernando Rodney, another of baseball’s muscle men among pitchers, got ahead in the count 1-2 on Teixeira with 98-mph gas with two out in the eighth inning Sunday. Rodney then made the mistake of throwing the same pitch in the same location on the next delivery, which Teixeira crushed to right field for a home run that broke up a tie game and sent the Yankees toward a 2-1 victory.

There were an abundance of contributions Teixeira made to this victory, which increased the Yankees’ lead in the American League East to four games over the Orioles, who moved into second place Sunday and will arrive at Yankee Stadium Tuesday night to open a three-game series.

Teixeira had two other hits in Sunday’s game, both singles, including a knock in the sixth inning off Felix Hernandez that sent Brett “White Shoes” Gardner to third base from where he scored on a clutch, two-out single by Carlos Beltran, who was fresh off the disabled list, that tied the score. Tex also made a dazzling catch leaning over the railing behind first base on a ball hit by the dangerous Nelson Cruz for a big out in the top of the eighth.

The home run was Teixeira’s first hit off Rodney in 10 career at-bats against the righthander, who lost his closer job last month and has been used in a set-up role ever since. Tex’s play on Cruz helped the Yankees’ set-up reliever, Dellin Betances, get through the eighth in which he allowed two walks. The homer created the winning decision for Betances (6-2), thanks to Andrew Miller’s 1-2-3 ninth for his 20th save.

Although he was not involved in the decision, CC Sabathia had his second straight encouraging outing. He gave up one run, six hits and one walk with seven strikeouts in six innings. Pitching for the first time in 11 days, Sabathia appeared strong despite the 92-degree heat. CC worked both sides of the plate, utilizing the cut fastball he has been working on and a hard-biting slider.

Sabathia’s only troublesome inning was the fifth when he gave up singles to Jesus Montero and Chris Taylor, who were sacrificed to third and second bases, respectively, by .158-hitting catcher Mike Zunino.

Austin Jackson singled to center for one run as Taylor stopped at third. He stayed there, too, as Sabathia came back to strike out Kyle Seager and Robinson Cano, who had combined for four home runs and seven RBI over the previous two games. Justin Wilson stranded a runner at third base in the seventh before the late-inning combination of Betances and Miller did their magic.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi talked with Sabathia before the All-Star break and reminded him of his importance to the staff both as a performer and a motivator.

“He is the one guy who has been there,” Girardi said, referring to pennant races among pitchers in the rotation. “We need him to be big for us. The ability is there. It has been a matter of consistency of pitches. He expects to do well and works hard at his trade. He understands this is his time of year.”

Teixeira continues to be a prime candidate for Comeback Player of the Year honors. His 23 home runs and 63 RBI exceed his output in those categories for all of last year (22 homers and 62 RBI in 123 games). Of his 23 home runs this season, 12 have either tied the game (four) or given the Yankees the lead (eight), and of his 74 hits this season, 40 have gone for extra bases (17 doubles, 23 homers).

Another Comeback Player of the Year candidate, Alex Rodriguez, singled in the first inning for his 3,023rd career hit to tie Lou Brock for 24th place on baseball’s all-time hits list. A-Rod is batting .320 in 41 games and 147 at-bats at home this season . . . Over his past 15 games since June 16, Beltran is batting .340 with six runs, five doubles, three home runs and eight RBI in 15 games and 50 at-bats . . . The Yankees have a 6-1 record this season in games started by former Cy Young Award winners.

A-Rod’s homer leads to bullpen formula

The timing of Alex Rodriguez’s 19th home run of the season Friday night could not have been better. A-Rod drove a 1-0 pitch from left-handed reliever Joe Beimel (0-1) into the Yankees’ bullpen with one out in the seventh inning that unlocked a 3-3 score.

The round-tripper, career No. 673, allowed manager Joe Girardi to utilize his winning bullpen combination by bringing in Dellin Betances to work the eighth inning and closer Andrew Miller the ninth. Each did his job and the Yanks had a 4-3 victory over the Mariners in front of a Friday night, sellout crowd of 47,086 at Yankee Stadium.

Home runs made up a big part of both club’s offenses. Kyle Seager took Masahiro Tanaka (6-3) deep twice to account for all of Seattle’s runs. Tanaka allowed only three other hits and two walks with seven strikeouts in seven innings to earn his second consecutive victory.

Chris Young continued his torrid hitting against left-handed pitching with a home run in the second inning and a double in the fourth, both off Seattle starter Mike Montgomery. Young scored the Yanks’ second run on a single through the middle by Chase Headley in the fourth.

Against left-handed pitching this year, the righty-swinging Young is batting .365 with 10 doubles, six home runs and 14 RBI in 85 at-bats. Against righties, Young is a .178 hitter with four doubles, five home runs and 13 RBI in 129 at-bats. With switch-hitting Carlos Beltran on the 15-day disabled list, Young and lefty-swinging Garrett Jones have formed a nice platoon in right field.

Rodriguez also had a part in the Yankees’ fifth-inning run that had tied the score. He led off with a single and after a walk to Mark Teixeira came home on a single by Brian McCann. A bigger inning was thwarted as Young flied out and Headley grounded into a double play. The Yankees made seven outs in a row before A-Rod’s tie-breaking homer in the seventh.

Fresh from his scoreless inning of work Tuesday night in the All-Star Game at Cincinnati, Betances handled the eighth inning flawlessly with two strikeouts and an infield out. Miller, on the other hand, had to deal with some drama in the ninth.

The lefthander retired the first two batters on ground balls to third base, but pinch hitter Mark Trumbo lined a two-strike pitch to left field for a single. Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon then turned to Jesus Montero as a pinch hitter.

The former Yankees prospect who went to Seattle in the trade that brought Michael Pineda, Saturday’s starter, to the Bronx, has been largely a bust for the Mariners. Called up from Triple A Tacoma eight days ago, Montero had a chance to seek revenge against the Yankees, but he struck out as Miller chalked up his 19th save.

The Yankees held the Mariners’ 3-4 hitters in check. Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz were each 0-for-4 with the latter striking out three times.

The Yankees’ victory in their first post-All-Star break game allowed them to open up some ground in the American League East. Their lead swelled to 4 1/2 games over the Rays and Blue Jays. Toronto pulled into a tie with Tampa Bay by beating the Rays Friday night. Meanwhile, the Orioles, who come to the Stadium next week, fell a game below .500 (44-45) with a loss at Detroit. At 49-40, the Yankees are the only team in the division with a record above .500.

Yankees deflate sloppy Red Sox

Just when they thought they might work themselves out of last place in the American League East and give the Yankees a run for their money, the Red Sox shriveled up and died Friday night and had the steam of the weekend series at Fenway Park blow away.

Boston entered the series on a four-game winning streak and with victories in eight of its past 10 games to cut in half the 10-game deficit they faced in the division a fortnight ago. Not only that, on the mound they had their hottest pitcher, Clay Buchholz, who had pitched to a 0.67 ERA in winning each of his previous four starts.

But Buchholz walked off the mound in the fourth inning with an ailing elbow that had turned his pitches into flat, batting-practice stuff. Alex Rodriguez pounded such a pitch over the Green Monster in the first inning in striking the first blow for the Yankees. With Buchholz gone, the Red Sox infield then shot themselves in the feet with two costly errors that helped the Yankees to three gift runs.

Michael Pineda, meanwhile, was keeping Red Sox hitters at bay with another glowing start that raised his season record to 9-5. His only mistake in 6 2/3 innings was a hanging slider to Mookie Betts, who crushed it for his 10th home run with one out in the fifth.

Boston lefthander Reggie Ross retired nine straight batters into the seventh inning to keep the Red Sox close at 4-1, but Yankees manager Joe Girardi was taking no chances. Sensing the importance of winning the series opener to deflate Boston’s newfound confidence, Girardi went to his bullpen in the seventh with a runner on second and two out. Justin Wilson struck out Betts to end the threat.

After the Yankees tacked on an eighth-inning run on a two-out, RBI single by Jacoby Ellsbury, Girardi went to his hammer and used Dellin Betances in the bottom of the eighth (two strikeouts, one flyout) and closer Andrew Miller in the ninth. An error by third baseman Cole Figueroa put a runner on base, but Miller finished off a big victory by striking out pinch hitter Shane Victorino.

The Yankees maintained their three-game lead in the AL East over the Orioles and pushed the last-place Red Sox 6 ½ games back. The Yanks have won five straight games at Fenway and are 8-1 in their past nine games there dating to Aug. 2 last year. Since the start of 2014, Yankees pitchers have held Red Sox batters to a .244 batting average in 431 at-bats at Fenway and have allowed double-digit hits just twice in 13 games while Yankees batters are hitting .282 in 478 at-bats and averaging 5.9 per game. Over that span, Yankees relief pitchers have a 2.33 ERA in 46 1/3 innings and have allowed one earned run or less in 11 of the 13 games.

After the game, the Yankees also announced plans to recall second baseman Rob Refsnyder from Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Refsnyder was batting .290 with a .387 on-base percentage in 81 games for the RailRiders. He had 17 doubles, seven home runs, 37 RBI and was 10-for-11 in stolen bases but also committed 13 errors as the converted outfielder is still somewhat unsteady at his new position.

Yankees run out of dramatic comebacks

The Yankees went nearly half the 2015 season before they won a game in their last at-bat, which had not occurred since Derek Jeter’s walk-off hit in his final game at Yankee Stadium last September. Then to start off the Fourth of July Weekend, the Yankees pulled off back-to-back walk-off victories over the American League East rival Rays.

Friday, it was the powerful swing of Brian McCann, whose three-run home run in the bottom of the 12th inning sent the Yankees to a 7-5 triumph. Saturday, it was the churning legs of pinch runner Jose Pirela, who raced from second base to home to score on an errant throw to first base by pitcher Brad Boxberger to complete a 3-2 victory.

It appeared as if the Yankees would wrap that game as a shutout up without batting in the ninth, but Dellin Betances was tagged for a two-run home run by Steven Souza in the top of the inning that tied the score. It was only the second blown save this season by Betances, who has done a solid job in the closer role while Andrew Miller has been on the 15-day disabled list. It was the first home run Betances allowed since Aug. 13 last year at Baltimore by Jonathan Schoop, a 54-game stretch covering 59 2/3 innings.

There would be no such comeback Sunday, however, as the Rays ran with an early lead, built on it and ended a seven-game losing streak by coasting, 8-1. The Yankees managed only three hits – all for extra bases, including Alex Rodriguez’s 16th home run, which accounted for their scoring.

This game got out of hand in the eighth inning when the Rays staged a four-run rally that began when Pirela, Saturday’s hero, made two errors on the same play. He had just entered the game at second base after having pinch-hit for Stephen Drew the previous inning. A bases-loaded walk by Chris Capuano added to the unsightly frame.

One positive showing from the bullpen was another impressive outing by Nick Rumbelow, who retired the side in order with two strikeouts in the ninth.

Yankees starter Ivan Nova hurt himself with a throwing error that cost him one of the four runs he allowed in five shaky innings. After two impressive outings since coming back from Tommy John surgery, Nova had his first ineffective performance, although the Yankees were still within reach until the eighth.

In Nova’s past two starts, Yankees batters have had just three hits while he was on the mound – one Sunday and two last Tuesday night at Anaheim. Nova is 0-5 with a 4.71 ERA in his past six starts against Tampa Bay dating to June 23, 2013 after having gone 6-1 in his first nine career games (eight starts) against the Rays.

Tampa Bay starter Erasmo Ramirez (7-3) held the Yanks in check for six innings. He did walk three batters, hit one and committed an error, but the A-Rod homer (career No. 670) was the only damage the righthander suffered. Since joining the starting rotation May 14, Ramirez is 7-2 with a 2.17 ERA in 10 starts and 54 innings.

The Yankees scored only one run for the fourth time in their past seven games and one or less for the fifth time in their past 10 games since June 25. From May 19 through June 24, they were held to one or fewer runs just twice in 33 games (none May 31 at Oakland and one June 15 at Miami). Rodriguez is finding the Stadium quite comfortable. In his past nine home games since June 19, A-Rod is batting .406 with seven runs, one double, four home runs and 12 RBI in 32 at-bats.

Equally as comfortable at the Stadium, unfortunately for the Yankees, is James Loney. The Rays first baseman, who had a two-run single off Nova in the first inning, is a career .402 hitter in 112 at-bats at Yankee Stadium. He ranks third among visiting players with a minimum of 50 at-bats at the Stadium behind only Justin Morneau (.433 in 60 at-bats) and Kurt Suzuki (.411 in 56 at-bats). In 55 career games against the Yankees in all venues, Loney is batting .340 with an .857 on-base plus slugging in 212 at-bats. That is Yankee Killer stuff.

The Yanks may have failed to pull off a sweep but they maintained a hold on first place in the AL East by 1 ½ games over the Orioles and two over the Rays and Blue Jays.

Tex & Mac get the fireworks started early

How many times can a team lose a game and still win? Well, for the Yankees Friday night, twice. They looked beaten in the eighth inning until Mark Teixeira tied the score with a three-run home run for their first scores of the night. They also appeared headed for defeat when the Rays scored two runs in the top of the 12th inning, but the Yankees were not ready to call it a night.

They chipped away for a run on a leadoff walk to Brett Gardner and one-out singles by Alex Rodriguez and Teixeira before another three-run homer, this time by Brian McCann, got the Fourth of July Weekend of fireworks off to an early start.

For seven innings, the Yankees seemed to have brought the lethargic offense they experienced on the recent trip to Houston and Anaheim home with them as longtime nemesis Chris Archer put them through the paces. The righthander, who has never lost to the Yankees, kept that record intact with 6 2/3 brilliant innings in which he allowed three hits and three walks with a hit batter, a wild pitch and eight strikeouts.

Center fielder Kevin Kiermaier saved a run with a leaping catch in front of the wall to rob Stephen Drew of an RBI, extra-base hit in the third inning. That was as close to scoring as the Yankees got until the eighth when Chase Headley and Rodriguez singled with one out off Kevin Jepsen and Teixeira smoked a 1-0 fastball from the righthander for his 20th home run.

For the Yankees, Nick Rumbelow came up big out of the bullpen in the top of the eighth after Chris Capuano had given up singles to the first two batters of the inning. Rumbelow retired Joey Butler on an infield fly and then got Evan Longoria on a fly to right and James Loney on a ground ball to third base.

Dellin Betances and Justin Wilson also pitched well in relief before the Rays got to Adam Warren and Chasen Shreve for two runs in the top of the 12th. Things looked dismal at that point, but the Yankees proved to have another comeback in them.

The Rays had scored twice in the first inning off Masahiro Tanaka, who allowed a third run in the fifth. Overall, it was an encouraging night for the Japanese righthander, who was off two bad starts but rebounded with six innings of three-run, six-hit, one-walk, five-strikeout work in six innings. But this was a game that had more to do with the end than the start.

Yankees, A-Rod settle dispute & get 3,000th-hit ball

The Yankees and Alex Rodriguez had a good day Friday on the eve of the Fourth of July. They amicably resolved their potential dispute regarding the designated hitter’s entitlement to bonus monies under the provision of his player contract covering historical statistical accomplishments.

As part of the resolution jointly announced Friday by Major League Baseball and the Major League Players Association, Rodriguez and the Yankees have agreed that $3.5 million in charity contributions will be made by the club, with $1 million going to the following charities that have long enjoyed the support of one or both: the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, the Boys & Girls Club of Tampa, Fla., and Pitch In For Baseball; and $2.5 million going to the MLB Urban Youth Foundation, which will use the money to further programs and initiatives aimed at increasing youth participation in baseball, particularly in cities.

Commissioner Rob Manfred will determine the initiatives to be supported by the $2.5 million contribution after consulting with Rodriguez and taking into consideration the focus of his past charitable contributions.

In addition, Zack Hample, the fan who retrieved Alex Rodriguez’s 3,000th hit June 19, presented the ball to A-Rod at a press conference before Friday night’s game. The Yankees also donated $150,000 to Pitch In For Baseball, a charity which Hample has supported since 2009 that is dedicated to maximizing the ability to play baseball in under-served communities.

Founded in 2005, Pitch In For Baseball (PIFB) collects and redistributes new and gently-used baseball and softball equipment to communities in need across the globe. To date, PIFB has distributed equipment and uniforms to more than 80 countries worldwide and more than 450 communities around the United States, which has impacted more than 500,000 children in need. Based in the Philadelphia metropolitan area, PIFB is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization. To learn more about Pitch In For Baseball, visit http://www.pifb.org.

With a solo home run in the first inning of the Yankees-Tigers game at Yankee Stadium Friday, June 19, Rodriguez became the 29th player all-time to reach the 3,000 hits plateau. He was the second player to record his 3,000th career hit with the Yankees, joining Derek Jeter, who did it July 9, 2011 against the Rays. They are the only individuals to have reached the plateau at the Stadium – original or current.

Nova good as new in return from TJ surgery

A homestand that began so promisingly and then seemed to fall apart ended on a very high note Wednesday for the Yankees as Ivan Nova made a triumphant return from Tommy John surgery to repair his right elbow 14 months ago.

The Phillies, owners of the worst record in baseball, threatened to complete a embarrassing sweep of the Yankees behind veteran Cole Hamels, who seems to be auditioning for a variety of clubs in need of a quality starter. Nova followed disappointing starts by CC Sabathia, Michael Pineda and Masahiro Tanaka with 6 2/3 innings of shutout ball against a team that had scored 22 runs over the previous two games.

Yankees pitchers were banged around for 34 runs and 44 hits in three straight losses. Nova’s outing was just what they needed, not that they could have expected it from him. Pitchers coming back from Tommy John surgery do not often have so impressive a first outing as did Nova in a 10-2 victory over the Phillies.

The Yankees gave their teammate some working room by jumping out to a 5-0 lead off Hamels by the fourth inning, a continuation of their offensive combustibility throughout the homestand in which they scored 60 runs in eight games, an average of 7.5 runs per game. On the 5-3 homestand, the Yanks batted .351 with 19 home runs to offset a staff ERA of 5.50.

As for Nova, his ERA is 0.00. In his first start since April 19, 2014, the righthander allowed three hits and two walks. He had only one strikeout but kept the Phillies off base with routine outs. Center fielder Brett Gardner had nine putouts behind Nova.

Gardner also continued his ferocious hitting with an RBI single, a walk and two runs. On the homestand, he had 17-for-36 (.472) with three doubles, one triple, four home runs and 10 RBI. Gardy scored 12 runs and raised his batting average 30 points to .292.

Everybody on the Yankees hit Wednesday except for Carlos Beltran (0-for-5; there is always one player who doesn’t get to the dance floor). After missing two games because of a stiff neck, Mark Teixeira banged out three singles and knocked in two runs.

Chase Headley, Alex Rodriguez, Chris Young, Didi Gregorius and Jose Pirela had two hits apiece. Hamels was gone after five innings in which he allowed five runs, eight hits and three walks, and the Yankees piled it on against two Phillies relievers.

Finally, the Yankees were able to put a net over infielder Maikel Franco, who was 0-for-4 after having gone 6-for-8 (.750) with 10 RBI and five runs over the two prior games.

The Yankees are 12-4 in their past 16 home games since May 25 and have outscored opponents, 115-67, during that time. Nova’s stint was the longest stretch of scoreless innings by a Yankees pitcher in his season debut since Orlando “El Duque” Hernandez pitched eight innings of one-hit ball April 26, 2002 against Tampa Bay.

The victory coupled with the Rays’ loss to the Blue Jays inched the Yankees to one game of first-place Tampa Bay in the American League East.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 25 other followers