Results tagged ‘ Alex Rodriguez ’
Anyone tired of “No Runs DMC” yet? How could any Yankees fan be? Particularly in close games toward the late innings, the anticipation of Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman having an impact on the game whets the appetite of any Yankees fan.
Naturally, this cannot be the formula every game or else the trio of power pitchers could get burned out. But for now, the only burning going on is to the opponents’ bats. The group that radio voice John Sterling calls “Murderer’s Throw” contributed to the Yanks’ third straight victory in this homestand, a 2-1 verdict over the Twins in which Minnesota May have derived satisfaction in at least having someone reach base.
Yankees relievers had retired 31 batters in a row before Joe Mauer’s opposite-field single to left off Chapman with two out in the ninth inning. It was only the third hit for the Twins, their first since the third inning and ended a stretch of 15 consecutive batters retired.
It was fools’ gold for Minnesota, however, as Chapman ended the game with a strikeout of Brian Dozier, who had accounted for the Twins’ run with a home run leading off the second inning against Michael Pineda.
That was the only blemish on the outing by Pineda, who allowed just one other hit and one walk with eight strikeouts in his six innings of work. The Yankees tied the score in the fifth against Twins starter Ervin Santana on back-to-back, two-out singles by Jacoby Ellsbury, Brett Gardner and Carlos Beltran.
The Yanks threatened again in the sixth, but a rally was choked off when Starlin Castro grounded into a double play. Though the score was tied, manager Joe Girardi went to his favorite formula as he brought in Betances at the start of the seventh in hopes that the Yankees could push across another run.
That did not occur until the eighth against reliever Ryan Pressly. Alex Rodriguez started the inning with an infield single. A hard single to right by Brian McCann sent pinch runner Aaron Hicks to third base. After Mark Teixeira, back in the lineup after 20 days on the disabled list because of torn cartilage in his right knee, struck out, Castro hit a potential double-play grounder to shortstop Eduardo Escobar, who booted the ball for his second error of the game as the eventual winning run scored.
The inning ended on a disputed double play in which McCann was thrown out at home by left fielder Robbie Grossman after catching a liner by Chase Headley. Video replays seemed to indicate that catcher Kurt Suzuki’s tag was high on McCann’s right leg as his left foot crossed the plate, but plate umpire Alfonso Marquez’s call stood after a Yankees challenge.
So the margin remained slim for Chapman, who from the Twins’ viewpoint was at least hittable compared to Friday night when he blew three hitters away with his high-octane fastball. Gardner needed to get on his horse to run down a drive to left-center by Eduardo Nunez. Grossman also hit the ball in grounding out to shortstop before Mauer’s line single. Dozier was not as fortunate as Chapman used sliders to put him away.
The Yankees, now a game over .500 at 37-36, improved their record to 12-0 when all three DMC pitchers appear in a game. They had combined for 10 consecutive 1-2-3 innings over the past four games before Mauer’s hit. Overall, Yankees relievers have 44 consecutive strikeouts since their last walk June 15 at Denver.
To make roster space for Teixeira, the Yankees placed first baseman Ike Davis on waivers. If he clears, he could be optioned to Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre as insurance in the event Teixeira’s knee flares up again. Rob Refsnyder’s surprising play at first base and overall versatility made him more valuable to the Yanks than Davis at this time.
Much has happened to the Yankees this season that was not foreseen. There has been the struggle to get their record above .500, the rash of injuries to first basemen, the long stretches of offensive futility, the inconsistency of the starting pitchers, etc.
Yet there has been one aspect of the 2016 Yankees that has been precisely as advertised — the shutdown work of the three power arms at the back end of the bullpen. A formula of Dellin Betances in the seventh inning, Andrew Miller in the eighth and Aroldis Chapman in the ninth has been damn near perfection. The trio was at its best again Friday night in the Yankees’ 5-3 victory over the Twins in front of a Mickey Mantle Bobblehead crowd of 44,808 at Yankee Stadium.
When starter Masahiro Tanaka got the final out of the sixth inning with the Yanks leading, 4-3, there was a strong sense of anticipation in the crowd that this one could be put in the books with the club getting back to par at 36-36.
The inspiration behind the “No Runs DMC” t-shirts on sale at the Stadium were at their most dominant with three more perfect innings, following a similar performance in the Yankees’ prior victory Wednesday. Betances and Miller each pitched a shutout inning with one strikeout. Chapman outdid himself in the ninth for his 14th save by striking out the side with fastballs regularly going into three figures, including a high of 103 miles per hour.
The self-destructing Twins aided the Yankees with three errors that resulted in Minnesota failing to hold leads of 2-0 and 3-2. A bobble of a grounder by Austin Romine by shortstop Eduardo Escobar started the Yankees’ two-run third that overcame their first deficit against Twins starter Tommy Milone. Consecutive two-out hits by Carlos Beltran (double) and Alex Rodriguez (single) plated the runs that made the score 2-2.
After the Twins went ahead by a run in the fourth, the Yankees came right back in the bottom of the inning and filled the bases with none out without a ball leaving the infield on a walk to Chase Headley, a bunt single by Didi Gregorius and an error by Minnesota first baseman Joe Mauer, who failed to globe a sharp grounder by Aaron Hicks. Romine’s fly ball to the warning track in left field tied the score. A two-out single by Rob Refsnyder put the Yankees in front for the first time in the game and for good.
Tanaka (5-2), who was not particularly sharp, held the Twins down for the next two innings to set the table for the most intimidating bullpen in the majors since the Reds’ notorious “Nasty Boys” of the 1990 World Series champion Reds.
Hicks, who came to the Yankees from the Twins in an off-season trade for backup catcher John Ryan Murphy, now in the minors, stung his former teammates with an opposite-field home run to left for an insurance run in the eighth that was as welcome as it was, as it turned out, unnecessary.
The Yankees are 11-0 when all three DMC pitchers appear in a game. They have combined for eight consecutive 1-2-3 innings over the past three games in which all have worked together and have not allowed a ball out of the infield in the past two games. Yankees relievers overall have 40 straight strikeouts since their last walk June 15 at Denver and have retired 23 batters in a row.
After the disappointment of getting swept in a two-game series at Denver, the Yankees are on the verge of trumping that with a four-game sweep at Minneapolis. They are three-quarters of the way there with very impressive victories over the Twins heading into a Father’s Day finale Sunday with Nathan Eovaldi opposing Minnesota’s Ervin Santana.
Friday night, the Yankees struck early with four first-inning runs on the way to an 8-2 victory behind Masahiro Tanaka (4-2), who was sharp as a tack (one run, seven hits, no walks, five strikeouts) over eight innings. Carlos Beltran, who missed both games against the Rockies, whacked a two-run home run in that first inning to stop a 0-for-12 slump.
Beltran added another two-run homer at a more clutch moment Saturday. The opposite-field blow to left off righthander Kevin Jepsen tied the score with one down in the eighth inning. The Yankees continued their comeback against the Twins’ ragged bullpen with three runs in the ninth, then had to hold their breath somewhat when Aroldis Chapman gave up back-to-back homers to Eduardo Escobar and pinch hitter Kurt Suzuki to survive, 7-6.
Give Suzuki credit. He fouled off four consecutive 102-mph fastballs from Chapman before connecting on yet another 102-mph heater. But most of the credit Saturday went to the Yankees, who had fallen into a 4-0 hole against Twins starter Ricky Nolasco, who had a four-hit shutout working through six innings.
Leading off the seventh, Beltran got one of his rare leg hits these days with a dribbler to the left side on which Eduardo Nunez could not make a bare-handed play. Alex Rodriguez, who had a three-homer game at Target Field in late July last year, followed with a drive to right off a 1-2 fastball for his eighth home run of the season and career No. 695.
The Yankees got two more hits that inning but pushed across no more runs. With one out in the eighth, another infield single, this time by Brett Gardner, preceded a home run, Beltran’s 18th of the season. Gardner had been hitless in his previous 14 at-bats and was 1-for-15 on the trip.
Lefthander Fernando Abad, who was having a fine season out of the bullpen until the Yankees came to town, got the last out of the eighth, which turned out to be the only one he would get in the game. He began the ninth with a walk to Chase Headley. You could always hear the uh-oh coming out of Twins manager Paul Molitor’s mouth in the dugout.
Didi Gregorius, who has broken a 1-1 score with a three-run home run off a first-pitch fastball from Abad Thursday night, dropped down a beauty of a bunt for a single. After a Juan Centeno passed ball advanced the runners, Rob Refsnyder was walked intentionally to load the bases.
Righthander Ryan Pressly came on and struck out pinch hitter Starlin Castro but fell into a full count with Jacoby Ellsbury and had to come in with a fastball which Ellsbury knocked into right-center for a two-run single. A wild pitch by Pressly moved crucial as it turned out. It moved Refsnyder to third from where he scored on a fly ball by Gardner. That run proved vital when Chapman gave up the two homers after he had struck out the first two batters.
So it was a shaky 13th save for Chapman that preserved the winning decision for Andrew Miller (4-0), who had shut down Minnesota with two strikeouts in the eighth. Anthony Swarzak also played a big part in the game with a 1 2/3 hitless innings of two-strikeout relief.
The Yankees’ late rallies took Michael Pineda off the hook. The righthander had another of his weird games where he was overpowering (nine strikeouts) but unable to pick up key third outs of innings. Three of the Twins’ four runs off Pineda in 5 1/3 innings were scored after two were out on an RBI single by Escobar in the second and a two-run homer by Korean slugger Byung Ho Park in the fourth. An error by Pineda in the sixth led to a run on a sacrifice fly by Park.
With 55 hits, including a dozen Saturday, the Yankees are averaging 11 hits per game on the trip. Beltran and Gregorius had three hits apiece Saturday. Beltran has homered in six of his past 13 games, eight of 19 and 13 of 36. Gregorius has had a huge trip with 10-for-20 (.500), two homers, six runs and nine RBI. The bunt single off Abad increased Didi’s batting average against left-handed pitching to .383 in 60 at-bats. He is hitting .287 overall.
Headley, who could not get off the Interstate for the first two months, has his average up to .260 while batting .471 in 17 at-bats on the trip and .417 in his seven-game hitting streak. Now if only the Yankees could get Brian McCann re-started. The catcher took an 0-for-4 collar Saturday, is hitless in his past 12 at-bats and in a 4-for-32 (.125) rut that has shrunken his season average to .207.
Opposing managers should be thinking twice about now about bringing in left-handed relievers to face Didi Gregorius. The book on the shortstop a year ago when he joined the Yankees was that he struggled against left-handed pitching. Gregorius has reversed that this season and because of that the Yankees were able to end their four-game losing streak Thursday night with a 4-1 victory over the Twins.
Twins manager Paul Molitor, who has already suffered plenty with his 20-46 club, made the old-book move in the seventh inning by replacing starter Kyle Gibson with lefthander Fernando Abad to face Gregorius with runners on second and third and one out in a 1-1 game.
One pitch later, Molitor came to regret his move. Gregorius got all of the first-pitch fastball for a three-run home run in the middle of the right field stands. The timing could not have been better since manager Joe Girardi could go with Formula A out of the bullpen, using Dellin Betances in the seventh (no runs, one hit, one strikeout), Andrew Miller in the eighth (no runs, no hits, two strikeouts) and Aroldis Chapman in the ninth (no runs, no hits, one strikeout, 12th save). The Yankees are 9-0 when all three of those relievers appear in the same game.
Gregorius is batting .368 in 57 at-bats against left-handed pitching, the highest average of any left-handed hitter in the major leagues, but until Thursday night he had not hit for much power. Only three of his 21 hits off lefties were for extra bases, all doubles. His sixth home run of the year was his first off a southpaw.
The timing of Gregorius’ homer was also beneficial to CC Sabathia, who was able to get the winning decision that improved his record to 5-4 with a 2.20 ERA. It did not come easy for Sabathia, who pitched with runners on base in four of his six innings. The Twins stranded nine runners with only two hits in 10 at-bats with runners in scoring position against him.
One of those hits was a two-out, RBI single by former teammate Eduardo Nunez that gave the Twins a 1-0 lead in the fourth. Sabathia had worked out of jams in the first and second innings and did so again in the fifth even after he lost a double play on a reverse of an umpiring call.
Meanwhile, Gibson, who entered the game with a 10.72 career ERA against the Yankees, pitched to the minimum number of batters through five innings. The Yankees had two hits, but the runners were erased. Alex Rodriguez erased himself by getting thrown out at second trying to stretch, and Chase Headley was out on the front end of a double play the Twins turned against Ike Davis.
Gibson started coming apart in the sixth, but the Yankees did not take full advantage of it. They loaded the bases with none out on a single by Gregorius, a double by Headley and a four-pitch walk to Davis. Jacoby Ellsbury singled to center, but only one run scored. Brett Gardner then popped out to second, and Carlos Beltran, back in the lineup after a sore left knee kept him out of the two-game series at Denver, grounded into a double play.
The Yankees kept putting runners on base in the seventh. Rodriguez led off with an infield single, and Brian McCann walked. Starlin Castro sacrificed the runners up a base each before Molitor made the fatal move for a lefty reliever to face Gregorius, one Yankees hitter who is enjoying this trip (.545 with two home runs and seven RBI in 11 at-bats).
Sabathia kept his hot streak in place. Over his past seven starts, he is 4-2 with a 0.82 ERA and 41 strikeouts in 44 innings. In seven starts on the road this season, CC is 4-2 with a 2.14 ERA and 38 strikeouts in 42 innings. In his past 14 starts against the Twins, Sabathia is 10-1 with a 2.66 ERA.
Then again, Target Field has been a friendly venue for the Yankees. They are 17-5 in the Minneapolis yard that opened in 2010.
The two-game trip to Denver was supposed to be a soft spot in the Yankees’ schedule. Yeah, right. Despite facing starting pitchers with earned run averages as high as the altitude in Colorado, the Yankees lost both games. Rockies starters Jorge De La Rosa and Chad Bettis were clearly more effective than the Yankees’ Nathan Eovaldi and Ivan Nova.
The Yanks put up a good fight Tuesday night. After falling behind by nine runs through seven innings, the Yankees exploded with a seven-run eighth against the underbelly of the Colorado bullpen, but their own relief corps got roughed up as well in a 13-10 loss, a typical Coors Field score. The Rockies kept it up Wednesday with a 13-hit assault to win, 6-3.
The holes in the batting order did not help. With no designated hitter in a National League park, Alex Rodriguez was reduced to one at-bat as a pinch hitter Tuesday night. With no Carlos Beltran, out with a sore left knee that was drained, or Mark Teixeira, on the 15-day disabled list due to a right knee cartilage tear, the Yankees’ lineup Wednesday featured as its cleanup hitter Chase Headley, who has hit all of three home runs.
All seven of the Yankees’ hits Wednesday were singles. They have just seven extra-base hits (five doubles, one triple, one home run) over their past five games after totaling 21 extra-bases hits (12 doubles, nine homers) in the four-game sweep of the Angels last week.
Coors Field is a place where struggling hitters can improve their statistics, which the Yankees certainly did Tuesday night but less so Wednesday. But for those who thought the Rockies would be easy pickings, it should be pointed out that both clubs entered play Wednesday with the same record — 31-33 — and Colorado is now one game better.
Manager Joe Girardi was justified in getting annoyed with media reports about the 11-game, home-and-home swing this week and next against the Rockies and Twins being a chance for the Yankees to gain ground against sub-par competition. Minnesota may have the worst record in the American League, but that does not mean the Twins intend to roll over and play dead the next four days in Minneapolis or next weekend at Yankee Stadium.
Girardi is correct when he says if the Yankees do not play well it does not matter who the opponent is. And after the recent five-game winning streak at home, the Yankees have now lost four games in a row. In three of those games, starting pitchers allowed five or more runs. Considering the shape of the Yankees’ batting order these days, that is too much to overcome on a regular basis.
Anyone who thought the Rockies were pushover knows nothing about the first five hitters in that lineup. Charlie Blackmon, D.J. LeMahieu, Nolan Arenado, Carlos Gonzalez and Trevor Story combined to go 22-for-43 (.512) with four doubles, one triple, three home runs and 14 RBI with an .860 slugging percentage in the series. Gonzalez’s home run in the eighth inning Tuesday night off Andrew Miller was the first extra-base hit the lefthander has allowed to a left-handed batter all season. The Rockies also scored a run off Aroldis Chapman in the eighth inning Wednesday.
The key to beating Colorado is to bash their pitchers. The Yanks did score 13 runs in two games, but their pitchers could not contain the Rockies, who scored in nine of the 16 innings they batted in the series.
Nova had a string of 24 scoreless innings in inter-league play end when he gave up a run in the third inning. The Yankees took the lead in the fourth on four singles and a throwing error by Rockies catchers Tony Wolters, but Nova was touched for four runs in the fourth that featured a walk and a stolen base by Blackmon, a run-scoring single by LeMahieu, a two-run home run by Arenado, a double by Story, and a two-out, RBI single by Mark Reynolds. Nova had a six-game winning streak in inter-play stopped and is now 8-2 against NL competition.
One bright spot about going to Minneapolis is that the Yankees will be back in the AL with Rodriguez available as the DH. Perhaps Beltran’s knee will allow him to return to the lineup as well. CC Sabathia, who has been the Yankees’ most consistent starting pitcher, draws the first assignment of the series Thursday night at Target Field.
With no designated hitter allowed in Denver, a National League city, it was no surprise that Alex Rodriguez was not in the Yankees’ starting lineup Tuesday night. But no Carlos Beltran? Now that was a surprise.
Beltran was scratched because of a swollen left knee, which raised some caution flags for the Yankees. Beltran has a long history of problems with his right knee, but this was the first time his left knee was an issue. The Yankees spent their open date Monday in Denver after flying there Sunday night. Beltran said he had dinner five blocks away from the hotel that night and did not experience any difficulty until he awoke Tuesday morning and felt stiffness due to swelling.
Aaron Hicks started in right field in place of Beltran, and second baseman Starlin Castro was moved into the third spot in the batting order. The loss of Beltran, no pun intended, hurts. He has been the Yanks’ most productive hitter with club-high totals in home runs (16) and RBI (44) that has put him in place as a possible choice for the American League All-Star team.
In addition, Denver’s Coors Field has been one of Beltran’s favorite stops dating back to his NL days with the Astros, Mets, Giants and Cardinals. He has a .526 career slugging percentage there and had his only career three-homer game at Coors Field May 12, 2011 with the Mets when he was 3-for-5 with three runs and six RBI. Beltran held out the possibility that he might be able to come off the bench as a pinch hitter and perhaps return to the lineup for Wednesday’s afternoon game.
With Mark Teixeira on the 15-day disabled list because of torn cartilage in his right knee, the Yankees signed former Mets first baseman Ike Davis, who was released from the Rangers’ Triple A affiliate and will be in a platoon with Rob Refsnyder, who started Tuesday night against lefthander Jorge De La Rosa. Davis is a second-generation Yankee. His father, relief pitcher Ron Davis, spent the first four of his 11 seasons in the major leagues with the Yankees from 1978-81.
The Yankees concluded HOPE Week Friday with pitchers Nathan Eovaldi and Aroldis Chapman, designated hitter Alex Rodriguez, shortstop Didi Gregorius and outfielder Aaron Hicks raising up their sleeves to do a bedroom makeover for Said Rivera at his home in the Bronx.
Said, 18, loves video games and hanging out with his friends yet was born with tremendous physical challenges. He was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at the age of five months. Said (pronounced sigh-eed) attends a special needs high school in the Bronx and plays on a wheelchair basketball team, but his participation is very limited due to his condition.
The makeover in his bedroom where he is forced to spend the majority of his time was courtesy of Blissful Bedrooms, which transforms the personal spaces of young individuals who have very limited resources and severe physical disabilities that make them wheelchair dependent and highly reliant on others for activities of daily living.
In 2009, Martha and Alex Gold-Dvoryadkin wanted to do something nice for one of Martha’s former physical therapy students. Tamisha, 21, was unable to sit upright, change her position independently or speak aside from some basic sounds. Without an adult facility to take her in, Tamisha spent most of her time in her bedroom.
Eventually, Martha and Alex came up with the idea of sprucing up Tamisha’s bedroom. They purchased supplies and together spent an entire weekend painting, hanging butterflies and applying rainbows. Her father, a single parent, stood and watched his daughter’s reaction with tears in his eyes.
“Our goal for each bedroom is to create a personal sanctuary conceived exclusively for the individual – a safe haven where the young person will feel inspired, protected, stimulated, valued, appreciated and loved,” Martha said. “This is achieved by a collection of talented and motivated volunteers from the community, who create, design and construct a unique environment that is born out of the recipient’s passions, dreams, fantasies and favorite colors.”
Blissful Bedrooms operates with a group of 20-30 volunteers who contribute on each makeover, all of various ages, backgrounds and skills. When the group is able to raise the funds for the next room, they begin the project.
The average cost of each transformation is approximately $6,000 and takes place over an entire weekend – from Friday night through Sunday night, when a reveal celebration is held. A big dinner is made at the residence and prior makeover recipients come to support the event.
As far as the Yankees are concerned, the Angels were heaven sent.
The visitors from Orange County, Calif., have 10 players on the disabled list, although with reigning American League Most Valuable Player Mike Trout and former three-time National League MVP Albert Pujols the Halos can still do some damage.
Just not against the Yankees this week. The Yanks returned from a 4-8 trip through four cities to the comfort of Yankee Stadium and a struggling foe from the AL West and completed a four-game sweep that got them back to .500 at 30-30.
It was the Yankees’ first four-game sweep of the Angels since July 21-24, 1994 at Anaheim and their first at the Stadium since July 22-25, 1993. They have won 10 consecutive games outside their division. This is also HOPE Week, the Yankees’ community-service initiative that has been something of a good-luck charm for the team. Since HOPE Week’s founding in 2009, the first year of the current Stadium, the Yankees are 27-10 (.730) during those weeks. They have won 15 of the past 17 HOPE Week games.
Thursday night’s 6-3 victory was fashioned primarily from a five-run fifth inning against Angels starter Jhoulys Chacin, who was obtained last month from the Braves. The Yankees entered the inning trailing 1-0, but a one-out, RBI single by Chris Parmelee tied the score.
After Jacoby Ellsbury singled and Brett Gardner walked to load the bases, Carlos Beltran doubled for two runs, Alex Rodriguez contributed a scoring fly ball and Brian McCann doubled in a run.
Ivan Nova, who scared the Yankees last Saturday when he nearly gave back all of a 7-0 lead, yielded a two-run, pinch-hit home run to Jefry Marte in the seventh, but the bullpen trio that has earned a new nickname kept the game from getting out of control. Nova has pitched at least six innings in five straight starts.
Thursday night marked the first game the Yankees marketed t-shirts for “No Runs DMC,” a takeoff on the rap group Run DMC. The letters obviously stand for D (Dellin Betances), M (Andrew Miller) and C (Aroldis Chapman). They combined for 2 2/3 innings of shutout, two-hit, four-strikeout relief. The Yankees are 8-0 with a 1.85 ERA in the game when all three relievers have pitched.
Rodriguez got his second RBI of the game in the seventh with a double that scored Gardner, who singled and made it around to third base on a balk and a wild pitch by reliever Cory Rasmus. Gardner had quite a series with eight hits in 15 at-bats (.533), seven runs, one double and two RBI. The left fielder is batting .556 in 27 at-bats in his seven-game hitting streak that has raised his season batting average from .211 to .261.
The Yankees have scored at least five runs in seven off their past eight games and are averaging six runs per game in that stretch while batting .323 in 282 at-bats.
One downer from Thursday night was the likely loss to injury of yet another first baseman. Parmelee had to be helped off the field after making a split to catch a throw from Didi Gregorius for the third out of the Angels seventh. Parmelee, who hit two home runs Wednesday night, was to undergo an MRI exam on his right hamstring and groin. Parmelee was only the second player to homer twice in his Yankees debut. The other was Roger Maris on Opening Day in 1960 at Boston. Greg Bird and Dustin Ackley have both had surgery this year and are out for the season, and Mark Teixeira is on the 15-day disabled list because of a cartilage tear in his right knee.
Who’s on first, indeed.
Carlos Beltran started Tuesday night from where he left off Monday night with a two-run home run in the first inning coming on the heels of a three-run homer that lifted the Yankees to a 5-2 victory the previous game. His 15th home run of the season was also Beltran’s 1,000th career extra-base hit and started the Yanks toward a 6-3 verdict.
Earlier Tuesday, Beltran was part of the Yankees’ contingent that visited a cancer patient in the North Bronx as part of the HOPE Week initiative. Starlin Castro was also there to help clean Marybell Ruiz’s apartment, and he also homered for the second straight night. Castro, who tied the score Monday night by following Brian McCann’s solo homer with one of his own, struck the right field foul pole with an opposite-field drive in the third inning for his ninth home run to boost the Yankees’ lead to 5-0 over the Angels and David Huff.
The pitcher’s name should be familiar to Yankees fans. Huff pitched for the Yankees in separate stints in 2013 and 2014 and was 6-2 with a 3.18 ERA. Last month he opted out of a minor-league contract with the Royals to sign with the Angels and drew the starting assignment in place of righthander Nick Tropeano, who is one of 10 Angels players on the disabled list. Huff is a native of Huntington Beach, Calif., in the Halos’ backyard near Anaheim.
After Beltran’s homer in the first inning, the Yankees added a run with help from Angels third baseman Yunel Escobar, who in forgetting how many outs there were lost a shot at a double play. Austin Romine made him pay with an RBI single. Rob Refsnyder, who is looking better and better each day at first base, had a sacrifice fly in the second aided by another Angels error, by Huff on an off-line throw to first base.
On the pitching end, the Yankees received encouraging efforts from starter Michael Pineda and reliever Dellin Betances. Pineda limited the Angels to one hit through the first four innings before hitting a pothole in the fifth as the Halos put up three runs on an RBI single by Gregorio Petit and a two-run home run by Kole Calhoun. Pineda came off the mat, however, and set the Angels down in order in both the sixth and seventh.
A key stolen base by Brett Gardner with two out in the seventh set the stage for an insurance run on a single to right by Alex Rodriguez.
Betances, who had been scored upon in his previous four outings, had a 1-2-3 eighth with two strikeouts. Andrew Miller worked the ninth and one night after earning his third victory without a loss he notched his seventh save.
Too bad it stopped raining Sunday in Baltimore.
Had the game not been resumed, it would have been a 1-0 victory for the Yankees. The Orioles had runners on first and second with one out in the bottom of the eighth inning when a thunderstorm held up play for 1 hour, 37 minutes. Since the Yankees had scored their run in the third inning and not the top of the eighth, the game would have been considered official and not suspended.
No such luck for the Yankees as the skies cleared. Still, with previously invincible Aroldis Chapman entering the game the odds still favored the Yankees, especially after he struck out Jonathan Schoop for the second out. Francisco Pena, son of Yankees first base coach Tony Pena, kept Baltimore’s hopes alive with a sharp single to right field that loaded the bases.
Chapman got ahead in the count 0-2 to pinch hitter Matt Wieters, who turned a 99-mph fastball around on the next pitch for a single through the middle that scored the tying and go-ahead runs. An insurance run scored when center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury’s throw bounced over catcher Brian McCann with Chapman failing to back up the plate. It was the first blown save for Chapman this season in 10 opportunities.
That run proved inconsequential because Orioles closer Zach Britton retired the Yankees in order in the ninth for his 17th save. The 3-1 loss ended a 4-6 trip for the Yankees and a 12-game stretch against American League East opponents in which they were 4-8.
The bullpen, which had been considered a Yankees strength, had some holes on the trip. The relief squad had a 1-2 record with three saves and a 6.15 ERA in 26 1/3 innings. It was even worse over the final six games — an 8.40 ERA in 15 innings. In the three-game set at Camden Yards, the pen blew late-inning leads of 5-2 and 1-0 in losses and came within one run of blowing a 7-0 lead in the Yanks’ lone victory in the series.
Dellin Betances had a particularly rough ride. In four appearances on the trip, the righthander was 1-2 with a 9.53 ERA. He allowed six earned runs and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings, and in his one winning decision Thursday night at Detroit in a rain-makeup game he, Andrew Miller and Chapman combined to turn a 5-1 lead into a 5-4 squeaking victory.
Sunday starter CC Sabathia pitched five scoreless innings, but six walks shoved his pitch count to 111 one batter into the sixth, once again forcing manager Joe Girardi to send for reinforcements a little more than halfway through the game. CC twice struck out major-league home run leader Mark Trumbo with the bases full.
Kirby Yates finished the sixth by retiring the side. Betances withstood a leadoff single in the seventh for a clean inning but started the eighth with a walk to Mark Trumbo, who had struck out three times against Sabathia, and giving up a single to Chris Davis before striking out Nolan Reimold before the rains came.
At least the Yankees’ offense woke up in Baltimore. The Yanks had 36 hits in the series, including 10 Sunday but they left 10 on base in going 1-for-11 (.091) with runners in scoring position. Breaking out of slumps during the series were Alex Rodriguez, who had 6-for-13 (.462) with a home run and three RBI, and Brett Gardner, who had 7-for-13 (.538) with two runs, two doubles and a stolen base.