Results tagged ‘ American League East ’

After hot homestand, bats turn cold on road

First place in the American League East was all theirs for the taking Tuesday night, but the Yankees failed to take advantage of losses by the Orioles, Rays and Blue Jays by suffering the same fate.

For five innings, it appeared as if Iva Nova would drive the Yanks back to the top of the division. In his second start since coming back from Tommy John surgery to repair his right elbow, Nova took a shutout into the sixth inning. He wiggled out of danger in the first two innings as the Angels were hitless in five at-bats with five runners in scoring position and stranded five runners, three of them in scoring position.

Then in the sixth, the Angels struck quickly and deeply as Nova was tagged for back-to-back home runs by Albert Pujols and Erick Aybar for the first runs the righthander had allowed in 12 innings this year.

The blows offset the solo home run Mark Teixeira hit leading off the second inning against Angels starter Andrew Heaney, who allowed only one other hit through seven innings and earned his first major league victory. Other than Tex’s 19th home run, the Yankees had only five other base runners on a single by Brett Gardner, two walks, an error and a wild-pitch third strike. None of them got past first base with the Angels turning three double plays along the way.

It was a tough loss for Nova, who scattered eight hits with two walks and seven strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings. A nasty curve served him well in the game until he could not keep the ball in the yard. Adam Warren, back in the bullpen after having done a good job as a starter, did his part in keeping the Yankees close with 2 2/3 innings of scoreless, one-hit, one-walk, two-strikeout relief.

The bats have turned cold on this trip, which ends Wednesday. After a homestand in which they batted .351 with 19 home runs and averaged 7.5 runs per game, the Yankees through six games on the trip are hitting .192 with five home runs and are averaging 2.5 runs per game. Of the Yankees’ 15 runs on the trip, nine came in one game.

Miami raises the heat on Eovaldi

Can there be anything more embarrassing to a pitcher than what happened Tuesday night to Nathan Eovaldi?

Paired against David Phelps, the pitcher for whom he was traded for in an off-season deal, and appearing in his former stomping grounds, Marlins Park, Eovaldi endured a nightmare of a first inning. After retiring the leadoff batter, Eovaldi allowed seven consecutive hits – all but one well struck – before getting a second out. He did not get a third. After Dee Gordon, batting for the second time in the inning, singled and Derek Dietrich doubled to make the score Miami 8, NY 0, Yanks manager Joe Girardi yanked Eovaldi and signaled for Chris Capuano to soak up innings.

Surely, this was the last thing on Eovaldi’s mind when he was warming up. He was back in his old yard and wanted to show that the Marlins made a mistake in letting him go. Yet before the first inning was over, the pitcher who went to Miami in the exchange, Phelps, had the advantage of an eight-run lead against the club that swapped him.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the last Yankees game in which the starting pitchers had been traded for each other and both played for the other team during the previous season (or earlier in the same season) was July 22, 1993, when the Yankees and Jim Abbott defeated the Angels and Russ Springer, 12-1, at Yankee Stadium.

The night did not improve for the Yankees, who were pummeled, 12-2, and come home to New York having lost five of their past six games and their prior hold on first place in the American League East, which has become a free-for-all with four clubs separated by merely two games.

What happened to Eovaldi is something Marlins fans had seen before. The righthander had a 13-27 record in three seasons with Miami and allowed 393 hits in 369 innings. Despite the high velocity of his pitches, Eovaldi gives up a lot of his. He faced 12 batters Tuesday night and gave up nine hits, raising his total for the season to 97 in 71 1/3 innings. In his briefest inning for the Yankees, Eovaldi’s ERA raised nearly a full run, jumping from 4.13 to 5.12.

Buoyed by the Marlins’ first-inning outburst, Phelps had a two-hit shutout through five innings and gave up two runs and six hits through seven in improving his record to 4-3. Giancarlo Stanton gave Phelps additional support as if he needed it with a three-run home run off Chris Martin in the fifth.

The Yankees did not get on the board until the sixth on a two-out, RBI single by Brian McCann. Mason Williams, a late-inning replacement, doubled in a run in the seventh by which time there were enough changes so that the game resembled a spring-training exercise.

Teixeira’s 18th homer only support for Tanaka

Masahiro Tanaka’s strong work since coming off the disabled list earlier this month continued Monday night in the Yankees’ first appearance at Miami’s Marlins Park in the opener of a home-and-away, four-game, inter-league series.

The previous two seasons, the Yankees had such series against the Mets, but that meant the two teams merely had to cross the East River after two games. This two-and-two with the Marlins has the two teams traveling all the way down and up the Eastern seaboard, another example of empty-headed scheduling.

For all of Tanaka’s sound pitching Friday night, he was done in by one pitch — a 2-0 fastball that Derek Dietrich drove to right field for his first home run of the season that unlocked a 1-1 score in the seventh inning. It held up for a 2-1 Miami victory that knocked the Yankees out of first place in the American League East to the other Florida club, the Rays, 6-1 winners over the Nationals. The Yankees had at least a share of first place for 20 straight days since May 26.

Tanaka pitched seven innings and allowed nine hits, which were pretty much scattered. He did not walk a batter and struck out six. Unfortunately, the Yankees mustered next to no offense against native New Yorker Tom Koehler other than Mark Teixeira’s 18th home run of the season, leading off the second inning.

Miami came right back against Tanaka in the bottom of the second. Dietrich, the third baseman who was recalled from Triple A New Orleans three days ago with regular Martin Prado ailing (right shoulder sprain), doubled to left with one out and scored on a single to left by Adeiny Hechavarria.

The second is a pivotal inning for the Yankees. They are 18-5 (.783) when leading after two innings and 16-24 (.400) when tied or trailing at the conclusion of the second.

Koehler also pitched seven innings and other than the Teixeira homer allowed only two other hits, both by Didi Gregorius, a single and a double. Alex Rodriguez, back in his home town, got to bat as a pinch hitter with two out in the ninth and a runner on first base but flied out to right to end the game.

The losing decision was Tanaka’s first since opening day April 6 and ended a personal four-game winning streak. In three starts since coming off the DL, the righthander is 2-1 with a 1.29 ERA in 21 innings in which he has allowed 17 hits, including four homers, with no walks and 21 strikeouts. Over his past five starts, Tanaka is 3-1 with a 2.10 ERA in 34 1/3 innings with two walks and 35 strikeouts.

The other pitching highlight of the night for the Yankees was the relief effort of Sergio Santos in the eighth inning after Jose Ramirez had loaded the bases with none out on a hit, a hit batter and a walk. Santos kept the Marlins from breaking the game open at that point with strikeouts of J.T. Realmuto and pinch hitter Marcell Ozuna and retiring Hechevarria on a fly ball to shallow right field.

The Yankees put the potential tying run on base in the ninth against Marlins closer A.J. Ramos when Brian McCann walked and was lifted for pitch runner Brendan Ryan, but Teixiera and Garrett Jones struck out before A-Rod’s lone time at the plate.

Tuesday night’s game at Marlins Park will be a matchup of pitchers traded for each other in the off-season: Nathan Eovaldi for the Yankees and David Phelps for the Marlins. Prado and Jones also were in that exchange. Ivan Nova will not return to the Yankees’ rotation this week. The club wants the righthander to make one more minor-league start on injury rehabilitation before considering returning him to the rotation.

Little contact but big inning for win saved by Dellin

So it took a pretty weird inning Sunday to help the Yankees shake off their three-game losing streak and stop the Orioles’ six-game winning streak.

The Yankees entered the fifth inning at Camden Yards trailing, 3-2, but loaded the bases with none out on three consecutive walks by Baltimore starter Mike Wright. Reliever Brian Matusz took over and walked his first batter, Garrett Jones, to force in the tying run. Matusz recovered momentarily by striking out Stephen Drew and Didi Gregorius.

So there you have it — six batters in the inning to that point and no contact made, yet the Yankees had at least gotten even. John Ryan Murphy finally broke this contact-less string with a double off the glove of third baseman Manny Machado for two runs and a 5-3 lead that would hold up and allow the Yankees to salvage the final game of what had been an ugly series previously.

The Orioles whacked the Yankees for 20 runs and 31 hits over Friday and Saturday nights and were 13-for-31 (.419) with runners in scoring position while the Yanks were a meager 3-for-21 (.143).

In his new role as Yankees closer while Andrew Miller is on the 15-day disabled list with a strained muscle in his left forearm, Dellin Betances made good on his first save situation since his partner’s injury. Betances set down the first two batters in the ninth on ground balls, then after a walk to Machado came back to strike out pinch hitter Matt Wieters for his third save of the season to preserve a much-needed victory.

The Yankees maintain a portion of first place in the American League East and actually have a slight percentage lead over the Rays. Meanwhile, the Blue Jays remained on fire with their 11th straight victory and are just one game out of first. The Yankees’ victory Sunday pushed the also-surging Orioles to three games back. Gradually falling out of the AL East picture are the Red Sox, who were battered by Toronto again and are eight games behind.

The Yankees next head for Miami where Alex Rodriguez’s chase for 3,000 career hits will take a brief detour. With the designated hitter rule not in effect in National League ballparks, Rodriguez would have to play the field — third base or perhaps first base — to get at-bats, but manager Joe Girardi has indicated that he is not inclined to put A-Rod on the field.

Miami is Rodriguez’s home town, so there would have been a special feeling if he could accomplish the feat there. A-Rod needed a big day Sunday to be in position to get No. 3,000 in Miami where he is likely to be used only as a pinch hitter. But he was hitless with one walk in five plate appearances and stands at 2,995 hits, not nearly close enough to get to 3,000 at Miami if he does not play a position in the field.

Girardi also said he might give right fielder Carlos Beltran a rest during the Miami games. Marlins Park has a spacious outfield, and the former Gold Glover does not cover as much ground as he used to, so expect Jones and Chris Young to get outfield playing time in Miami.

Another decision facing Girardi and the Yankees’ brass is what to do next about Ivan Nova. The righthander, 28, made his second injury-rehabilitation start for Triple A Scranton/Wilkes Barre in a 5-1 victory over Rochester Saturday night. Nova allowed one run, five hits and one walk with three strikeouts in six innings. Of his 73 pitches, 50 were strikes.

Nova, who underwent Tommy John surgery to reconstruct his right elbow in April of 2014, could be declared ready to return to the Yankees later in the week. One likely scenario would be a start Friday night at Yankee Stadium against the Tigers in what would be Adam Warren’s spot in the rotation.

Interestingly, Warren was removed from Sunday’s game one out away from qualifying for a winning decision after throwing his 92nd pitch. It may have been Girardi’s way of letting it be known Warren could soon be returning to the bullpen.

The victory went to Chasen Shreve (3-1), who was part of a solid relief ensemble to atone for miserable games by the pen the two prior games at Baltimore. Yankees relievers combined for an 8.22 ERA in allowing 10 runs (seven earned) and 14 hits, including two home runs, in 7 2/3 innings. Oh, and four wild pitches.

Shreve, Justin Wilson and Betances teamed to hold the Orioles hitless Sunday in 4 1/3 innings with two walks and five strikeouts.

Rookie’s debut lone highlight for Yankees

Mason Williams broke into the major leagues with a bang Friday night. Williams, part of several roster moves by the Yankees after Andrew Miller’s assignment to the 15-day disabled list, made his big-league debut as the starting center fielder at Camden Yards.

Williams, 23, who was called up from Triple A Scranton/Wilkes Barre, found out how hitter-friendly the Baltimore park is. Batting ninth in the order, Williams drove a 0-1 fastball from righthander Ubaldo Jimenez into the right field bleachers in the fourth inning, a home run for his first hit in the majors. And among those in the crowd of 33,203 were Williams’ mother and brother.

What was interesting about Williams going yard was that he had not homered at all this year in 201 at-bats combined at SWB and Double A Trenton. Williams hit 23 home runs in 1,832 at-bats over his six minor-league seasons.

Williams, who also made two good plays in the field, will always remember this night, but the Yankees would love to forget it. The first inning was a bad omen when the Yankees loaded the bases with none out and failed to score. The Orioles had no such woes and coasted to an 11-3 victory.

Michael Pineda, pitching on 10 days’ rest after being skipped one turn in the rotation to conserve innings, was off his game and was tagged for six runs (five earned) and nine hits in 4 1/3 innings. It was a bad omen for him as well when he walked the first batter he faced. That runner eventually scored on a single by Chris Davis, who did greater damage two innings later with a three-run homer.

Yankees starting pitchers had allowed three earned runs or fewer in each of their previous 11 starts (since May 29), during which they were 6-2 with a 2.93 ERA in 67 2/3 innings.

It was also a miserable night afield for the Yankees. Third baseman Chase Headley committed his 14th error and had to leave the game in the fifth inning because of a groin injury. First baseman Mark Teixeira had his streak of errorless games end at 108 when he made a wild throw over second base in Baltimore’s four-run sixth inning. Caleb Joseph reached base and pushed a runner to third base when his fly ball fell between center fielder Brett Gardner and right fielder Carlos Beltan, each of whom thought the other was going to catch it. The runner who got to third base on that “hit” eventually scored.

It was an unsightly night for the Yankees’ first game against an American League East opponent since May 14 at Tampa Bay. The Yanks went 12-11 against non-divisional opponents in that span. After this three-game series, the Yanks will not face another divisional foe until July 3-5 at Yankee Stadium against the Rays.

Tanaka of old surfaces in comeback start

The Yankees could not have asked for a better outing from Masahiro Tanaka in his first start back after spending the past five weeks on the disabled list because of right wrist tendinitis and a right forearm strain. Oh, yeah, he could have pitched a no-hitter with 20 strikeouts. That would have made the Yanks happier, but what he did Wednesday against the Mariners was just fine, thank you.

The Yankees just wanted to see a healthy Tanaka capable of throwing between 80 and 85 pitches and pitching with the kind of command that has characterized his brief but impressive time with the club the past two seasons. That they saw. The righthander made it through seven strong innings in 78 pitches with stuff the Yankees had not seen from him since last year before his right elbow injury ended his dazzling rookie year.

“This was the highest velocity we have seen from him all year,” manager Joe Girardi said. “I did not expect seven innings from him. I was hoping that at 80, 85 pitches he could get to the sixth. His stuff was sharp. He had the ability to move the ball around. I know there had been questions about his last start, but I don’t make too much of Triple A starts.”

It was a major league effort in every way for Tanaka, who retired the side in order in six of his seven innings. He did not walk a batter and struck out nine. Only the third inning was troublesome when he gave up the three hits Seattle had off him.

Brad Miller tripled to center to lead off the inning and scored on a double by Dustin Ackley that tied the score at 1. One out later, Logan Morrison singled to left, but rookie Ramon Flores choked off a potential run by throwing out Ackley at the plate. It was the second assist for Flores in his first week in the major leagues.

Other than that inning, Tanaka was perfect. A sign that he had the Seattle hitters off balance throughout the game was that seven of his strikeouts were on called third strikes.

And right after the Mariners tied the score, the Yankees quickly jumped back in front on a two-out, two-run home run in the fourth inning by Garrett Jones, who had won Tuesday night’s game with a three-run blast as a pinch hitter in the 11th inning.

People say Safeco Field is a tough place to hit home runs, but the Yankees had four in three games — two by Jones and two by Mark Teixeira, who had put the Yankees ahead with a solo shot in the second inning. Teixeira, who had six RBI in the series, finds Safeco just as comfortable for him as Yankee Stadium. Tex is a .287 career hitter at the Seattle yard with 22 doubles, one triple, 19 home runs and 48 RBI in 300 at-bats. The homer total is the most for a visiting player.

Wednesday was the Yankees’ 54th game, the one-third mark of the season. With 16 home runs and 41 RBI, Teixeira is on a pace for 48 homers and 123 RBI. That would be a monster season.

The Yankees in general play well at Safeco. They have won eight consecutive games there since June 8, 2013, and are 14-3 over the past four seasons. Since 1999, the Yankees have had just two winning streaks of more than eight games against one opponent on the road: nine games at Oakland from July 5, 2010 to May 27, 2012 and 10 games at Texas from July 20, 2005 to May 3, 2007.

Despite Tanaka’s brilliance, this victory did not come easily. In the bottom of the eighth, Girardi brought in Andrew Miller for a five-out save with a runner on first base and one out. Miller, who threw 23 pitches in saving Tuesday night’s game, loaded the bases with a hit batter and a four-pitch walk. But did he ever recover.

Miller struck out Morrison on a slider out of the strike zone and retired Austin Jackson on an force play. In the ninth, Miller got Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz on called third strikes before Kyle Seager got an infield single to bring the potential tying run to the plate. Miller got Justin Ruggiano on a grounder to third and made it 17-for-17 saves.

The three-game sweep of the Mariners made it a winning West Coast trip for the Yankees, who began it by losing three of four games at Oakland. They remained in first place in the American League East and have had at least a share of the top spot for nine straight days and 36 of the past 41 days

There was one downside as the Yankees made their way back home. Brian McCann had to come out of the game in the second inning because of a sore left foot. The catcher has been bothered by the injury and undergoing treatment the past two weeks, but the pain was too severe for him to continue Wednesday. He will undergo an MRI Thursday in New York.

Losing McCann for any length of time would be a blow. He had heated up recently with home runs in four straight games, RBI in eight straight games and a productive trip in which he batted .316 with two homers and four RBI in 19 at-bats.

Road has gotten bumpy for Yankees

The Yankees played like kings of the road in the early going. They won 10 of their first 13 games away from Yankee Stadium this season and as late as May 11 were still playing over .700 ball on the road with a 12-5 mark (.706).

Since then, however, the road has been unkind to the Yankees, who are 2-10 since that point and with Sunday’s 3-0 defeat at Oakland their away record fell under .500 at 14-15 for the first time this year.

Overall, the Yankees are only one game above .500 with a 26-25 mark as they dropped into a first-place tie with Tampa Bay in the American League East. And it won’t get any smoother in their next stop, Seattle, where they face the league’s most dominant pitcher, Felix Hernandez, Monday night at Safeco Field in a match-up of staff aces and former teammates as Michael Pineda will seek to turn the Yanks’ fortunes around. It will be Pineda’s first start at Seattle since the Mariners traded him to the Yankees in January 2012.

The Yankees were shut out for the second time this season Sunday as Jesse Chavez out-dueled Adam Warren. Chavez, who despite a 2.11 ERA improved his record to merely 2-5, held the Yankees to seven hits, all singles, with no walks and six strikeouts in eight innings. Alex Rodriguez got the Yanks’ ninth hit, another single, in the ninth off Tyler Clippard, who kept them off the board for his sixth save.

For Warren, it came down to one bad pitch, a 1-1 fastball in the sixth inning to Stephen Vogt, who drove the ball over the right field fence for his 11th home run and a 2-0 lead. The Athletics had scored a total of six runs in Chavez’s seven previous starts, so he is accustomed to minimal support.

Also scoring on Vogt’s homer was Billy Burns, who led off the inning with a single and stole second and third. The steals ended a stretch of 106 2/3 innings since May 23 last year since a base runner successfully stole against Warren.

Vogt struck again in the eighth inning with a sacrifice fly off Jacob Lindgren that scored Burns, who had singled with one out off Esmil Rogers and crossed to third on a single by Ben Zobrist.

Vogt and Burns did plenty of damage to the Yankees in the series. Vogt had 5-for-14 (.357) with two doubles, one home run and five RBI. Burns was 9-for-18 (.500) with a double, a homer, an RBI, two stolen bases and six runs scored.

They were chiefly the reasons the Yankees dropped three of the four games at O.co Coliseum where they have lost 10 of their past 12 games, another series of bumps on the road.

Yankees’ scoring stops after 1st inning again

For a while there, it looked as if the Yankees would just shove the Rays aside and not worry about them anymore by winning six of the first seven games against Tampa Bay this year. After the past two nights, however, the Rays have demonstrated that they have no intention of going away.

For the second straight night, the Yankees could not muster an offense beyond a two-run first inning, a lead their starting pitcher in each case failed to hold. Adam Warren followed Nathan Eovaldi in allowing the Rays to come back Wednesday night, this time by a 3-2 score, which brought Tampa Bay back to two games behind the Yankees in the American League East.

Just as in Tuesday night’s game, Tampa Bay’s starter was wild at the beginning. Nathan Karns walked the first two batters on eight pitches and threw a ninth straight ball on the first pitch in the at-bat of 3-hole hitter Alex Rodriguez, who eventually flied out to shallow center field.

Singles by Mark Teixeira and Brian McCann made it 2-0 Yankees, but once again they failed to break the inning wide open as Carlos Beltran was called out on strikes and Stephen Drew, playing his first major-league game at third base, flied out to center. Karns settled down after that and got through five innings, although he needed a strong throw from center fielder Kevin Kiermaier to cut off the potential tying run in the fifth by gunning down Teixeira at the plate.

Four Tampa Bay relieves held the Yankees to three hits over the final four innings with seven strikeouts.

Warren gave back a run in the first on Steven Souza’s sixth home run of the year and the rest of the lead in the second on doubles by Logan Fosythe and Asdrubal Cabrera (his 1,000th career hit) and a single by Joey Butler. Warren also settled down after that and retired the last 10 batters he faced in a row through the seventh. Andrew Miller struck out the side in the eighth, but the Yankees could not strike back.

After slugging five home runs plus two doubles Monday night, the Yankees have had no extra-base hits since then. All 10 of their hits Wednesday night were singles as were all eight of their hits Tuesday night. Singles can score runs, of course; after all, four did the past two nights, but all came in the first inning and no RBI hits of any kind after that.

Drew’s appearance at third base probably means that Rodriguez can hang up his glove. A-Rod’s 39-year-old legs have started to feel heavy, so full-time designated hitter duty is his lot.

In the meantime, that team in the rearview mirror no longer seems so distant.

Streaks dying at hands of Yankees

Teams that go on extended winning streaks better stay away from the Yankees. They have snapped two opponents’ winning streaks of at least five games on this homestand. 


The Yankees ended the Mets’ 11-game winning streak last Friday night and the Rays’ five-game run Monday night. The Yanks are 9-2 since April 17 after starting the season 3-6. They entered play Tuesday night alone in first place in the American League East for the first time since May 19 last year.


In each of their last eight games, the Yankees faced teams with at least a share of first place in their respective divisions (April 20-23 against the Tigers, April 24-26 against the Mets and Monday night against the Rays) and were 6-2 in that stretch.


According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it marked the longest such stretch for the Yankees since eight straight games from June 9-16, 2011 against the Red Sox (1), the Indians (4) and the Rangers (3) with the Yanks also going 6-2.

Yankees closer Andrew Miller was surprised to find out that he is the first reliever in franchise history to have as many as eight saves in the team’s first 20 games of a season.


“I would have thought Mariano Rivera had a year with 19 by that time,” the lefthander said.


Miller’s late-inning partner, Dellin Betances, has not allowed an earned run in 11 1/3 innings in which he has compiled 17 strikeouts. Opposing batters are hitless with 12 Ks in their past 22 at-bats against him.


Adam Warren’s six-strikeout, no-walk outing Monday night was the Yankees’ major-league leading sixth start with at least 6Ks and 0 BBs. All five of the Yankees’ starters have had at least one start with at least six strikeouts and no walks. Michael Pineda has two.

 

Yanks take over 1st all by themselves

Who would have thought when the Yankees and the Rays faced each other for the first time this season that they would both be in first place 10 days later?

The Yankees went into that series in mid-April at Tropicana Field with a 3-6 record and having made 11 errors. The Rays had a 6-4 record, but three days later had fallen a game below .500 due to the Yankees’ sweep.

Fortune has followed the two clubs since then and in the tightly-contested American League East of 2015 have found themselves fighting to stay atop the division in this three-game set at Yankee Stadium.

Tampa Bay came to town riding a five-game winning streak while the Yankees had won three straight series, including this past weekend against the Mets, who have the best overall record in the major leagues.

The Yankees took over sole possession of first place Monday night with a 4-1 victory that ended the Rays’ streak. The Yanks have treated Tampa Bay this season like the expansion team it was in the 1990s and early 2000s by going 4-0 against the Rays thus far.

Adam Warren had a quality start with only one run and five hits with no walks and six strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings. The glitches were a couple of wild pitches in the sixth inning that helped the Rays tie the score at 1. The run scored on a fielder’s choice with drawn-in second baseman Stephen Drew taking an extra step before throwing to the plate and failing to prevent David DeJesus from crossing.

The Yankees had another strong bullpen effort as four relievers combined for 3 1/3 innings of scoreless, one-hit ball with one walk and four strikeouts. Justin Wilson was credited with his first victory of the season, and Andrew Miller made it 8-for-8 in saves.

Catcher Brian McCann was a big part of the Yankees’ offense. He homered one out into the sixth to put the Yanks ahead again with doubles by Carlos Beltran and Drew pushing the lead to 3-1. In the eighth, McCann led off with an excuse-me swing against the shift for a single and eventually scored when Jacoby Ellsbury was struck by a pitch with the bases loaded.

I do not normally pay much attention to the standings until June in following an old baseball axiom. Yet considering how much the Yankees stumbled coming out of the gate reaching the top of the division says a lot about this team’s resiliency.

Just as important, as manager Joe Girardi pointed out, is how much better the Yankees are playing at home. They were 1-4 during the first homestand but have won three of the past four games at the Stadium.

Although 0-for-4 Monday night, Mark Teixeira has been a major part of their April turnaround and was named AL Player of the Week for the period ending April 26. Tex hit .333 with six runs, one double, five home runs and 10 RBI in seven games and 33 at-bats.

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