Results tagged ‘ Boone Logan ’

Yankees’ condition is critical

As if the Yankees didn’t have enough trouble Tuesday night, a former teammate added to their misery. Jason Giambi put the finishing touch on a wild, 5-4 Indians victory over the White Sox in Cleveland while the Yankees were going down quietly, 7-0, to the Rays at Yankee Stadium.

The Yankees’ situation is now critical. They trail the Indians for the second wild-card playoff berth by five games with five to play. Do the math and it comes out to the Yankees’ tragic number being down to one. One more Yankees loss or Indians victory will keep the Bombers home during the postseason for only the second time in the past 19 seasons.

Tampa Bay kept a sturdy hold on the first wild-card spot with the victory despite a shaky start by Matt Moore (16-4). The lefthander struggled with command (six walks, three wild pitches, one of which put a strikeout victim on base) but gave up only three hits in five innings. The Yankees were 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position and left 10 runners on base against Moore and were 0-for-10 with 11 stranded runners for the game.

Runs have been hard to come by for the Yankees lately. They have scored one in their past 20 innings on Mark Reynolds’ third-inning home run Sunday against the Giants. The Yanks were shut out for the 11th time this season, the most in one year since they were blanked 15 times in 1990. This was the third time the Yankees were held scoreless this year by Tampa Bay.

As has been in the case in his recent starts, Hiroki Kuroda took a while to get into a rhythm on the mound. The Rays had a 3-0 lead four batters into the game. Kuroda gave up a leadoff home run to Matt Joyce, a single to Wil Myers, a double to David De Jesus (who took third on the throw home) and a sacrifice fly to Evan Longoria. The way the Yankees’ offense has sputtered lately, that was probably the game right there.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi had lefthander Boone Logan up in the bullpen in the sixth inning but curiously did not bring him into the game to face left-handed batting James Loney with the bases loaded and one out. Loney lined a double to right-center for two runs that pretty much sealed the deal for the Rays.

Meanwhile, the Indians had one of those inspiring victories that can propel a club into postseason play. Cleveland closer Chris Perez blew a 3-2 lead in the ninth by giving up two solo home runs. The Tribe had the last laugh, however, when Giambi went yard as a pinch hitter in the bottom of the ninth with two out and a runner on second base.

It was tough going all around for the crowd of 43,407 at the Stadium. The truck carrying Mariano Rivera bobblehead dolls for Tuesday night’s giveaway was late, which created long lines for ticketholders to collect their gift.

A ground-gaining night for the Yankees

The Yankees finally had a good night Tuesday in their wild-card chase. They won and all the teams in front of them lost. They beat one of them, the Orioles, 7-5, while the Rays and Indians both were defeated. The Yanks are now two games out of the second wild card spot and a half-game behind Baltimore and Cleveland.

It was not a totally pleasant night, however. A team that has kept the medical staff working overtime since Opening Day had more bumps and bruises to report. Alex Rodriguez, who had two doubles and one RBI, came out of the game in the eighth inning because of tightness in his left hamstring. The Yankees are hoping it is not serious and that A-Rod be able at least to be the designated hitter Wednesday night.

Ivan Nova, who has pitched well despite dealing with a nagging right triceps, was lifted after six innings and 79 pitches and the Yankees trailing, 4-3. Again, the Yanks have their fingers crossed that he won’t have to come out of the rotation. Catcher Austin Romine took a nasty foul ball off his mask in the eighth inning and may have a concussion.

Before the game, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said that Boone Logan has not responded to a cortisone injection and that the club will send the reliever’s medical records to Dr. James Andrews, the noted orthopedist in Pensacola, Fla., which may not be a good sign.

The Yankees’ acquisition late Tuesday night of slick-fielding shortstop Brendan Ryan from the Mariners for a player to be named could be an indication that Derek Jeter may be unavailable for an even longer period than originally anticipated.

The state of the Yankees’ bullpen with David Robertson ailing (right shoulder) is such that Mariano Rivera was called on for a four-out save. He retired all four batters he faced for his 42nd save this season and career No. 650.

It was an impressive, comeback victory for the Yankees, who were behind, 4-1, through five innings. Solo home runs by Alfonso Soriano and Mark Reynolds in the sixth made it a one-run game, and the Yankee exploded ahead with a four-run eighth. Soriano and Reynolds did some more damage that inning against Orioles reliever Kevin Gausman.

Rodriguez got the Yankees started with a double. He tweaked the hammy while sliding into the plate and scoring on a single by Robinson Cano. Soriano followed with his second home run of the game, his 15th this year for the Yankees and 32nd overall this season. Sori leads the majors in multi-homer games with seven, four of which have come in his seven weeks with the Yankees. Doubles by Curtis Granderson and Reynolds marked five straight hits for the Yanks that inning and produced another run.

Nova, who entered the game with a 2-0 record and 1.52 ERA against the Orioles this year, gave up Chris Davis’ 49th home run of the season, a two-run shot, in Baltimore’s four-run fifth, an inning that was extended because of a throwing error by shortstop Eduardo Nunez.

Adam Warren (2-2), who ended up with the winning decision, pitched a perfect seventh. Shawn Kelley hurt himself with two wild pitches that helped the Orioles to a run in the eighth before Mo came on the scene to restore order. As he told everybody last Sunday, “I’ll be there.”

Tattered pen can’t prevent Bosox onslaught

Now you know why it was so important for the Yankees to get quality starts from Ivan Nova and Andy Pettitte in the first two games of the four-game series against the Red Sox. The Yankees were relying on the back end of the bullpen to get them through the third game. After Nova had his briefest outing (four innings) Thursday night and Pettitte turned an 8-3 lead over to the bullpen Friday night with the relievers blowing both games, the Yankees had to turn to a trio of late-season Triple A call-ups to navigate through one of the toughest lineups in the league.

The result naturally was disastrous. David Huff, who had pitched well in relief since Aug. 16 (two earned runs in 16 innings) termed his 3 1/3-inning outing Saturday “terrible.” No one would dispute it. He hit just about every bat in the Boston order and allowed nine earned runs and eight hits, including two home runs. Jim Miller, summoned after Scranton’s season was over, could not stem the tide as the Red Sox dusted him off for three runs and three hits, one a home run, in 1 1/3 innings. Only Brett Marshall, who entered the game with the Yankees down 12-3 in the fifth, was the one bright light with 4 1/3 serviceable innings in which he yielded one run and three hits.

The Yankees’ offense put up a good fight in the 13-9 loss. Their 12 hits were spread among nine players. They cut the deficit to three runs at one point. The problem was that point was the eighth inning. When Mike Napoli took Marshall deep in the ninth, somehow it seemed to shut the door. Napoli, who has feasted off Yankees pitching all year (.404, four doubles, seven home runs, 23 RBI in 12 games and 57 at-bats), is 7-for-12 (.583) with a double, three homers and eight RBI in this series.

The Red Sox came to town after slugging eight home runs in one game and have continued the power surge with eight homers in the series. Boston starter John Lackey, who has had the worst run support for an American League starting pitcher this year, could not seem to handle the burst of offense but ended up with the victory despite giving up seven runs in 5 1/3 innings.

The Yankees knew coming in that the bullpen is in tatters. David Robertson will be out another several days because of right shoulder tendinitis. Boone Logan has an inflamed left biceps that will shelve him for at least three days, and Shawn Kelley has been unavailable due to a strained right triceps.

On top of that, the Yankees lost shortstop Derek Jeter for who knows how long. Manager Joe Girardi pulled the captain when he saw him running tentatively on his left leg. Jeter also had trouble planting his surgical left ankle in the sixth and threw the ball past first baseman Lyle Overbay on an infield single by Jonny Gomes. DJ was sent for a CT scan, which the Yankees said was negative. Nevertheless, they sent the results to Charlotte, N.C., surgeon Dr. Robert Anderson, who performed the operation on Jeter’s ankle last October.

Let’s be honest, the Yankees were going to have a tough time trying to catch the first-place Red Sox in the AL East. The Bombers were eight games behind when the series began, but their spirits were high as they hoped to do their rivals some damage. The Red Sox have pushed the Yankees 11 games back in historic if somewhat dubious fashion. The Elias Sports Bureau reported that this is the first time in franchise history that the Yankees lost three games in a row when they scored at least seven runs in each game.

It has been clear for some time that the Yankees’ only path to the postseason is through a wild-card berth. Thanks to a current bumpy stretch by the Rays, the Yanks remain in contention there, but their losses to Boston have allowed the Orioles, Indians and even the Royals to encroach their space.

Considering the state of the bullpen, Hiroki Kuroda will have to be awfully good Sunday to avoid an embarrassing sweep at Yankee Stadium to the Red Sox.

Pettitte comes up big but not bullpen

On a night when the Yankees were in a must-win situation and with the knowledge that neither setup reliever David Robertson nor closer Mariano Rivera was available, Andy Pettitte handled the pressure of coming up big time in a big situation. This should come as no surprise, of course, considering the pitcher in question has logged 276 2/3 innings in postseason play and is used to stressful workloads.

Pettitte would like to add to his postseason resume and did his part to help the Yankees remain in contention toward that goal Friday night with six sturdy innings that continued a successful run for the lefthander that belies his age, 41, and adds to his reputation as a go-to guy. The Yankees helped his cause by continuing to put up multiple-run innings – four two-run frames during his six innings of work.

It also did not hurt the Yanks’ cause that Red Sox starter Felix Doubront handed out free passes on a regular basis. Doubront walked six batters in his 3 2/3 innings and four of them scored. Alfonso Soriano got the Yankees off to a quick start with his 30th home run of the season, a two-run shot to left, in the first inning.

Doubront walked Vernon Wells to start the second inning, and Eduardo Nunez tripled him home. Chris Stewart’s sacrifice fly scored Nunez. Doubront walked two more batters with two out in the fourth and both scored on a triple by Brett Gardner. The Yanks didn’t need any walks to score twice in the fifth off righthander Rubby De La Rosa on a double by Robinson Cano and singles by Wells, Nunez and Mark Reynolds.

Pettitte was masterful. He allowed three runs, five hits and three walks with eight strikeouts and left with the Yankees ahead, 8-3, through six. Over his past six starts, Andy has pitched to a 1.75 ERA in 36 innings in lowering his season ERA from 4.71 to 4.03. He is 3-0 over that stretch with three no-decisions. Unfortunately, one of those no-decisions was Friday night.

Phil Hughes took the ball from Pettitte and, well, dropped it. In his first relief appearance of the season, Hughes gave up three hits and a walk and left the game in the seventh with the bases full, one run in and one out. Boone Logan did a nice job of striking out David Ortiz, but Mike Napoli proved stiffer competition.

Napoli worked the count full and fouled off two fastballs in the mid-90s before driving a third one to right field off the top of the wall just beyond the reach of Ichiro Suzuki. It was the sixth career grand slam and third this season for Napoli, who victimized Hughes earlier this season.

With that one swing, the score was tied. It only got worse. Preston Claiborne gave up a two-run home run to Shane Victorino in the eighth, and Joba Chamberlain had another rough outing in allowing the Red Sox two more runs.

All of Pettitte’s work went for naught, which was an absolute shame.

Orioles stun Yanks with 7-run 7th inning

At the beginning of the same week that the National Football League will begin its schedule, the Yankees fumbled their chance to blow past the Orioles in the wild-card race. They caught one break this weekend with fellow contenders Tampa Bay and Oakland playing each other in the Bay Area so they would gain ground on one of them daily and were on the brink of sweeping Baltimore and putting the O’s in the Yanks’ rear-view mirror.

That was before the Birds changed their luck by rolling seven in the seventh inning that ruined yet another strong starting effort by Andy Pettitte (3-0, 1.20 ERA in past five starts) and jostled the Yankees back into fourth place in the American League East and kept them at least 3 ½ games back in the wild-card hunt with another calendar date torn off.

The 3-0 lead that Pettitte took into the seventh appeared pretty safe with the Orioles offering little resistance until newly-acquired Michael Morse and Danny Valencia opened the inning with singles. Yanks manager Joe Girardi turned to a well-rested bullpen but found no relief.

Shawn Kelley and Boone Logan each faced two batters without retiring either. Kelley did the most damage by giving up an RBI single to Matt Wieters and a three-run, opposite-field home run to J.J. Hardy on a ball that hit the top of the wall just beyond the reach of Curtis Granderson in right field. Logan yielded a bunt single to Brian Roberts and a walk to Nick Markakis before Joba Chamberlain got clobbered one out later by Adam Jones with the second three-run homer of the inning, this one onto the netting above Monument Park that created the 7-3 final score.

It marked the first time in 33 home games this season that the Yankees lost when they had a lead of at least two runs.

“They have been so good for us all for so long, it was surprising to see,” Girardi said of the pen.

Despite the pitching changes, all of this seemed to happen in a mini-second. What would have been Pettitte’s 256th victory went flying out the window and offset the decision to have him start instead of Phil Hughes, who is scheduled to get the ball Monday in the Labor Day afternoon tilt against the White Sox, a last-place team but one that swept the Yankees Aug. 5-7 at Chicago.

In games like this, you look back at missed chances for the Yankees to put up more runs. They were 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position and stranded 10 base runners. Cano, who usually rakes against Baltimore (.340, 27 HR, 99 RBI) was 0-for-5 and struck out three times in a game against the O’s for the first time in his career.

Derek Jeter had a sacrifice fly but was 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. The RBI was career No. 1,258, which pushed him past former teammate Bernie Williams into sixth place on the all-time franchise list. The Yanks’ 2-through-6 hitters in the Yankees’ lineup were a combined 1-for-19 (Alfonso Soriano’s RBI single in the third inning giving him 36 RBI in 34 games for the Yanks) with 10 strikeouts.

The Yankees were able to contain Baltimore first baseman Chris Davis in the series. The major-league home run leader had 1-for-10 with a walk, a hit by pitch, an RBI and 10 strikeouts. He was the only Orioles player who did not reach base Sunday as he made five outs.

It was Baltimore’s relief corps that held sway. After a shaky start by starter Wei-Yin Chen (three earned runs, four hits, five walks in four innings), four Orioles relievers teamed up to pitch five scoreless innings allowing three hits and one walk with seven strikeouts. The Orioles lead the season series, 8-7, with four games remaining against the teams Sept. 9-12 at Camden Yards.

Earth to Yankees: These games are vital

Let it be known that the Yankees are aware they reside on planet Earth. They played Friday night’s game against the Orioles at Yankee Stadium with the fierce determination of a team aware of the obstacles facing them in their quest for a postseason berth.

“They would have to be on another planet not to know the importance of this stretch of games,” manager Joe Girardi said before the opener of a 10-game homestand.

Girardi did not hesitate to remind them anyway with the way he managed, which was akin to it being Game 7 of the World Series. The 8-5 victory before a boisterous Friday night crowd of 45,169 was an ideal way to get this pivotal period of the season started for the Yankees.

The skipper pulled CC Sabathia, who gave up five runs and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings, after 86 pitches, then played mix and match with his bullpen in an effort to protect a lead that his starting pitcher failed to do once and threatened to do twice, which has been an unfortunate custom of his this season.

This was a weird one. Sabathia and Orioles starter Miguel Gonzalez traded zeroes for three innings before balls started getting whacked all over the yard and over the fences. Home run leader Chris Davis singled in the first run of the game in the top of the fourth, but a two-run, opposite-field home run by Alfonso Soriano in the bottom half put the Yankees ahead.

Danny Valencia answered that with a two-run homer in the fifth to regain the lead for Baltimore. The Yankees went gangbusters in their turn at-bat that inning and retrieved the lead by putting up a five-spot and chasing Gonzalez. The Yanks began the inning with four consecutive extra-base hits – doubles by Curtis Granderson and Mark Reynolds for one run, Ichiro Suzuki’s first home run in 132 at-bats for two more runs and a double by Austin Romine. A single by Brett Gardner and a walk to Derek Jeter loaded the bases and hastened Gonzalez’s departure. Robinson Cano greeted left-handed reliever T.J. McFarland with a single to left to drive in two runs.

Sabathia gave a run back in the sixth when Adam Jones doubled and scored on a two-out single by Nick Markakis. That was it for Girardi, who made the move to Shawn Kelley. Valencia singled Markakis to third, but Kelley got out of the inning without further damage. With one out in the seventh, Girardi brought in lefthander Boone Logan to face lefty-hitting Nate McLouth, who flied out, and then righthander David Robertson against righty-swinging Manny Machado, who grounded out.

The Yankees added to their lead with a run in the seventh on an RBI single by Alex Rodriguez. They lost a shot at another run on poor base running by Alfonso Soriano. He and A-Rod pulled off a double steal of second and third with one out. Against an over-shift on Granderson that had the third baseman playing in the shortstop hole, Soriano could have walked home from third on Grandy’s push bunt toward third. Sori held up for some reason and motioned back to third, but Rodriguez was nearing that base. Pitcher Francisco Rodriguez had fielded the ball by that time and threw to catcher Taylor Teegarden for an easy tag-out of Soriano.

Girardi was hit with several questions after the game about why Granderson bunted in that spot as if it were a dumb play. I thought it was a terrific move on his part. The defense was giving him practically the entire left side of the infield. Why not drop one down and get a free run?

Robertson handled the eighth inning without fault and turned the ball over to Mariano Rivera in the ninth. Enough said.

Girardi had indicated the importance of this series with the announcement before the game that Phil Hughes would be pushed back to Monday night against the White Sox so that Andy Pettitte could start Sunday against the Orioles. The reason for that should be self-explanatory. Girardi had a hunch about Reynolds in starting him at first base against a right-handed pitcher instead of Lyle Overbay. Reynolds had three hits one an RBI. He was thrown out on the bases twice, but no one said he was Rickey Henderson.

Soriano’s legs help Yanks avoid sweep

To be honest, I contemplated getting on Alfonso Soriano’s case for styling when he hits a long drive instead of running hard out of the box in the event the ball does not clear the fence. Robinson Cano has a history of doing the same thing.

But how dumb would that have looked on the day the Yankees won an 11-inning game because of Soriano’s legs and Cano’s sizzling bat?

Soriano’s base running Sunday helped the Yankees to a 3-2, 11-inning victory over the Rays that avoided a three-game sweep at Tropicana Field. He ran hard from the box to second base to get a one-out double off Tampa Bay righthander Jamie Wright and even harder to third base for a key steal that made it possible for him to break the tie on Curtis Granderson’s flyout to right-center that proved a game-winning sacrifice fly after Mariano Rivera pitched a 1-2-3 bottom half for his 38th save of the season and career No. 646.

Regular readers are aware of my high regard for Soriano, but one element of his game that I find disturbing is his tendency to hot dog it at the plate when he hits a ball into the air and deep. If the ball goes over the fence, fine. When it doesn’t, which was the case in one of his at-bats Saturday night, it is an embarrassment if Soriano is unable to take the extra base because he was too late to move into high gear as a runner.

Considering his speed, Soriano should never look flat-footed on the field. He certainly did not look that way in the 11th inning Sunday. This was a big victory for the Yankees, who are in a positive frame of mind heading to Toronto for a three-game set against a club they have beaten in 12 of 13 previous meetings.

Cano, who was 1-for-8 in the first two games of the series, both losses, broke free with his 24th home run, plus a double and a single. He drove in both Yankees runs in regulation. Cano has hit safely in 17 of past 20 games, batting .410 with 11 runs, seven doubles, three home runs and 14 RBI in 78 at-bats.

For the Rays, Evan Longoria was responsible for both their runs as well with an RBI single in the first and his 28th homer in the sixth. It was the seventh homer of the season against the Yankees by Longoria, who is batting .299 with four doubles and 12 RBI in 64 at-bats against them this year. The homer was the 23rd of Longoria’s career against the Yankees, the most he has off a single club.

The Yankees had confidence that Ivan Nova would help them avoid a sweep by the Rays. And why not? Nova was on a personal three-game winning streak and along with Hiroki Kuroda has been a very reliable arm in the rotation.

Nova did a commendable job and kept the Yankees in the game during his 6 2/3 innings. At the outset it appeared it might be a miserable day for the Yanks. Tampa Bay scored in the first inning and threatened to add on by loading the bases with none out. Nova was still trying to get control of his breaking ball, but the first indication that his sinking fastball would be a major weapon for him was when James Loney swung late on a 94-mph heater and hit a ground ball to third baseman Mark Reynolds, who began an around-the-horn double play to squash the rally.

Nova continued to have some issues with his curve displayed by his six walks (one intentional), but the sinker remained an ally as the righthander got 14 of his 20 outs on ground balls. Only two outs were recorded in the air. Nova also struck out three batters and got an out from his catcher, Chris Stewart, who caught a base runner attempting to steal second (Stew got a second one after Nova came out of the game in the seventh).

The Yankees had the leadoff hitter reach base in the eighth and 10th innings but did not capitalize. In the 10th, Alex Rodriguez got the first pinch hit of his career (in 15 at-bats), but he ended up being doubled off second base. The double play proved more an ally for the Yankees, who turned four of them in the game.

The bullpen did a magnificent ensemble job. Shawn Kelley, David Robertson, Joba Chamberlain, Boone Logan (4-2) and Rivera combined for 4 1/3 hitless innings. Only one of the 12 Tampa Bay hitters faced by the Yanks’ relievers reached base, on a one-out walk by Chamberlain in the 10th, and he was erased on a double play.

So off to Toronto go the Yankees where their captain, Derek Jeter, will be waiting to rejoin them.

Bats & bullpen give Sabathia plenty of support

The Yankees did what they needed to do over the weekend in Boston by winning the series over the Red Sox. A sweep would have been preferable, of course, but taking two of three was the next best thing, particularly since they came from behind to win the rubber game Sunday night, 9-6, before a national television audience.

The Yanks needed a big game from CC Sabathia but didn’t quite get it. They did get a gutsy performance from the big lefthander, however. Once again, Sabathia had control issues as he walked five batters (that’s now 11 walks in his past 11 1/3 innings) and was behind, 6-3, in the fifth inning. A strikeout of Stephen Drew after having walked in a run to end the fifth turned out to be CC’s biggest out of the night.

His teammates came right back the next inning with four runs off Boston starter Ryan Dempster to take the lead for good. The big blow was a bases-clearing triple by Brett Gardner. The other run that inning was a home run to dead center by Alex Rodriguez, who had been hit by Dempster in the second inning that so angered manager Joe Girardi that he was ejected from the game.

The rejuvenated Yankees offense banged out 17 hits. The amazing part was all that was done without the aid of Alfonso Soriano, who was 0-for-5. Eduardo Nunez, Robinson Cano and Rodriguez took up the slack with three hits apiece. It was a hit parade all weekend for the Yankees, who totaled 40 knocks in the series. The Yankees also showed a lot of aggressiveness on the bases with four steals Sunday night and nine stolen bases in the series.

Mariano Rivera ended his recent slump with his 36th save after having blown his three previous save opportunities. He followed ensemble work by Shawn Kelley, Boone Logan and David Robertson as the bullpen held the Red Sox scoreless with two hits in 3 2/3 innings.

The Yankees cut into any sense of Red Sox’ invincibility in this series, although Boston is still 7 ½ games ahead of the Bombers in the American League East. The Yanks did help to trim the Red Sox’ lead to one game over the Rays. The Yankees are also six games behind for the second wild-card spot. But taking the series was a good first step. They come home for a four-game set beginning with a day-night doubleheader Tuesday against the Blue Jays, against whom they are 8-1 this season.

Kuroda survives very slim margin for error

You look at the record – 11-7 – and it does not appear overwhelming. Yet that is just what Hiroki Kuroda has been for the Yankees this season.

In a year when CC Sabathia has struggled to maintain his status as staff ace, Kuroda has taken the baton and given the Yankees ace-like quality for much of the season. Had run support been more plentiful in Kuroda’s starts, he might have five or six more victories.

Even Monday night when he pitched an absolute gem, Kuroda had slim margin for error as the Yankees managed only two runs off Angels starter Garrett Richards. That skinny margin nearly cost Kuroda another winning decision in this game when Los Angeles rallied in the ninth inning only to fall one run short.

Kuroda shut out the Angels on three hits in eight innings to lower his season ERA to 2.33, which ranks second in the American League only to the 2.28 of the Mariners’ Felix Hernandez. Over his past seven starts covering 48 innings, Kuroda’s ERA is a microscopic 0.94. He is 4-1 in that stretch.

Josh Hamilton opened the second inning with a double to right-center, but he never got beyond second base as Kuroda retired the next nine batters in a row. A leadoff walk to Eric Aybar ended that run of outs but Kuroda ran off six more before Mike Trout beat out an infield single to start the seventh. Kuroda quickly erased him by getting Hamilton to ground into a double play. The other hit off Kuroda was a two-out double in the eighth by catcher Chris Iannetta, who was also stranded.

Brett Gardner, the hero of Sunday’s walk-off victory over the Tigers, was productive again with a two-out, RBI single in the third. It stayed a 1-0 game until the seventh when Curtis Granderson homered into the second deck in right field. That likely created a sense of déjà vu for Richards. He was the first pitcher to make his major-league debut at the current Yankee Stadium Aug. 10, 2011 and gave up six runs and six hits in five innings of a 9-3 Yankees victory. Two of the hits off Richards in that game were home runs by Granderson.

Granderson’s third home run of this season proved pivotal when the Angels came alive after Kuroda left the game. Boone Logan started the ninth and gave up a hit and got a strikeout. At the same time, Yankees fans in the Stadium crowd of 37,146 chanted “We want Mo,” a good sign of their allegiance to Mariano Rivera despite his having blown three straight save opportunities.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi wanted to stay away from Mo in this one and brought in David Robertson, who got into immediate trouble by walking Mike Trout and giving up a bloop double down the left field line that made the score 2-1. It forced the Yanks to walk Aybar intentionally to load the bases and set up a force at each. Robertson bore down hard for his first save with impressive strikeouts of Mike Trout and Chris Nelson.

In a way, it was a view into the future. A year from now when Rivera is retired and enjoying his life with his family, Robertson just may be the guy called on regularly to get those last important outs.

Yanks ride rollercoaster to victory

The momentum swings in Tuesday night’s game resembled the rollercoaster at the Six Flags Over Texas amusement park across the highway from Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. The Yankees went up to a 3-0 lead, then down to a 4-3 deficit and then up again to a 5-4 victory.

Just a week after getting a save in the All-Star Game where Mariano Rivera served as his setup man, Joe Nathan sustained only his second blown save in 33 opportunities this year as the Yanks staged a dramatic rally that sent Texas to its first loss in 52 games this season when the Rangers were leading after eight innings.

To finish things off, Rivera returned to his normal role and got his 32nd save of the season and 640th of his career with a 1-2-3 ninth featuring two strikeouts, a perfect end to an absolutely startling comeback for the Yankees, who appeared down for the count against the Rangers’ impressive bullpen.

Texas relievers recorded 10 consecutive outs before Nathan walked Vernon Wells with one out in the ninth. Nathan further improved the Yankees’ condition with a wild pitch that not only advanced Wells to second base but also forced the Rangers to bring their outfielders in shallower for a possible play at the plate.

Eduardo Nunez benefitted from the altered defense with a drive to the wall in left-center for an RBI triple, the Yanks’ first hit since the fourth inning. The run scored by Wells ended a streak of 25 2/3 scoreless innings by the Texas pen dating to July 11. Brent Lillibridge then atoned for an earlier damaging error with a single to left that scored Nunez with what proved the winning run.

Phil Hughes has had somewhat surprising success at Rangers Ballpark despite its being a hitters’ paradise. Tuesday night it appeared that success would continue as the Yankees gave Hughes an early lead and he was doing a good job at protecting it. For five innings anyway.

Everything fell apart for Hughes, however, in the sixth. An error by Lillibridge at third base with one out opened the door for the Rangers, who came back from being down 3-0 to take a 4-3 lead. Adrian Beltre followed the error with a double for Texas’ first run. Hughes got the second out on a fly to center by A.J. Pierzynski but gave up a single to Elvis Andrus that got Texas to 3-2.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi made a quick hook of Hughes (80 pitches) for lefthander Boone Logan, who faced left-handed batting Mitch Moreland, who drove a home run over the center field fence. Only one of the three runs charged to Hughes was earned as his ERA at Rangers Ballpark fell to 1.90 over 23 2/3 innings.

The Yankees also had an exceptional defensive game with second baseman Robinson Cano making one of his patented across-the-body throws to first on a far-ranging play to his right in the seventh and center fielder Brett Gardner belly-flopping in right-center to haul down a drive by Andrus.

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