Results tagged ‘ Brett Gardner ’

Yanks blow three-run lead to end 3-4 trip

A trip considered pivotal for the Yankees’ playoff chances did not turn out as well as they had hoped. They got off to a good start with a victory in Kansas City over one of the contenders for post-season play but hit snags in Detroit and Toronto where the Yanks lost each series, two games to one.

Sunday’s finale at Rogers Centre was a major disappointment. One day after sustaining a one-hit shutout, the Yankees bounced back against J.A. Happ to take a 3-0 lead behind Brandon McCarthy, who was rolling along through five innings working on a two-hit shutout.

Before McCarthy could get the third out of the sixth, however, he was smacked for two long home runs by Melky Cabrera and Jose Bautista that made it a one-run game. Cabrera’s 16th home run of the season was his fifth this year against his former teammates. Bautista’s 29th homer of the season made it five straight games in which he has gone deep, one shy of the franchise record by Jose Cruz Jr. in 2001. The major league record is eight shared by the Pirates’ Dale Long (1956), the Yankees’ Don Mattingly (1987) and the Mariners’ Ken Griffey Jr. (1993).

Edwin Encarnacion tied the score when he led off the seventh with another bomb of a homer (No. 28), and a shaken McCarthy then walked Dioner Navarro. That turned out to be just as bad as the home runs when pinch runner Steve Tolleson stole second base with two out and scored the go-ahead run on a single by Munenori Kawasaki off Dellin Betances. The play at home was close, but Tolleson sliding head first got his left hand across the plate just before the lunging tag by catcher Francisco Cervelli.

The Yankees had chances after that to get back in the game. They had two runners on with two out in the eighth against Brett Cecil, but Cervelli struck out. In the ninth, Jacoby Ellsbury, hobbled by a sprained left ankle that was heavily taped, came off the bench and pinch-hit a double to shallow right field with one out. Pinch runner Ichiro Suzuki moved to third as Brett Gardner, who flirted with a cycle, grounded out to the right side.

That brought up Derek Jeter in what was likely his final game in Toronto. A Hollywood ending would have had the Captain trying the score at least with a single or perhaps even putting the Yanks ahead with a two-run homer. Instead, he hit a soft liner to Tolleson to end the disappointing trip in which the Yankees were 3-4.

The Yanks wasted several other scoring opportunities. Cervelli tripled with two out in the second before Stephen Drew struck out. Cervelli singled in the Yankees’ second run in the fourth, but he and another runner were stranded when Drew flied out.

Gardner accounted for the other two runs with his 16th home run of the season, the fifth leading off a game, and a triple in the fifth when he continued to the plate on an errant relay by Jose Reyes. Gardner doubled with two out in the seventh but Jeter was out on a pepper shot. Gardner needed a single to complete the cycle, and it might have tied the score in the ninth except he grounded out. He also flied out to left field in the third inning.

While the Yankees had 11 hits, the middle of their lineup was silent as Mark Teixeira and Carlos Beltran combined to go 0-for-8 with five strikeouts. The Yanks had 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position.

The Yankees’ loss dropped them nine games behind first-place Baltimore in the American League East, and they stayed 3 1/2 games back in the wild-card race by failing to take advantage of a Detroit loss with Seattle and Kansas City playing later in the day. Even worse, the Yankees could have buried the Blue Jays but instead allowed Toronto to pull to 1 1/2 games behind them in the wild-card hunt.

Labor Day turns out to be a holiday as well for the Yankees, who have Monday off. Then it’s another crucial nine-game stretch at Yankee Stadium with three-game series each against the Red Sox, Royals and Rays. Time is growing short.

Yanks bounce back and bounce Buehrle again

Things were looking so bad for a while there Friday night for the Yankees that it appeared they might not win a game started by Mark Buehrle. The lefthander, who has not beaten the Yankees in 10 years, looked as if he might end that streak over the first six innings.

Then came the seventh and then went Buehrle. He was working on a four-hit shutout entering the inning but faced four batters without getting an out and left the game in his usual circumstance against the Yankees — trailing.

The five spot the Yankees put on the board in the seventh meant that Buehrle would fail to get a winning decision in his 16th straight start against them, the second such losing streak only to a 19-start stretch by Slim Harriss.

Brian McCann, who came within inches of winning Thursday’s game at Detroit that became a tough loss for the Yankees, got the seventh inning started for the Yanks with a double off the right field wall. Buehrle then gave up his first walk, to Carlos Beltran.

Brett Gardner might have been expected to bunt the runners over, but manager Joe Girardi had him swinging away, and it paid off. Gardner ripped a double to left that scored McCann, and Beltran followed him home on an errant relay by second baseman Steve Tolleson that gave the Yankees the lead.

Matters just got worse for Buehrle, who gave up an infield single to Ichiro Suzuki and after leaving the game watched his catcher, Dioner Navarro, try to pick Gardner off third base and throw the ball into left field.

Jacoby Ellsbury hit a rocket over the right field wall for his 14th home run and a 5-1 Yankees lead. It came off lefthander Aaron Loup, the first he had ever yielded to a left-handed batter in the major leagues. Ellsbury continued his torrid trip in which he is batting .440 with a 1.000 slugging percentage, one triple, four home runs and nine RBI in 25 at-bats.

The Blue Jays made it 5-3 in the bottom of the seventh, but the Yankees went on to win, 6-3, with Chase Headley adding a bomb of a home run to right-center in the ninth. It was an impressive victory for the Yanks coming off Thursday’s low ebb. They moved 3 1/2 games ahead of the Blue Jays and dropped Toronto back to .500 at 67-67.

Buehrle’s career record against the Yankees fell to 1-13. Only one other pitcher in major-league history was worse against them, Red Ruffing, who was 1-16 during his years with the Red Sox. Ironically, he was traded to the Yankees and became one of the franchise’s great aces and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1967. It was also Buehrle’s eighth straight loss this season. He had a 10-1 record as of June 1 and is now 11-9.

Chris Capuano finally got his first victory with the Yankees. He gave up a home run to Juan Bautista in the fourth but stayed close with Buehrle into the seventh. Errors by Derek Jeter and Brett Gardner were responsible for one of the two runs Capuano gave up in the seventh.

Lefthander Josh Outman, the reliever the Yankees obtained from the Indians Thursday, made his first appearance and allowed a pinch-hit single to Munenori Kawasaki, but David Robertson got a four-out save to get the Yankees an uplifting victory to start the Labor Day weekend.

All Yanks join Ellsbury in hit parade

No sooner had Jacoby Ellsbury reached first base with a leadoff single in the third inning Wednesday night at Detroit that I said to myself, “Anyone else on this team want to help this guy?”

Ellsbury had accounted for both Yankees runs in Tuesday night’s 5-2 loss with solo home runs and opened Wednesday’s game with a single and a stolen base but was stranded at second base.

I do not claim any penchant for mental telepathy, but I may have transmitted something across to the rest of the Yankees because all they did an entire turn through the batting order that inning was follow Ellsbury’s lead and reach base with hits.

It was a manager’s absolute dream as Joe Girardi watched each player he placed in the lineup knock his way on base. Ellsbury’s speed got him a second steal as he outran a pickoff. Derek Jeter brought him home with a double as the parade began, followed by a single by Martin Prado, a double by Mark Teixeira and singles by Carlos Beltran, Brian McCann, Chase Headley, Brett Gardner and Francisco Cervelli. Not only did the Yankees get nine hits in a row but also eight straight with runners in scoring position, which in some cases this year has been a series worth of clutch hits.

And that was no tomato can on the mound off of whom the Yankees got nine consecutive hits, two shy of the Rockies’ major league mark against the Cubs in 2010. The Detroit starter was none other than 2012 American League Cy Young Award winner David Price, who entered the game with a 10-5 career record against the Yankees.

Price never did get an out that inning. Tigers manager Brad Ausmus yanked him for another lefthander, Blaine Hardy, who gave up two more runs on sacrifice flies by Ellsbury and Jeter as the Yankees swelled their lead to 8-0.

Remember how excited the Yankees were Monday night when they scored eight runs against the Royals with James Shields starting? Well, this time they scored that many runs in just one inning.

Ellsbury certainly looks comfortable back in the leadoff spot where he batted most often in his years with the Red Sox. Girardi has had to use him in the 3-hole much of this year because of the inconsistency and injuries to Mark Teixeira and Carlos Beltran.

Usual leadoff man Gardner was out the first two games of the trip because of a right ankle bruise. He was back Wednesday night but dropped to the 8-hole because of his career problems against Price (2-for-20 entering play).

With two hits, two stolen bases and an RBI over his first three plate appearances, Ellsbury definitely was a table setter. Yet for a change he had plenty of support.

As appreciative as Girardi for all this offense was Yanks starter Shane Greene, who did not give up a hit or a run until the fourth inning. The righthander did not pitch as it he had a huge lead but rather as if the score was close, the best approach for a pitcher to take.

Green gave up two runs, five hits and one walk with a hit batter and eight strikeouts in seven innings to remain undefeated in eight starts since July 21 and improve his record to 4-1 with a 3.09 ERA.

The big-inning victory also did the Yanks quite a bit of good in the standings. They picked up a game on the Orioles in the American League East and now trail by six and sliced a game off the deficit for the second wild card spot to 2 1/2 games behind the Mariners and two behind the Tigers.

Yanks end bumpy trip on upbeat note

So when is a 2-3 trip considered good? When it starts out 0-3.

That was the situation with the Yankees at the end of a somewhat bumpy ride through Baltimore and St. Petersburg. They finished in an upbeat fashion Sunday with a 4-2 victory that included a semblance of a sustained offense and an encouraging outing by Hiroki Kuroda.

The victory also lifted the Yankees back into second place in the American League East, albeit a distant second since they trail the first-place Orioles by seven games. The Yanks are also 3 1/2 games behind in the chase for the second wild-card berth.

Kuroda was working on extra rest, which is something Yankees manager Joe Girardi intends to do as often as he can in the season’s final six weeks to prevent the fade the Japanese righthander sustained in the second half of the 2013 season. He certainly seemed to benefit from the extra time off.

Never before at his best against the Rays (2-4, 6.07 ERA) or at Tropicana Field (1-2, 6.94 ERA), Kuroda was in first-half form with 6 2/3 innings in which he allowed two runs and four hits. Pitching to contact (one walk, one strikeout), Kuroda retired 17 batters in a row from the first through the sixth innings.

Kuroda gave up a run in the first inning, and that run looked quite large when Rays righthander Jeremy Hellickson, who has pitched only since last month after undergoing arthroscopic right elbow surgery in January, took a no-hitter into the fifth inning and got the first two out then rather easily.

A walk to Stephen Drew was the beginning of a sloppy inning for Hellickson, his last in the game, as the Yankees strung together four hits — a double by Martin Prado, a two-run single by Brett Gardner that gave the Yankees the lead, followed by singles by Derek Jeter and Jacoby Ellsbury resulting in another run. The hit by Ellsbury was his only one on the trip in 20 at-bats but came at a good time. Prado also had a superlative game defensively at second base with eight assists and one putout.

Evan Longoria’s RBI single in the seventh off a tiring Kuroda cut the Yanks’ lead to 3-2, but Shawn Kelley stranded a runner at third before turning matters over to Dellin Betances in the eighth and David Robertson (33rd save) in the ninth, which has become a can’t-miss tandem.

Mark Teixeira made it 4-2 in the eighth with his 20th home run of the season and career No. 361, which tied him with Hall of Famer Joe DiMaggio on the all-time list. Nice company that.

So the trip’s finish was far better than the start. The Yankees’ offense continues to be a concern. They averaged merely 2.6 runs per game on the trip and have been outscored by 37 runs this season.

But they come home with some momentum and have a chance to make some headway on the upcoming homestand against the also-ran Astros and White Sox.

Jeter’s clutch hit helps Yanks end 5-game losing streak

The Yankees ended a disturbing pattern on this trip in Saturday’s 3-2 victory over the Rays that stopped a five-game losing streak. In the two games at Baltimore that began the trip, the Yankees scored early but failed to add to their lead while the Orioles came back to take each game.

Friday night was different but not in a good way. The Yankees did not give up the lead because they never had one. In fact, they did not score at all.

Saturday was looking like the same thing for a while. The Yanks jumped ahead 2-0 in the second inning against lefthander Drew Smyly on Martin Prado’s sixth home run of the season. Inning after inning went by without the Yankees extending the lead for Shane Greene, who was brilliant with 10 strikeouts in six-plus innings. The Rays scored single runs in the sixth and seventh to tie the score and hang Greene with a no-decision. He was kicking himself for hitting a batter with a pitch to start the seventh. A pinch runner eventually came around to score the tying run.

Then came the ninth, and things started going the Yankees’ way. Brett Gardner led off with an infield single and continued to second base on an errant throw by second baseman Logan Fosythe.

Derek Jeter attempted to bunt Gardner to third base but could not handle lefthander Jake McGee’s high octane gas as the count went to 2-2. Tampa Bay kept its infield tight with the idea that DJ still might bunt despite having two strikes. Nope. The Captain swung away and lined a 99-mph fastball past a diving Forsythe for a single to right-center that brought Gardner home with what proved the winning run.

Pitching for the first time in nine days, David Robertson notched his 32nd save to preserve the victory for Dellin Betances (5-0), who pitched a perfect eighth inning. Shawn Kelley also pitched a shutout seventh as the bullpen had its first strong performance on the trip.

The loss dropped the Rays back under .500 (61-62) after they had gotten to the level level with Friday night’s 5-0 victory, quite a feat for a team that was once 18 games under .500. The last major-league team to go from 18-under to .500 in the same season was the Marlins in 2006 when they were managed by current Yankees skipper Joe Girardi.

He picked a perfect game to put Carlos Beltran back in right field for the first time since May 11 because the way Greene pitched nobody hit the ball to Beltran, who did not have a fielding chance until he caught a drive by Evan Longoria for the first out of the eighth inning.

Beltran’s return to the outfield permits Girardi to go back to his preference of using the designated hitter spot as a way to give players a half-game off. Saturday’s hero, Jeter, was the DH in this one.

Girardi decided against using Brian McCann, who came off the 7-day concussion list, and had Francisco Cervelli behind the plate. McCann had a lackluster workout Friday, so Girardi chose to wait at least one more day before getting his regular catcher back in the mix.

The much-needed victory also guaranteed the Yankees will leave St. Petersburg after Sunday’s game no deeper than third place in the American League East. After the shutout loss Friday night, it created a situation where the Rays could have jumped over the Yankees in the standings this weekend, a prognosis that fell apart with Saturday’s comeback victory.

When a sacrifice isn’t called for

You have to question Brett Gardner’s thinking in the third inning Tuesday night. Light-hitting Brendan Ryan had just led off with a rare extra-base hit, a booming double to left field, and was out there in scoring position for Gardner, the Yankees’ hottest hitter and winner of American League Player of the Week honors for last week.

So what goes Gardy do? Lays one down. That’s right. He drops down a sacrifice bunt to push Ryan to third base. Huh? I have never liked that play unless the batter is a pitcher. You have a runner with good wheels already in scoring position with none out. Why not try to knock the runner in yourself? And if you make an out by at least hitting the ball to the right side the runner will advance anyway.

The play really looked bad when the next batter, Derek Jeter, hit a squibbing grounder to second base against a tight infield for the second out with Ryan having to hold third. Jacoby Ellsbury saved the inning for the Yankees with a liner down the left field line for a double to give the Yankees a 2-1 lead.

After giving up a run in the first inning on a sacrifice fly by Victor Martinez, Hiroki Kuroda settled down over the next few innings and the Yankees drew even against David Price in the second on Brian McCann’s 12th home run.

Tanaka draws attention; Phelps on DL

Trying to find a place to park in the Yankee Stadium garage Monday afternoon was some task. Masahiro Tanaka was at the Stadium for the first time since going on the disabled list, so the Japanese media was on the scene en masse. And, of course, it was much ado about nothing.

Tanaka, who is recovering from a partially torn ligament in his right elbow, played catch. That was it. He said his arm felt fine, but as manager Joe Girardi said, “It’s way too early” to make any kind of serious assessment.

Yet Tanaka had made such a strong impression in the first half of his first major-league season just seeing him in uniform again was reason to rejoice. The Yankees hope there are still plenty of more innings left in that arm later in the season.

The rotation took another hit with David Phelps being placed on the DL because of tendinitis in the area above his right elbow. A second MRI on the elbow revealed inflammation. The righthander will be shut down for two weeks.

So Girardi has another decision to make about how to plug his spot in the rotation. The manager dismissed the idea that Michael Pineda might be ready to take Phelps’ turn, which will be Friday night against the Indians. Girardi said the current plan for Pineda is to make at least two more minor-league starts before the Yanks consider reinstating him, although the skipper did say that plans may change.

Girardi surely wants to wait and see what shape the Yankees are in after this four-game set against the Tigers, which included match-ups against the previous three American League Cy Young Award winners — Max Scherzer Monday night, David Price Tuesday night and Justin Verlander Wednesday night.

In addition to Tanaka, CC Sabathia and Ivan Nova were in the clubhouse. Nova is out for the season after undergoing right elbow surgery. Sabathia was walking on crutches following his right knee surgery.

To the shock of absolutely no one, Brett Gardner was named AL Player of the Week for the period that ended Sunday. The left fielder batted .478 with three doubles, five home runs and seven RBI in 23 at-bats. Ibn addition to homers, Gardner also led the majors last week in slugging percentage (1.261) and total bases (29).

“That’s not surprising,” Girardi said of Gardner’s honor, the second of his career. He was also cited the week ending June 9, 2013.

The homestand that began Monday night will conclude next Sunday with Paul O’Neill Day. As part of the ceremonies, O’Neill will be honored with a Monument Park plaque that will recognize his career. Family members and former teammates are expected to take part in the festivities. Fans are encouraged to arrive early and be in their seats by noon.

O’Neill spent the final nine seasons of his 17-year major-league with the Yankees (1993-2001) and was part of four World Series champions (1996, ’98-2000). He won the AL batting title with a .359 average in 1994 and compiled a .303 average, 304 doubles, 185 home runs and 858 RBI in his Yankees years.

Ticket specials will run Monday (Military Personnel Game), Tuesday, (Military Personnel Game), Wednesday (Military Personnel and Student Game), Thursday (MasterCard half-price, Military Personnel and Senior Citizen Game) and Saturday (Youth Game).

For a complete list of ticket specials, including game dates, seating locations, and terms and conditions, fans should visit http://www.yankees.com/ticketspecials. Please note that all ticket specials are subject to availability.

The homestand will also feature the following promotional items and dates:

Monday, August 4 – Yankees vs. Tigers, 7:05 p.m.
Back-to-School Set Night, presented by PC Richard & Son, to first 18,000 guests, 14 and younger.

Tuesday, August 5 – Yankees vs. Tigers, 7:05 p.m.
Derek Jeter Commemorative Ticket Key Ring Night, presented by Delta Airlines, to first 18,000 guests.

Wednesday, August 6 – Yankees vs. Tigers, 7:05 p.m.
Yankees Luggage Tag Night, presented by The Parking Spot, to first 18,000 guests.

Thursday, August 7 – Yankees vs. Tigers, 1:05 p.m.
Yankees Magnetic Picture Frame Day, presented by Party City, to first 18,000 guests, 14 and younger.

Friday, August 8 – Yankees vs. Indians, 7:05 p.m.
Yankees T-Shirt Night, presented by Living Language, to first 18,000 guests.

Saturday, August 9 – Yankees vs. Indians, 1:05 p.m.
Brian McCann Fathead Day, presented by The Learning Experience, to first 18,000 guests, 14 and younger.

Sunday, August 10 – Yankees vs. Indians, 1:05 p.m.
Yankees Cowboy Hat Day, presented by Pepsi, to first 25,000 guests.

Tickets may be purchased online at http://www.yankees.com, http://www.yankeesbeisbol.com, at the Yankee Stadium Ticket Office, via Ticketmaster phone at (877) 469-9849, Ticketmaster TTY at (800) 943-4327 and at all Ticket Offices located within Yankees Clubhouse Shops. Tickets may also be purchased on Yankees Ticket Exchange at http://www.yankees.com/yte, the only official online resale marketplace for Yankees fans to purchase and resell tickets to Yankees games. Fans with questions may call (212) YANKEES [926-5337] or email tickets@yankees.com.

Yanks win series from Red Sox; Phelps hurt

The Yankees finished up a disappointing trip with two comeback victories in Boston despite their starting pitchers failing to last long enough to qualify for victories in both games. Most disturbing is that Sunday night’s starter, David Phelps, had to come out of the game after just two innings because of right elbow inflammation.

Manager Joe Girardi said after the game that Phelps’ elbow has been nagging at him for about two weeks. An MRI revealed inflammation but nothing more serious than that. The righthander said his arm would loosen up after warming up before starts, but it did not loosen up Sunday night.

This taste of bad news came on a night when the Yankees got some good news about their pitching. Michael Pineda, one of several starters who have gone on the disabled list this year, threw 58 pitches in a 3 1/3-inning start for Triple A Scranton in which he allowed three hits and a walk with four strikeouts. Girardi said the Yankees hope Pineda can throw as many as 75 pitches in his next start and 90 in the start after that before considering reinstating him probably in mid-August.

There were also reports circulating that Masahiro Tanaka may play catch Monday when the Yankees return to New York to open a four-game series against the Tigers. This set will prove a major test for the Yanks, who will face Max Scherzer, David Price, Justin Verlander and Rick Porcello, one of baseball’s top rotations.

Brett Gardner put the finishing touches on a huge trip for him in which he batted .478 with four doubles, five home runs and seven RBI in 23 at-bats. Gardy doubled in two runs in the second inning as the Yankees came back from a 3-0 deficit to tie the score off an erratic Clay Buchholz and knocked in the deciding run in the sixth off reliever Craig Breslow with his 15th home run of the season.

An RBI double by Chase Headley and a two-run single by Stephen Drew in the fifth helped the Yanks erase another three-run deficit. The bullpen handled matters from there. Esmil Rogers pitched three innings of hitless, three-strikeout relief for a victory in his first appearance with the Yankees. Dellin Betances and David Robertson (29th save) supplied a shutout inning apiece as the Yankees held the Red Sox without a hit over the final five innings after Boston had gotten seven runs and eight hits over the first four frames.

The Yankees had also evaporated a 3-0 deficit Saturday in an eventual 6-4 victory. Shane Greene was removed by Girardi with two outs in the fifth inning and could not get the winning decision that went instead to Shawn Kelley, who pitched 1 1/3 innings of hitless, three-strikeout relief.

Gardner’s main competition for American League Player of the Week honors may be his own teammate, Carlos Beltran, who continued his hot streak with his sixth straight multi-hit game. He had a double and a single and scored two runs. On the trip, Beltran hit .480 with five runs, two doubles, one home run and five RBI in 25 at-bats.

Rest may have done Yanks a lot of good

It is beginning to look like the All-Star break was just what the Yankees needed. They certain appear rejuvenated after the four-day break. Derek Jeter, Masahiro Tanaka and Dellin Betances were the Yankees’ representatives in Minneapolis, but only Jeter played in the game. Tanaka, on the disabled list, chose not to go, and Betances was stuck in the bullpen, yet that, too, might have been a blessing.

The rest of the Yankees got some needed R&R and have come back with a determination to make a strong run for the American League East title.

Saturday, the Yankees took up from where they left off Friday night with first-year players making significant contributions in a 7-1 victory over the Reds and All-Star pitcher Alfredo Simon.

Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran, who drove in key runs Friday night, were back in the mix Saturday. Beltran had two more hits, including his 10th home run of the season. McCann started a three-run rally in the sixth inning with an against-the-shift, infield single.

At the bottom of the order, Brian Roberts and Kelly Johnson combined for four hits, four runs and two RBI. In addition to his two singles, Roberts reached base on an error by right fielder Jay Bruce, who dropped a routine fly ball in the third inning that led to a gift run on a single by Brett Gardner.

Roberts left off the fifth with a single. Johnson followed with a single, and both runners advanced on a passed ball by Devin Mesoraco. A sacrifice fly by Gardner, who had three RBI in the game, and an RBI single by Jeter pushed the Yanks’ lead to 4-1.

“We took advantages of their miscues,” manager Joe Girardi said. “We moved runners over. We got the big hits. We had good at-bats. We were very fundamentally sound.”

Among the more recent newcomers is winning pitcher Brandon McCarthy, who is off to a terrific start with the Yankees after a not very terrific first half with the Diamondbacks. Acquired July 6 from Arizona in a trade for lefthander Vidal Nuno, McCarthy has had a quality start in each of his first two appearances for the Yankees.

The righthander provided a strong six innings Saturday in allowing one run on a home run by Chris Heisey, five other hits and no walks with nine strikeouts. Known as a sinkerballer, McCarthy had more of a power sinker Saturday as the strikeouts total attests. He also got seven of his other nine outs in the infield, six on ground balls.

This was the McCarthy the Yankees envisioned when they made the trade. Yankees fans might have scoffed when they saw that McCarthy was 3-10 with a 5.01 ERA in 109 2/3 innings for the Diamondbacks, but with the Yanks he is 1-0 with a 1.42 ERA, one walk and 12 strikeouts in 12 2/3 innings.

McCarthy credited McCann, his catcher, with guiding him through the game by using his cut fastball as well as the sinker on a day when his curve was not particularly sharp.

“My curve was nothing special, but all three fastballs were there,” McCarthy said. “I had gotten away from throwing the cutter with Arizona. Here they want me to keep the cutter in play to set up hitters in a different way. It’s hard to keep major-league hitters off balance with just one pitch.”

Coming to the Yankees marks a new beginning for McCarthy coming off from a club that was in last place in the National League West.

“A situation like that can energize and motivate players,” Girardi said.

“It’s energizing in itself just to be in a division race,” McCarthy said.

The Yankees’ play post the All-Star break promises they could be in the race to stay.

Rookies get major league firsts at start & finish

The Yankees helped relieve some of the pressure on Shane Greene making his first major league start Monday night at Cleveland by knocking out Indians starter Justin Masterson two batters into the third inning en route to building a 5-0 lead.

Masterson usually has his way with the Yankees at Progressive Field. He took a 3-0 record and 0.38 ERA in three career starts against the Yanks in the Tribe’s home yard into the game. He was nowhere close to that effective Monday night as the Yankees chased him with five runs, six hits, three walks and a hit batter in two-plus innings.

Brian McCann, who originally was supposed to catch Greene, was the designated hitter instead as Carlos Beltran was removed from the lineup because of a swollen right knee. Greene did just fine with backup Francisco Cervelli behind the plate. McCann did just fine with the bat, too, banging out a double and two singles and scoring two runs, a good sign to see.

Brett Gardner and Ichiro Suzuki joined McCann in the hit parade with three apiece as well. It was the second straight three-hit game for Ichiro, who raised his season batting average to .304.

The Yankees could not have asked for a better first outing from Greene, who was with them earlier in the year and pitched a third of an inning in relief. This time, he went a full six innings and did not allow a hit until two out in the fifth when Nick Swisher broke up the no-hit bid and the shutout at the same time with his sixth home run. Greene was touched for another run in the sixth

Greene was not overpowering. He had only two strikeouts, both coming in the fifth inning, but did not walk anyone, either. He hit one batter, Asdrubal Cabrera, who was eventually caught trying to steal second base. Greene got 11 of his 18 outs in the infield, nine on ground balls.

David Huff worked a 1-2-3 seventh but gave up a home run to Yan Gomes leading off the eighth. Dellin Betances celebrated his being named to the American League All-Star squad by getting the final six outs to record his first major-league save to preserve Greene’s first major-league victory.

Betances got a major assist from shortstop Derek Jeter to get out of the eighth inning without damage. Jason Kipnis, on first base because of an error by second baseman Brian Roberts, fell victim to Jeter’s pretending to take a throw at second on a hit-and-run play, and was embarrassingly doubled up on Cabrera’s foul pop behind third base.

The Yankees are 26-15 in games started by rookies. With the state of the rotation uncertain for much of the period before the All-Star break, the young people stepping up has been huge.

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