Results tagged ‘ Brett Gardner ’

Gardner, Beltran combine for that old 1-2

Considering the circumstances, the Yankees could not have asked for a better start of Wednesday night’s game. With Jacoby Ellsbury going on the 15-day disabled list due to a sprained right knee ligament, the top of the Yankees’ batting order required a readjustment.

Taking over Ellsbury’s leadoff spot was Brett Gardner, who is not unfamiliar with the role having filled it often in the past, especially before Ellsbury joined the Yankees last year. Carlos Beltran, who has had a good May following an ugly April, was moved into the 2-hole.

Gardner led off the game against Jordan Zimmermann with a flare single into right field. Batting left-handed against the right-handed Zimmermann, Beltran drove a line drive to right-center for a double that easily scored Gardner. Beltran crossed to third as Mark Teixeira grounded out to first and scored on a fly ball to center field by Brian McCann.

Gardner and Beltran basically did an impression of Ellsbury and Gardner in getting the Yankees’ offense jump-started.

Taking Ellsbury’s place on the 25-man roster was outfielder Slade Heathcott, whose contract was purchased from Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Pitcher Chase Whitley, who underwent Tommy John surgery Tuesday, was placed on the 60-day DL to create space on the 40-man roster for Heathcott.

Yankees starter Adam Warren gave back a run in the bottom of the first as Ian Desmond hit a first-inning, solo homer for the second straight game.

Warren and the Yankees caught a huge break in the third when plate umpire Marvin Hudson ejected Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper from the game during his at-bat that inning. Harper took exception to a low pitch that was called a strike and walked out of the batter’s box. Hudson ordered Harper back into the box, which led to heated words between the two.

After Harper was thumbed, Nats manager Matt Williams took up the argument, and he got tossed as well. Of course, his loss was not anywhere as serious to the Nationals as that of Harper, the National League leader in home runs, slugging and on-base plus slugging. The Yankees probably wanted to send Hudson a thank-you note.

Even without Harper, Washington was not hurting for the long ball. Tyler Moore tied the score with two out in the fourth with his third home run of the year and the Nats’ sixth homer in 14 innings of this series.

First-inning fade costs Yanks & Eovaldi

The way the first inning was going for the Yankees Tuesday night, no one would have expected them to score only two runs in the game and lose it as well. That is precisely what happened as the Yankees let longtime nemesis Chris Archer off the mat and could not generate more support for Nathan Eovaldi, who was lights-out for six innings.

Eovaldi, who was working on a three-hit shutout, came unglued somewhat in the seventh. A four-pitch walk to Logan Forsythe and a damaging wild pitch set up a game-tying, two-run single by David DeJesus. An inning later, Eovaldi gave up a walk and a single with one out and watched from the bench as both runners scored on a sacrifice fly by Evan Longoria and the second of two wild pitches by reliever Dellin Betances.

It held up for a 3-2 Tampa Bay victory, only the second in eight games against the Yankees this season and the first in five against them at Tropicana Field, which has been damn near empty the past two nights with crowds slightly more than 10,000. And people ask why Joe Maddon checked out of St. Petersburg when he had the chance?

But, really, this game was lost in the first inning when the Yanks took a 2-0 lead. They had Archer on the ropes and let him slide by making the least of five straight at-bats with the bases loaded.

Archer, whose career record against the Yankees is 5-0 with a 2.02 ERA in 49 innings, allowed the first five batters he faced to get on base — Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner on singles (the sixth time this season they both reached base in the first inning) and Alex Rodriguez on a walk.

Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran followed with sharply-struck singles to right, which put the Yankees in station-to-station mode as only one run scored on each hit. Archer took control after that. He struck out Chase Headley, retired Stephen Drew on a fly to medium center field, a distance no longer sufficient to bring home Rodriguez, and set down Garrett Jones with a ground ball to the right side.

Five straight at-bats with the bases loaded and merely two runs to show for it.

The Yankees went after Archer again in the second. Ellsbury and Gardner both singled, but each was thrown out at second trying to steal. Archer retired 15 of the next 16 batters, including the last 10 he faced in a row.

By doing so, Archer kept pace with Eovaldi, who pitched to the minimum number of batters through four innings. He gave up a one-out single to Steven Souza Jr. in the first but picked him off. There would not be another Tampa Bay hit until the fifth when Forsythe and DeJesus each singled. Eovaldi ended the threat with a strikeout of Brandon Guyer on a 98-mph fastball.

Yet it was not Eovaldi’s high-octane stuff that was as effective as his well-placed slider and a darting splitter in this outing, which is an indication that he is learning well under pitching coach Larry Rothschild that there is more to getting outs than trying to break radar-gun readings.

Eovaldi certainly pitched well enough to win, although he hurt himself fatally with that wild pitch. He just did not have the margin for error to make such a mistake. The Yankees’ first-inning fade was responsible for that

Yankees have plenty of pop at the Trop

Tropicana Field was where the Yankees began to turn their season around last month with a three-game sweep of the Rays to get back to .500 after a 3-6 start. Good times at the Trop continued for the Yankees Monday night, who made sure they would leave St. Petersburg after Thursday night’s game still in first place in the American League East.

The 11-5 victory pushed the Yankees’ lead over Tampa Bay to four games. It was a satisfying triumph in many ways but probably mostly for CC Sabathia, who ended a 13-month losing streak. The big guy earned his first victory since April 24, 2014 at Boston. CC had been winless in nine starts since with seven losing decisions, although he spent much of that time on the disabled list because of a knee injury.

The Yankees’ offense exploded against Rays righthander Alex Colome, who had allowed only one home run all year until the Yanks connected off him four times. Alex Rodriguez and Carlos Beltran had solo shots, but the big blows were a pair of two-out, three-run home runs by Chase Headley in the fourth inning and Brett Gardner in the sixth. Colome watched his ERA climb from 1.80 to 5.63.

Mark Teixeira, who had a four-hit night, smacked the Yankees’ fifth home run of the game in the ninth off reliever Erasmo Ramirez, a two-run shot that was the only one hit with less than two out.

Sabathia, who has had a recent history of giving up leads, was hard pressed to gag the 9-1 spread his teammates had opened up before the seventh-inning stretch. The Yankees had averaged only 2.27 runs per game in support of Sabathia before Monday night and made up for that big-time.

The winning decision, the 209th of Sabathia’s major league career, tied Vida Blue for 24th place on the all-time list of left-handed pitchers’ victories.

Sabathia got off to a shaky start. He walked the first two batters on nine pitches and gave up a one-out double to Logan Forsythe that scored a run to negate A-Rod’s first inning jack (career No. 662). CC caught a break when Steven Souza, thinking Gardner might catch Forsythe’s drive, tagged up at second base instead of playing it half-way down the line and was unable to score ahead of shortstop Didi Gregorius’ blistering relay to the plate that nailed the runner.

CC settled down after that and retired 11 batters in a row before surrendering his second hit, a one-out single in the fifth by Asdrubal Cabrera, who was erased on a double play. By that time, the Yankees had a 5-1 run lead that grew the next inning on Gardner’s homer.

Sabathia shows signs of tiring in the seventh in allowing solo home runs to Forsythe and Joey Butler and an unearned run, but his teammates kept pouring it on to make sure the run support was sufficient.

There were plenty of positive signs for Yankees hitters. Teixeira raised his batting average from .212 to .239. Headley had four RBI. Beltran’s 2-for-5 game continued his heating-up May in which he is batting .324 with four doubles, two home runs and seven RBI in 37 at-bats following an April in which he hit .162 with five doubles, one triple and seven RBI in 68 at-bats.

The 14-hit assault helped the Yankees to a 4-0 mark at the Trop and 6-1 overall against the Rays this season.

Yankees survive late push by Orioles

Man, did Carlos Beltran ever need that. The slumping slugger with the .187 batting average entering Friday night’s Yankees-Orioles game came through big-time in the third inning with a bases-loaded double to pad the Bombers’ lead to 5-0.

It was a good hitting situation for Beltran. The Yanks had the bases loaded with two out. When the count went to 3-2, there was a chance for a merry-go-round dash if Beltran could find a gap, which he did with a hard line drive to right-center field. Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner scored easily on the hit. Brian McCann, who is nowhere near their league as a base burner, gave it the old college try in attempting to score from first base but was thrown out at the plate with catcher counterpart Chad Joseph making a nice swipe tag.

Ellsbury, Gardner and McCann had combined to give the Yankees a 3-0 lead in the first inning off Miguel Gonzalez. The jack rabbits at the top of the order got things started again as they seem to do almost every night. Ellsbury beat out an infield single (11-game hitting streak), and Gardner doubled to left.

Alex Rodriguez scored Ellsbury with a fly ball to center. After Mark Teixeira lined out for the second out, Gonzalez fell behind 3-0 in the count and served up a meatball to McCann, who drove it into the right field seats for his third home run of the season. Mac has hit 25 homers since joining the Yankees last year, and 21 of them have come at Yankee Stadium.

Adam Warren was coasting along until the fifth inning when the Orioles made their first move thanks to a pair of walks to start the inning. Both runners subsequently scored on a single by Manny Machado and a fielder’s choice. Justin Wilson came in to get the last out of the inning, which removed Warren from consideration for a winning decision.

That left it up to official scorer Jordan Sprechman to decide which reliever was deserving of the victory if the Yankees maintained the lead, which got dicey in the sixth when Jimmy Paredes drove in two runs with a two-out single off Chris Martin.

Sprechman’s choice correctly was Dellin Betances, who got the last out of the seventh and followed that with a 1-2-3 eighth. His record went to 4-0 after Andrew Miller earned his 13th save with a perfect ninth.

The Yankees maintained their three-game lead in the American League East while the Orioles, last year’s division winners, lost their fourth straight game in New York this week to stay in last place.

Front & back combos work again for Yanks

What has become a winning formula for the Yankees — the 1-2 combination at the front of the batting order and the 1-2 combo at the back end of the bullpen — was in evidence again Thursday night at Yankee Stadium.

Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner teamed for four hits and three runs, and Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller each pitched a shutout inning. Toss in two RBI apiece by Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira and a decent if unspectacular start from Nathan Eovaldi and you have a 4-3 victory over the Orioles, who are having a rough week in the big city after having lost a two-game set to the Mets.

Ellsbury, who ran his hitting streak to 10 games, and Gardner each singled and scored the Yankees’ two runs in the first inning on a sacrifice fly by Rodriguez and a single by Teixeira. A-Rod crushed his 661st career home run in the third off Orioles starter Chris Tillman.

Baltimore kept coming back, however, against Eovaldi. Jimmy Paredes had given the Orioles a 1-0 lead in the first inning with a home run, and after the Yankees went ahead in the bottom half a homer by Caleb Joseph in the third got Baltimore even again. In the fifth, Joseph struck again with an RBI double that once more tied the game. Eovaldi got himself out of further danger with a huge pickoff of Paredes at first base.

Doubles by Gardner and Teixeira in the fifth pushed the Yankees in front for what turned out to be for good. Lefthander Justin Wilson bailed Eovaldi out of a jam in the sixth and followed that with a 1-2-3 seventh.

Now the game was set up for Betances in the eighth and Miller in the ninth. This duo is bringing back memories of David Robertson and Mariano Rivera in similar roles not so long ago. Betances retied the side in order, finishing up with a strikeout of Chris Davis, who took the Golden Sombrero (four Ks).

Miller put the potential tying run on first base with a leadoff walk in the ninth but recovered to get J.J. Hardy on a soft liner to second and pinch hitter Ryan Lavarnway and Joseph on strikes. Miller, who was with the Orioles last year, is now 12-for-12 in saves.

A-Rod gets a mulligan for homer No. 661

You remember the old adage — if at first you don’t succeed try, try again. That applied to Alex Rodriguez Thursday night against the Orioles at Yankee Stadium where in his second at-bat he moved ahead of Willie Mays on the career home run list with No. 661.

That the blow came off Baltimore pitcher Chris Tillman should not be surprising. Rodriguez entered the game 5-for-10 (.500) with three home runs in his career against the righthander. And A-Rod nearly hit his 661st home run off Tillman in the first inning.

After Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner did their customary bit of getting on base with singles, Rodriguez stepped in and hit a drive to deep right field. As fans prepared to cheer what seemed to be a home run, right fielder Delmon Young timed his leap perfectly and caught the ball at the top of the wall. The potential three-run home run instead became a sacrifice fly that tied the score. The Yanks made it 2-1 on a rare single by Mark Teixeira that scored Gardner.

Rodriguez got another chance against Tillman in the third with two out and the score 2-2. This time no outfielder could glove A-Rod’s drive off a 1-1 pitch from Tillman. The ball landed just to the left of Monument Park in left-center field. Teixeira delayed his at-bat so that Rodriguez could make a curtain call to acknowledge the fans’ standing ovation.

Yanks’ starters picking up slack since Tanaka loss

All this talk warranted that it may be about the Yankees’ bullpen has obscured somewhat the work of the rotation. That sense of doom a lot of fans may have felt when Masahiro Tanaka went on the disabled list a week ago must be eased by the work since by the starting unit.

Yankees starters have not lost a game since Tanaka’s departure. Michael Pineda pitched eight brilliant shutout innings at Toronto Tuesday night and in retrospect it might have been better if the righthander had been allowed to go for the compete game. It was a rare blowup by the bullpen that presented unwanted drama for the Yankees.

Manager Joe Girardi had to call on closer Andrew Miller to get his 11th save after David Carpenter allowed the Blue Jays to halve a 6-0 deficit. Former Yankees catcher Russell Martin, who had the game-winning hit Monday night and two doubles earlier Tuesday night, led off the ninth with a home run, and Carpenter gave up two-out, RBI hits to Chris Colabello and Ryan Goins. The Blue Jays eventually brought the potential tying run to the plate before Miller ended it by getting Devon Travis on a fly ball.

The Blue Jays did nothing dramatic against Pineda, who raised his record to 4-0 and lowered his ERA to 2.97. Can you spell ace? Pineda gave up five hits and one walk with six strikeouts in eight innings and held Toronto hitless in three at-bats with runners in scoring position.

It was yet another first-rate effort by a Yankees starter since the bad news on Tanaka was announced. Over the past seven games the Yankees’ rotation has compiled a 4-0 record with a 2.25 ERA in 44 innings and is averaging 6 1/3 innings per start. Yankees starters have not allowed a run over 15 innings in the first two games of the series against the Jays that concludes Wednesday night.

The Yankees provided Pineda a two-run lead before he took the mound from the first three batters, a single by Jacoby Ellsbury and doubles by Brett Gardner and Alex Rodriguez. Ellsbury, who had three hits and is batting .358, added a two-out, RBI single in the second inning. Mark Teixeira made it 5-0 in the fifth with his 10th home run of the season, and the Yankees got another two-out run in the eighth on a single by Didi Gregorius.

All that offense did not seem necessary when Pineda was on the mound but was very welcome when Carpenter struggled to get through the ninth. Girardi would have preferred not to use Miller on a night when Dellin Betances was also unavailable but events dictated otherwise.

Ellsbury & Gardner ideal table setters

Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner both reached base to begin the Yankees’ game against the Blue Jays Tuesday night, and they both scored. So what else is new? Ellsbury and Gardner have been the most effective top-of-the-order hitters in the majors.

Remember last year when manager Joe Girardi tried numerous lineups to figure out the best way to utilize each’s skills? For quite a spell, Girardi used Gardner in the leadoff spot and Ellsbury in the 3-hole with since-retired Derek Jeter positioned between them. That gave Ellsbury RBI opportunities but was a deterrent to his stealing bases with the meat of the order right behind him.

For the times Ellsbury batted leadoff, Girard put Gardner at the bottom of the order. Almost never did the two of them together. Part of that was the resistance to moving Jeter lower in the order, but the major factor was that Girardi was uncomfortable having two left-handed hitters back to back.

One of the best 1-2 combos at the top of the order that I recall was that of Vince Coleman and Willie McGee with the Cardinals in the 1980s. What made it easy for Whitey Herzog to leave them where they were each game is that they were both switch hitters.

Yet Ellsbury and Gardner have proved not to be the sort of left-handed batters that are overly vulnerable to left-handed pitching. Ellsbury entered this season with a .294 career batting average overall and .292 against lefties and Gardner .266 overall and .260 against lefties.

So there was not a great risk in experimenting with the two side by side atop the order. If anything, it has worked perfectly. Let managers bring in lefties late in the game against them. Heading into Tuesday night’s game, Ellsbury was hitting .419 in 31 at-bats against lefthanders and Gardner .400 in 25 at-bats vs. lefties.

Tuesday night’s starter for the Blue Jays was righthander Marco Estrada, a reliever getting a shot in the rotation, and Ellsbury and Gardner wasted no time in driving the pitcher crazy. Ellsbury ran his hitting streak to eight games with a single through the middle. He got a workout on several hit-and-run trots as Gardner fouled off Estrada offerings to extend the at-bat to 11 pitches. Brett’s last swing of the at-bat produced a liner to right-center on another hit-and-run play that got Ellsbury to third base with Gardner hustling all the way into second for a double.

The Yanks’ table setters did their job for Alex Rodriguez, who responded in kind with a double to left field for a 2-0 lead. A-Rod was caught off second on a tapper to the mound by Mark Teixeira that thwarted any continued scoring that inning.

Turning a season around in three weeks

What a difference three weeks can make in a baseball season. The last time the Yankees faced Red Sox righthander Joe Kelly was April 11 at Yankee Stadium in a game that started around 10 hours after a 19-inning loss.

It was easily the worst game the Yanks have played this year. Kelly held them to one run and one hit in seven innings, and the Yankees committed three errors in an 8-4 defeat that dropped their record to 1-4. It was a tough loss for Adam Warren, who gave up only two runs (one earned) in 5 1/3 innings.

Warren and Kelly were paired again Sunday night at Fenway Park and, well, talk about mirror images. The Yanks jumped on Kelly early with Mark Teixeira driving a two-run home run over the Green Monster in the first inning and just kept it up. Kelly was driven from the game in the fifth inning in yet another disappointing start for the Red Sox rotation, which has the bloatest ERA (5.60) in the league.

By the sixth inning, the Yankees were up, 8-0. Brian McCann doubled home two runs with two outs in the third inning and scored on a double by Carlos Beltran. In the sixth, lefthander Craig Breslow faced three batters and gave up singles to Didi Gregorius and Jacoby Ellsbury — his fourth hit — and a three-run home run to Brett Gardner.

Meanwhile, Warren was breezing through the first five innings. A leadoff double by Mookie Betts in the fourth, the first ball to reach the outfield for Boston,  was the only hit allowed by Warren until the sixth when with two out suddenly everything came apart for the righthander.

The Red Sox put seven consecutive runners on base and when the dust cleared a five-spot went up on the board. The big blow was a three-run home run by struggling Mike Napoli, a seasoned Yankees killer. It came off Esmil Rogers, who failed to bail out Warren, whose line turned into something quite ordinary (5 2/3 innings, 4 hits, 4 earned runs, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts, 1 hit batter).

The Red Sox drew no closer, but the 8-5 Yankees victory had its tense moments, especially in the ninth when Boston loaded the bases on two walks and a Chase Headley error before Andrew Miller nailed down his 10th save when David Ortiz flied out to end the game.

The Yankees’ series sweep was their first of three games or more at Fenway Park in nine seasons and improved their road record this season to 10-3. The Yankees had won their past four series at Fenway, their longest such streak since taking four straight from Aug. 30, 2011 to Sept. 13, 2012 (9-3 over the stretch).

Ellsbury had a perfect night in reaching base in all six of his plate appearances with four singles, a walk and getting hit by a pitch. The center fielder has a six-game hitting streak since April 27 during which he is batting .538 with five runs, one RBI, two walks, two hit by pitches and five stolen bases in 26 at-bat. He has  raised his season batting average from .282 to .351 in that time.

Betances slams door shut at Fenway Park

Remember all those reports during spring training about Dellin Betances, that his velocity and location had abandoned him and that just perhaps despite his lights-out rookie season last year he may not be able to help the Yankees survive after the departure of David Robertson?

All that is now a matter of ancient history.

Betances finished off the Yankees’ 4-2 victory over the Red Sox Saturday with a flourish. He entered the game with two outs in the eighth inning with the potential tying run on first base and struck out Mike Napoli. In the ninth, after Chris Young’s sixth home run of the season had boosted the Yankees’ lead to 4-2, Betances proceeded to strike out the side.

Four batters, four strikeouts, and with all that Betances’ first save of the season. The performance may also have a carryover effect in that it spared the use of closer Andrew Miller (nine saves), who is now eligible to come out of the pen Sunday night as the Yanks hope to complete a three-game sweep at Fenway Park.

As it is, the Yankees have won five straight series after coming out of the game and losing their first three series. Since that 3-6 start, the Yankees have won 12 of 15 games since April 17 and sit along atop the American League East.

Saturday’s victory also included yet another quality start from a rotation that suffered a huge blow earlier in the week with Masahiro Tanaka being placed on the 15-day disabled list due to a right forearm strain that is expected to keep him sidelined for at least a month.

Nathan Eovaldi stepped up Saturday and pitched two outs into the seventh inning in raising his record to 2-0. He gave up two runs and seven hits but only one walk with two strikeouts. Brett Gardner supplied the run support for Eovaldi with an RBI double in the third inning and a two-out, two-run single in the fifth off Wade Miley (1-3).

Young’s home run in the ninth was off reliever Alexi Ogando. Young keeps pushing himself into the Yankees’ mix. With a homer and a double Saturday, Young lifted his slugging percentage to .698. His OPS (a combination of slugging percentage and on-base percentage) is over 1.000.

Wanting to stay away from Miller despite the tightness of the score, Yankees manager Joe Girardi used Chris Martin and Justin Wilson in the seventh and eighth before calling on Betances, who could not have done better than to punch out the four batters he faced.

The 6-foot-8 righthander has not allowed an earned run this year in 14 2/3 innings, the most among relievers with ERAs of 0.00. Miller is right behind him with 12 1/3 innings. Betances, who has given up six hits and eight walks with 25 strikeouts, has struck out 14 of the past 20 batters to face him and 17 of the past 25.

Thanks to Betances’ efficiency, Miller is poised to be ready if need be to close the door Sunday night in the finale of a series in which Yankees pitching has held Boston to four runs in 18 innings in its hitters’ paradise.


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