Results tagged ‘ Brett Gardner ’

Yanks’ best pitching combo avoids sweep by Bosox

If the Yankees are going to make a real run for a postseason berth, they are going to have to start doing better against clubs in their own division. Sunday night was a good start, a 3-1 victory over the Red Sox to avoid getting swept at home against their traditional rival.

It has been rough going for the Yankees in the American League East this year. Sunday night’s victory improved their record in the division to 11-19, including 2-6 against the Red Sox. Against the rest of the major leagues, the Yanks’ record is 34-27.

Coming off his briefest start of the year July 10 at Cleveland, Masahiro Tanaka again pitched well following a Yankees loss in out-dueling David Price and ending Boston’s six-game winning streak. Dustin Pedroia took Tanaka deep with one out in the first inning, but that would be all the Red Sox would score all night as they were stymied by Tanaka and No Runs DMC, the best possible pitching combination for the Yankees.

Tanaka went six innings, allowed only two other hits and one walk with seven strikeouts to improve his season record to 7-2 with a 3.15 ERA. It is even better when he starts on extra rest. The righthander was pitching on six days’ rest Sunday night. His record when he starts on five or more days’ rest is 6-0 with a 1.64 ERA.

That is fitting with Japanese baseball scheduling in which starting pitchers seldom work more than once a week. That cannot always be worked out in the major leagues, but Yankees manager Joe Girardi has tried whenever possible to get an extra day here or there for Tanaka, whose record after Yankees losses is 4-1 with a 2.36 ERA. He is unbeaten in his past six starts (4-0 with a 3.29 ERA in 38 1/3 innings).

The Yankees have given Price a hard time this year (1-2 with a 7.79 ERA in three starts totaling 17 1/3 innings). They finally got to him in the fourth inning when they scored all their runs on five of their 11 hits in the game.

Didi Gregorius kept up his torrid hitting against left-handed pitching with a one-out single to center to start the rally. He scored the tying run on a double to left by Starlin Castro. After Rob Refsnyder struck out, Austin Romine put the Yankees ahead with a single to center. Singles by Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury accounted for the third run. Ellsbury got a second hit off Price in the sixth to raise his career average against him to .357.

Gregorius added a double off Price in the fifth and is now batting .370 off lefties in 81 at-bats. Going into this season, Gregorius was a .214 hitter against lefthanders. He, Gardner and Ellsbury, the three left-handed hitters in the Yankees’ lineup, combined to go 6-for-11 against Price, who gave up the most hits to left-handed batters in a game in his career.

Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman worked their usual magic over the last three innings, each putting up a zero to extend the bulllpen’s scoreless streak to 19 innings. Chapman walked David Ortiz with one out in the ninth but got Hanley Ramirez to ground into a double play in picking up his 18th save.

Yankees disappointing capacity crowds

The paid crowd of 48,329 Saturday at Yankee Stadium was the largest of the season. The night before there was another sellout audience of 47,439. It is definitely a sign of summer and that the Red Sox are in town.

It is also the time when you want your ball club to be at its best, to convince those in the stands to come back again. That is part of the frustration the Yankees as an organization feels about losing to Boston in the first two games of what is most definitely a crucial homestand for them.

Fans go home with as sour a taste in their mouths as the players in the clubhouse after another game of disappointment. And the situation continues to challenge the Yankees, who conclude the series against the Red Sox Sunday night behind Masahiro Tanaka in a marquee pairing against Boston’s David Price.

CC Sabathia tried to turn the tide in the Yankees’ favor Saturday while his teammates hoped to tee off on Eduardo Rodriguez, the lefthander who has struggled mightily this season but who always seems to save his best for the Bombers.

Rodriguez had been optioned to Triple A Pawtucket after giving up nine earned runs and 11 hits in 2 2/3 innings to the Rays June 27 in a 13-7 loss that skyrocketed his ERA to 8.59. After pitching to a 3.08 ERA at Triple A, Rodriguez was recalled Friday to make this start, and make the best of it he did.

A solo home run by Brett Gardner in the third inning was the only run Rodriguez allowed in seven innings. It ended a 180-at-bat homerless stretch for Gardner, who had last gone deep May 18. Gardy proved the only real nemesis for Rodriguez, who also gave up a single and walked the leadoff hitter.

It was a close game for the first five innings. Sabathia gave up an unearned run in the third on a rally started by a throwing error by shortstop Didi Gregorius. A couple of infield hits fueled another small rally in the fourth when the Red Sox went ahead on a two-out single by catcher Sandy Leon.

Boston broke it open in the fourth. Manager Joe Girardi again pointed to soft hits off Sabathia enabling the Red Sox, but there was nothing soft about the three-run shot Leon drove into the left-field bleachers.

It was the fifth straight winless start for Sabathia, whose ERA has grown over that period from 2.20 to 3.94. The big lefthander has allowed 39 hits, including five home runs, with 10 walks and 19 strikeouts over 28 1/3 innings in those starts. His record over that span is 0-3 with a 7.94 ERA.

Conversely, Rodriguez improved his record in five career starts against the Yankees to 4-1 with a 2.01 ERA in 31 1/3 innings. The Yankees have definitely been vulnerable to left-handed pitching. They are 11-16 in games started by lefties.

No sooner had Rodriguez left the game than Chase Headley launched a home run to right-center off Matt Barnes. No other hits followed that as the Yankees went down meekly against Barnes and closer Koji Uehara (sixth save).

Other than the solo jacks by Gardner and Headley, the only other highlight for the Yankees was scoreless relief work by Anthony Swarzak (2 2/3 innings) and Richard Bleier (one inning). Yankees relievers have shut out opponents over their past 16 innings since June 9 at Cleveland.

Yanks with shot to get to .500 at All-Star break

So the Yankees will have a chance to get their record back to .500 before the All-Star break after all. A gripping, 7-6, 11-inning victory Saturday over the Indians brought the Yankees’ mark to 43-44, and they will have their best starter, Masahiro Tanaka, on the mound Sunday, the last game before the annual vacation.

The Yankees certainly did not take an easy route to Saturday’s victory. They gave up two leads, left 10 runners on base and had only two hits in 12 at-bats (.167) with runners in scoring position. Starter CC Sabathia had his fourth consecutive ineffective outing and two-thirds of No Runs DMC were pretty shaky before Aroldis Chapman, pitching into a third inning for the first time in his major league career, cleaned up matters in the ninth, 10th and 11th.

I thought it was interesting that Chapman, whose fastball did not reach triple digits until the 11th, told WFAN’s Suzyn Waldman that he actually was reserving his strength when he realized manager Joe Girardi needed additional length from him. Starting pitchers years ago who were expected to finish what they began held that attitude for decades.

Although their offense with runners in scoring position was weak, the Yanks did score six of their runs after two were out, including the game winner in the 11th. Brian McCann followed a two-out single by Carlos Beltran with a double to right field that scored pinch runner Ronald Torreyes from first base.

It marked the continuation of a strong trip for McCann, who in the seven games he has started behind the plate on the trek has hit .379 with two doubles, two home runs and four RBI in 29 at-bats. Fifteen games ago, McCann’s batting average was a feeble .207. Since then, he is batting .373 with 10 runs, three doubles, six homers and 11 RBI to boost his season average to .248. He had his second straight three-hit game Saturday.

Didi Gregorius had only one hit, but it was a big one, a two-run home run (No. 11) with two out in the third that gave the Yankees a 3-1 lead. Unfortunately, Sabathia gave up three runs on four straight hits in the bottom of the inning. The Indians pushed their lead to 5-3 in the fifth on a two-out, RBI single by Jose Ramirez.

The Yankees put Sabathia back in position for a winning decision with a two-out rally in the sixth against Danny Salazar climaxed by a bases-clearing triple by Brett Gardner off reliever Dan Otero that made the score 6-5 Yankees.

Another two-out hit by Ramirez, off Dellin Betances in the seventh, tied the score. Gregorius saved Betances from letting in another run with a diving stop of a hard grounder by Jose Uribe and just as impressive a flip to second baseman Starlin Castro for the final out of the inning.

That run left Sabathia with a no-decision, but he did not deserve a victory. The lefthander gave up five earned runs and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings and over his past four starts is 0-2 with an 8.22 ERA in 23 innings in which he has allowed 30 hits. Once among the American League leaders with a 2.20 ERA four starts ago, CC has watched his ERA bloat to 3.77.

Andrew Miller ran into jams in the eighth and ninth when he put the leadoff hitter on base both innings. Abraham Almonte opened the eight with a double but got no farther than second base. In the ninth, Miller gave up a hit and a walk but caught a break when Francisco Lindor ran into third baseman Chase Headley and was called out. Miller got a big strikeout of Ramirez looking before he was replaced by Chapman, who ended the threat with a strikeout of Uribe.

Chapman also put the leadoff hitter on base in the 11th when he walked Jason Kipnis, but one out later he picked off Kipnis, who was caught stealing at second base on a strong throw from Austin Romine, who entered the game as a pinch runner for pinch hitter Alex Rodriguez in the sixth and played first base the rest of the game. Chapman finished off a very satisfying victory by striking out Mike Napoli.

Beltran, Betances, Miller tabbed as All-Stars

It was a nice surprise to see as many as three players from the Yankees chosen for the American League All-Star squad. Considering their less than stellar record (41-42 after Tuesday night’s 9-0 drubbing of the White Sox), the Yankees were not expected to have many representatives for the All-Star Game July 12 at Petco Park in San Diego.

I figured all along that Andrew Miller would be on the AL pitching staff. He has had a phenomenal year and deserves a spot on his first All-Star squad. AL manager Ned Yost of the Royals used one of his selections to take Dellin Betances as well. It marks the third straight year Betances has made the All-Star team.

Yankees fans might wonder why Aroldis Chapman was not taken along with his No Runs DMC partners, but sitting out a one-month suspension for violating Major League Baseball’s domestic abuse policy hurt his chances. There was some speculation last month that CC Sabathia might make the staff, but his past three starts (0-2, 8.31 ERA) took him out of contention.

The other Yankees All-Star was also very deserving. Carlos Beltran has been the Yanks’ most productive offensive player. His problem was that he finished 10th among outfielders in the All-Star fan voting. What made the difference for Beltran was that he did very well on the players’ ballot. Essentially, his peers got Beltran on the team for the ninth time in his career and the first time in three years. Beltran is handcuffed somewhat by a nagging hamstring, so it remains to be seen whether he will make the trip to San Diego. He was thrown out at the plate trying to score in the first inning Tuesday night but rebounded the next inning with a two-out, RBI single, his second hit of the game.

Beltran got his third hit of the game in the fourth, a leadoff double. His 3-for-5 game raised Beltran’s season average to .302, which leads the club along with his 19 home runs and 54 RBI.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi told reporters Tuesday that he hoped Didi Gregorius would have received support, but he was not in the top five of vote getters at shortstop. The Yankees had only one position player finish in the top five. Brian McCann was fourth among catchers.

The Red Sox topped the selections with four starters — designated hitter David Ortiz, shortstop Xander Bogaerts and outfielders Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr. Yost’s Royals have two starters in catcher Salvador Perez, the leading vote getter overall, and first baseman Eric Hosmer. The other starters are the Astros’ Jose Altuve at second base, the Orioles’ Manny Machado at third and the Angels’ Mike Trout in the outfield.

The Yankees looked like a whole team of All-Stars Tuesday night with a season-high 20 hits, including nine for extra bases, behind Masahiro Tanaka, who shut out the White Sox on six hits and one walk with six strikeouts in 7 2/3 innings to improve his record to 6-2 with a 3.12 ERA.

Brett Gardner led the way with four hits, including one of the Yankees’ seven doubles. Beltran and Chase Headley, who homered, had three hits apiece. Austin Romine also homered and had two hits, along with Mark Teixeira, Starlin Castro and Rob Refsnyder. Castro, who had four hits Monday in his return visit to Chicago where he played for the Cubs, is a career .397 hitter in 68 at-bats at U.S. Cellular Field.

The Yankees got six of their runs (five earned) and 12 of their hits in five innings off Chicago starter Carlos Rondon, whose career mark against them is 1-2 with a 9.64 ERA.

Tex’s 2 HRs protects Green’s 1st big-league win

The Yankees escaped disaster over the weekend at San Diego, thanks to a spot starter and an on-the-spot finisher Sunday. A 6-3 victory over the Padres Sunday was achieved primarily due to the effective pitching of rookie Chad Green and two crucial home runs by Mark Teixeira, who avoided wearing the golden sombrero and in the process cleared the 400-home run plateau.

The Yankees remain the team with the best record in inter-league play since the format began in 1997 (although the Red Sox are right on their heels) but have struggled against National League competition this year. Sunday’s victory improved their mark in inter-league play this year to 3-7. What has hurt the Yankees this season especially in NL parks is a sparse bench. With a 12-man pitching staff and with aging veterans Alex Rodriguez and Carlos Beltran hampered by leg issues, Yankees manager Joe Girardi has been limited in options.

Despite the final score, Sunday’s game was a nail biter until the ninth. Green held the Padres to one run and three hits with no walks and eight strikeouts in six innings but departed the game with merely a one-run lead. Normally, that has been gold with Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman in play, but the No Runs DMC combination had its perceived invincibility shaken Saturday night. Betances allowed an inherited runner to score on a double by Matt Kemp in the sixth inning that tied the score. San Diego almost took the lead that inning as well on a single by Melvin Upton, but left fielder Brett Gardner threw Kemp out at the pomerhlate.

Upton did more damage three innings later when he led off the ninth by driving the first pitch from Miller a long way into the left field stands for a walk-off home run. It marked the first loss in six decisions for Miller this season.

Although Betances allowed two hits in the seventh inning Sunday, he protected the one-run advantage with key strikeouts of Derek Norris and Ryan Schrimpf. Miller also put two runners on in the eighth with a single and a walk but retired the dangerous Kemp on a ground ball to work out of it.

Teixeira had given Miller an extra run to work with when he led off the top of that inning with his 400th career home run. Tex, who had struck out in his previous three at-bats, became the fifth switch-hitter to reach the milestone. The others are Hall of Famers Mickey Mantle and Eddie Murray, future Hall of Famer Chipper Jones and his teammate, Beltran. Texeira connected again in the ninth following an RBI single by Gardner as the Yankees pulled away at 6-1.

That took Chapman out of the equation but only momentarily. Anthony Swarzak could not close it out as Yangervis Solarte singled for his fourth hit of the game and scored on a home run by Alex Dickerson. Chapman then was summoned to notch his 16th save, which he did by retiring the three batters he faced.

Green had been called up from Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to start in place of CC Sabathia because the Yankees did not want the lefthander to have to bat or run the bases at Petco Park. It could not have worked out better for the Yankees, who now must decide whether to fit Green, a righthander, into the rotation somehow. Green was named to the International League All-Star squad on the strength of his league-leading 1.54 ERA.

The victory was a face saver for the Yankees, who were defeated the previous two nights by the NL West cellar dwellers. They will return to American League play Monday afternoon at Chicago with a July 4th date against the White Sox on the birthday of the late Yankees owner George M. Steinbrenner and radio voice John Sterling.

Mac, Didi pay back Rangers in 6-run ninth inning

Just before the Yankees came to bat in the bottom of the ninth inning Wednesday night, Rangers public relations director John Blake, one of the best in the business, passed in front of me in the press box to tell the Texas beat writers that “21 victories would be a club record for one month.”

At the time, it seemed the Rangers were a cinch for that record. Texas had a 7-3 lead and appeared on the verge to run its June mark to 21-6. Not so fast, cowpokes. As it turned out, the Yanks still had plenty left in their holsters.

Did they ever.

Two nights after the most grueling defeat of the season when the Rangers followed a 3 1/2-hour rain delay to score four runs in the ninth and overcome a one-run deficit, the Yankees exploded for six runs to pay Texas back with a 9-7 victory.

Brian McCann, who had homered with the bases empty in the eighth, came up again with two on in the ninth and tied the score with a three-run homer. Yankees fans had barely stopped cheering when Didi Gregorius followed a walk to Starlin Castro with a first-pitch drive to right field for the game-winning blow. His seventh home run of the season was the first walk-off hit of his career.

Both homers came off Rangers closer Sam Dyson, who was summoned after Matt Bush gave up a leadoff single to Rob Refsnyder and walked Jacoby Ellsbury.

Brett Gardner singled to left-center off Dyson, and when center fielder Ian Desmond bobbled the ball Refsnyder came home. Alex Rodriguez hit the ball hard as well, but his liner was gloved by second baseman Rougned Odor. That would be the only out recorded by Dyson, who got the save Monday night but this time suffered his first blown save of the season in 17 tries.

It was pretty dull going for the Yankees until the ninth. Masahiro Tanaka was roughed up for six earned run and eight hits in six innings and left with the score 6-1 Texas. In what at the time was essentially a mop-up role, Luis Cessa allowed only a solo homer to Adrian Beltre in three innings as the Yanks tried to stay close on a sacrifice fly by Chase Headley in the sixth and Mac’s first homer in the eighth.

Nevertheless, the Yankees were hitless in six at-bats with runners in scoring position before the ninth. They went 2-for-3 in those situations in the final frame to produce one of the most exhilarating victories of the season merely two nights after the most debilitating loss.

The winning formula works again

Anyone tired of “No Runs DMC” yet? How could any Yankees fan be? Particularly in close games toward the late innings, the anticipation of Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman having an impact on the game whets the appetite of any Yankees fan.

Naturally, this cannot be the formula every game or else the trio of power pitchers could get burned out. But for now, the only burning going on is to the opponents’ bats. The group that radio voice John Sterling calls “Murderer’s Throw” contributed to the Yanks’ third straight victory in this homestand, a 2-1 verdict over the Twins in which Minnesota May have derived satisfaction in at least having someone reach base.

Yankees relievers had retired 31 batters in a row before Joe Mauer’s opposite-field single to left off Chapman with two out in the ninth inning. It was only the third hit for the Twins, their first since the third inning and ended a stretch of 15 consecutive batters retired.

It was fools’ gold for Minnesota, however, as Chapman ended the game with a strikeout of Brian Dozier, who had accounted for the Twins’ run with a home run leading off the second inning against Michael Pineda.

That was the only blemish on the outing by Pineda, who allowed just one other hit and one walk with eight strikeouts in his six innings of work. The Yankees tied the score in the fifth against Twins starter Ervin Santana on back-to-back, two-out singles by Jacoby Ellsbury, Brett Gardner and Carlos Beltran.

The Yanks threatened again in the sixth, but a rally was choked off when Starlin Castro grounded into a double play. Though the score was tied, manager Joe Girardi went to his favorite formula as he brought in Betances at the start of the seventh in hopes that the Yankees could push across another run.

That did not occur until the eighth against reliever Ryan Pressly. Alex Rodriguez started the inning with an infield single. A hard single to right by Brian McCann sent pinch runner Aaron Hicks to third base. After Mark Teixeira, back in the lineup after 20 days on the disabled list because of torn cartilage in his right knee, struck out, Castro hit a potential double-play grounder to shortstop Eduardo Escobar, who booted the ball for his second error of the game as the eventual winning run scored.

The inning ended on a disputed double play in which McCann was thrown out at home by left fielder Robbie Grossman after catching a liner by Chase Headley. Video replays seemed to indicate that catcher Kurt Suzuki’s tag was high on McCann’s right leg as his left foot crossed the plate, but plate umpire Alfonso Marquez’s call stood after a Yankees challenge.

So the margin remained slim for Chapman, who from the Twins’ viewpoint was at least hittable compared to Friday night when he blew three hitters away with his high-octane fastball. Gardner needed to get on his horse to run down a drive to left-center by Eduardo Nunez. Grossman also hit the ball in grounding out to shortstop before Mauer’s line single. Dozier was not as fortunate as Chapman used sliders to put him away.

The Yankees, now a game over .500 at 37-36, improved their record to 12-0 when all three DMC pitchers appear in a game. They had combined for 10 consecutive 1-2-3 innings over the past four games before Mauer’s hit. Overall, Yankees relievers have 44 consecutive strikeouts since their last walk June 15 at Denver.

To make roster space for Teixeira, the Yankees placed first baseman Ike Davis on waivers. If he clears, he could be optioned to Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre as insurance in the event Teixeira’s knee flares up again. Rob Refsnyder’s surprising play at first base and overall versatility made him more valuable to the Yanks than Davis at this time.

Yankees go homer-happy at the Stadium

Notes from the Yankees’ 9-8 victory over the Rockies Wednesday at Yankee Stadium on Starlin Castro’s home run leading off the bottom of the ninth inning against reliever Jason Motte:

It was the Yankees’ second “walk-off” victory this season. Brett Gardner’s solo home run in the ninth inning April 23 at the Stadium beat the Rays. The Yanks have overcome a four-run deficit in each of their past two victories (also June 18 at Minneapolis). The Twins open a three-game series at the Stadium Friday night. Those are their two largest deficits the Yankees have overcome in victories in 2016. They are 16-9 in their past 25 home games (since April 22) after starting the year 3-6 at Yankee Stadium.

Tye Yankees were 1-3 against Colorado this year. Since 1913, the Yankees have still only twice been swept by an opponent in a season series of at least four games: 0-4 against the Mets in 2013 and 0-12 against the Athletics in 1990.

Castro, who had 3-for-5 with two runs and a run batted in, hit his first career “walk-off” home run on the second pitch of the ninth. It marked his sixth career “walk-off” hit. Wednesday was his fifth game this season with at least three hits.

Chase Headley hit the Yankees’ first grand slam of the season in the second inning. It was his fourth career grand slam, first with the Yankees and first since Sept. 9, 2012 for the Padres against the Diamondbacks. Headley’s fourth home run of the season was his first since May 25 against the Blue Jays.

Since 2010, Yankees hitters lead the major leagues with 44 grand slams, 11 more than the team with the next highest total, the Red Sox. The Yankees had been one of three American League teams without a grand slam this season, along with the Twins and the Indians. In 2015, the Yanks hit an AL-best seven grand slams (the Giants led the majors with nine).

Carlos Beltran hit his 19th home run in his 68th game this season, a three-run shot in the seventh. That matches his home run total for all of 2015, in 134 games. Beltran has homered in three of his past five games and six of 13. Each of his seven homers in June has come with runners on base (only three of his first 12HR were with runners on. Since May 19, Beltran has a slash line of .339/.385/.706 with 20 runs, seven doubles, 11 homers and 32 RBI in 29 games and 109 at-bats. His 50 RBI for the season are the most by a Yankees hitter through 71 team games since 2011, when Mark Teixeira had 55 RBI and Curtis Granderson 54.

Brett Gardner, who had 1-for-3 with two walks and scored a run, has reached base safely in nine of his past 13 plate appearances. He drew two walks for the second straight game and has a .432 on-base percentage at home. Gardner got his team-high fourth outfield assist in the first inning when he threw out Charlie Blackmon at the plate.

Didi Gregorius tied the score at 8 with a two-out, RBI single in the seventh. It was his third career game-tying RBI in the seventh inning or later, his first since Sept. 13, 2013 for the Diamondbacks against the Brewers (also a seventh-inning single).

The Yankees scored eight of their nine runs on home runs (grand slam, three-run homer, solo homer). It was their second game this season with multiple homers with multiple runners on (also April 6 against the Astros). Five of the Yankees’ past 17 homers (since May 6) have come with at least two runners on (they had none from April 8 through June 5). The Yanks ended a five-game home run drought at the Stadium.

CC Sabathia allowed six runs (five earned) in 4 1/3 innings, which stopped a string of eight starts in which he had pitched five or more innings. The lefthander had allowed six runs (four earned) in his previous seven starts combined during which he pitched to an ERA of 0.82 over 44 innings. Sabathia turned his right ankle twice during his outing and left the Stadium with it tightly wrapped. X-rays were negative, and he said he expected to make his next start.

Dellin Betances (one inning, two strikeouts), Andrew Miller (one inning, two strikeouts) and Aroldis Chapman (one inning, two strikeouts) combined to retired all nine batters with six strikeouts. After Ryan Raburn’s two-run home run off Anthony Swarzak in the fifth inning, Yankees relievers retired the final 14 Colorado batters of the game. The Yanks are 10-0 when Betances, Miller and Chapman pitch in the same game.

Long ball brings Tanaka up short

Just the same, Masahiro Tanaka would have preferred another no-decision. He has had eight of them in his 13 starts this year. An ND is not as good as a victory, but it beats a loss.

Tanaka was hung with an ‘L’ Saturday night as the Yankees fell back to .500 (31-31) and had a five-game winning streak end with a 6-1 setback to the Tigers. Tanaka had not given up a home run in his previous four starts and yielded just six in 12 prior starts, but the long ball did him in this time.

Nick Castellanos led off the second inning with a home run to right-center. The Yankees very nearly matched that in the bottom of the inning, but Chase Headley’s drive into the left field corner that struck the fence at the base of the foul pole and caromed off it like a Spaulding off a stoop was not ruled a homer, even though it appeared to have struck the pole. The call was not overruled after a review, so Headley had to settle for a triple. He scored moments later when Rob Refsnyder broke out of a 0-for-12 slump with a single to center field.

Tanaka got help from his defense in the fourth. With J.D. Martinez on first base after a one-out single, Castellanos hit a long drive that Brett Gardner caught on the warning track after a long run. Martinez had rounded second base and tried to scamper back, but shortstop Didi Gregorius’ relay to first base doubled him off to end the inning.

Tanaka had no such luck in the fifth. He was touched for singles by Justin Upton and Jose Iglesias before Ian Kinsler slammed a first-pitch fastball to left for a three-run home run. Jacoby Ellsbury came to Tanaka’s aid in the sixth inning with a dazzling, running catch against the wall in left-center to rob Victor Martinez of an extra-base hit.

Kinsler did more damage in the seventh. After Tanaka departed after giving up a one-out single to James McCann, Kirby Yates allowed an infield single to Iglesias and a two-run double to Kinsler.

Unlike Tanaka, Tigers starter Justin Verlander was not victimized by the long ball, not even by Alex Rodriguez, who had homered off the former American League Most Valuable Player and Cy Young Award winner five times in his career and in each of his previous four regular-season games against him. That included A-Rod’s 3,000th career hit June 19 last year. Rodriguez was 0-for-3 with a strikeout against Verlander Saturday night.

Yankees keep faith during HOPE Week

Not to take anything away from the Yankees’ four-game sweep of the Angels, but it came against a team floundering near the bottom of the American League West and with 10 players on the 15-day disabled list. The Tigers came to town Friday night and offered a more formidable challenge. Then the Yankees went out and treated them like the Angels.

CC Sabathia was masterful again with seven shutout innings and finally got a winning decision to show for his stellar work in the 4-0 victory that moved the Yankees’ record one game over .500 at 31-30 for the first time since April 13 when they were 4-3.

Over his previous three starts Sabathia had allowed only two earned runs in 18 innings (1.00 ERA), yet was 0-2 with a no-decision. Friday night, he limited Detroit to four hits, all singles, and two walks with four strikeouts. He was backed by a double play in the fifth inning after his throwing error put runners on first and third with one out. That was the only time CC had to sweat.

Sabathia has pitched 12 consecutive scoreless innings and has allowed two runs over his past 25 innings (0.72 ERA), which has shrunk his ERA for the season to 2.28 to go with a 4-4 record. The Tigers were hitless in six at-bats with runners in scoring position against Sabathia.

Yankees outfielders could have stayed in the dugout. There was not a single putout by the Yankees in the outfield.

The Yankees struck early against Tigers starter Mike Pelfrey (1-6), who settled down after the three-run first inning but it was too late. Brett Gardner continued his hot stretch with a one-out single. Carlos Beltran, equally as hot, went against the shift with a single to left.

A walk to Alex Rodriguez loaded the bases and another to Brian McCann forced home a run. Pelfrey got a brief reprieve with a strikeout of Starlin Castro before Didi Gregorius doubled to left for two runs. An errant pickoff at first base by Detroit catcher James McCann (no relation to Brian, although each wears uniform No. 34) led to an unearned run in the third on a single by Beltran.

It has been quite a homestand for Beltran, who has 9-for-19 (.474) with two doubles, three home runs and 11 RBI. He also has 15 hits in his past 38 at-bats, a .395 stretch. Gardner is right with him. He has 9-for-18 (.500) with nine runs, a double and two RBI on the homestand and in his eight-game hitting streak is batting .533 in 30 at-bats to hike his season batting average 50 points to .262.

The Yankees were 5-0 during HOPE Week, which improved their overall record during such weeks since the community-service initiative was begun in 2009 to 28-10 (.737).

“We’re thinking about having HOPE Week again next week,” manager Joe Girardi said.

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