Results tagged ‘ Brett Gardner ’

Teixeira crosses up shift for RBI in 4th straight game

Defensive shifts are designed to steal hits, but sometimes they can backfire. That was the case for the Yankees in the first inning Tuesday night at Detroit. Mark Teixeira crossed up the Tigers’ defense, and the Yankees got a run out of it.

Tex came to the plate batting right-handed against lefthander Kyle Lobstein with two out and Brett Gardner on first base. The Tigers were over-shifted to the left side, including the outfielders, who shaded him well to the left.

Teixeira jumped on a high fastball and punched to right field. With right fielder J.D. Martinez stationed in right-center, he had a ways to go to retrieve the ball, which allowed the speedy Gardner to score all the way from first base.

Teixeira has an RBI in four straight games and nine of his past 11. He is one of three major-league hitters with an RBI in at least nine games, along with the Royals’ Salvador Perez and the Mets’ Travis d’Arnaud, who just went on the disabled list. The previous Yankees hitter with at least one RBI in at least eight-or-more of the club’s first 13 games was Derek Jeter (eight games) in 2012. Eight of Teixeira’s nine hits have been for extra bases (four doubles, four home runs).

Yanks having a fielding renaissance as well

Carlos Beltran, who sat out the last two games against the Rays at St. Petersburg, Fla., found someone else in the 3-hole in the Yankees’ batting order when he returned to the lineup Monday night at Detroit.

Not surprisingly, it was Alex Rodriguez, who entered the game leading the Yankees in batting (.316), home runs (4), RBI (11), slugging (.711) and on base percentage (.447). Manager Joe Girardi said he would leave A-Rod in that spot for the time being.

Mark Teixeira drew even with Rodriguez in home runs when he jumped on a hanging splitter from Alfredo Simon leading off the fourth inning. Tex’s fourth bomb of the year was his first batting left-handed. He has been a much better hitter from the right side in the early going. Entering the game, Teixeira was a .286 hitter right-handed with three home runs and three RBI in 14 at-bats and a .125 hitter left-handed with three doubles and five RBI in 24 at-bats.

In addition to their bats waking up against Tampa Bay over the weekend, the Yankees also slapped some impressive leather. They did not commit an error in their three-game sweep of the Rays after having made 11 errors in their first nine games.

The defensive improvement continued Monday night. Tigers designated hitter Victor Martinez was robbed twice of hits on catches after long runs by left fielder Brett Gardner in the second inning and center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury in the fifth. Also in the fifth, Gardner made a fine grab coming in on the run to keep J.D. Martinez off base. Gardner found out how it feels to get robbed when Detroit shortstop Jose Iglesias made a tremendous play deep in the hole and threw him out at first base.

The Yankees also turned a couple of double plays behind CC Sabathia in victimizing Miguel Cabrera both times.

Beltran joins 1,000 AL & NL hit club

Carlos Beltran was out of the lineup Saturday night and may not play Sunday, either, for the Yankees at Tropicana Field. The right fielder has a severe cold. 

Beltran started the winning rally Friday night with a leadoff single in the eighth inning. Brett Gardner pinch ran for Beltran and stole second base with two out. He scored on a single to center by Alex Rodriguez, who also homered twice and drove in four runs.

The knock by Beltran was his 1,000th career hit in the American League to go with 1,329 hits in his time in the National League. He is the only active player with 1,000 or more hits in both leagues and the eighth player overall to accomplish the feat. The list from the Elias Sport Bureau includes two former Yankees — Dave Winfield (1,976 AL; 1,134 NL) and Alfonso Soriano (1,018 AL; 1,077 NL). The others are Orlando Cabrera (1,020 AL; 1,035 NL), Vlad Guerrero (1,375 AL; 1,215 NL), Carlos Lee (1,033 AL; 1,240 NL), Fred McGriff (1,143 AL; 1,347 NL) and Frank Robinson (1,184 AL; 1,759 NL).

Rodriguez’s 61st career multi-home run game was his first since May 23, 2012 against the Royals at Yankee Stadium and the sixth of his career against the Rays, the first since May 17, 2011 at St. Petersburg, Fla. According to Baseball-Reference.com, Rodriguez (at age 39 years, 264 days), became the third-oldest Yankees hitter since 1914 with a multi-homer game. The only Yankees to do it at an older age were Raul Ibanez (twice: Sept. 22, 2012 against the Athletics at age 40 years, 112 days and May 8, 2012 against the Rays at age 39 years, 341days) and Enos Slaughter (July 19, 1959 against the White Sox at age 43 years, 83 days).

Earlier Saturday in a couple of transactions involving pitchers, lefthander Matt Tracy was claimed off waivers by the Marlins and righthander Joel De La Cruz was outrighted off the 40-man roster and onto the roster of Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

 

Big night for A-Rod and Yanks bullpen

Brett Gardner, stuck on the bench for two games because of a bruised right wrist, returned to action Friday night at Tropicana Field as a pinch runner in the ninth inning and got a crucial stolen base with two out to set up the ending of a monster night at the plate for Alex Rodriguez.

A-Rod, who had homered twice earlier in the game, sent Gardner home from second base with a single to center field for his fourth RBI of the game that shot the Yankees to a 5-4 victory that also featured five shutout innings by their bullpen.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi is toying with the idea of adding a sixth starting pitcher to the rotation. With CC Sabathia, Michael Pineda and Masahiro Tanaka all coming back from injuries, the skipper is looking at ways to take some of the workload off his starters.

“I wouldn’t really call it a six-man rotation,” Girardi told reporters before the game. “I’d call it more of inserting a sixth man one time through, and my guess is you might see it. Weather could play a role, so you just have to wait and see, but it’s something that’s in the back of our minds. We’ve kind of prepared ourselves for it.”

Esmil Rogers, currently pitching in long relief, was identified by Girardi as one of the candidates for the sixth-starter role. The others would be Bryan Mitchell and Chase Whitley, both currently pitching as starters at Triple A Scranton/Wilkes Barre. They were all candidates for the fifth-starter spot that Adam Warren won in spring training.

Warren had an up-and-down start Friday night. The up part were the first three innings when he shut out the Rays on three hits, all singles. The down part was the fourth inning when Tampa Bay bounced back from a 2-0 deficit to take a 4-2 lead on a three-run home run by rookie Allen Dykstra that was followed by a solo shot by Logan Forsythe. It was the first major-league home run for Dykstra, who is no relation to former Mets and Phillies outfielder Lenny Dykstra.

Warren was rolling along until Evan Longoria reached first base on an infield single. Warren then walked Desmond Jennings and watched Dykstra slam a 2-0 fastball off the right field foul poll to surrender the lead. Warren’s ERA shot up from 1.69 to 4.82. He did not get stuck with a losing decision, however.

Rodriguez, who had given Warren a 1-0 lead with a 471-foot home run to left-center leading off the second inning against Rays starter Nathan Karns, got the Yanks even with a two-run blast in the sixth off reliever Ernesto Frieri. It marked A-Rod’s first multi-homer game since May 23, 2012 and the 61st of his career. He took over the club lead in homers with four and RBI with 11.

Rogers took over for Warren in the fifth and pitched 2 1/3 hitless innings of relief, a good audition for that sixth-starter job.

The Yankees also got a home run from Stephen Drew (No. 3) with two out in the fourth. It was the 100th career homer for Drew as he and brother J.D. Drew became the eighth pair of brothers to hit 100 or more homers apiece in the majors, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The other pairs were the Alomars (Roberto and Sandy Jr.), the  Boones (Aaron and Bret), the Boyers (Ken and Clete), the DiMaggios (Joe and Vince), the Meusels (Bob and Irish), the Uptons (Justin and Melvin, Jr.) and the Youngs (Dmitri and Delmon). Aaron Boone, Clete Boyer, Joe DiMaggio and Bob Meusel played all or parts of their careers with the Yankees. 

Friday night’s Yankees pre-game show on YES included a feature on Richard Albero, 65, a retired Naval Officer who March 2 started a charity walk from the plate at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa to Yankee Stadium, which he hopes to reach sometime around Memorial Day. Albero is roughly at the halfway point of his 1,200-mile walk, just north of Myrtle Beach, S.C. He is walking in memory of his nephew, who died in the World Trade Center during the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, and also to raise money and awareness for the Wounded Warrior Project. For more about Albero’s initiative, visit richardsyankeeswalk.org.

CC still winless but making progress

CC Sabathia, coming back from knee surgery, has shown positive signs in his first two outings, but both have been losses. The second came Tuesday night at Baltimore as the Orioles held off a late challenge by the Yankees for a 4-3 victory.

Sabathia fell into a 3-0 hole after four innings. Adam Jones, as hot a player as there is in the major leagues these days, took CC deep in the first inning for his fourth home run and made the score 2-0 with a sacrifice fly two innings later. A wild pitch by Sabathia helped set up the third Baltimore run on a two-out single by Caleb Joseph, the Orioles catcher who got his first career triple leading off the seventh inning and scored on a sacrifice fly by Everth Cabrera.

That made the score 4-1 and ended Sabathia’s night. He was ticked for four runs and seven hits but walked only one batter and struck out seven. Mobility remains a problem for the big guy with the tender knee. He made a throwing error trying to toss the ball from his glove to first base and also failed to cover the bag on another play that fortunately did not prove costly.

Manager Joe Girardi gave Sabathia a passing grade and is still optimistic that the lefthander can be a major positive force on the staff. CC just ran into a pitcher who was better Tuesday night.

Orioles righthander Miguel Gonzalez limited the Yankees to one run, four hits and one walk in seven innings and had a career-high strikeout total of 10. Gonzalez only hurt himself in the fifth inning with a wild pitch that put Jacoby Ellsbury into scoring position, and Mark Teixeira obliged with a two-out double.

The Yanks closed to 4-3 in the eighth against reliever Kevin Gausman with left fielder Alejandro De Aza making a huge error off a drive by Teixeira. Orioles manager Buck Showalter went to his closer, Zach Britton, for a four-out save after the De Aza error made it a one-run game with the potential tying run in scoring position. Britton did his job by getting four ground-ball outs to keep the Yankees from getting their record to .500.

The Yankees were without Brett Gardner, whose left wrist is still smarting after being hit by a pitch Monday night. Chris Young played left field and had a double in four at-bats. Girardi indicated that Gardner likely won’t start again until Friday at St. Petersburg, Fla.

Tanaka benefits from huge run support

The Yankees took much of the heat off teammate Masahiro Tanaka Sunday night with their first-inning explosion against the Red Sox and Clay Buchholz. Tanaka pitched with leads of 7-0 and 10-4 in his five innings, which created a comfort zone that the righthander surely needed.

The atmosphere surrounding Tanaka following his Opening Day loss has been tense to say the least. Yankees manager Joe Girardi has grown weary of questions regarding the deep dip in Tanaka’s velocity as he pitches with a slight ligament tear in his elbow that doctors said would respond to off-season rest rather than having him undergo Tommy John surgery.

Before a national television audience on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball, Tanaka showed the country his 2015 version as he once again relied on cut fastballs and sliders to get ahead in the count and his devastating split-finger fastball to finish off hitters. The mid-90s four-seam fastballs that were part of his repertoire are few and far between these days.

The results were, well, just okay. Tanaka gave up four runs (three earned), four hits and three walks with four strikeouts and two wild pitches in a 79-pitch outing that was frankly only marginally better than his first start. He did chalk up his first victory due largely to the welcomed overwhelming offensive support, but through two starts Tanaka’s earned run average is an unappetizing 7.00.

With their first imposing surge of offense this season to fashion a 14-4 victory, the Yankees pushed Tanaka to the side of the storyline for this game. Concern about their ability to score was growing daily for a team that went into Sunday night’s game batting a collective .193 and averaging 3.4 runs per game.

“Obviously, it takes a lot of pressure off the starting pitcher,” Girardi said. “I thought [Tanaka’s] fastball was better than the first game, but he had trouble throwing his breaking balls for strikes, which was the opposite of his first game. His location was better with his fastball down in the zone, but he wasn’t as sharp with his slider.”

The Yanks staked Tanaka to a 7-0 lead in a first inning highlighted by a three-run double by Alex Rodriguez and back-to-back home runs by Chase Headley and Stephen Drew. They kept it up against Buchholz, who departed in the fourth after allowing 10 runs (nine earned) and nine hits.

By the sixth inning, everyone in the Yankees’ starting lineup had gotten at least one hit and scored at least one run. A-Rod picked up a fourth RBI with a bases-loaded walk in the three-run sixth against lefthander Tommy Layne. Headley finished with three RBI and Drew and Brett Gardner two apiece.

Brian McCann scored three runs and had two hits, including the 200th home run of his career, a solo shot in the eighth inning off Edward Mujica. The victory was vital what with the Yankees embarking on a 10-game, 11-day trip that starts Monday night at Baltimore.

Yankees roll ‘7’ in first inning

The Yankees went into Sunday night’s game against the Red Sox having played 55 innings of baseball this season and had the lead in only one of them. They made it two with a huge first inning that handed Masahiro Tanaka a 7-0 advantage.

It was encouraging to see the Yankees’ somewhat sluggish offense put together a sustained attack, aided by a lackluster Clay Buchholz, Boston’s starting pitcher, and uncertain defense by first baseman Mike Napoli.

As if to spark the stodginess of the Yankees’ offense this past week, manager Joe Girardi rolled the dice a bit in the first after Jacoby Ellsbury led off with a walk. Forcing the action, Girardi called for a hit-and-run and struck paydirt when Brett Gardner lined a single to left-center against an overshift that sent Ellsbury on an easy course to third base.

Napoli could only get one out at second base — and barely that — on a chopper by Carlos Beltran as Ellsbury crossed the plate for that rare Yankees lead. Mark Teixeira walked on a 3-2 pitch, and Napoli fumbled another grounder by Brian McCann, which filled the bases.

Alex Rodriguez jumped on a first-pitch cut fastball from Buchholz and drove a liner to left center for a double that cleared the bags. Chase Headley followed with his second home run in three days, a two-run shot to right off a 2-2 pitch. Stephen Drew made it back-to-back long balls with another drive to right for his first home run.

In one inning, the Yankees had scored more runs than in their previous 22 innings combined.

Girardi toys with batting order vs. lefty

With the Blue Jays starting a lefthander, Daniel Norris, Yankees manager Joe Girardi made the first significant change in the batting order Thursday night. Left-handed batting Brett Gardner, Brian McCann and Stephen Drew were all on the bench.

Girardi noted that Gardner’s not starting had nothing to do with his getting hit by a pitch in Wednesday night’s victory over Toronto. The manager plans to rest Gardner or Jacoby Ellsbury but not both against left-handed starting pitching. Chris Young, whose double began the eighth-inning rally Tuesday night, started in left field.

McCann also was hit by a pitch the night before but was just given a blow that allowed backup John Ryan Murphy a start. Gregorio Petit got his first start for the Yankees at second base in place of Drew. Didi Gregorius, who struggles against lefthanders, was kept in the lineup at shortstop and drove in the Yankees’ first run with a single to center field in the fifth inning.

Another major change in the lineup was the move of designated hitter Alex Rodriguez from seventh to second, which might have gotten him an extra at-bat. Girardi has liked the way A-Rod has swung the bat over the first two games.

Bullpen work lone highlight in Yanks’ opener

Trying to find positives for the Yankees in their season-opening, 6-1 loss to the Blue Jays Monday before a packed house at Yankee Stadium is not easy. It was an admittedly disappointing day. Teams like to send people home happy when the crowd is as many as 48,469 people.

Unfortunately, the Yankees are getting used to Opening Day failures. This was their fourth straight Opening Day loss. They are 1-6 in season lid-lifters at the current Stadium. Not even playing the Blue Jays, who have been patsies at the Stadium in recent years, could help the Yankees, who are 29-6 over their past 35 games against the Jays at the Stadium.

The Yankees’ offense, a major problem in 2014, got off to a shaky start with only one run — on a Brett Gardner home run — and merely two other hits, both singles. The 3-through-6 hitters in the order were a combined 1-for-14. New shortstop Didi Gregorius slapped some nice leather in the field and showed off abundant range, but he made a rock on the bases in the eighth by making the third out trying to steal third base with cleanup batter Mark Teixeira at the plate and trailing by five runs. Manager Joe Girardi wrote it off to Gregorius trying to do too much to impress in his first game with the Yankees.

All right, so we know the bad stuff. How about the good?

Well, start with the bullpen. Starter Masahiro Tanaka was so-so through four innings, but five relievers combined for one-run, one-hit relief with six strikeouts in five innings. Righthander Chris Martin was particularly impressive by striking out the side — Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion and Josh Donaldson — in the fifth inning. Tall order that. Martin became only the second Yankees pitcher since 1914 to strike out every batter he faced in his debut appearance for the team. The other was righthander Edwar Ramirez with three punchouts July 3, 2007 against the Twins.

Yankees pitchers’ 12 strikeouts for the game matched the club record for an opener set April 6, 2012 at St. Petersburg, Fla.

Gardner, who displayed improved power last year with 17 home runs, took winning pitcher Drew Hutchison deep in the sixth for the Yankees’ first round-tripper of 2015. It was the 100th Opening Day home run in Yankees history and their first since Raul Ibanez two years to the day earlier at St. Petersburg, Fla.

Alex Rodriguez, who was treated somewhat favorably by the crowd most of the afternoon, reached base his first two times up with a walk and a single.

The only other good news for the Yankees is that a season is more than one day.

Jeter’s last game features frantic 1st inning

Things were humming along smoothly for Derek Jeter’s last game at Yankee Stadium. He fielded questions from reporters before the game and said he did not want to get into emotions with a game to play and would wait until after the game to express an opinion.

Outside, meanwhile, rain kept coming down as the forecasts had predicted. Imagine Jeter’s last Stadium game being rained out? Not a chance. The skies cleared about an hour before the game. The tarp was removed. Pitchers warmed up. Players ran sprints on the damp outfield grass. There would be baseball after all.

The Stadium filled up with camera- and cell phone-carrying fans prepared to record visually every moment of this special night. A farewell video to the Captain from the people of New York City ran on the center-field screen before the club took the field. The Yankees on Demand presentation from AT&T became available on yankees.com shortly after the first pitch.

Then came that first pitch with the crowd still chanting “De-rek Je-ter!” But the first-inning pitches by Hiroki Kuroda proved a little too inviting for the first two Baltimore batters, Nick Markakis and Alejandro De Aza, each of whom homered off 1-2 deliveries.

Talk about a pall going over a crowd. The only cheering heard at that time was when a fan threw Markakis’ leadoff homer back onto the field, the customary act of defiance against an opponent. The Yankees are already eliminated from post-season consideration, so Jeter was playing in a game in which the Yankees were out of contention for only the second time in his 20-season career. The only other such game was Sept. 26, 2008 at Boston, which turned out to be a 19-8 Yankees victory. The Stadium crowd would have loved such a score Thursday night.

Leave it to Jeter to step into the moment as he helped the Yanks get even with two runs in the bottom of the first. Brett Gardner, who has had a rough go of it this month, led off against Orioles righthander Kevin Gausman with a single to right field.

Jeter got the fans on their feet with a drive near the top of the wall in right-center for a double that sent Gardner scampering home. DJ had a satisfying hand-clap as he stood on second base while the crowd reacted with cheers of ear-splitting decibels.

The Captain negotiated the rest of the way around the bases on a wild pitch and an error by second baseman Kelly Johnson, who was stationed in shallow right field in an over-shift against Brian McCann but could not get the handle on grounder for an error as Jeter scored.

The Yanks’ rally negated the Orioles’ outburst and allowed fans to settle in to a game they hoped would continue to feature Jeter in a positive light.

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