Results tagged ‘ Brett Gardner ’

Sanchez (who else?) leads Yankees’ charge

The Yankees finally made it to five games over .500 for the first time this season in pushing their record to 66-61. Four times previously, they came within one game of that mark only to lose the next game. The Yanks made sure that did not happen again Friday night as they let the Orioles know they have them in their sights.

The Yankees also got over the monotony of a scoreboard line of five runs, nine hits and no errors, which is what it was in each of the three games of their prior series at Seattle. The only match this time was no errors because the Yankees cranked out 14 runs and 18 hits.

This will probably come as no big surprise, but Gary Sanchez had another big night for the Yankees. The catcher, who is putting himself in possible contention for the Jackie Robinson American League Rookie of the Year Award, drove in four runs with a home run, a double and a single. The Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre call-up continues to rake at a .403 clip with 10 home runs and 20 RBI in 20 games and 77 at-bats.

This is Willie McCovey stuff.

What do I mean by that? In their second season in San Francisco, the Giants brought up McCovey, the future Hall of Fame first baseman, July 30, 1959. He went 4-for-4 with two triples and two RBI and kept right on hitting to where he batted .354 with nine doubles, five triples, 13 home runs and 38 RBI and was the unanimous National League Rookie of the Year winner despite playing in only 52 games and totaling 192 at-bats. Sanchez is on a similar pace with 35 games remaining in the regular season.

“He seems to center ball he hits,” manager Joe Girardi said. “It has been exciting to watch.”

Sanchez, who has eight home runs in his past nine games, became the third player in major league history to hit 10 homers in his first 22 career games. The others were the Rockies’ Trevor Story this year and the Red Sox’ George Scott in 1966. Sanchez’s 20 RBI in his first 22 big-league games is the third most in club history. Joe DiMaggio had 22 in 1936 and Hideki Matsui 21 in 2003. With 10 homers in 19 games this month, Sanchez set a franchise rookie record for home runs in a single month. They are the most in a month by any Yankees player since Alfonso Soriano hit 13 homers in August 2013.

Of the nine players in the Yankees’ starting lineup, seven had multiple hits in the game. In addition to Sanchez’s trio of knocks, Starlin Castro also had three with Brett Gardner, Jacoby Ellsbury, Mark Teixeira, Chase Headley and Ronald Torreyes chiming in with two apiece. Teixeira and Headley joined Sanchez in the home run column. Tex and Gardner each had three RBI. All nine starters had hits and eight scored.

There was more good news on the mound for the Yankees as Luis Cessa improved his record to 4-0 by winning his second straight start. If not for Manny Machado, who drove in all three Orioles runs off Cessa, the righthander would have been working on a shutout. He gave up only three other hits and a walk with five strikeouts in six innings. After pitching to a 5.30 ERA in 17 relief outings totaling 18 2/3 innings, Cessa is 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA in 12 innings in his first two big-league starts.

The Yankees’ 14-4 victory over Baltimore also sliced a game off the deficit between them and the Orioles for the second wild card slot. The Yanks trail the O’s by only 3 1/2 games.

A case of musical bases for the Yankees

That was quite a second inning for the Yankees Friday night. It is not every game that you see the entire lineup reach base in succession.

Yet that is what happened for the Yankees in expanding their 2-1 lead over the Orioles to 8-1 at the end of the second inning. After Starlin Castro flied out to center to lead off the inning, the next nine batters for the Yankees all reached base with six scoring.

Chase Headley, who was the designated hitter because Brian McCann returned home to Georgia to attend his grandmother’s funeral, started the merry-go-round with a single to right. Aaron Judge walked, and the Yanks got a huge break when Nolan Reimond, who had just entered the game in center field replacing Adam Jones (left hamstring strain), dropped a soft liner by Ronald Torreyes that loaded the bases.

Then came a single to left by Brett Gardner for two runs, a single to right by Jacoby Ellsbury for one and a double to right by Gary Sanchez for another. Vance Worley took over for battered starters Yovani Gallardo and gave up a single to right by Mark Teixeira for yet one more run. Didi Gregorius and Castro followed with singles that re-loaded the bases and completed the full turn in the lineup with all getting on base. The rally died when Headley fouled out to third and Judge struck out.

The outburst put Yankees starter Luis Cessa in a comfort zone. He had given up Manny Machado’s 30th home run with two down in the first. Teixeira trumped that with a two-run blast that reached the right-center field bleachers in the bottom of the inning.

Another Tanaka gem gets Girardi 800th Yankees win

Joe Girardi has been insisting since Alex Rodriguez was released nearly two weeks ago that the Yankees “have a shot,” which has been his way of saying his team can contend for a playoff berth. In chalking up his 800th victory as Yankees manager Wednesday at Seattle, Girardi got his club closer to that goal.

It is still a tall order, yet the Yanks’ 5-0 victory over the Mariners that completed a 4-2 trip to the West Coast was encouraging. The Yankees got back to their season-high four games over .500 and won a series over one of the club’s ahead of them in the race for the second wild-card slot.

Another contender, Baltimore, will come to Yankee Stadium for a three-game series starting Friday night to give the Yankees another opportunity to gain ground. All but three of the Yankees’ remaining 36 games are against American League East teams.

All year long, Girardi has fielded questions about how much better Masahiro Tanaka is when he gets extra rest. Well, Tanaka pitched on regular rest Wednesday and could not have been better. The righthander shut out the Mariners on six hits and a walk (his only one in his past 36 innings) with five strikeouts in winning his fourth straight start. Over that period Tanaka has pitched to a 1.63 ERA with 22 hits allowed, one walk and 25 strikeouts in 27 2/3 innings. He also improve his career mark against the Mariners to 5-0 with a 1.95 ERA in 37 innings.

Tanaka’s pairing with Hisashi Iwakuma was a marquee event in Seattle that drew a crowd of 41,546 to Safeco Field and was broadcast to Japan. Tanaka prevailed against his former teammate for the second time this season. The other occasion was a 4-3 Yankees victory April 17 at Yankee Stadium. Tanaka and Iwakuma played together for the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles from 2007-11.

It marked the 13th game in major league history featuring two Japanese-born starting pitchers and the sixth time that the Yankees have been involved in such a matchup, the most of any team. The Yanks are 5-1 in those games). It is the fifth such game involving Seattle. The Yankees and Mariners were also involved in the very first meeting between Japanese starters May 7, 1999 when Hideki Irabu and the Yankees defeated Mac Suzuki and the Mariners, 10-1, at the Stadium.

Tanaka’s catcher, rookie Gary Sanchez, continued his torrid hitting with a solo home run in the first inning that staked his pitcher to a 1-0 lead. Sachez also doubled and drew two intentional walks to complete a trip in which he batted .455 with three doubles, four home runs and five RBI in 22 at-bats.

There were contributions up and down the lineup as every Yankees player reached base. Tyler Austin ended a 0-for-13 slump with an RBI single that scored Aaron Judge, who had been hit by a pitch but ended up with a brutal game (three strikeouts, one ground into double play). Brett Gardner celebrated his 33rd birthday by driving in a run and scoring two. Ronald Torreyes singled, his ninth hit in 16 at-bats (.563) with four doubles, one homer and three RBI on the trip. Mark Teixeira drove in a run with a single and Starlin Castro with a sacrifice fly. Dellin Betances bailed Tyler Clippard out of a jam in the eighth and notched his sixth save.

All of that helped Girardi become the sixth manager in Yankees history to reach the 800-victory mark. He joined Joe McCarthy (1,460), Joe Torre (1,173), Casey Stengel (1,149), Miller Huggins (1,067) and Ralph Houk (944).

Sanchez earns AL Player of the Week honors

Rookie catcher Gary Sanchez may have plenty of awards come his way during a promising career. The first one arrived Monday when he was named American League Player of the Week for Aug. 15-21.

Sanchez had a slash line of .524/.600/1.190 (11-for-21) with four runs, two doubles, four home runs, six RBI, four walks and a stolen bases in 25 plate appearances. During that span, he led the AL in batting, on-base percentage, slugging and on-base plus slugging (OPS) and ranked among the league leaders in total bases (tied for second with 25), hits (tied for third) and home runs (tied for third). Sanchez had multiple hits in four straight games (Aug. 15-19) and extra-base hits in four straight games (Aug. 16-20).

It marked the first time a Yankees player won the award this season. Their previous AL Player of the Week Award winner was Brett Gardner from June 22-28 last year. Sanchez is only the second catcher in Yankees history to win the award. Thurman Munson was a two-time winner for the weeks ending May 4, 1975 and July 25, 1976. Surprisingly, Jorge Posada never won the award. Sanchez is the first Yankees rookie to win since Robinson Cano for the week ending Sept. 19, 2005 and the first catcher since the Angels’ Chris Iannetta for the week ending Sept. 15, 2013.

In 10 games behind the plate this season, Sanchez has thrown out four of six attempted base stealers and picked off one runner.

Girardi managing whole team, not just A-Rod

Did anyone really expect Alex Rodriguez to be in the starting lineup Tuesday night at Fenway Park? Sure, manager Joe Girardi said Sunday after A-Rod’s announcement that Friday night would be his last game with the Yankees that he would talk to him and “play him as often as he wants,” but he had to back off that for the overall good of the team.

As it is, promising Rodriguez at least one start in the three-game series, Thursday night against knuckleballer Steven Wright, is more than A-Rod could have expected. If the Yankees want to make a serious run at the second wild card berth, they will have to hop over several clubs, and one of them is Boston. A player is supposed to earn his way into a lineup, and Rodriguez’s 3-for-30 showing in the second half is all the evidence anyone needs as to why he played himself onto the bench.

The computer got Rodriguez Tuesday night. He is 3-for-20 (.150) in his career against Boston starter Rick Porcello. The righthander had pitched complete games in each of his previous two starts, a rarity these days. Red Sox manager John Farrell might have been wise to let Porcello go for another compete game rather than turn to Craig Kimbrel, who was so wild that he nearly blew the game.

Kimbrel walked four batters in the inning that led to a run and kept the bases loaded with two out. Matt Barnes had to be summoned to face Mark Teixeira, who ended the rally when he looked at a third strike.

In A-Rod’s former designated hitter role was Brian McCann as the Yankees got another look at Gary Sanchez behind the plate. He had a rough night at the plate (0-for-4) but was nimble behind it and threw out another base runner.

McCann got a key, two-out single in the third inning that scored Brett Gardner, who reached base four times (double, two singles, walk) as the Yanks built a 2-0 lead against Porcello (15-3). They had scored in the second inning as well on doubles by Starlin Castro and Chase Headley.

Making his first major league start since May 13 following three impressive relief outings in which he allowed one run in 8 1/3 innings (1.08 ERA), Luis Severino gave up the lead in losing a nine-pitch at-bat to Dustin Pedroia. After fouling off five straight pitches, Pedroia lined a double down the right field line to knock in the trying runs.

More extra-base hits were to come in the fifth as the Red Sox scored three runs in a triple by catcher Sandy Leon, a double by rookie Andrew Benintendi and another double by Pedroia. Newly signed lefthander Tommy Layne relieved Severino and allowed an RBI single to David Ortiz.

Until the meltdown by Kimbrel, there were no openings to use Rodriguez perhaps as a pinch hitter. Reports questioned why Girardi did not have A-Rod bat form Aaron Hicks, who was 0-for-3 when he batted in the ninth and drew the second walk off Kimbrel.

Will this ever end? Yes. Finally, Friday.

Teixeira not tempted to change his mind

Could a game like Sunday’s give Mark Teixeira second thoughts about retiring?

Nope.

The first baseman reiterated his stance from last week that he will step away from the game as a player at the end of the season.

“I love playing first base, but every year it gets tougher and tougher,” Teixeira said after the Yankees’ 3-2 victory over the Indians. “I only have a few of those [games] left.”

Perhaps it is his conscience being eased at making what he feels is the right decision, but Teixeira has appeared more comfortable in recent days than he has in recent years. Sunday, he was a central figure in a victory that unfortunately took second fiddle to the other slice of news, that Alex Rodriguez will end his playing career after Friday’s game when the Yankees return to Yankee Stadium for a weekend series against the Rays following a brief trip to Boston.

Teixeira drove in what proved the deciding run with an opposite-field double to left batting left-handed in the fifth inning. A more startling contribution came in the seventh when he beat speedy Francisco Lindor to first base with both sliding into the bag for the final out that prevented the Tribe from tying the score.

The Indians scored their first run in that inning and had runners on first and second with two out when Lindor hit a smoking grounder down the first base line. Teixeira gobbled it up, but reliever Adam Warren broke late for the bag and could not cover in time to beat Lindor. That was left to Teixeira, who got to his feet, hastened to the bag and then dived for it with his glove extended that hit the base seconds before the outstretched hand of an equalling diving Lindor.

“The first thing on a play like that is to make sure the ball doesn’t get down the line,” Teixeira said. “It would be two runs if that happens. I was hoping to flip it to Adam, but he wasn’t there. I knew I would have to dive because Lindor was coming down the line at full steam while I was starting from scratch.”

It was the type of play that demonstrated why Teixeira won three Gold Gloves for fielding during his exemplary career. The Indians made it a one-run game with a run in the eighth on a wild pitch by Dellin Betances, who atoned for that by earning his second save.

Masahiro Tanaka (8-4) pitched into the seventh and allowed six hits and no walks with eight strikeouts in what manager Joe Girardi called his best game of the season. “To shut down a team that beat him up badly the last time out was impressive,” Girardi said.

Brett Gardner opened the game for the Yankees with a triple off Carlos Carrasco (7-6) and scored on a sacrifice fly. Gardy tied Jake for the team lead with five triples, including three in his past six games. It was Gardner’s third leadoff triple this year, all in the past 18 games. No other major league team has more than two.

Didi Gregorius made the score 2-0 in the fourth with his 13th home run to put a nice touch on Didi Gregorius Bobblehead Day.

One weird sight came in the third when Ellsbury, on first base with a walk, kept running around the bases as Teixeira lifted a foul pop behind third and into a double play. So what happened?

“I asked him about it, and his answer might be stranger than why he kept going,” Girardi said. “It was a first for me. Put it down to a brain cramp.”

Yanks look more like contenders than Indians

In his retirement announcement before Friday night’s game, Mark Teixeira repeatedly emphasized that his departure would not be until the end of the season and that there was still plenty of ball left to play for him and his teammates, several of whom attended his press conference.

“There are still games left for us to win,” he said. “We want to win as many games as we can. This is a team in transition, but we still have a shot.”

Teixeira did not look like a player on his last legs Friday night in the Yankees’ 13-7 victory over the American League Central-leading Indians. The Yanks took three of four games from the Tribe in Cleveland two weeks ago and continued their success in the opener of a three-game series. The loss trimmed Cleveland’s lead to two games over the Tigers, 4-3 winners over the Mets at Detroit.

Tex extended his consecutive stretch of reaching base to eight plate appearances with hits his first two times up. He doubled to right in the first inning to help the Yankees build a 1-0 lead off Josh Tomlin. In the fourth, Teixeira got an infield single that aided in setting the table for Starlin Castro’s first career grand slam that followed an RBI double by Brian McCann and an intentional walk to Chase Headley.

McCann was the designated hitter as recent Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre call-up Gary Sanchez got his first start behind the plate. He did a solid job working with Michael Pineda and was part of the 16-hit attack. Sanchez doubled in a run in the fifth and got a second RBI the next inning on a bases-loaded walk.

Jacoby Ellsbury led the way with four hits as everyone in the Yankees’ starting lineup took part in the hit parade. Teixeira, Castro, Brett Gardner and Rob Refsnyder had two hits apiece. Seven different players had extra-base hits — doubles by Teixeira, Ellsbury, McCann and Sanchez, a triple by Gardner and homers by Castro and Aaron Hicks.

Pineda overcame a three-run homer by catcher Chris Gimenez, the 9-hole hitter, and pitched into the seventh.

Subway Series keeps Yankees in focus

Yankees manager Joe Girardi had hoped that despite losing four prominent players in trades over the past week his team would be energized playing against the Mets at Citi Field. The usual buzz that comes with playing in the Subway Series was just what the skipper felt the Yankees needed as they moved through what for them were the unchartered waters of being sellers at Monday’s non-waiver trade deadline.

There might have been too much energy displayed in the case of leadoff hitter Brett Gardner. He opened the game with a drive off the wall in right-center that rolled back towards the infield. Rather than settle for a triple, Gardy tried for an inside-the-park home run but was thrown out at the plate.

It may have been over-aggression on Gardner’s part, but he can be forgiven for trying to give an early jolt to a club that no longer has Carlos Beltran in the lineup, Aroldis Chapman or Andrew Miller in the bullpen or Ivan Nova in the rotation. And except for Adam Warren, the players the Yankees got in return from those trades are all in the minor leagues.

The energy turned to the Mets’ side in the middle of the game, but the Yankees got some late mojo to tie the score in the eighth and win it in the 10th. That took CC Sabathia off the hook. The lefthander squandered a 3-1 lead and put the Yanks in a 5-3 hole in the sixth when he gave up a three-run home run to recent Triple A call-up Matt Reynolds, now playing shortstop for injured Asdrubal Cabrera.

Mets relievers took control in the middle innings, but the Yankees showed plenty of life in the eighth. Gardner walked leading off the inning but was still standing on first base after Jacoby Ellsbury and Mark Teixeira struck out. Brian McCann singled Gardner to third off Addison Reed, who got into a duel with Didi Gregorius. Along the way, Reed made a huge mistake with a wild pitch that allowed pinch runner Ronald Torreyes to take second base.

Gregorius fouled off three two-strike pitches before lofting a single to left field on the eighth pitch of the at-bat that sent Gardner and Torreyes scampering home. If Miller were still around, he would have come in to face the Mets in the eighth. Warren handled that instead and retired the side in order. He worked a scoreless ninth as well as the game went into extras.

Triple A call-up Ben Gamel contributed to the game-winning rally with a sacrifice bunt. Mets reliever Seth Lugo took a chance at trying for Ellsbury at third base, a risk that failed as the Yanks loaded the bases with none out. Another chance to be a hero did not work out this time for Gregorius, who struck out, but Starlin Castro got the run home with a sacrifice fly.

Dellin Betances’ new role as closer proved challenging when James Loney led off the bottom of the 10th with a double to right-center. He was bunted to third. Betances got into more trouble when he hit Alejandro DeAza with a pitch. DeAza took second on a slow roller by Rene Rivera that turned into an out at first base. Betances truly earned his first save of the year by striking out Curtis Granderson.

Rays have shown more life than Yankees

As the non-waiver trade deadline looms, the Yankees are trying to let their front office know what kind of team they are, but a recent push into possible contender status has encountered a detour in St. Petersburg, Fla.

The last-place, going-nowhere Rays have stung the Yankees the past two nights at Tropicana Field to win a series the Bombers considered vital to determine whether they would be buyers or sellers by Monday’s trade deadline.

This series in microcosm was detailed in the seventh inning. Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier caught the Yankees napping and essentially stole a run. His trek around the bases made it appear that the game was more important to Tampa Bay despite it being 20 games under .500.

What seemed to be a one-out single by Kiermaier became a double when he took advantage of a flat-footed Carlos Beltran in right field and an out-of-position shortstop Didi Gregorius around the bag at second. Continuing to hustle, Kiermaier stole third off reliever Anthony Swarzak, who paid scant attention to the runner and not giving catcher Austin Romine a chance to throw Kiermaier out.

Steven Souza Jr. then lined a single to left-center to send in Kiermaier and push the Rays’ lead to 4-2. Tim Beckham made it 6-2 by crushing a ball over the center field wall, Tampa Bay’s third home run of the game and fifth of the series that ends Sunday afternoon.

Nathan Eovaldi, who lost for the first time since July 1, gave up only three hits, but two of them were home runs. Brad Miller, who tripled and doubled Friday night, turned around a 99-mph heater from Eovaldi in the first inning.

After Brett Gardner gave the Yankees the lead in the third with a two-run home run off lefthander Drew Smyly, Eovaldi gave it right back when .169-hitting catcher Curt Casali homered off a hanging slider following a leadoff single by Beckham.

Smyly was just as stingy as Eovaldi. The lefthander gave up four hits over six innings and ended a personal seven-game losing streak with his first winning decision in 12 starts since May 16.

With a lefty starting against the Yankees, manager Joe Girardi put Alex Rodriguez in the starting lineup for the first time in eight days and got nothing in return. A-Rod struck out in all four of his plate appearances.

Rodriguez’s batting average is down to .206. His wilting offense is not something just of recent vintage, either. Over the past calendar year since August 2015, A-Rod in 397 at-bats has hit .199 with 13 doubles, 18 home runs, 54 RBI and 123 strikeouts.

On the plus side for the Yanks, Chase Headley had two hits, including his 10th home run, a solo shot in the eighth off Matt Andriese, and Adam Warren retired the three batters he faced in the eighth, which may have been an inning too late to bring him into the game.

Kiermaier continued to torture the Yankees in the eighth with a dazzling, leaping catch high atop the center field fence to rob Romine of a potential extra-base hit right after the Headley homer.

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.

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