Results tagged ‘ Carl Pavano ’
Yankee Stadium is usually a horror house for the Twins. Over the past 10 seasons dating to 2002, including postseason play, the Yankees had beaten Minnesota at the Stadium 33 times in 40 games, including 23 of their past 27 games.
The Twins turned the tables on the Yankees Monday night, 7-3, with a balanced offensive attack and a strong outing from Carl Pavano, who earned his first career victory against the team for which he was a major flop as a free-agent acquisition years ago. Pavano was 0-1 in four career starts against the Yankees prior to this game and also lost to them twice in American League Division Series play in 2009 and 2010. Pavano’s best game against the Yankees was for the Marlins in Game 4 of the 2003 World Series, but despite nine solid innings was not involved in the decision of that game which the Miami club won in the 12th.
The Yankees signed Pavano after the 2004 season, but his three years were filled with injuries and disappointment as he managed a 9-8 record with a 5.00 ERA in 21 starts. He allowed the first three batters he faced Monday night to score but held the Yankees to three hits from the second through the seventh innings while his teammates made it a rough night for Yankees starter Freddy Garcia.
Every player in the Minnesota lineup had at least one hit. Seven different players scored a run, and seven different players drove in a run. Talk about contributions up and down a lineup!
The Yankees had little of that. Derek Jeter and Curtis Granderson started the game by homering off Pavano, who gave up a third run on a single by Mark Teixeira. That wiped out the 2-0 lead the Twins had given Pavano in the top of the first. The Yankees put only one runner in scoring position after the first inning.
Garcia settled down nicely after the first inning before the wheels came off in the fifth. Freddy had retired 11 consecutive batters before Alexi Casilla doubled with one out in the fifth. Garcia came back to strike out Denard Span but gave up a single to Jamey Carroll and a double to Joe Mauer, who had three hits, and lost the lead.
“What we saw a lot from Freddy last year was how well he pitched with runners on base,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “But they strung together some hits off him with runners on.”
The Twins were 3-for-6 with runners in scoring position against Garcia and 4-for-10 for the game.
Justin Morneau, Mauer’s partner in the Twins’ M&M tandem, homered off Garcia leading off the sixth. Morneau was robbed of an extra base hit and another RBI in the seventh when Granderson caught up with his long drive in front of the 399-foot sign in left-center after a very lengthy run. The rest of the Yankees’ regulars waited for Grandy in front of the dugout to give him high-fives as he came off the field.
The Yankees are back at .500 at 5-5. They can’t seem to break away from the .500 syndrome. They lost the first three games of the season, then won four in a row, lost to go 4-4, won to go 5-4 and are now 5-5. CC Sabathia, who will start Tuesday night, has not lost to the Twins in his past nine starts against them, including postseason play, and is 8-0 with a 1.72 ERA in that span. The Yankees hope that streak will continue.
Many fans had not yet settled in their seats Monday night before the Yankees fell behind, 2-0, to the Twins, who jumped all over Freddy Garcia. After Jamey Carroll, who had singled, made the second out trying to steal second base, Minnesota strung together four hits – a double by Joe Mauer and singles by Josh Willingham, Justin Morneau and Ryan Doumit for the two runs.
Command issues plagued Garcia’s first start April 10 at Baltimore when he set an American League record with five wild pitches. That was one more wild pitch in 4 2/3 innings than Freddy threw all last season in 146 2/3 innings. At least he did not push runners around the bases by throwing away from his catcher’s mitt this time.
The Yankees stunned former teammate Carl Pavano in the bottom of the first, however, and gave Garcia the lead. Derek Jeter extended his club record for leadoff home runs to 26 with a drive to right. Curtis Granderson followed with another poke into the right field seats, this one reaching the second deck.
It marked the first time the Yankees hit two home runs to start a game since Sept. 23, 2005 by Jeter and Robinson Cano against the Blue Jays. Not that the Yankees were finished scoring. Alex Rodriguez beat out an infield single and continued to second base on a throwing error by third baseman Danny Valencia. One out later, Mark Teixeira singled to right to put the Yanks up, 3-2.
Garcia seemed to settle down as he retired the Twins in order in each of the next two innings. His control did not appear a problem this time out.
Freddy Garcia’s debut as a starter for the Yankees will have to wait, probably until April 15 at Yankee Stadium against the Rangers. Garcia was set to start Wednesday night, but the game against the Twins was postponed because of rain. No rescheduled date was announced.
The Yankees’ rotation will stay in turn, so A.J. Burnett will start for the Yankees Thursday. The Twins are also switching their starters. Carl Pavano was to have started Wednesday night but will be pushed back to Friday at the Twins’ home opener. Francisco Liriano will start Thursday on his normal rest.
Since Liriano is left-handed, Yankees manager Joe Girardi will likely have a different lineup from the one he planned Wednesday night against the right-handed Pavano. Girardi decided to rest shortstop Derek Jeter and designated hitter Jorge Posada. Alex Rodriguez was to have been the DH with Eric Chavez starting at third base and Eduardo Nunez at shortstop. The lefty-batting Chavez surely won’t start against Liriano. Girardi had talked about giving Jeter and Posada a day off, which they got anyway with the game rained out.
The Yankees are on the cusp of advancing to the American League Championship Series by putting the Twins on the ropes in Game 2 of the ALDS, a 5-2 victory that was fashioned by the Core Four and the guru work of hitting coach Kevin Long.
Andy Pettitte corrected some mechanical sloppiness early and retired the side in order in five of his seven innings. His efficient 88-pitch outing belied the fact that Pettitte had worked only 13 1/3 innings since mid-July and gave up 19 hits in his previous 7 1/3 innings. Andy improved his remarkable post-season record to 19-9 with a 3.87 ERA.
His catcher, Jorge Posada, did not get a hit, but he worked out a walk on a full count leading off the seventh against the Twins’ Carl Pavano that began a two-run rally as the Yankees regained the lead.
Derek Jeter, still waiting to score his 100th post-season run, collected his 56th post-season RBI by poking a single to right in that seventh for a run and chasing Pavano. Jeter also sparkled in the field, especially in the first inning with an acrobatic maneuver at second base to complete a double play on the speedy Orlando Hudson.
Finishing it off was Mariano Rivera for the second straight night with his 41st career post-season save and No. 600 including his regular-season work.
How many times have we seen this over the years? The Yankees dust up another team’s closer but nobody gets to theirs. It happened again in the ninth inning. The Yanks picked up an insurance run against Matt Capps while the Twins did little against Mo in the bottom half other than the teasing leadoff single by Joe Mauer, who was erased on a double play.
Where Long’s handiwork comes in are the offensive contributions of reclamation projects Curtis Granderson and Lance Berkman. Both struggled this year and worked closely with Long to correct their swings.
Granderson quieted his hands which allowed him to get to the ball quicker. While he hit only .251 in 171 at-bats since Long began working with him intensely in August, Granderson displayed more power, slugging .544 with six doubles, one triple and 14 home runs. He tripled in two big runs in Game 1 and scored the Yankees’ first run in the second game. Granderson doubled off the right field wall and scored on a fly ball by Alex Rodriguez.
A leadoff single in the sixth was wasted as the Yankees failed to get him home, but Granderson got that insurance run in the ninth with a single to center that scored Brett Gardner, who had singled, crossed to second on an infield out and stole third.
Berkman, obtained from Houston at the trading deadline, was engulfed in a season-long slump and heard choruses of boos instead of welcoming cheers at Yankee Stadium. During a stint on the disabled list, Berkman worked with Long on his stride and hit .299 over the last month of the season although with not much power – one home run and five RBI in 67 at-bats.
Berkman, in his first post-season game since the 2005 World Series for the Astros, got his power back with two extra-base hits. He uncoupled a 1-1 score with a home run in the fifth, an impressive blow to left-center in homer-stingy Target Field. Two innings later, he unlocked a 2-2 score with a double that scored Posada. Jeter got Berkman home with his hit.
It all added up to the Yankees heading home with a chance to close the series out Saturday night at the Stadium. So who’s the underdog now?
The 2009 post-season was filled with questionable calls by umpires, an embarrassing situation at a time when the game is on a national stage. The 2010 tournament is only two days old, and already head-scratching work by the dudes in the black hats has stained the games.
We have only had four games and already two managers have been ejected for arguing calls at a time when umpires are instructed to be patient because so much is at stake in the playoffs. Actually, the heave-ho’s were justified since in each case the managers were griping over ball-strike calls, which they know is a no-no.
Rays manager Joe Maddon was tossed Thursday afternoon for complaining about a checked swing by Michael Young that was ruled a ball one pitch before the Rangers third baseman smacked a three-run home run. Maddon and the Rays were already sore about a phantom foul tip call on Carlos Pena from Game 1 that helped Cliff Lee get out of a bases-loaded jam. In the same at-bat, Pena appeared to have been hit by a pitch but was not awarded first base.
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire also went wiggy Wednesday night over a Carl Pavano pitch to Yankees DH Lance Berkman on 1-2 that looked as if it had the inside corner for strike three. Plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt thought otherwise, and Berkman doubled in the go-ahead run on the next pitch. Gardenhire came out to talk to Pavano, but he really wanted to shout at Wendelstedt and paid the price with a seat in his office.
Just the night before, Yankees closer Mariano Rivera had to get a fifth out in his four-out save because a clean catch in right field by Greg Golson was ruled a trap by umpire Chris Guccione. Even the Twins had to shake their heads over that one as a reminder of how Joe Mauer got hosed out of a crucial double in last year’s ALDS at Yankee Stadium.
Let’s not hear about the intense scrutiny caused by HDTV technology. Plain eyesight showed that all these calls were wrong. Let’s just be grateful that none of these guys loused up Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay’s no-hitter.
The Twins drew first blood Thursday night in Game 2 of the American League Division Series, which means they were right where the Yankees wanted them. Minnesota couldn’t hold leads against the Yankees in the three ALDS games last year or in Wednesday night’s Game 1 of this series.
Andy Pettitte had his work cut out for him in his 41st career post-season start right from the beginning as Denard Span led off the first inning with a single on the 10th pitch of the at-bat. Span also led off Game 1 with a hit and was sacrificed to second by Orlando Hudson.
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire threw conservatism out of the window and allowed Hudson to swing away, which he did and grounded into a double play. That only proves that often it is damned if you do or damned if you don’t for a manager.
Pettitte gave up another leadoff hit in the second, to Delmon Young, which was his 12th hit in 22 career at-bats (.545) against the lefthander. Jim Thome fought off a fastball to punch a single to left-center, and the Twins had something going. A weak grounder by Michael Cuddyer advanced the runners, and Pettitte filled the bases with a four-pitch walk of Jason Kubel.
Danny Valencia’s fly ball to right got the first run of the game home. Right fielder Nick Swisher might have had a shot at Young at the plate but wisely threw to third base to keep Thome from advancing. Andy took care of the rest by retiring J.J. Hardy. Minnesota is still without a hit with a runner in scoring position. The Twins are 0-for-9 and counting.
In need of an economic inning, Andy got it in the third by setting down Span, Hudson and Joe Mauer on a total of six pitches. The only problem was that the Yankees hadn’t been able to solve Carl Pavano.
All it took was for the Twins to get ahead for the Yankees’ offense to wake up. Curtis Granderson, who had a big, two-run triple in the first game, banged another drive off the right field wall for a leadoff double in the second. He stopped at third on Mark Teixeira’s well-struck single to left.
Alex Rodriguez got the run home with a fly to right. Robinson Cano restarted the rally with a single that moved Tex to third, but Pavano held tough by starting a double play off a pepper shot by Swisher.
There goes the home-field advantage. That was the edge the Twins were supposed to have against the Yankees in the American League Division Series, but now it is essentially gone.
True, if this series goes the limit, Game 5 will be in Minneapolis, but for that to happen the Twins have to figure out a way to win at Yankee Stadium where they have lost 25 of the past 29 games they have played there in the regular season and are 2-4 in ALDS play.
In a best-of-5 series, the home field advantage is tilted more to Game 1 than a possible Game 5. The home team that loses the first game puts itself immediately in a defensive posture, which is what happened to the Twins Wednesday night when the Yankees came back from being down 3-0 and tied at 4.
What the Yankees did by winning, 6-4, is give themselves a chance to prevent a Game 5. Even if they should lose Game 2, they can still win the series without returning to Target Field. At this point, home field advantage is on the Yankees’ side.
There is also the matter of the Yankees’ dominance over the Twins in post-season play. The Twinkies could have made a big step toward exorcising those demons by maintaining the early lead, but now the doubts persist. To get this series back to the Target, they have to win one and maybe two games in the Bronx, a very tough order. Heck, just to get even in this series, they are counting Thursday night on Carl Pavano against Andy Pettitte. How confident would you be?
The bullpen came through big-time in Game 1 for the Yankees with three scoreless innings after the team broke the 4-all score on Mark Teixeira’s two-run home run in the seventh off a crush-me slider from Jesse Crain. Manager Joe Girardi did not hesitate to call on Mariano Rivera for a four-out save after the Twins got two runners on in the eighth off Kerry Wood on a walk and an infield single.
Almost as big a hit as Teixeira’s bomb was Curtis Granderson’s two-run triple in the four-run sixth off a tiring Francisco Liriano. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire will get heat for not taking Liriano out, but I’m with Gardy on this one. He said Liriano is his ace and deserved a chance to get an out there. Granderson was 4-for-24 (.167) off Liriano before that at-bat. Criticizing Gardenhire there is a lousy second guess.
Yankees starter CC Sabathia did not have lights-out stuff but went into his I’ll-work-out-of-it mode and made it through six innings. A bases-loaded walk – the first of his career – allowed the Twins to tie the score in the sixth, but CC still had enough gas left to strike out J.J. Hardy and keep the Twins from regaining the lead there.
Boone Logan and David Robertson preceded Wood. Robertson got a huge strikeout of Jim Thome with two out and two on in the seventh. The Yankees considered putting Royce Ring on the post-season roster to have a second left-handed reliever to go with Logan without disabled Damaso Marte but decided against it. Ring was only so-so in his September audition. The Yankees’ faith in Robertson’s ability to get a big out against a left-handed slugger paid off.