Results tagged ‘ Casey Kotchman ’

CC touched for 5 dingers

Perhaps CC Sabathia will be the odd man out when Yankees manager Joe Girardi cuts the current six-man rotation back to five next week.

Only joking.

The adventures of the six-man rotation continued Friday night as Sabathia pitched as if he were facing the Red Sox. What a strange outing for CC, who gave up five runs on five solo homers. The Rays were 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position but didn’t need any clutch hits to post a 5-1 victory over the Yankees because of those home runs.

The night got off to a tense start with talk about the rotation centering on general manager Brian Cashman’s fierce defense of A.J. Burnett before the game. Media reports have focused on whether Burnett or Phil Hughes will be the starter bounced from the rotation when the Yankees head for the road Monday. Cashman said that reporters were off base to suggest Burnett’s expensive contract was a factor in the decision. The G.M. did say that Ivan Nova is a lock to stay in the rotation, so it appears that the decision will come from among Burnett, Hughes, Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia.

Friday night notwithstanding, Sabathia will remain the staff ace. The five home runs were half the amount of hits allowed by the big lefthander, but he had seven strikeouts and did not walk a batter. CC said he lacked fastball command with a lot of pitches up in the zone, and he didn’t have the opportunity to throw many changeups. One of those was a hanger to Kelly Shoppach, a .183 hitter, for one of the home runs. The other four were off fastballs.

Sabathia had not allowed more than one home run in any of his previous 25 starts this season before giving up back-to-back shots in the second inning to Casey Kotchman and Shoppach. Later in the inning, Johnny Damon also went deep. It marked only the second time in Sabathia’s career that he yielded three homers in an inning. The other game was May 1, 2007 for the Indians against the Blue Jays.

Elliott Johnson, who is batting .182, joined the parade in the fifth, and Evan Longoria, who has struggled all year and is down to .232, hit an opposite-field drive in the eighth. The five home runs equaled the total Sabathia gave up over his first 21 starts of the season. He had never allowed more than three homers in a game in his major-league career.

It marked the sixth time in franchise history that a Yankees pitcher allowed five dingers in a game. The others were Joe Ostrowski June 22, 1950 at Cleveland, John Cumberland in the second game of a doubleheader May 24, 1970 at Cleveland, Ron Guidry Sept. 17, 1985 at Detroit, Jeff Weaver July 21, 2002 at Yankee Stadium against the Red Sox and David Wells July 4, 2003 at the Stadium against the Red Sox.

The Yankees lead the league in home runs but came up empty against David Price, who beat them for the first time in four starts this year. The only run the lefthander allowed was in the fourth on a double by Andruw Jones, but a perfect relay from right fielder Ben Zobrist to second baseman Sean Rodriguez to Shoppach cut down Nick Swisher trying to score a second run on the hit at the plate, and the Yanks didn’t come close to scoring again.

The game followed a strange pattern for the Yankees, whose record in first games of series fell to 19-20. They have rebounded to go 26-12 in the second game of series and look forward to doing the same Saturday with Hughes on the mound.

A piece of good news is that Alex Rodriguez played in his first injury rehabilitation game Friday night for Class A Tampa at Dunedin, Fla. A-Rod had 2-for-3 with one run, one home run and two RBI in three plate appearances. The homer came on his first swing. Rodriguez was the DH. He will play third base in a game Saturday and then will go to Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to play early next week before rejoining the Yankees likely in Minneapolis near the end of the week.

The Yankees will hold a special ceremony prior to Saturday’s game to celebrate Derek Jeter reaching the 3,000-hit plateau, which was against Price. Fans are encouraged to arrive early and be in their seats by 3:45 p.m. The first pitch is 4:10 p.m.

Yanks’ rotation becoming solidified

The fortification of the Yankees’ rotation continued Wednesday night in a 4-0 victory over the Rays with Freddy Garcia rebounding from a shaky previous outing by pitching 6 2/3 scoreless innings. Only an error by third baseman Eduardo Nunez prevented Garcia from going seven.

Nunez made up for his boot with a two-out, two-run single in the ninth inning that gave the Yankees some breathing room, even if it did take a save opportunity from Mariano Rivera, who pitched the bottom of the ninth to close out their fifth shutout of the season.

Also enjoying a moment of atonement was Boone Logan. The lefthander, who botched a potential double-play ball Tuesday night, came in with runners on first and third and two out in the seventh and ended the inning with a strikeout of Casey Kotchman, who had three hits and is batting .337.

Garcia scattered eight hits, did not walk a batter and struck out seven in following teammates Phil Hughes and Bartolo Colon with another quality start that seemed to solidify the rotation. The most accomplished of the Yankees’ starters, CC Sabathia, will take the mound Thursday night in the finale of the trip.

Derek Jeter was reunited with Rays lefthander David Price, the pitcher who gave up his 3,000th hit 11 days earlier. Three of the five hits Jeter had July 9 at Yankee Stadium were off Price, including the home run for career hit No. 3,000.

The Captain kept it up against Price with a leadoff single in the first inning. Jeter stole second, but it proved a waste of energy because Curtis Granderson clouted a home run, his 26th to take the team lead. It was the 10th homer Granderson has hit this year off left-handed pitching.

Price got revenge against Jeter in the second. With Brett Gardner on second base with two out, Jeter was called out on strikes. Gardner has been living on the bases throughout this trip.

Granderson had his adventures in center field. Tuesday night, he lost a fly ball in the lightly-colored roof of Tropicana Field for a costly hit in the seventh inning when the Rays grabbed the lead for good. Wednesday night, he appeared to lose sight of another fly ball that was caught by Gardner. Another time, Granderson caught a ball after calling off a charging Gardner from left field.

In the fifth inning, however, Granderson made a sensational catch to rob Evan Longoria of a potential extra-base hit that would have tied the score. Tampa Bay had runners on second and third with two out when Longoria hit a long drive to center. Granderson raced back, made the catch and then slammed into the wall without losing control of the ball.

Granderson was nearly knocked out of the game several times but ended up playing the full nine innings. He fouled a ball hard off his left foot in an at-bat in the sixth. Two innings later, Grandy was struck in the right shoulder blade by a 96-mph fastball from Price. Talk about a gamer!

Lightning delay at the Trop

There was a power outage at Tropicana Field Monday night, and it had nothing to do with the lack of home runs. Robinson Cano was batting with two out and runners on first and second in the fifth inning when a lightning strike caused a bank of lights to go out and forced an 18-minute delay. When play resumed, Cano completed the 11-pitch at-bat by grounding out to second base.

Sunday at Toronto, the Blue Jays showed off a new version of the infield shift against Mark Teixeira by having their third baseman hold the runner at first base and playing their first and second basemen back in shallow right field.

The Rays’ shift against him was more conventional, but in his first two at-bats Teixeira hit the ball right into the shift but got on base both times. In the first inning, Rays second baseman Sean Rodriguez dropped a ground ball he fielded in the exchange for an error. That permitted Curtis Granderson, who had walked and swiped second base, to get to third base. He was able to score when Cano avoided grounding into a double play by beating the play at first base.

Just before the lights went out in the fifth, Tex got a single and a run batted in when Rodriguez, again stationed in shallow right field, could not get his throw to first base in time after turning his body while fielding the ball. Brett Gardner, who led off the inning with a walk and stole second, scored on the hit.

The Rays, who failed to score in 16 innings Sunday night in being shut out by the Red Sox, jumped A.J. Burnett for three runs in the first. Evan Longoria doubled in two runs. The third run scored after two were out on a throwing error by Burnett. A.J. struggled with his control. He hurt himself with two two-out walks in the second inning that loaded the bases and led to a run on an infield hit by Casey Kotchman.

A bump in Colon’s comeback path

Bartolo Colon came back to Earth a bit Thursday night. The 2005 American League Cy Young Award winner has been writing a wonderful comeback story this year, but his latest outing was a disappointment.

With so much attention focused on Derek Jeter and his race for 3,000 hits, it is easy to forget that the Yankees are playing important games against the Rays this homestand leading up to the All-Star break, beginning with the 5-1 loss.

The series got off to a bumpy start as Colon, who had not allowed a run in 12 2/3 innings over his past two starts, was greeted by leadoff hitter Ben Zobrist with a triple. It was an indication that things might go as sweetly as his previous start when in Colon’s first appearance after a stint on the disabled list because of a hamstring strain he pitched five scoreless innings against the Mets at Citi Field.

Zobrist, who scored in the first inning on a single by Evan Longoria, hurt Colon again with a home run in the third. Colon got the next two batters out before yielding another run on a double by Casey Kotchman and a single by B.J. Upton. It was even worse for Colon the next time he faced Upton, who slugged a two-run home run in the fifth.

Zobrist’s third hit of the game, a single in the sixth leaving him a double shy of the cycle, was the 10th hit allowed by Colon, the most he has given up in a game this year. Zobrist didn’t get the cycle. In his final at-bat, in the ninth, he walked.

In addition to all the hits allowed, Colon also had four walks, which was one more than he had allowed in his past four starts and 27 innings.

Warming up for the All-Star Home Run Derby, Robinson Cano smoked his 15th homer into the right field bleachers in the sixth off Jeff Niemann to account for the Yanks’ only run.

As the Yankees fell more and more out of this game, the spotlight on Jeter’s at-bats intensified. He grounded out to third in the second and again in the fifth with the Rays’ Sean Rodriguez making a diving, back-handed stop and strong throw to rob DJ of an infield hit. Jeter grounded out to shortstop in the seventh.

Two Yankees needed to reach base against reliever Kyle Farnsworth in the ninth for Jeter to get a fifth at-bat. Jorge Posada walked with one out. Those remaining in the sellout crowd of 47,787 roared when with two out Brett Gardner reached first base on a wild-pitch third strike that gave the Captain one more shot.

That cheerfulness was short-lived as Jeter grounded out to shortstop to complete an essentially disappointing night all around for the Yankees.

Plenty in stride to end slide

Now that’s the way to put an end to an extended losing streak. The best thing about the Yankees’ 6-2 victory over the Rays Tuesday night to stop the six-game slide, the franchise’s longest losing streak in four years, was that so many players contributed to a winning effort in so many ways.

It was truly a team effort. Only Curtis Granderson, who had 0-for-5, failed to lend a hand, but he deserves to be cut some slack considering how consistent and powerful he has been with the bat all year. It says something about the rest of the Yankees that they didn’t need Granderson to pull this one out.

Ivan Nova gave up one run, on a home run to Elliot Johnson, and pitched into the sixth inning. With Rafael Soriano placed on the disabled list because of an inflamed right elbow, the bullpen needed to pick up the slack and did so. David Robertson faced a bases-loaded, one-out situation in the sixth and handled it magnificently by striking out B.J. Upton and Casey Kotchman.

After Robertson swayed a bit with two walks, Joba Chamberlain shut the door that inning and tagged on a scoreless eighth. Mariano Rivera came into the game in a non-save situation in the ninth to get the final out, so you know how important manager Joe Girardi considered this game.

Girardi’s faith in his pen may be why the Yankees did not replace Soriano on the 25-man roster with another relief pitcher but instead with outfielder Chris Dickerson, who traveled all day from Pennsylvania to Florida and did his part with an RBI single while spelling Nick Swisher, out due to a stomach virus.

On the day Harmon Killebrew, his predecessor as the American League record holder for home runs by a right-handed batter, died, Alex Rodriguez bashed two homers in successive at-bats, as many as he had in his previous 100 at-bats. Home runs Nos. 620 and 621 were great signs from A-Rod, who was 0-for-4 with three strikeouts Monday night after a 2-for-12 series last weekend against the Red Sox. Maybe Alex is on his way.

Jorge Posada showed life in his swing with a double and a single. Brett Gardner had three hits and scored two runs. Derek Jeter had an infield hit for an RBI. Mark Teixeira, Robinson Cano and Russell Martin had a single apiece. Eduardo Nunez scored as a pinch runner for Posada and added a run-building sacrifice bunt.

Another favorable aspect was that the Yankees scored four of their six runs after the sixth inning. For the third straight game, they hit a quality starter hard, this time James Shields following the Rays’ David Price Monday night and the Red Sox’ Jon Lester Sunday night. This time, though, the Yankees kept up the attack against the opponent’s bullpen. The Yankees had 4-for-6 with runners in scoring position in those last three innings to give their own bullpen working room.

It all worked enough to send the Yankees off to Baltimore working on a winning streak.