Results tagged ‘ CC Sabathia ’

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.

Didi no longer an easy out against lefties

Opposing managers should be thinking twice about now about bringing in left-handed relievers to face Didi Gregorius. The book on the shortstop a year ago when he joined the Yankees was that he struggled against left-handed pitching. Gregorius has reversed that this season and because of that the Yankees were able to end their four-game losing streak Thursday night with a 4-1 victory over the Twins.

Twins manager Paul Molitor, who has already suffered plenty with his 20-46 club, made the old-book move in the seventh inning by replacing starter Kyle Gibson with lefthander Fernando Abad to face Gregorius with runners on second and third and one out in a 1-1 game.

One pitch later, Molitor came to regret his move. Gregorius got all of the first-pitch fastball for a three-run home run in the middle of the right field stands. The timing could not have been better since manager Joe Girardi could go with Formula A out of the bullpen, using Dellin Betances in the seventh (no runs, one hit, one strikeout), Andrew Miller in the eighth (no runs, no hits, two strikeouts) and Aroldis Chapman in the ninth (no runs, no hits, one strikeout, 12th save). The Yankees are 9-0 when all three of those relievers appear in the same game.

Gregorius is batting .368 in 57 at-bats against left-handed pitching, the highest average of any left-handed hitter in the major leagues, but until Thursday night he had not hit for much power. Only three of his 21 hits off lefties were for extra bases, all doubles. His sixth home run of the year was his first off a southpaw.

The timing of Gregorius’ homer was also beneficial to CC Sabathia, who was able to get the winning decision that improved his record to 5-4 with a 2.20 ERA. It did not come easy for Sabathia, who pitched with runners on base in four of his six innings. The Twins stranded nine runners with only two hits in 10 at-bats with runners in scoring position against him.

One of those hits was a two-out, RBI single by former teammate Eduardo Nunez that gave the Twins a 1-0 lead in the fourth. Sabathia had worked out of jams in the first and second innings and did so again in the fifth even after he lost a double play on a reverse of an umpiring call.

Meanwhile, Gibson, who entered the game with a 10.72 career ERA against the Yankees, pitched to the minimum number of batters through five innings. The Yankees had two hits, but the runners were erased. Alex Rodriguez erased himself by getting thrown out at second trying to stretch, and Chase Headley was out on the front end of a double play the Twins turned against Ike Davis.

Gibson started coming apart in the sixth, but the Yankees did not take full advantage of it. They loaded the bases with none out on a single by Gregorius, a double by Headley and a four-pitch walk to Davis. Jacoby Ellsbury singled to center, but only one run scored. Brett Gardner then popped out to second, and Carlos Beltran, back in the lineup after a sore left knee kept him out of the two-game series at Denver, grounded into a double play.

The Yankees kept putting runners on base in the seventh. Rodriguez led off with an infield single, and Brian McCann walked. Starlin Castro sacrificed the runners up a base each before Molitor made the fatal move for a lefty reliever to face Gregorius, one Yankees hitter who is enjoying this trip (.545 with two home runs and seven RBI in 11 at-bats).

Sabathia kept his hot streak in place. Over his past seven starts, he is 4-2 with a 0.82 ERA and 41 strikeouts in 44 innings. In seven starts on the road this season, CC is 4-2 with a 2.14 ERA and 38 strikeouts in 42 innings. In his past 14 starts against the Twins, Sabathia is 10-1 with a 2.66 ERA.

Then again, Target Field has been a friendly venue for the Yankees. They are 17-5 in the Minneapolis yard that opened in 2010.

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.

HOPE Week: ‘Barbershop Books’

Ronald Torreyes, CC Sabathia, Mark Teixeira, Alvin Irby and Dellin Betances read to children at Denny Moe’s Superstar Barbershop in Harlem.


Waiting for a haircut can be boring for a child, unless he or she happens to be at Denny Moe’s Superstar Barbershop on Frederick Douglass Boulevard in Harlem. There in a corner of the 10-chair facility is a bookcase filled with reading material designed for children.
As part of the HOPE Week initiative Thursday, the Yankees paid a visit to Denny Moe’s where Alvin Irby, the founder of Barbershop Books, was reading “Precious and the Boo Hog” to a dozen first graders from nearby Harlem Children’s Zone Promise Academy.

Pretty soon, pitchers CC Sabathia and Dellin Betances, first baseman Mark Teixeira and infielder Ronald Torreyes got into the act and were joined by Bronx rapper Fat Joe. They took turns reading the pages of the popular children’s book, “No David,” to the youngsters while customers were getting their hair shorn.

“This is what it’s all about,” Betances said. “Education is a top priority. What better way to wait your turn than reading a book. I’ve never seen anything like it.”

Neither had Irby, a former kindergarten and first grade teacher, until two years ago when he got the idea to create reading areas in barbershops to help children develop a healthy reading habit in hopes of it becoming an ingrained part of their lifestyle as they grow up. Barbershop Books is a community-based literacy program that creates child-friendly reading spaces for children ages 4-8 in barbershops.

“Everybody has a favorite barbershop, but this is a place where kids can get more than a haircut,” Sabathia said. “It was great to see their faces light up while we were reading. I have little ones at home, so I’m now reading a lot of Harry Potter books.”

“I read books to my kids,” Teixeira said. “It is one of life’s simple pleasures. It’s important to bring attention to this program so it can expand. Maybe our donation will help.”

The Yankees presented a $10,000 check to Irby when the players along with translator Marlon Abreu joined the children for lunch at their school on West 129th Street where principal KiKi Walton looked on joyfully. The kids also received an assortment of books in Yankees carry bags as part of a large donation of reading material to the school and Barbershop Books. The program currently is in place in 11 barbershops — 10 in Manhattan and one in Brooklyn. Irby hopes to expand throughout the city and even beyond its borders.

“The issue of low literacy among children of color is too serious of an issue to wait,” he said. “The children who are coming in here to read when they are waiting or reading while their family members are getting a haircut can’t wait, either. I’m doing anything and everything I can to continue the work and to build those strategic partnerships that are going to allow us to grow, both here in New York City and across the country.”

Bullpen had leaky boat on 4-6 trip

Too bad it stopped raining Sunday in Baltimore.

Had the game not been resumed, it would have been a 1-0 victory for the Yankees. The Orioles had runners on first and second with one out in the bottom of the eighth inning when a thunderstorm held up play for 1 hour, 37 minutes. Since the Yankees had scored their run in the third inning and not the top of the eighth, the game would have been considered official and not suspended.

No such luck for the Yankees as the skies cleared. Still, with previously invincible Aroldis Chapman entering the game the odds still favored the Yankees, especially after he struck out Jonathan Schoop for the second out. Francisco Pena, son of Yankees first base coach Tony Pena, kept Baltimore’s hopes alive with a sharp single to right field that loaded the bases.

Chapman got ahead in the count 0-2 to pinch hitter Matt Wieters, who turned a 99-mph fastball around on the next pitch for a single through the middle that scored the tying and go-ahead runs. An insurance run scored when center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury’s throw bounced over catcher Brian McCann with Chapman failing to back up the plate. It was the first blown save for Chapman this season in 10 opportunities.

That run proved inconsequential because Orioles closer Zach Britton retired the Yankees in order in the ninth for his 17th save. The 3-1 loss ended a 4-6 trip for the Yankees and a 12-game stretch against American League East opponents in which they were 4-8.

The bullpen, which had been considered a Yankees strength, had some holes on the trip. The relief squad had a 1-2 record with three saves and a 6.15 ERA in 26 1/3 innings. It was even worse over the final six games — an 8.40 ERA in 15 innings. In the three-game set at Camden Yards, the pen blew late-inning leads of 5-2 and 1-0 in losses and came within one run of blowing a 7-0 lead in the Yanks’ lone victory in the series.

Dellin Betances had a particularly rough ride. In four appearances on the trip, the righthander was 1-2 with a 9.53 ERA. He allowed six earned runs and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings, and in his one winning decision Thursday night at Detroit in a rain-makeup game he, Andrew Miller and Chapman combined to turn a 5-1 lead into a 5-4 squeaking victory.

Sunday starter CC Sabathia pitched five scoreless innings, but six walks shoved his pitch count to 111 one batter into the sixth, once again forcing manager Joe Girardi to send for reinforcements a little more than halfway through the game. CC twice struck out major-league home run leader Mark Trumbo with the bases full.

Kirby Yates finished the sixth by retiring the side. Betances withstood a leadoff single in the seventh for a clean inning but started the eighth with a walk to Mark Trumbo, who had struck out three times against Sabathia, and giving up a single to Chris Davis before striking out Nolan Reimold before the rains came.

At least the Yankees’ offense woke up in Baltimore. The Yanks had 36 hits in the series, including 10 Sunday but they left 10 on base in going 1-for-11 (.091) with runners in scoring position. Breaking out of slumps during the series were Alex Rodriguez, who had 6-for-13 (.462) with a home run and three RBI, and Brett Gardner, who had 7-for-13 (.538) with two runs, two doubles and a stolen base.

Yanks’ bats remain cold in Toronto

It was another night of offensive futility Tuesday night at Toronto for the Yankees. They managed to score only one run — and that was on an out — as support for CC Sabathia, who was tagged with an underserved losing decision.

The combination of a punchless offense and uncharacteristic relief work by Dellin Betances sent Sabathia to his second straight loss despite six-plus innings of solid pitching (two runs, five hits, one walk, four strikeouts). A home run with two outs in the fourth inning by Justin Smoak that tied the score at 1 was one of the few mistakes made by Sabathia, who gave up a double to Edwin Encarnacion to start the seventh that hastened the call to Betances.

Manager Joe Girardi’s hook despite the fact that Sabathia had thrown just 80 pitches looked like the move to make when Betances struck out Smoak and retired Russell Martin on a fly ball to left field. That drive reached the warning track, which might have been an omen. So, too, was a four-pitch walk to Devon Travis.

There were more blunders to come. Betances got too much of the plate with a fastball to free-swinging Kevin Pillar, who punched a single to right field where Rob Refsnyder made a multi-bounce, offline throw home that failed to prevent Encarnacion from crossing the plate with the go-ahead run. Pillar, who made two sensational fielding plays in center field, made another heads-up play by stealing second base, so when Darwin Barney also singled to right two more runs, not just one, scored.

A three-run deficit in the ninth seemed insurmountable to a Yankees lineup that has gone to sleep lately, and there would be no Brian McCann pinch-hit home run to make things closer than the 4-1 final score.

This marked the 22nd time this season that the Yankees have scored two runs or fewer in a game. They have lost 20 of them, and in one of the two victories (Saturday at St. Pete) they got only one hit. Their only hit in eight at-bats Tuesday night with a runner in scoring position did not drive in a run. A single by Austin Romine only served to move Chase Headley, who had two hits, from second base to third. If Aaron Hicks had not beaten out a potential double play with a spring to first base, the Yankees might have been shut out.

Girardi is running out of rabbits to pull out of his hat to turn things around. Tuesday night, Alex Rodriguez (1-for-16 with nine strikeouts since coming off the disabled list last week) was on the bench for the second consecutive night. A-Rod’s career 0-for-14 record against Blue Jays starter J.A. Happ was all Girardi needed to see to use Carlos Beltran instead as designated hitter.

The manager was not singling out Rodriguez, who these days has looked every bit the 40-year-old not named David Ortiz. McCann (1-for-22) and Brett Gardner (0-for-20) were also on the pine. Refsnyder got a start over Gardner and had a first-inning double but was left stranded. With right-handed Jesse Chavez on base by the eighth, Gardner batted for Refsnyder and was called out on strikes. Girardi might have used A-Rod as a pinch hitter if more than one runner had gotten on base, but that situation did not present itself after the second inning.

The six-game winning streak that brought the Yankees to a .500 record seems like ancient history now that they have lost five of their past seven games to fall three games below par at 24-27.

Memorial Day weekend a draw for Yankees

The Memorial Day weekend was a push for the Yankees as they went 2-2. They took two of three games from the Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., and dropped the opener of a three-game set at Rogers Centre in Toronto Monday night. The road has been kinder recently to the Yankees, who have won seven of their past nine games away from home after having lost 12 of their first 16 road games.

The Blue Jays series continues tonight on the last day of May with one of the month’s hottest pitchers starting for the Yanks.

CC Sabathia gets the call opposite fellow lefthander J.A. Happ, who beat the Yankees last Thursday at Yankee Stadium despite Sabathia having allowed two unearned runs, two hits and one walk with seven strikeouts in seven innings. Happ was equally tough with seven innings of one-run, three-hit, three-walk, five-strikeout pitching.

Sabathia leads the major leagues in earned run average this month with 0.45 for pitchers with a minimum of 20 innings pitched and has the lowest WHIP (0.75) in the American League in May. Sabathia’s season ERA of 2.83 is the latest in a season he has held an ERA that low since Aug. 6, 2011 when it was 2.81 ERA after 25 starts. In last Thursday’s start, CC was the first Yankees starter to take a loss without allowing an earned run since Shane Greene Sept. 9, 2014 against the Royals.

The lefthander has pitched six or more innings and allowed three or fewer hits in each of his last two starts. With 2,610 career strikeouts, Sabathia is tied with Chuck Finley for 23rd place on the all-time list. In 22nd place is former Yankees pitcher David Cone at 2,668.

Yankees pitchers have held both right fielder Jose Bautista and designated hitter-first baseman Edwin Encarnacion homerless through a combined 58 plate appearances this year after the pair banged 21 home runs (in 284 plate appearances) off them over the previous two seasons. Bautista (13) and Encarnacion (8) ranked first and tied for third, respectively, in homers against the Yankees over the 2014 and ’15 seasons (2014-15).

The Yankees will stop in Detroit Thursday for a 7:40 p.m. game to make up a game that was postponed April 10 because of the geniuses at ESPN who thought scheduling a Sunday Night Baseball game in Detroit in early April was a smart idea. This will be the Yankees’ first one-game series since Aug. 25, 2014 at Kansas City, when they made up a June 9, 2014 rainout at Kauffman Stadium. That make-up game preceded a scheduled six-game road trip, which coincidentally included three-game series at Detroit and Toronto. In that makeup game, RHP Michael Pineda – who will also start Thursday night at Comerica Park – allowed one run over six innings in the Yankees’ 8-1 victory over the Royals

Yankees waste solid effort from Sabathia

It is tough to lose a two-hitter, but that is what happened to CC Sabathia Thursday. The lefthander gave up only two singles through seven innings, which marked the eighth consecutive game in which the Yankees’ starting pitcher lasted six or more innings.

That was the good part. The bad part is that Blue Jays lefthander J.A. Happ was just as stingy in limiting the Yankees to one run in seven innings. A home run with two out in the first inning by Starlin Castro accounted for the Yankees’ scoring in a 3-1 loss that allowed Toronto to jump ahead of them in the American League East standings.

The Yankees stayed out of last place in the division but fell two games under .500 in dropping two of the three games in the abbreviated home stand against a club that has had more than it share of turmoil lately. Losing the series stunted much of the momentum derived from a 5-2 trip to Phoenix and Oakland. The Yankees will spend the next 10 days on the road again with stops in St. Petersburg, Fla. (three games), Toronto (three), Detroit (one), and Baltimore (three). Only the rainout makeup game against the Tigers will be outside the AL East, so there will be plenty of chances for the Yanks to gain ground in the standings.

It hurt to waste so strong an effort by Sabathia, whose record fell to 3-3 butt whose ERA shrunk to 2.83. Neither of the two runs off Sabathia, who struck out seven batters, walked one and hit one, was earned because of an error by shortstop Didi Gregorius, whose defense has been inconsistent (eight errors in 42 games).

Gregorius booted a hard grounder by Devon Travis with one out. Sabathia retired Darwin Barney on a fly to center but loaded the bases by yielding a single to Jose Bautista and walking Josh Donaldson. Edwin Encarnacion lashed a single to left to score the two runs that gave the Jays the lead for what turned out to be for good.

Sabathia kept the Yankees in the game after that with four hitless innings, but the Yankees could not muster much of an offense against Happ and two relievers. Chase Headley and Gregorius singled with one out in the fifth before Austin Romine grounded into a double play. In the eighth against righthander Gavin Floyd, Jacoby Ellsbury batted for Romine and led off with a single. He reached second on an infield out but was stranded as Aaron Hicks flied out and Alex Rodriguez struck out.

Rodriguez was back from his two-game, injury-rehabilitation assignment at Double A Trenton and in the lineup as the designated hitter for the first time since he went on the 15-day disabled list May 4. A-Rod was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. Carlos Beltran, who had been the Yankees’ hottest hitter as a frequent DH in Rodriguez’s absence, was back in right field and had a brutal day at the plate (0-for-4, all strikeouts). He is now hitless in his past nine at-bats. Romine played first base in place of Mark Teixeira, who had an injection in his ailing neck and will be out of the lineup for several days. Relief pitcher Chasen Shreve was placed on the DL because of a sprained left shoulder.

The Blue Jays scored an insurance run in the ninth off Aroldis Chapman, who was not in a save situation and gave up three singles.

Thursday marked Sabathia’s 10th career start of seven or more innings pitched and two hits or fewer without allowing an earned run and his first since April 5, 2011 against the Twins (seven innings, two hits). With his seven strikeouts, Sabathia raised his career total to 2,610, surpassing Hall of Famer Tom Glavine (2,607) and tying Chuck Finley (2,610) for 23rd place on the all-time list.

Beltran thriving in A-Rod’s absence

Alex Rodriguez has been eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list since Thursday, but the Yankees seem in no hurry to activate him. The main reason is that he has not appeared to be 100 percent in running drills, which is crucial for a player disabled due to a strained right hamstring.

Another reason is that the Yankees have been able to use the designated hitter spot previously occupied almost solely by Rodriguez in a manner that is helpful for a club with aging players. Manager Joe Girardi has had the luxury of giving games off the field for catcher Brian McCann, first baseman Mark Teixeira and most notably right fielder Carlos Beltran.

Of the 17 games A-Rod has been out of the lineup, Beltran has served as the DH in 10 of them and sparing his battered legs has produced dividends to the offense. Beltran has been an absolute wrecking crew in Oakland where the Yankees have knocked off the Athletics two nights in a row in ending a four-game Athletics winning streak and putting together a three-game winning streak for the first time this season.

Beltran had three doubles and drove in three runs in Friday night’s 8-3 victory, one night after another three-RBI game with a double and a home run in Thursday night’s 4-1 triumph. In 41 at-bats as the DH in Rodriguez’s absence, Beltran has batted .342 with eight runs, eight doubles, five home runs and 16 RBI. The Yankees are 8-2 in the games Beltran has been the DH and 11-6 overall since A-Rod went on the DL.

Beltran doubled with two out in the first inning off Sonny Gray, who the Yanks would rough up later in the game, but was stranded. Beltran’s second double knocked in two runs in the Yankees’ four-run fourth that also included a two-run triple by Ronald Torreyes and a run-scoring wild pitch, one of three in the game by Gray, who also gave up six hits and four walks in 3 1/3 innings. The Oakland righthander finished third last season in the American League Cy Young Award voting behind winner Dallas Keuchel and runner-up David Price but has struggled big-time this year with a 3-5 record and a 6.19 ERA.

Beltran doubled in the Yankees’ sixth run in the sixth inning off reliever Ryan Dull. The offensive outburst was sufficient support for CC Sabathia, who in his first start since coming off the DL held the A’s to one run, three hits and one walk with eight strikeouts in six innings. Having a five-run lead in the seventh meant Girardi could stay away from Dellin Betances and give Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman the night off as well.

Jacoby Ellsbury continued his hot hitting with two hits, including a two-run triple in the ninth. The center fielder is batting .395 with 10 runs, four doubles, two triples, six walks, five stolen bases and five RBI in 38 at-bats this month.

The winning decision was Sabathia’s 100th victory with the Yankees. With 106 victories for the Indians, Sabathia became the eighth pitcher since 1900 and the second with the Yankees to win at least 100 games with multiple franchises. Mike Mussina (Orioles) was the other Yankees pitcher to pull off the feat. The others were Grover Cleveland Alexander (Phillies and Cardinals), Lefty Grove (A’s and Red Sox), Nolan Ryan (Angels and Astros), Dennis Martinez (Expos and Orioles), Greg Maddux (Cubs and Braves) and Randy Johnson (Mariners and Diamondbacks).

Yankees dealing with non-DL injuries

Starlin Castro was not in the starting lineup for the Yankees Monday night as they opened a four-game series at Yankee Stadium against the reigning World Series champion Royals, but that was more due to manager Joe Girardi’s characteristic cautionary approach to injuries that anything too serious.

Castro told reporters that his left ribcage was still sore but that he could have played. Girardi did not disagree but felt comfortable giving the second baseman who leads the club in hits (32) another day to get healthy. Castro has has some adventures on the bases. He was caught off third base in Sunday night’s 5-1 loss to the Red Sox and was picked off second base last week at Baltimore.

The Yankees also continue to be without center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury, who has not played since the first inning Friday night because of a tight right hip. Although not on the 15-day disabled list with Alex Rodriguez and CC Sabathia, Ellsbury has yet to do any baseball-related activity. Aaron Hicks was in center field and Ronald Torreyes at second base Monday night.

The Yankees also activated relief pitcher Aroldis Chapman. To make room for the lefthander on the roster, there Yankees optioned Johnny Barbato to Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Barbato, a righthander who won the James P. Dawson Award as the outstanding rookie in the Yankees’ spring training camp, was 1-2 with a 5.54 ERA and 15 strikeouts in 12 games covering 13 innings.

Ivan Nova was to make his first start of the season in place of Sabathia, who has a strained left groin. Girardi was hopeful that Nova, who is 1-1 with a 5.14 ERA in six relief appearances totaling 14 innings, could give him at least 75 pitches. Nova’s longest outing in relief was four innings, which he did twice, April 6 against the Astros at the Stadium and April 26 against the Rangers at Arlington, Texas.

Last year, the Yankees had the best record of an American League club against AL Central competition of 21-12 (.625). Only the National League’s Pirates did better against AL Central competition in 13 fewer games at 13-7 (.650). The Yankees entered play Monday night with a 1-1 record against the AL Central (both games against the Tigers).

The Yanks also found out they will have an additional workload coming up. Their rainout April 10 at Detroit’s Comerica Park will be made up there at 7:40 p.m. June 2, which had been an open date for both clubs. With this date set, the Yankees will play on 40 of 41 days from May 3 through June 6. Their only off day during that stretch will be May 23 upon returning from a trip to Phoenix and Oakland

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