Results tagged ‘ CC Sabathia ’

Yanks’ recent surge may continue without Chapman

Calm down, Yankees fans, Monday’s trade of Aroldis Chapman to the Cubs for Adam Warren and three prospects is not the start of a fire sale.

No pun intended.

The debate about whether the Yankees will be buyers or sellers come the non-waiver trade deadline Aug. 1 can continue to rage while the club keeps trying to prove it will be a contender for post-season play.

Chapman won over Yankees fans with his triple-digit fastball readings, zooming as high as 105 miles per hour last week, but this was a deal general manager Brian Cashman had to make. He had a player who cost him relatively nothing (four lower-level prospects) and was highly sought after by contenders in need of a quality closer. The Yankees had an able successor to Chapman in Andrew Miller, who of course was also his predecessor and won the Mariano Rivera Award as the American League’s best reliever in 2015.

So Cashman had a huge chip in Chapman, who was 3-0 with a 2.01 ERA and 29 saves. The lefthander made it clear to the front office that he intended to enter free agency at the end of the 2016 season, so the Yankees had good reason to shop him. They had made incorrect calculations about second baseman Robinson Cano and reliever David Robertson in recent years and watched them bolt New York without getting anything in return.

No one can be sure how good a trade is until all the players involved make it to the majors, but Cashman appears to have acquired plenty of talent in the swap. Warren, of course, is known to Yankees fans as an able swing man who was a vital cog on the 2015 staff. I frankly admit that I did not like his being traded to the Cubs, although any deal that brings an everyday position player such as a Starlin Castro for a pitcher is a plus.

Warren did not pitch especially well for the Cubs and had been optioned to Triple A, but I believe his reunion with Yanks pitching coach Larry Rothschild will be beneficial.

The key ingredient in the deal from the Yankees’ standpoint is shortstop Gleyber Torres, the consensus top prospect in the Cubs organization. The Yankees currently have a solid shortstop in Didi Gregorius with Jorge Mateo highly touted in the organization, but players often shift off shortstop in the minors. By the time Torres is ready for the big time, a position will be found for him. The Yanks already have the example of Rob Refsnyder.

The Yankees had keen interest in the native Venezuelan three years ago but were outbid by the Cubs. Torres will remain on the Class A level for now as he was assigned to Tampa as was Rashad Crawford, one of two outfielders in the deal, along with Billy McKinney.

Crawford is similar to Gregorius in that as a left-handed batter he did better this year at Class A Myrtle Beach against left-handed pitching (.321 in 81 at-bats) than against right-handed pitching (.234 in 248 at-bats).

McKinney, who was assigned to Double A Trenton, is a former first-round draft pick of the Athletics who went to the Cubs two years ago in the multi-player trade for pitchers Jeff Samardzija and Dan Straily. Also going from Oakland to Chicago in that deal was Addison Russell, now the Cubs’ regular shortstop who was voted on to the National League All-Star team this year by fans. Such progress is what the Yankees are hoping will come out of this trade, but there are no guarantees.

Remember something else. Chapman, who said he loved playing in New York, could always come back to the Yankees as a free agent. So in many ways this is a win-win deal for the Yanks.

They have done fine without Chapman the first two nights of a three-game series at Houston with Miller closing out both victories, 6-3 Tuesday night and 2-1 Monday night.

Dellin Betances had to do a dance act in the eighth when he came in and walked two batters to load the bases but ended the threat with a strikeout. Miller surrendered a one-out double but followed that up with two strikeouts to put the Astros away.

CC Sabathia pitched into the seventh and had a strong outing in ending a personal four-game losing streak with his first victory in seven starts since June 16. Sabathia was touched for solo home runs by Marwin Gonzalez in the first and Evan Gattis in the seventh but allowed only two other hits over 6 2/3 innings. All three Houston runs in this series have come on homers.

Yankees hitters have been kept in the yard both nights, but they banged out 13 hits Tuesday night, including three by slumping Jacoby Ellsbury and two apiece by Carlos Beltran, Mark Teixeira and Castro.

Monday night, the Yanks overcame tormentor Dallas Keuchel. There were some tense moments in the bottom of the ninth when Houston had runners on first and second with one out before Miller got Carlos Gomez on a game-ending double play.

Michael Pineda gave up a leadoff home run to George Springer on the righthander’s first pitch of the game but limited the Stros to four hits and two walks with eight strikeouts through the seventh.

Keuchel, who is not having the AL Cy Young Award season he had a year ago, had a one-hit shutout working with two out in the fifth when Gregorius doubled and Chase Headley tied the score with a flare single to center field, which made the Yankees’ third baseman the all-time hits leader among players from Colorado.

Headley singled to right leading off the eighth and scored the go-ahead run on a booming double to center by Austin Romine. Betances pitched a perfect, three-strikeout eighth before Miller earned his eighth save.

The victories pushed the Yankees’ record four games over .500 for the first time this year. They have won eight of their past 10 games and 10 of their past 14. Their record has improved every calendar month (8-14 in April, 16-15 in May, 15-12 in June, 13-9 in July). If this keeps up, the Yankees may seek help in trades rather than trying to help others.

Yankees disappointing capacity crowds

The paid crowd of 48,329 Saturday at Yankee Stadium was the largest of the season. The night before there was another sellout audience of 47,439. It is definitely a sign of summer and that the Red Sox are in town.

It is also the time when you want your ball club to be at its best, to convince those in the stands to come back again. That is part of the frustration the Yankees as an organization feels about losing to Boston in the first two games of what is most definitely a crucial homestand for them.

Fans go home with as sour a taste in their mouths as the players in the clubhouse after another game of disappointment. And the situation continues to challenge the Yankees, who conclude the series against the Red Sox Sunday night behind Masahiro Tanaka in a marquee pairing against Boston’s David Price.

CC Sabathia tried to turn the tide in the Yankees’ favor Saturday while his teammates hoped to tee off on Eduardo Rodriguez, the lefthander who has struggled mightily this season but who always seems to save his best for the Bombers.

Rodriguez had been optioned to Triple A Pawtucket after giving up nine earned runs and 11 hits in 2 2/3 innings to the Rays June 27 in a 13-7 loss that skyrocketed his ERA to 8.59. After pitching to a 3.08 ERA at Triple A, Rodriguez was recalled Friday to make this start, and make the best of it he did.

A solo home run by Brett Gardner in the third inning was the only run Rodriguez allowed in seven innings. It ended a 180-at-bat homerless stretch for Gardner, who had last gone deep May 18. Gardy proved the only real nemesis for Rodriguez, who also gave up a single and walked the leadoff hitter.

It was a close game for the first five innings. Sabathia gave up an unearned run in the third on a rally started by a throwing error by shortstop Didi Gregorius. A couple of infield hits fueled another small rally in the fourth when the Red Sox went ahead on a two-out single by catcher Sandy Leon.

Boston broke it open in the fourth. Manager Joe Girardi again pointed to soft hits off Sabathia enabling the Red Sox, but there was nothing soft about the three-run shot Leon drove into the left-field bleachers.

It was the fifth straight winless start for Sabathia, whose ERA has grown over that period from 2.20 to 3.94. The big lefthander has allowed 39 hits, including five home runs, with 10 walks and 19 strikeouts over 28 1/3 innings in those starts. His record over that span is 0-3 with a 7.94 ERA.

Conversely, Rodriguez improved his record in five career starts against the Yankees to 4-1 with a 2.01 ERA in 31 1/3 innings. The Yankees have definitely been vulnerable to left-handed pitching. They are 11-16 in games started by lefties.

No sooner had Rodriguez left the game than Chase Headley launched a home run to right-center off Matt Barnes. No other hits followed that as the Yankees went down meekly against Barnes and closer Koji Uehara (sixth save).

Other than the solo jacks by Gardner and Headley, the only other highlight for the Yankees was scoreless relief work by Anthony Swarzak (2 2/3 innings) and Richard Bleier (one inning). Yankees relievers have shut out opponents over their past 16 innings since June 9 at Cleveland.

Yanks with shot to get to .500 at All-Star break

So the Yankees will have a chance to get their record back to .500 before the All-Star break after all. A gripping, 7-6, 11-inning victory Saturday over the Indians brought the Yankees’ mark to 43-44, and they will have their best starter, Masahiro Tanaka, on the mound Sunday, the last game before the annual vacation.

The Yankees certainly did not take an easy route to Saturday’s victory. They gave up two leads, left 10 runners on base and had only two hits in 12 at-bats (.167) with runners in scoring position. Starter CC Sabathia had his fourth consecutive ineffective outing and two-thirds of No Runs DMC were pretty shaky before Aroldis Chapman, pitching into a third inning for the first time in his major league career, cleaned up matters in the ninth, 10th and 11th.

I thought it was interesting that Chapman, whose fastball did not reach triple digits until the 11th, told WFAN’s Suzyn Waldman that he actually was reserving his strength when he realized manager Joe Girardi needed additional length from him. Starting pitchers years ago who were expected to finish what they began held that attitude for decades.

Although their offense with runners in scoring position was weak, the Yanks did score six of their runs after two were out, including the game winner in the 11th. Brian McCann followed a two-out single by Carlos Beltran with a double to right field that scored pinch runner Ronald Torreyes from first base.

It marked the continuation of a strong trip for McCann, who in the seven games he has started behind the plate on the trek has hit .379 with two doubles, two home runs and four RBI in 29 at-bats. Fifteen games ago, McCann’s batting average was a feeble .207. Since then, he is batting .373 with 10 runs, three doubles, six homers and 11 RBI to boost his season average to .248. He had his second straight three-hit game Saturday.

Didi Gregorius had only one hit, but it was a big one, a two-run home run (No. 11) with two out in the third that gave the Yankees a 3-1 lead. Unfortunately, Sabathia gave up three runs on four straight hits in the bottom of the inning. The Indians pushed their lead to 5-3 in the fifth on a two-out, RBI single by Jose Ramirez.

The Yankees put Sabathia back in position for a winning decision with a two-out rally in the sixth against Danny Salazar climaxed by a bases-clearing triple by Brett Gardner off reliever Dan Otero that made the score 6-5 Yankees.

Another two-out hit by Ramirez, off Dellin Betances in the seventh, tied the score. Gregorius saved Betances from letting in another run with a diving stop of a hard grounder by Jose Uribe and just as impressive a flip to second baseman Starlin Castro for the final out of the inning.

That run left Sabathia with a no-decision, but he did not deserve a victory. The lefthander gave up five earned runs and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings and over his past four starts is 0-2 with an 8.22 ERA in 23 innings in which he has allowed 30 hits. Once among the American League leaders with a 2.20 ERA four starts ago, CC has watched his ERA bloat to 3.77.

Andrew Miller ran into jams in the eighth and ninth when he put the leadoff hitter on base both innings. Abraham Almonte opened the eight with a double but got no farther than second base. In the ninth, Miller gave up a hit and a walk but caught a break when Francisco Lindor ran into third baseman Chase Headley and was called out. Miller got a big strikeout of Ramirez looking before he was replaced by Chapman, who ended the threat with a strikeout of Uribe.

Chapman also put the leadoff hitter on base in the 11th when he walked Jason Kipnis, but one out later he picked off Kipnis, who was caught stealing at second base on a strong throw from Austin Romine, who entered the game as a pinch runner for pinch hitter Alex Rodriguez in the sixth and played first base the rest of the game. Chapman finished off a very satisfying victory by striking out Mike Napoli.

Beltran, Betances, Miller tabbed as All-Stars

It was a nice surprise to see as many as three players from the Yankees chosen for the American League All-Star squad. Considering their less than stellar record (41-42 after Tuesday night’s 9-0 drubbing of the White Sox), the Yankees were not expected to have many representatives for the All-Star Game July 12 at Petco Park in San Diego.

I figured all along that Andrew Miller would be on the AL pitching staff. He has had a phenomenal year and deserves a spot on his first All-Star squad. AL manager Ned Yost of the Royals used one of his selections to take Dellin Betances as well. It marks the third straight year Betances has made the All-Star team.

Yankees fans might wonder why Aroldis Chapman was not taken along with his No Runs DMC partners, but sitting out a one-month suspension for violating Major League Baseball’s domestic abuse policy hurt his chances. There was some speculation last month that CC Sabathia might make the staff, but his past three starts (0-2, 8.31 ERA) took him out of contention.

The other Yankees All-Star was also very deserving. Carlos Beltran has been the Yanks’ most productive offensive player. His problem was that he finished 10th among outfielders in the All-Star fan voting. What made the difference for Beltran was that he did very well on the players’ ballot. Essentially, his peers got Beltran on the team for the ninth time in his career and the first time in three years. Beltran is handcuffed somewhat by a nagging hamstring, so it remains to be seen whether he will make the trip to San Diego. He was thrown out at the plate trying to score in the first inning Tuesday night but rebounded the next inning with a two-out, RBI single, his second hit of the game.

Beltran got his third hit of the game in the fourth, a leadoff double. His 3-for-5 game raised Beltran’s season average to .302, which leads the club along with his 19 home runs and 54 RBI.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi told reporters Tuesday that he hoped Didi Gregorius would have received support, but he was not in the top five of vote getters at shortstop. The Yankees had only one position player finish in the top five. Brian McCann was fourth among catchers.

The Red Sox topped the selections with four starters — designated hitter David Ortiz, shortstop Xander Bogaerts and outfielders Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr. Yost’s Royals have two starters in catcher Salvador Perez, the leading vote getter overall, and first baseman Eric Hosmer. The other starters are the Astros’ Jose Altuve at second base, the Orioles’ Manny Machado at third and the Angels’ Mike Trout in the outfield.

The Yankees looked like a whole team of All-Stars Tuesday night with a season-high 20 hits, including nine for extra bases, behind Masahiro Tanaka, who shut out the White Sox on six hits and one walk with six strikeouts in 7 2/3 innings to improve his record to 6-2 with a 3.12 ERA.

Brett Gardner led the way with four hits, including one of the Yankees’ seven doubles. Beltran and Chase Headley, who homered, had three hits apiece. Austin Romine also homered and had two hits, along with Mark Teixeira, Starlin Castro and Rob Refsnyder. Castro, who had four hits Monday in his return visit to Chicago where he played for the Cubs, is a career .397 hitter in 68 at-bats at U.S. Cellular Field.

The Yankees got six of their runs (five earned) and 12 of their hits in five innings off Chicago starter Carlos Rondon, whose career mark against them is 1-2 with a 9.64 ERA.

Tex’s 2 HRs protects Green’s 1st big-league win

The Yankees escaped disaster over the weekend at San Diego, thanks to a spot starter and an on-the-spot finisher Sunday. A 6-3 victory over the Padres Sunday was achieved primarily due to the effective pitching of rookie Chad Green and two crucial home runs by Mark Teixeira, who avoided wearing the golden sombrero and in the process cleared the 400-home run plateau.

The Yankees remain the team with the best record in inter-league play since the format began in 1997 (although the Red Sox are right on their heels) but have struggled against National League competition this year. Sunday’s victory improved their mark in inter-league play this year to 3-7. What has hurt the Yankees this season especially in NL parks is a sparse bench. With a 12-man pitching staff and with aging veterans Alex Rodriguez and Carlos Beltran hampered by leg issues, Yankees manager Joe Girardi has been limited in options.

Despite the final score, Sunday’s game was a nail biter until the ninth. Green held the Padres to one run and three hits with no walks and eight strikeouts in six innings but departed the game with merely a one-run lead. Normally, that has been gold with Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman in play, but the No Runs DMC combination had its perceived invincibility shaken Saturday night. Betances allowed an inherited runner to score on a double by Matt Kemp in the sixth inning that tied the score. San Diego almost took the lead that inning as well on a single by Melvin Upton, but left fielder Brett Gardner threw Kemp out at the pomerhlate.

Upton did more damage three innings later when he led off the ninth by driving the first pitch from Miller a long way into the left field stands for a walk-off home run. It marked the first loss in six decisions for Miller this season.

Although Betances allowed two hits in the seventh inning Sunday, he protected the one-run advantage with key strikeouts of Derek Norris and Ryan Schrimpf. Miller also put two runners on in the eighth with a single and a walk but retired the dangerous Kemp on a ground ball to work out of it.

Teixeira had given Miller an extra run to work with when he led off the top of that inning with his 400th career home run. Tex, who had struck out in his previous three at-bats, became the fifth switch-hitter to reach the milestone. The others are Hall of Famers Mickey Mantle and Eddie Murray, future Hall of Famer Chipper Jones and his teammate, Beltran. Texeira connected again in the ninth following an RBI single by Gardner as the Yankees pulled away at 6-1.

That took Chapman out of the equation but only momentarily. Anthony Swarzak could not close it out as Yangervis Solarte singled for his fourth hit of the game and scored on a home run by Alex Dickerson. Chapman then was summoned to notch his 16th save, which he did by retiring the three batters he faced.

Green had been called up from Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to start in place of CC Sabathia because the Yankees did not want the lefthander to have to bat or run the bases at Petco Park. It could not have worked out better for the Yankees, who now must decide whether to fit Green, a righthander, into the rotation somehow. Green was named to the International League All-Star squad on the strength of his league-leading 1.54 ERA.

The victory was a face saver for the Yankees, who were defeated the previous two nights by the NL West cellar dwellers. They will return to American League play Monday afternoon at Chicago with a July 4th date against the White Sox on the birthday of the late Yankees owner George M. Steinbrenner and radio voice John Sterling.

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.

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