Results tagged ‘ CC Sabathia ’

Yanks can’t prevent Tigers from late-inning comeback

The Yankees tried to carry the momentum of an uplifting weekend at Tampa Bay into Detroit, but the regenerated offense failed to follow them. They scored merely one run Monday night, a total seldom enough to prevail against the Tigers’ powerhouse.

And yet it almost was this time with CC Sabathia on the mound dealing with a hard-breaking slider and a tantalizing changeup to go with a fastball that occasionally rang in the low 90s. It also helped that the Yankees played exceptionally in the field and ran down several well-struck balls to the outfield.

Sabathia faced the minimum number of batters through the first six innings working with a 1-0 lead supplied by Mark Teixeira’s solo home run (No. 4) in the second inning off Alfredo Simon, who kept the Tigers close in not allowing a run after that.

The Tigers did not get a runner into scoring position until the seventh inning when they turned the game around into their favor. Rajai Davis led off with a single and raced to second after tagging up on Ian Kinsler flyout to deep left field. Miguel Cabrera, who grounded into double plays his first two times up, again hit the ball to the left side. Shortstop Didi Gregorius took a chance throwing the ball to second base in an attempt to trap Davis off the bag, but his throw was saved by second baseman Stephen Drew, who was able to get the second out of the inning by throwing to first base to get the plodding Cabrera.

The Yankees decided to walk Victor Martinez intentionally, which made sense with an open base and the designated hitter having hit the ball sharply in his first two at-bats with nothing to show for it. 

J.D. Martinez is no day at the beach, either, and he proved that with a slashing single off Gregorius’ glove in the hole that scored Davis with the tying run. Detroit grabbed the lead on a single up the middle by Yoenis Cespedes. J.D. Martinez headed for third base hoping to draw a throw to allow the slower Victor Martinez to score from second.

It worked, too. Jacoby Ellsbury threw to third base. While J.D. Martinez was eventually tagged out for the third out, Victor Martinez had already crossed the plate with what proved the deciding run.

Do not fault Ellsbury for the move. Cespedes’ grounder hit the lip of the grass behind second base, which slowed the ball down as the center fielder playing deep was charging. I doubt Ellsbury’s throw to the plate was certain to nail Victor Martinez.

The 2-1 Tigers lead would hold up because a familiar figure to Yankees fans pitched out of a jam in the eighth. With runners on first and third and one out, Joba Chamberlain came out of the bullpen to face Ellsbury, who hit the ball hard but into a rally-killing double play. 

There may be some second-guessing about a play before the DP when third base coach Joe Espada held Chase Headley at third base rather than waving him home from second base on a single to center by Gregorius. What Espada could not anticipate was that Davis, the Detroit center fielder, would bobble the ball for a moment before recovering a firing a bullet to the infield. Headley was no cinch to score in that spot, so I cannot fault the third base coach for playing it safe.

Joakim Soria made it 5-for-5 in saves with a scoreless ninth inning as the Tigers improved to 11-2 while the Yankees fell below .500 again at 6-7.

It was a tough loss for Sabathia, who looked a lot like the CC of old in the first complete game for a Yankees starter this season. To hold the Tigers to two runs and seven hits through eight innings is quite a feat. His record fell to 0-3, but the Yankees have every reason to be encouraged.

Yanks having a fielding renaissance as well

Carlos Beltran, who sat out the last two games against the Rays at St. Petersburg, Fla., found someone else in the 3-hole in the Yankees’ batting order when he returned to the lineup Monday night at Detroit.

Not surprisingly, it was Alex Rodriguez, who entered the game leading the Yankees in batting (.316), home runs (4), RBI (11), slugging (.711) and on base percentage (.447). Manager Joe Girardi said he would leave A-Rod in that spot for the time being.

Mark Teixeira drew even with Rodriguez in home runs when he jumped on a hanging splitter from Alfredo Simon leading off the fourth inning. Tex’s fourth bomb of the year was his first batting left-handed. He has been a much better hitter from the right side in the early going. Entering the game, Teixeira was a .286 hitter right-handed with three home runs and three RBI in 14 at-bats and a .125 hitter left-handed with three doubles and five RBI in 24 at-bats.

In addition to their bats waking up against Tampa Bay over the weekend, the Yankees also slapped some impressive leather. They did not commit an error in their three-game sweep of the Rays after having made 11 errors in their first nine games.

The defensive improvement continued Monday night. Tigers designated hitter Victor Martinez was robbed twice of hits on catches after long runs by left fielder Brett Gardner in the second inning and center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury in the fifth. Also in the fifth, Gardner made a fine grab coming in on the run to keep J.D. Martinez off base. Gardner found out how it feels to get robbed when Detroit shortstop Jose Iglesias made a tremendous play deep in the hole and threw him out at first base.

The Yankees also turned a couple of double plays behind CC Sabathia in victimizing Miguel Cabrera both times.

CC still winless but making progress

CC Sabathia, coming back from knee surgery, has shown positive signs in his first two outings, but both have been losses. The second came Tuesday night at Baltimore as the Orioles held off a late challenge by the Yankees for a 4-3 victory.

Sabathia fell into a 3-0 hole after four innings. Adam Jones, as hot a player as there is in the major leagues these days, took CC deep in the first inning for his fourth home run and made the score 2-0 with a sacrifice fly two innings later. A wild pitch by Sabathia helped set up the third Baltimore run on a two-out single by Caleb Joseph, the Orioles catcher who got his first career triple leading off the seventh inning and scored on a sacrifice fly by Everth Cabrera.

That made the score 4-1 and ended Sabathia’s night. He was ticked for four runs and seven hits but walked only one batter and struck out seven. Mobility remains a problem for the big guy with the tender knee. He made a throwing error trying to toss the ball from his glove to first base and also failed to cover the bag on another play that fortunately did not prove costly.

Manager Joe Girardi gave Sabathia a passing grade and is still optimistic that the lefthander can be a major positive force on the staff. CC just ran into a pitcher who was better Tuesday night.

Orioles righthander Miguel Gonzalez limited the Yankees to one run, four hits and one walk in seven innings and had a career-high strikeout total of 10. Gonzalez only hurt himself in the fifth inning with a wild pitch that put Jacoby Ellsbury into scoring position, and Mark Teixeira obliged with a two-out double.

The Yanks closed to 4-3 in the eighth against reliever Kevin Gausman with left fielder Alejandro De Aza making a huge error off a drive by Teixeira. Orioles manager Buck Showalter went to his closer, Zach Britton, for a four-out save after the De Aza error made it a one-run game with the potential tying run in scoring position. Britton did his job by getting four ground-ball outs to keep the Yankees from getting their record to .500.

The Yankees were without Brett Gardner, whose left wrist is still smarting after being hit by a pitch Monday night. Chris Young played left field and had a double in four at-bats. Girardi indicated that Gardner likely won’t start again until Friday at St. Petersburg, Fla.

60th anniversary of “Elliie” integrating Yankees

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There is a very good article in the April edition of Yankees Magazine by Bergen Record baseball columnist Bob Klapisch, “Honoring Ellie,” that details the life and career of the late Elston Howard, the first African-American player in franchise history.

Tuesday marked the 60th anniversary of Howard’s first game with the Yankees April 14, 1955, an 8-4 Red Sox victory at Fenway Park. Howard entered the game as a defensive replacement for Irv Noren in left field in the sixth inning. Two innings later, Howard got his first major-league hit and RBI in his first time up in the big leagues with a single that scored Mickey Mantle from second base.

Howard was used in the outfield and first base as well as serving as Yogi Berra’s primary backup catcher in the 1950s until he took over as the No. 1 catcher in 1960 with Yogi moving into a platoon in left field with Hector Lopez and catching on occasion.

Howard won two Gold Gloves for his defensive work behind the plate and was a major contributor to nine American League pennan-winning teams in his first 10 seasons with the club. The New York Chapter of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America honored him with its Babe Ruth Award as the outstanding player of the 1958 World Series. Five years later, Howard was again tabbed by the BBWAA as the AL Most Valuable Player for a 1963 season in which he batted .287 with 28 home runs and 85 RBI.

Ellie played in 11 All-Star Games and in 10 World Series overall (including 1967 after being traded to the Red Sox). A clubhouse leader as a player from 1955-67 and as a Yankees coach from 1969-79, Howard’s dignified manner and competitive spirit set a powerful example.

A little-known fact about Ellie is that he was credited with having developed the “doughnut,” the weighted circular device players use on their bats in the on-deck circle. Howard died in 1980 at the age of 51.

Stephen Drew’s pinch-hit, go-ahead grand slam in the seventh inning Monday night at Baltimore marked the first pinch-hit grand slam for the Yankees since Jorge Posada June 6, 2001, also against the Orioles and Mike Trombley. According to the Elias Bureau, since 1980, the only other Yankees players to hit a pinch-hit, go-ahead grand slam are Posada and Glenallen Hill (2000). It was Drew’s third career grand slam, his first for the Yankees and first overall since May 15, 2013 for the Red Sox at St. Petersburg, Fla. It was Drew’s second career pinch-hit home run. The other was Sept. 30, 2006 for the Diamondbacks off the Padres’ Cla Meredith.

The Yankees are back to being the Bronx Bombers. With 12 home runs in seven games this season, the Yanks are tied with Baltimore for the major league lead. They did not reach a dozen homers in 2014 until their 12th game. . .Michael Pineda struck out nine batters without issuing a walk Monday night at Camden Yards. CC Sabathia, Tuesday night’s scheduled starter, had eight strikeouts and no walks last Thursday against the Blue Jays. Only two other pitchers in the majors have recorded games with no walks and at least eight strikeouts: the Dodgers’ Brandon McCarthy and the Tigers’ Anibal Sanchez.

If only CC could avoid the one bad inning

Thursday night was another one of those “one bad inning” games for CC Sabathia. All eyes were on the lefthander who had a rough time of it in spring training and was passed over for the Opening Day start for the first time since he joined the Yankees in 2009.

His pitching line over 5 2/3 innings in the Yankees’ 6-3 loss to the Blue Jays was both good (no walks, eight strikeouts) and not so good (five runs [four earned], eight hits), but nearly all of the bad stuff happened in one inning, the second, as Toronto scored four runs with five hits, four of those in succession at the start of the inning.

But while Sabathia hit a lot of bats that inning he also missed a good many over the course of his outing as the eight punchouts suggest. The fifth run off CC came in the sixth inning and was not earned due to an error by right fielder Carlos Beltran, whose throw to third base hit the runner, Josh Donaldson, and allowed him to score.

“I thought he pitched pretty well, better than his line indicated,” manager Joe Girard said of Sabathia. “He didn’t give up a lot of hard-hit balls, but they found a lot of holes. He kept the ball in the park and on the ground. If CC is going to be hit like that every time out I’ll take it.”

Sabathia blamed himself for the second-inning problems but was encouraged by his work in the other innings and that he felt fine with no knee issues.

“I felt great and think [the outing] was something to build on — no walks and not a lot of contact,” Sabathia said. “I got away from pounding the ball inside in the second inning. I have to control both sides of the plate.”

The Yankees fought back against lefthander Daniel Norris and cut the deficit to 5-3 in the sixth on solo home runs by Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira. The Yankees’ first run came in the fourth inning when Didi Gregorius singled home John Ryan Murphy, who led off with one of his two doubles. Unfortunately, Gregorius rounded the bag at first base too widely and was tagged out trying to get back, marking the second time in three games he has been thrown out on the bases.

Edwin Encarnacion’s impressive home run off the wall behind the visitors’ bullpen in left field off Esmil Rogers in the eighth was the Blue Jays’ response to the Yankees’ attempted comeback. Toronto was able to win two of three games against the Yankees despite Jose Bautista going hitless in 13 plate appearances with eight strikeouts.

CC is Yanks’ Clemente Award nominee for 2014

CC Sabathia was honored before Friday night’s game against the Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium as the Yankees’ nominee among the 30 finalists for the 2014 Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevrolet. The award has been presented since 1971 to a player who represents the game of baseball through positive contributions on and off the field, including sportsmanship and community involvement.

Each major league club nominates one player to be considered for the Clemente Award in an effort to pay tribute to the Hall of Famer’s achievements and character by recognizing current players who understand the value of helping others. Wednesday marked the 13th annual Roberto Clemente Day, which was established by Major League Baseball to honor Clemente’s legacy and to officially recognize officially award nominees and to honor his legacy. The 15-time All-Star right fielder died in a plane crash New Year’s Eve 1972 while attempting to deliver supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua. The award was known as the Commissioner’s Award in 1971 and ’72.

Earning his second nomination for the Clemente Award, Sabathia, a 2011 nominee as well, along with his wife, Amber, established the “PitCCh In” Foundation in 2009. The foundation is committed to the care and needs of inner-city children, while helping to raise self-esteem through sports activities and education. Since 2009, “PitCCh In” has given more than 15,500 youngsters new backpacks filled with back-to-school essentials in Sabathia’s hometown of Vallejo, Calif.

Each December since 2011, Sabathia has hosted an annual party for 52 members of the Madison Square Boys & Girls Columbus Clubhouse at the MLB Fan Cave. This past January, Sabathia hosted a “PitCCh In” Foundation ProCamps event for more than 200 children, held on CC Sabathia Field at Vallejo High School.

Last off-season, Sabathia also hosted low-income Vallejo teens for a day of bowling and a shopping spree at Nike Town; took part in the 25th Tampa Holiday Concert, where he and his wife read to more than 1,000 children; and held at Central Park the third annual CC Challenge fundraising event, an adventurous three-hour scavenger hunt modeled after The Amazing Race. Most recently, CC helped local children ease back into the school year by visiting P.S. 73 in the Bronx Sept. 5, handing out new backpacks, participating in a question-and-answer session and signing autographs.

Fans are encouraged to participate in the process of selecting the national Roberto Clemente Award recipient by visiting ChevyBaseball.com, which is powered by MLB Advanced Media, to vote for one of the 30 club nominees. Voting ends Sunday, Oct. 6, and participating fans will be automatically registered for a chance to win a trip to the 2014 World Series where the national winner of the award will be announced.

The winner of the fan vote will receive one vote among those cast by the selection panel of dignitaries, which includes commissioner Bud Selig; MLB chief operating officer Rob Manfred; MLB Goodwill Ambassador Vera Clemente, Roberto’s widow; and representatives from Chevrolet, MLB Network, MLB.com, ESPN, FOX Sports and TBS, among others.

Yankees players who have received the Clemente Award were Ron Guidry in 1984, Don Baylor in 1985 and Derek Jeter in 2009. Others who played for the Yankees but won the award while with other clubs were Phil Niekro with the Braves in 1980, Dave Winfield with the Twins in 1994, Al Leiter with the Mets in 2000 and Carlos Beltran with the Cardinals last year. Leiter’s broadcast partner in the YES Network booth, Ken Singleton, won the award in 1982 with the Orioles.

Among the other winners are Hall of Famers Willie Mays, Brooks Robinson, Al Kaline, Willie Stargell, Lou Brock, Rod Carew, Gary Carter, Cal Ripken Jr., Barry Larkin, Ozzie Smith, Kirby Puckett and Tony Gwynn.

Tanaka draws attention; Phelps on DL

Trying to find a place to park in the Yankee Stadium garage Monday afternoon was some task. Masahiro Tanaka was at the Stadium for the first time since going on the disabled list, so the Japanese media was on the scene en masse. And, of course, it was much ado about nothing.

Tanaka, who is recovering from a partially torn ligament in his right elbow, played catch. That was it. He said his arm felt fine, but as manager Joe Girardi said, “It’s way too early” to make any kind of serious assessment.

Yet Tanaka had made such a strong impression in the first half of his first major-league season just seeing him in uniform again was reason to rejoice. The Yankees hope there are still plenty of more innings left in that arm later in the season.

The rotation took another hit with David Phelps being placed on the DL because of tendinitis in the area above his right elbow. A second MRI on the elbow revealed inflammation. The righthander will be shut down for two weeks.

So Girardi has another decision to make about how to plug his spot in the rotation. The manager dismissed the idea that Michael Pineda might be ready to take Phelps’ turn, which will be Friday night against the Indians. Girardi said the current plan for Pineda is to make at least two more minor-league starts before the Yanks consider reinstating him, although the skipper did say that plans may change.

Girardi surely wants to wait and see what shape the Yankees are in after this four-game set against the Tigers, which included match-ups against the previous three American League Cy Young Award winners — Max Scherzer Monday night, David Price Tuesday night and Justin Verlander Wednesday night.

In addition to Tanaka, CC Sabathia and Ivan Nova were in the clubhouse. Nova is out for the season after undergoing right elbow surgery. Sabathia was walking on crutches following his right knee surgery.

To the shock of absolutely no one, Brett Gardner was named AL Player of the Week for the period that ended Sunday. The left fielder batted .478 with three doubles, five home runs and seven RBI in 23 at-bats. Ibn addition to homers, Gardner also led the majors last week in slugging percentage (1.261) and total bases (29).

“That’s not surprising,” Girardi said of Gardner’s honor, the second of his career. He was also cited the week ending June 9, 2013.

The homestand that began Monday night will conclude next Sunday with Paul O’Neill Day. As part of the ceremonies, O’Neill will be honored with a Monument Park plaque that will recognize his career. Family members and former teammates are expected to take part in the festivities. Fans are encouraged to arrive early and be in their seats by noon.

O’Neill spent the final nine seasons of his 17-year major-league with the Yankees (1993-2001) and was part of four World Series champions (1996, ’98-2000). He won the AL batting title with a .359 average in 1994 and compiled a .303 average, 304 doubles, 185 home runs and 858 RBI in his Yankees years.

Ticket specials will run Monday (Military Personnel Game), Tuesday, (Military Personnel Game), Wednesday (Military Personnel and Student Game), Thursday (MasterCard half-price, Military Personnel and Senior Citizen Game) and Saturday (Youth Game).

For a complete list of ticket specials, including game dates, seating locations, and terms and conditions, fans should visit http://www.yankees.com/ticketspecials. Please note that all ticket specials are subject to availability.

The homestand will also feature the following promotional items and dates:

Monday, August 4 – Yankees vs. Tigers, 7:05 p.m.
Back-to-School Set Night, presented by PC Richard & Son, to first 18,000 guests, 14 and younger.

Tuesday, August 5 – Yankees vs. Tigers, 7:05 p.m.
Derek Jeter Commemorative Ticket Key Ring Night, presented by Delta Airlines, to first 18,000 guests.

Wednesday, August 6 – Yankees vs. Tigers, 7:05 p.m.
Yankees Luggage Tag Night, presented by The Parking Spot, to first 18,000 guests.

Thursday, August 7 – Yankees vs. Tigers, 1:05 p.m.
Yankees Magnetic Picture Frame Day, presented by Party City, to first 18,000 guests, 14 and younger.

Friday, August 8 – Yankees vs. Indians, 7:05 p.m.
Yankees T-Shirt Night, presented by Living Language, to first 18,000 guests.

Saturday, August 9 – Yankees vs. Indians, 1:05 p.m.
Brian McCann Fathead Day, presented by The Learning Experience, to first 18,000 guests, 14 and younger.

Sunday, August 10 – Yankees vs. Indians, 1:05 p.m.
Yankees Cowboy Hat Day, presented by Pepsi, to first 25,000 guests.

Tickets may be purchased online at http://www.yankees.com, http://www.yankeesbeisbol.com, at the Yankee Stadium Ticket Office, via Ticketmaster phone at (877) 469-9849, Ticketmaster TTY at (800) 943-4327 and at all Ticket Offices located within Yankees Clubhouse Shops. Tickets may also be purchased on Yankees Ticket Exchange at http://www.yankees.com/yte, the only official online resale marketplace for Yankees fans to purchase and resell tickets to Yankees games. Fans with questions may call (212) YANKEES [926-5337] or email tickets@yankees.com.

CC to have knee scoped; done for 2014

The Yankees began the post-All-Star break of their schedule with some grim news. CC Sabathia will undergo arthroscopic surgery on his right knee July 23 and will be lost to the Yanks for the rest of the 2014 season.

Sabathia, who has been on the disabled list since May 11 due to right knee inflammation, had been on a rehabilitation program but felt pain after making a minor-league start for Double A Trenton. After consulting with four doctors, Sabathia decided to have the surgical procedure that will be supervised by Dr. Neal ElAttrache, the Dodgers’ team physician.

One positive note out of this is that Sabathia, who was 3-4 with a 5.28 ERA in eight starts this season, does not need microfracture surgery at this time, although that remains a possibility down the line. Such an operation could jeopardize the lefthander’s career.

“Anybody that looks at that circumstance realizes that [microfracture surgery] is a bad thing, and there’s no predictable outcome,” Yankes general manager Brian Cashman said. “I think that’s something that some people can say ‘Hey, it could work,’ but it’s one of those things you don’t want to mess with if you can avoid it.”

Tanaka sustains first severe setback with elbow pain

How many Yankees found themselves over the course of the first portion of the 2014 season asking this question:

“Where would be without Masahiro Tanaka?”

Let’s hope we don’t have to find that out. Yankees Universe held a collective breath Wednesday with the news that Tanaka returned to New York to have an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) exam on his right elbow after complaining of soreness there during the Yankees’ 5-3 loss Tuesday night at Cleveland. Tanaka allowed five runs and 10 hits, both season highs against him, in 6 2/3 innings.

For the time being, the Yankees are terming the injury right elbow inflammation. He was placed on the 15-day disabled list, which now makes four-fifths of the Opening Day rotation on the DL. Ivan Nova is lost for the entire season. CC Sabathia may be also, and Michael Pineda won’t likely be back before August. Hiroki Kuroda, the only member of the Opening Day rotation still a member of the starting unit, better not walk under any ladders.

It is not yet time for Yankees fans to push the panic button despite the dire news. The club won’t know for sure what Tanaka’s issue is until the MRI is studied. The problem is that Dr. Chris Ahmad, the team physician, is attending a major orthopedist convention in Seattle, the same one that has prevented the noted surgeon Dr. James Andrews from examining Sabathia’s ailing right knee to determine if surgery is required.

Tanaka’s next scheduled start was to have been Sunday night at Baltimore, the Yankees’ final game before the All-Star break. The righthander was selected for the American League squad but was not expected to pitch in the game because of the Sunday start. It is unclear now whether he will go to Minneapolis for the game. The AL has replaced him on the roster with Red Sox reliever Koji Uehara, which stinks. It should have been David Robertson.

That is the least of the Yankees’ concern at this point. Tanaka, their prize signing in the past off-season, had proved to be every bit as effective on this side of the Pacific Ocean as he was back home in Japan where he was 24-0 last year.

In his first 14 starts for the Yankees, Tanaka was 11-1 with two no-decisions and a 1.99 ERA. He has come down to Earth somewhat in the past four starts in which he is 1-3 with a 4.25 ERA. Tanaka has nonetheless placed himself in contention for the AL Cy Young and Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year Awards by leading the league in victories with his 12-4 record, tied for first in complete games with three and ranking second in ERA at 2.51.

Now it is matter of watch and wait to see how serious the injury to Tanaka is. As for the answer to that question, well, figure it out: the Yankees were 13-5 in games started by Tanaka and 31-39 in games started by everyone else.

Yanks back to winning ways outside division

After going 6-9 in a 15-game stretch against American League East opponents, the Yankees were probably glad to play someone in another division, and who better than the last-place Twins in the AL Central who are currently without Joe Mauer on the disabled list. Despite some bad news surrounding the club, the Yankees ended a season-high five-game winning streak with a 7-4 victory Thursday night and celebrated the Fourth of July by taking a 6-1 lead in the first two innings Friday and hanging on to win, 6-5.

The disturbing news is that the Yankees are not likely to get CC Sabathia back this season. The lefthander was shut down after his injury-rehabilitation start earlier this week for Double A Trenton and has an appointment with noted surgeon Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala., July 14 to determine whether he will need surgery on his right knee. If so, Sabathia will be out for the remainder of the season.

That is a cruel blow, considering that one of the pitchers who had shored up the rotation in CC’s absence, Chase Whitley, had another rough outing Friday. The righthander, who had pitched well in his first seven starts, failed to get past the fourth inning for the third straight start. He lasted only three innings and allowed four runs and eight hits, including two home runs.

Whitley was treated to a sizeable early lead as the Yankees scored three runs apiece in the first two innings with a six-hit (five for extra bases) barrage against Kyle Gibson. The Twins closed to 6-4 by the third before David Huff put a clamp on things. The lefthander retired all nine batters he faced over three innings and earned the winning decision. Huff may also have put himself in position to get a shot at starting.

It sure won’t be Triple A righthander Alfredo Aceves, who was the other piece of bad news for the Yankees. He was suspended by Major League Baseball for violation of the drug policy.

Derek Jeter was given July 4 off and batting in his customary 2-hole was Brian Roberts, who had a stellar game. Roberts collected three doubles and a triple for the first four-extra-base-hit game of his career. Francisco Cervelli, starting in place of ailing Brian McCann (sore left foot), had three hits, including two doubles. Mark Teixeira also doubled, and Brett Gardner tripled to open the game.

The Twins made it a one-run game in the eighth and had the potential tying run at second base with two outs in the ninth before David Robertson struck out Chris Parmelee looking to notch his 20th save.

Robertson also saved Thursday night’s victory for Masahiro Tanaka, who improved his record to 12-3, over former teammate Phil Hughes. An old problem for Hughes, the long ball, came into play. He lost a 2-0 lead in the fifth by serving up a three-run home run to Carlos Beltran. Zelous Weaver, who was called up from Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Thursday to replace the farmed out Yangervis Solarte, also homered that inning. He added a single and scored a second run in the Yankees’ three-run seventh to round out an impressive major-league debut.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Wheeler became only the sixth Yankees player over the past 40 years to get a home run as his first major-league hit, joining Andy Phillips (2004), Marcus Thames (2002), Alfonso Soriano (1999), Dan Pasqua (1985) and Joe Lefebvre (1980). Elias also pointed out that Beltran has now homered in 38 different ballparks in his big-league career, the second-most among current players only the Rangers’ Adrian Beltre (39). The major-league record is 45 by Sammy Sosa.

The Yankees have won seven straight games at Target Field, dating to Sept. 26, 2012. They are 13-3 all-time in that yard. . .It was Roberts’ first four-hit game since Aug. 14, 2009 for the Orioles against the Angels and the second time this season he has fallen a home run short of a cycle. The other time was April 17 at Tampa Bay (single, double, triple). . .Since entering the majors in 2003, Teixeira has the highest batting average among all players against the Twins (.371 in 272 at-bats). He is a .364 hitter in nine career games and 33 at-bats at Target Field. . .Cervelli had three hits in a game for the first time since Aug. 6, 2011 against the Red Sox at Fenway Park.

The Yankees played the Twins on the Fourth of July for the second straight year and the eighth time since the franchise moved to Minnesota in 1961. The Yankees are 5-3 in those games. They swept a doubleheader at Yankee Stadium in 1964 by scores of 7-5 and 2-1 and were swept in a doubleheader at old Metropolitan Stadium in 1967 by scores of 8-3 and 7-6. The Yankees also won, 3-2, in 1985 at Yankee Stadium and 9-5 at Target Field last year. They lost, 6-2, at the Stadium in 2007. . .The Yankees played on the road on the Fourth of July for the fourth straight year, the first time they have done that in franchise history. . .They are 31-27 on the Fourth of July in the Expansion Era (since 1961).

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