Results tagged ‘ David Robertson ’
How painful it must have been for Dodgers manager Don Mattingly, winner of nine Gold Gloves at first base during his playing days with the Yankees, to watch his club make so many fielding mistakes in the day game of Wednesday’s split-admission doubleheader. The Dodgers made four errors, two coming on a bizarre play by relief pitcher Ronald Belisario in the seventh inning as the Yankees took charge with three runs en route to a 6-4 victory.
Dodgers second baseman Skip Shumacher twice bobbled ground balls by Robinson Cano, but neither error was costly. The seventh-inning double blunder by Belisario was another story. With runners on first and second and one out, Vernon Wells hit a soft popup between the plate and the mound. Belisario appeared to let the ball drop in hopes of getting a double play. He kicked the ball instead for the first error, then tried to recover and threw wildly for a second error and a run scored.
Ichiro Suzuki, who was all over this game, lofted a single down the left field line that gave the Yankees a four-run lead, which proved important an inning later when Hanley Ramirez, who had four hits for the Dodgers, smoked a two-run home run off Preston Claiborne.
In a pitching match-up of two Asians, Yankees righthander Hiroki Kuroda (Japan) and Dodgers lefthander Hyun-Jin Ryu (South Korea), Ichiro stole the show. He ended a 115-at-bat homerless streak in the sixth with a leadoff dinger off Ryu. After getting that two-run single, Suzuki saved a run with a leaping catch on the warning track of a drive by Adrian Gonzalez that almost surely would have scored Yasiel Puig, who had led off the inning with a double.
“I knew the ball was not going to be a home run, that it was still in the park,” Ichiro said of the Gonzalez drive. “The only question for me was which way I would turn because the ball was hit right over my head.”
Ichiro turned to his right, leaped and reached for the ball all in one motion. His 3-for-4 day at the plate continued a hot stretch that began on the West Coast trip. Suzuki has 10 hits in his past 22 at-bats, a .455 run that has raised his season batting average to .274. The Yankees’ left-handed hitters did a good job against Ryu. Their other two runs were the result of a double in the second inning by Lyle Overbay.
“Ichiro has been swinging the bat extremely well,” manager Joe Girardi said. “He has the ability to get hot. When we got Lyle, we didn’t anticipate his getting so many at-bats against left-handed pitching, but we have really needed him.”
After David Robertson did one of his Houdini acts in the eighth (walk two batters, get the next two out), Mariano Rivera went for his 25th save in the ninth, and no one was leaving Yankee Stadium until they saw him go for the third out against Puig. Mo fell behind 2-0 in the count before coming back to strike him out.
Puig made quite an impression in his first game at the Stadium. He had two hits and in each case attempted to stretch a single into a double, once successfully and once not. But his aggressiveness was noted and appreciated, not the least of which by Rivera.
“I like to see young boys played hard like that,” he said. “That is the way he played to get to the major leagues and the way he should play in the major leagues.”
Rivera stopped short of saying he could appreciate the drama of the ninth inning: the worldly veteran closer against the up-and-coming youngster, any more than he did Sunday at Anaheim when he faced three-time Most Valuable Player Albert Pujols with the bases loaded to get the final out of that game.
“I cannot think about that because I have a job to do in either case,” Rivera said. “It is important for me to concentrate on getting the job done.”
And nobody does it better.
Yankees fans needed some good news Sunday and they got it two-fold. Father’s Day for the Bombers began with the report from New York than an MRI on the tendon sheath of Mark Teixeira’s right wrist revealed inflammation, not a tear. Talk about a sigh of relief. Had there been a re-tear, the first baseman would have required surgery and been out for the remainder of the season. Tex received a cortisone injection and could be back in the lineup by Wednesday.
The second round of favorable news was the final score of the West Coast swing finale: Yanks 6, Angels 5. The Yankees needed that victory like, well, your father needs soft shoes. Of course, it was a victory that did not come easily. They had to sweat through a ninth inning where even the peerless Mariano Rivera was taxed.
Before Mo won a duel with Albert Pujols by striking out the three-time former Most Valuable Player with the bases loaded, the Yankees were on the verge of blowing all of a six-run lead that would have made the cross-country flight back to New York as bumpy a ride as most of the trip had been in which the Yankees were 4-6 and came perilously close to dropping into fourth place in the American League East.
CC Sabathia exhibited his ace credentials with eight scoreless innings. He achieved not only dominance over the Angels but also spared a weary bullpen. The lefthander was working on a four-hit shutout entering the ninth when he gave up a leadoff double to Mike Trout and walked Pujols.
David Robertson couldn’t put out the fire. He gave up a single to Mark Trumbo that ended the shutout and a one-out walk before Rivera was summoned to clean things up. In what likely was his last appearance at Angel Stadium, Mo was unfortunately off his game. He got a quick out on a grounder by Eric Aybar that scored LA’s second run, but Albert Callaspo singled in two runs, and Brad Hawpe and Peter Bourjos followed with singles that led to another run that shrunk the Yanks’ lead to merely one run. A walk to Trout filled the bases for Pujols.
Rivera went with some high octane gas (94 miles per hour) to strike out the guy who presented him with a portrait the day before on behalf of the Angels on three pitches. Mo’s 24th save in 25 opportunities was truly earned and avoided what would have been a disastrous loss.
After suffering through a five-game losing streak in which the Yankees scored only 12 runs in 54 innings, to have the bullpen fail on a day when the offense came alive would have been a wound too deep to heal. For the first time in four games, the Yankees scored in more than one inning.
They put up a five spot in the third against Jered Weaver with all the runs scoring after two were out. Travis Hafner snapped a trip-long slump (0-for-23) with a three-run home run to left center. The Yankees kept it up against Weaver on a single by Vernon Wells, a double by Lyle Overbay and a single by Jayson Nix for two more runs.
As it turned out, the run in the eighth on a sacrifice fly by Wells proved valuable insurance.
Yankees fans need to hit the ballot box on a regular basis if they want the team to have a heavy representation in the All-Star Game July 16 at Citi Field. One of the drawbacks of the current, 10-game trip to the West Coast is that voting at Yankee Stadium is suspended for another week. Fans need to make their choices on Yankees.com or MLB.com while the team is away.
In the latest tally of votes, only one Yankees player is leading at his position, Robinson Cano at second base, and only one other, disabled shortstop Derek Jeter, is in the top five at his position. The injuries to first baseman Mark Teixeira, third baseman Kevin Youkilis and outfielder Curtis Granderson has hurt their chances to garner support.
A testament to Jeter’s popularity is that even though he has yet to play a game as he recovers from off-season left ankle surgery the Captain has received the fifth highest vote total among shortstops with 529,234 as of Saturday’s announced count. The current leader at the position is the Orioles’ J.J. Hardy with 1,231,843 that gives him a 185,958-vote lead over runner-up Elvis Andrus of the Rangers.
Since it was known at the start of the season that Alex Rodriguez would be out until after the All-Star break while recovering from left hip surgery he was not placed on the ballot at third base. Jeter had been expected back earlier in the season but sustained a crack in another area of the ankle that has extended his recovery period.
At second base, with 1,851,371 votes Cano has a lead of 744,422 over the Red Sox’ Dustin Pedroia. The other position leaders at this point are the Twins’ Joe Mauer at catcher; the Orioles’ Chris Davis at first base; the Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera at third base; the Red Sox’ David Ortiz at designated hitter and the Angels’ Mike Trout, the Orioles’ Adam Jones and the Tigers’ Torii Hunter in the outfield. Among the outfielders, the best the Yankees are doing so far is Ichiro Suzuki in 15th place with 477,870 votes.
Brett Gardner should have raised some attention with voters with his four-hit game Sunday in the Yankees’ 2-1 victory over the Mariners, always a plus in a game started by Felix Hernandez. The 2010 American League Cy Young Award winner was not the losing pitcher. He left after seven innings with the score 1-1 as David Phelps, who went six innings for the Yankees, dueled him to a draw.
The finale of the four-game set in which the Yanks won three times ended up in the bullpen with the Bombers’ relief corps being superior, which is often the case. Boone Logan pitched a perfect, two-strikeout seventh. David Robertson (4-1) withstood a leadoff double and a sacrifice to post two straight strikeouts and strand the potential go-ahead run at third base in the eighth. After the Yankees took a 2-1 lead in the top of the ninth, Mariano Rivera handled the bottom half for his 23rd save of the season and career No. 631.
With the muscle part of their order coming up small, the Yankees got major contributions from top and bottom. Cano, Teixeira, Travis Hafner and Vernon Wells, the 2-through-5 hitters, combined to go 0-for-14. Tex wore the golden sombrero (four strikeouts) but made an excellent defensive play in the ninth to get a key double play for Mo.
Suzuki, who was also hitless, walked to start the winning rally off Yoervis Medina. A textbook sacrifice bunt by Jayson Nix got Ichiro to second base from where he scored on a two-out single to left by Chris Stewart.
The Yankees’ run off Hernandez in the second inning was driven in by one of Gardner’s four hits. His quartet of knocks followed a three-hit effort Saturday night and topped off a big series for the center fielder. He had 9-for-17 (.529) with four doubles to raise his season batting average to .284, which leads the team. Gardner drove in one run and scored three. He has hit safely in 15 of his past 17 games, a stretch during which he has batted .365 in 63 at-bats.
Gardner’s hit scored Nix, who had a leadoff single and stole second base. Nix is also on a strong run. He has hit safely in 12 of his past 13 games that he has had an at-bat and is hitting .340 in 47 at-bats over that stretch. Nix, who is 8-for-8 in stolen bases, is batting a team-high .310 on the road with 12 runs and eight RBI in 26 games and 84 at-bats.
Andy Pettitte became the 45th pitcher in major-league history to get to 250 career victories (and the 24th in 70 seasons dating to 1944) with Saturday’s winning decision. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, only six of that latter group of the most recent pitchers to enter the 250-victory circle did so with fewer losses than Pettitte, whose record is 250-145: Randy Johnson (250-130), Roger Clemens (250-136), Greg Maddux (250-140), Jim Palmer (250-142), Tom Seaver (250-142) and Mike Mussina (250-144).
It was only natural for attention to be focused on Mark Teixeira when he came off the disabled list late last week. The Yankees were floundering after a double series sweep by the Mets and stuck in a five-game losing streak, their longest of the season. Teixeira had been on the DL due to a right wrist injury the type of which pretty much wiped out Jose Bautista’s season a year ago with the Blue Jays.
Some Yankees fans were a bit too harsh on Teixeira as he struggled in his first two games with merely one hit in nine at-bats (.111) and seven strikeouts. One of the game’s most prominent switch hitters has been a notoriously slow starter during his career and even though the calendar switched over to June this past weekend it was very much like April for Teixeira.
Well, he is back to swinging as if he already had two months of major-league at-bats under his belt. One night after he gave the Yankees a 4-1 lead with his eighth career grand slam, Teixeira opened up a 4-0 advantage in the third inning Tuesday night with a three-run home run off Scott Kazmir. That makes seven RBI in two days for Tex. Beat that for production.
“I hope so,” Tex said after the game about whether he is ready to go on a roll. “I am trying not to get too high about it just the way I try not to get too low when things aren’t going well. The win is what is important. A three-run homer early is great for a starting pitcher.”
It was just the sort of run support David Phelps needed as he negotiated his way back from a dismal prior start against the Mets last week when he couldn’t get out of the first inning. The righthander rebounded with a one-hit shutout through six innings but with four walks to go with his seven strikeouts Phelps’ pitch count reached 102.
An infield single by Drew Stubbs in the third inning was the lone hit off Phelps, who lowered his ERA to 4.15. He nearly lost a shot at a winning decision when he walked the first two batters of the fifth, which resulted in a visit from pitching coach Larry Rothschild. Whatever the message was, Phelps received it as he set down the next three batters and followed with a 1-2-3 sixth.
“Even before Larry came out, Chris [catcher Stewart] told me to go for the center of the plate and let the ball behave however it does,” Phelps said. “The point was to throw more strikes.”
“He kind of ran the game,” Indians manager Terry Francona said of Phelps. “He mixed everything up, and we didn’t have anything to show for it. We made him work. We took our walks. We couldn’t push any runs across. It’s rare that you get one hit and look up and see a bunch of pitches like that. He did a very good job of not giving in, mixing things up, elevating and cutting.”
The Elias Sports Bureau was at it again. Phelps became the first Yankees pitcher to throw at least six scoreless innings in a start immediately following a start in which he recorded one out or fewer since Jim “Catfish” Hunter in 1978. Hunter allowed six runs without getting an out July 27, 1978 in the second game of a doubleheader against the Indians and then tossed eight shutout innings in his next start Aug. 8, 1978 against the Rangers.
Things got a bit tight for the Yankees in the seventh inning when Joba Chamberlain was stung for a three-run home run by Stubbs after two were out. Boone Logan got the final out of that inning before David Robertson danced out of a two-on, none-out situation in the eighth aided by Nick Swisher lining into a double play. Mariano Rivera finished it off with a perfect ninth with two strikeouts for his 21st save.
Robinson Cano got a half-day off as the designated hitter with rookie David Adams getting his first start at second base. Both took a collar, however. Lyle Overbay had another quiet night in right field, at least defensively. He made some noise offensively with a double in the third and scored on a single by Ichiro Suzuki.
Tuesday began early for David Robertson, who with his wife Erin and 10-month-old son Luke visited the Far Rockaway section of Queens on behalf of his High Socks for Hope charitable organization. In a joint venture with NBTY Helping Hands, the Robertsons teamed with a crew of volunteers to deliver new furniture to four families displaced by Hurricane Sandy.
Two 30-foot trucks arrived on Beach 45th Street filled with new furniture that was soon moved into homes where families had been displaced or living exclusively on the second floors. Brenda Frost, one of the occupants, said that when she returned to her home after being evacuated to Brooklyn the first floor of her house was still soaked from five feet of water that had seeped in.
“We lost everything except for some paintings on the wall,” she said. “We had to replace the floor because the old one buckled. There was no furniture left on the ground floor until today.”
The David and Erin Robertson Foundation and NBTY donated a check of $20,000 to pay for the new furniture to returning families of Bobby and Kim Hamilton, Esther and David Lookmauth, Brenda Garlin and John Correls and Lillie Thompson. The donation is expected to provide enough capital to furnish the homes of six additional families in the storm-devastated area. Two of the families were featured in pregame ceremonies at Yankee Stadium before Tuesday night’s game.
Also on hand was Robert Young Jr., founding principal of Rockaway Collegiate High School and bible teacher at Long Island Church of Christ in Central Islip.
The David and Erin Robertson Foundation, a donor advised fund with the Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund, is dedicated to assisting those affected by the tornadoes in Tuscaloosa, their home town, and throughout the state of Alabama. The foundation strives to lend support to charities and organizations helping those who suffered loss and were affected by that tragedy. It also has reached out to recent tornado victims in Oklahoma.
“Alabama and New York are the two places I consider home, so to see both of my states so affected by these natural disasters is heartbreaking,” David said. “I have been fortunate enough to be given a state as a major league baseball player to help raise awareness for the victims of these disasters. My wife and I created High Socks for Hope to lend support to those suffering in the wake of natural disasters, especially after the immediate attention subsides. We are thankful for the donation from NBTY Helping Hands that is helping to get some of these families back into their homes.”
NBTY Helping Hands is the charitable arm of Nature’s Bounty, a leading global manufacturer and distributor of vitamins, supplements and sports nutrition items, based in Ronkonkoma, N.Y.
“As a Long Island company committed to helping people be healthy and well, it is particularly heartbreaking to see so many people in the area who still have been unable to return to normalcy even now, seven months after the storm hit,” NBTY Helping Hands chairman Mike Oliveri said. “While many of us have been able to move on with our lives, many have not. We hope that this donation will help some of these families get back on their feet.”
Triumphant was not the word for Andy Pettitte’s return from the disabled list Monday night, but the Yankees triumphed anyway. The lefthander did not survive the fifth inning, retired the side in order only once and squandered a three-run lead in his second consecutive unsuccessful attempt for career victory No. 250.
Pettitte pitched from the stretch a good portion of his 83-pitch outing, his 500th career start, in which he allowed four earned runs, seven hits and three walks with three strikeouts and two wild pitches in 4 2/3 innings. It was by no means classic Pettitte, who was in trouble in nearly every inning. Perhaps it was a matter of rust, but at a time when the Yankees are in search of anything to get through this rough patch Pettitte was simply not his usual self.
It showed mostly in the fifth when he coughed up the 4-1 lead given him two innings earlier by Mark Teixeira’s eighth career grand slam on a liner into the front row of the right field stands off Indians ace Justin Masterson. That was a big blow for Tex, whose name was being smeared all day by talk-radio smart alecks who dumped on him for his slow start (1-for-9, seven strikeouts) after missing seven weeks with a severe right wrist injury.
“We got more hits and walks in one inning off Masterson than we did the whole game the last time we faced him,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said, noting that the Cleveland righthander pitched a four-hit, no-walk shutout against them May 13 at Progressive Field.
Pettitte posted a shutdown inning in the fourth, which was good to see, but got into immediate trouble in the fifth when Drew Stubbs led off with a double to right-center. An infield hit by Michael Bourn put runners on the corners. Mike Aviles knocked in a run with a rarely-seen sacrifice fly to second base. Actually, the ball was in shallow center field where Robinson Cano made the catch with his back to the infield and could not get the throw home in time to prevent Stubbs from scoring.
Pettitte got a big second out when Asdrubal Cabrera grounded out and pulled up lame running to first base and had to come out of the game because of a right quad strain. Pettitte lost the plate as he walked Nick Swisher and Mark Reynolds to load the bases. Carlos Santana supplied the fatal blow with a smoking, one-hopper past off the glove of third baseman David Adams that bounced into the stands for a two-run double that tied the score and ended Pettitte’s night.
That cost Andy any chance for a winning decision, but his teammates got him off the hook for a possible losing decision when they rallied with two out in the sixth to regain the lead, 6-4, on a two-run single by Brett Gardner. Masterson made a questionable decision to cut off Bourn’s peg home from center between the mound and the plate because the second runner, Austin Romine, a catcher, was quite a ways up the line when the pitcher gloved the ball, a break for the Yankees.
Travis Hafner put the finishing touches on the Yankees’ 7-4 victory with a home run off his old teammates in the seventh. Shawn Kelley (3-0), Joba Chamberlain, David Robertson and Mariano Rivera (20th save) picked up Pettitte with 4 1/3 scoreless innings of one-hit relief.
The Yankees have hit their first skid of the season since they began it by losing four of the first five games. They rectified that by going on a 22-9 run that shot them up the American League East standings. The Yankees need to get some of that juice back.
They have been derailed in this Subway Series. Manager Joe Girardi has said that he does not like the four-game format because he would prefer an odd number of games so that one club could be declared a winner and there can be no splits. Not a problem this year, Joe. The Mets have won the first three games, so the series is theirs for this season.
This is difficult for Yankees fans to swallow because they have to live with Mets fans the rest of the summer who will lord this over them. After all, what else do the Mets have to get their fan base excited beyond the rise of a very impressive young pitcher in Matt Harvey? Regardless of how dreadful the Mets season is likely to develop their fans will have the memory of holding the Yankees down for the better part of a week.
After winning two straight 2-1 decisions at Citi Field and beating bullpen stalwarts David Robertson and Mariano Rivera in the process, the Mets knocked Yankees starter David Phelps out of Wednesday night’s game in the first inning on a collection of well-struck hits and a very costly error by third baseman Jayson Nix to put up a five-spot. The Mets pushed their lead to 8-0 by the fourth inning on the way to a 9-4 verdict.
Phelps, who took a line drive off his pitching forearm in his previous start, was just not himself. He failed to survive the first inning for the first time in his whole career, including high school and college as well as pro ball.
“My pitches were up; everything was up,” said Phelps, who added that his forearm was not the problem. “I need to do a better job of not letting things snow-ball.”
“He just had a stinker,” Girardi said of Phelps, who was charged with five runs (four earned), four hits and two walks in one-third of an inning as his ERA bloated to 4.65. It was the second time this year that a Yankees starter failed to survive the first inning (also Phil Hughes May 15), which had happened only once prior to this season since the current Yankee Stadium opened in 2009. Phelps was the first Yankees starter to exit having recorded only one out in a non-injury situation since Alex Graman July 19, 2004 at St. Petersburg, Fla., and the first at home since Mike Witt allowed four earned runs in one-third of an inning June 1, 1993 against the Indians at the Stadium.
One night after the Yankees could not hang the first ‘L’ of the season on Harvey’s record, they let Jeremy Hefner get the first ‘W’ of his season after five losses. The Yankees did get 12 hits off three Mets pitchers but not enough were productive other than Brennan Boesch’s third home run plus a hustling, RBI single and run-scoring singles by Nix and Robinson Cano.
It was not that long ago – last Saturday, to be precise – that the Yankees were riding high. They had a come-from-behind, 11-inning victory that day at Tropicana Field in stunning fashion with game-tying and game-winning rallies that began with two outs and nobody on base. They looked invincible, but they have not won a game since as their season-high losing streak has stretched to four games.
In the meantime, the Mets have not lost since Saturday and are on a four-game winning streak. New York’s baseball clubs are traveling on subways headed in opposite directions.
Mark Teixeira and Kevin Youkilis began their injury-rehabilitation assignments Wednesday at Double A Trenton and should be back with the Yankees soon. This has resulted in speculation on the radio talk shows that their return might upset the chemistry the club has developed in the first six weeks of the season.
I have heard some people say that maybe the Yankees should keep things the way they are with Lyle Overbay at first base and David Adams at third. This type of thinking is nothing short of preposterous.
There is no question that Overbay has been a godsend in the season-long absence of Teixeira, who never gets off to good starts anyway. Adams has also shown that he can hit major-league pitching and has displayed better defensive skills than had been expected. That said; let us not forget that Teixeira and Youkilis are former All-Star players with an abundance of postseason experience that includes World Series championships.
Following a two-game series at Citi Field in which the Yankees scored only two runs in 18 innings, who can say the quality of bats swung by Teixeira and Youkilis aren’t needed? The Yankees have gotten from their replacements more than they could have dreamed when they left training camp.
The Yankees took a 30-21 record into Wednesday night’s shift of the Subway Series to Yankee Stadium, and there is not one person in the organization who is not at least somewhat surprised at the developments.
But as manager Joe Girardi acknowledged before Wednesday night’s game, the Yankees’ lineup remains overly left-handed (seven of the nine hitters in the order bat from the left side), so the prospect of Teixeira and Youkilis returning is welcomed. Girardi intends to be careful with both and will gradually work them into the framework as he did earlier this month when outfielder Curtis Granderson came off the disabled list (only to bounce back on with a broken little finger).
For that reason, Overbay is likely to be retained despite the fact that Tex and Youk both can play that position. There is still a fear among the Yankees that Teixeira might not be completely out of the woods as the Jose Bautista situation last year in Toronto attests. If Adams is sent back to Triple A Scranton, the Yankees would be wise to see that he plays primarily on the infield corners rather than his normal second base spot.
The point is, the Yankees need a healthy Teixeira and Youkilis to give the team a boost as it moves into the second third of the season.
The Yankees were still recovering from the two-game sweep at Citi Field and the unexpected bullpen breakdown. The series marked the first time David Robertson and Mariano Rivera each took the loss in the same series.
Rivera’s blown save Tuesday night was his first of the season and ended a streak of 23 converted save opportunities dating to last season. It was the first time Mo blew a save without recording an out and only the third appearance of any kind in his career when he did not get an out. It was his second straight blown save against the Mets, following that of July 3, 2011 at Citi Field and the third time in his career he squandered consecutive save chances at an opposing park. It also occurred July 12 and 14, 2002 at Cleveland and three in a row Sept. 9, 2010, April 24, 2011 and May 18, 2011 at Baltimore.
The Yankees have been held to one run in consecutive games for the first time since May 16-17, 2012 at Toronto (8-1 and 4-1 losses) and lost consecutive one-run games for the first time since July 29-30, 2012, 3-2, to the Red Sox and 5-4 to the Orioles. It marks the second time the Yanks lost consecutive one-run games to the Mets. It also happened July 3-4, 2004 by scores of 10-9 and 6-5. The Yankees started the season with a 5-0 record in one-run games but have lost four of the past five such games and are 9-6 overall.
Yankees starters Phil Hughes and Hiroki Kuroda in the two-game sweep each pitched seven innings and allowed four hits. It was the first time that Yankees starters put up those stats in consecutive starts and the Yankees losing both games since Aug. 9-10 against the White Sox at Yankee Stadium by Shawn Chacon (7 innings, 3 hits) and Aaron Small (7 innings, 4 hits).
Kuroda’s start Tuesday night was his fourth of the season in which he pitched at least seven innings without allowing a run, tying the Indians’ Justin Masterson and the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw for the most in the majors. It was his 10th such start since joining the Yankees, the most in the majors over the past two years.
The Yankees were swept by the Mets in a series of any length for the first time since 2008 and went winless in a series in Queens for only the second time. They sustained a three-game sweep July 2-4, 20004. The Yankees have lost consecutive games to the Mets for the first time since losing three in a row May 22 to June 18, 2010.
Wasn’t the pitchers’ duel in this series supposed to be Tuesday night? That is when the Yankees’ Hiroki Kuroda goes up against the Mets’ prized rookie, Matt Harvey. Subway Series fans got a pitchers’ duel in Monday night’s opener as an appetizer with the Yankees’ Phil Hughes and the Mets’ Jonathan Niese matching zeroes for five innings.
The spell was broken in the sixth by Brett Gardner, who helped the Yankees take the lead and then kept them in front in the bottom half of the inning. Gardner led off the sixth against Niese with a slicing drive down the left field line where Lucas Duda attempted a diving catch but could not get there in time. As the ball rolled behind him, Gardner put on the jets and ended up with a triple.
Jayson Nix, playing the shortstop position that Derek Jeter had previously manned in all previous Subway Series, delivered Gardner to the plate with his second hit of the game, a single to center. Niese recovered nicely by getting Robinson Cano to ground into a double play.
Gardner got into the act again in the bottom of the sixth. With Niese, who had two of the four hits off Hughes, on first base and two out, Daniel Murphy hit a drive to deep left-center where Gardner made a leaping catch to rob the second baseman of a home run that would have given the Mets the lead. Gardner’s glove was above the orange line atop the fence that signals a home run when he gloved Murphy’s clout.
Hughes’ good fortune ended at the top of the seventh, however, when David Wright, who had tripled with two out in the first inning but was stranded, drove a 2-2 fastball to left-center for his seventh home run that tied the score. Gardner would have needed a crane to stop that one.
Hughes and Niese both came out of the game after the seventh inning and had similar pitching lines in terrific efforts that did not warrant no-decisions. Hughes allowed one run and four hits with no walks and six strikeouts. Niese gave up one run, eight hits and one walk with four K’s. Kuroda and Harvey would love to post such lines Tuesday night.
This game ended up in the bullpen, which is usually to the Yankees’ advantage, but the Mets’ 2-1 victory was at the expense of David Robertson, who had a shaky eighth inning, as the Yankees lost for the first time this season in 23 games in which they had the lead after the sixth. D-Rob gave up a one-out double to Mike Baxter and compounded the situation by walking pinch hitter Jordany Valdespin.
A passed ball by Chris Stewart advanced the runners to second and third. The Yankees got the second out when Baxter tried to score on a contact play and was thrown out by Robinson Cano on a close call at the plate. Murphy, hoping to get another important at-bat after losing a homer to Gardner, knocked in the deciding run with a line single to center.
As he broke from the box, Murphy tossed his bat in a sort of tomahawk fashion. The Mets have had issues this year with players flipping bats, notably Valdespin, who has irritated some clubs.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi defused the situation by saying, “I don’t have an issue with it. It’s an emotional game. I would only have a problem with it if a player is trying to show up a team.”
Two outs, nobody on base and watch out for Lyle Overbay. That is pretty much how the Yankees came up with a 4-3, 11-inning victory over the Rays Saturday. Oh, sure, there were plenty of other factors that contributed to the thrilling, come-from-behind triumph, but it was a pair of at-bats by Overbay that made the greatest difference in the game that put Tampa Bay’s record back to .500 at 24-24 and pushed the Rays six games behind the 30-18 Yankees.
Overbay was a key figure in Fernando Rodney blowing his fifth save in 14 opportunities this year, a far cry from the 2012 season when the Rays closer had the best conversion rate in the majors at 96 percent on 48-for-50. Rodney entered the ninth with a 3-1 lead that Tampa Bay had acquired partially against the Yankees’ vaunted bullpen and got the first two outs of the inning.
Rodney never did get that third out. Overbay drew a walk on a 3-2 changeup, the pitch that would continue to let Rodney down that inning. After Overbay moved to second base on a balk by Rodney, Brennan Boesch, fresh up from Triple A Scranton, batted for catcher Austin Romine and poked a changeup inside the left field line for a double that scored Overbay.
Brett Gardner followed with a single to center off yet another ineffective changeup. Boesch made it to the plate with the tying run with a nice slide on a close play. The way Rodney was going he might not have ever gotten out of that inning if Gardner had not been thrown out at second base trying to steal for the final out. Gardner had made a base running gaffe by not advancing to second base on center fielder Desmond Jennings throw home, which would have negated the need for an attempted steal in that spot with Robinson Cano at the plate.
Ivan Nova, who was activated from the disabled list Friday, made his first relief appearance in two seasons and did quite a dance in the bottom of the 10th. The Rays loaded the bases with one out on a couple of singles and a walk, but Nova struck out .344-hitting James Loney on a nasty curve and got Matt Joyce on a grounder to second to keep the Yankees alive.
Then in another two-out, nobody-on situation in the 11th, Overbay made a great swing on a 96-mph fastball from Josh Lueke and crushed his eighth home run, to right field. That triggered a call to Mariano Rivera, who showed Rodney and everyone else in the Tropicana Field crowd of 25,874 how saving a ballgame is done with a 1-2-3 inning featuring two strikeouts. Mo’s conversion rate remained 100 percent at 18-for-18.
Nova got the winning decision in relief in another ensemble effort from the bullpen, the area of the game that most separates the Yankees from the Rays. The Rodney walk of Overbay was an example of Tampa Bay bullpen’s problem this season. Rays relievers have walked 73 batters in 133 2/3 innings whereas the Yanks’ pen has issued 52 walks in 148 1/3 innings. The Yankees’ relief corps is 10-4 with 20 saves and a 3.16 ERA while the Rays’ pen is 6-11 with 10 saves and a 4.92 ERA.
The Yankees were not able to hang an ‘L’ on unbeaten Rays starter Matt Moore (8-0), but they did the next best thing, which was to stay close in the game until he departed, which was after the sixth inning with the score 1-1. Rookie Vidal Nuno kept pace with Moore until the seventh when he gave up a leadoff hit.
Shawn Kelley and Boone Logan could not prevent Tampa Bay from taking the lead at that point, 3-1, but Preston Claiborne kept the inning from getting too messy. The rookie righthander came into the game with runners on first and second, none out and two runs in and got a force play and two strikeouts.
Ichiro Suzuki made a dazzling, sliding, game-saving catch in right field of a sinking liner by Yunel Escobar in the bottom of the ninth that spared David Robertson, who had started the inning with a walk to Joyce, who was sacrificed to second. Joyce almost surely would have scored on Escobar’s ball had Ichiro not gobbled it.
Suzuki also had two hits. Travis Hafner got the Yankees off to a good start against Moore with a two-out, RBI single in the first inning, but it would be a long time before they scored again and in the most difficult of circumstances – two out, nobody on base and down to their last strike. Victories do not come sweeter than this.