Results tagged ‘ Dustin Pedroia ’

Yanks find out Red Sox have not quit on 2014

The change in the calendar should have given the Yankees a sense of urgency. The dog days of August are upon us with each game becoming more and more pivotal. Friday night at Fenway Park proved a major disappointment in the first game after the non-waiver trade deadline as the Yankees failed to do much damage against a rookie pitcher one season removed from Double A ball and fell to the Red Sox, 4-3.

Righthander Anthony Ranaudo, with scores of relatives and friends from New Jersey in the yard, held the Yankees to two runs and four hits and got away with four walks, three of them leading off innings, over six innings to earn a victory in his major-league debut. Another rookie, center fielder Mookie Betts, applied a rally-killing play in the eighth when the Yanks threatened to tie the score. After Derek Jeter homered leading off the inning against Junichi Tazawa, Jacoby Ellsbury hit a drive to his old center field stomping grounds where Betts now roams and made a diving, one-handed catch and slid across the warning track. That play was amplified when Mark Teixeira followed with a double to left field. Tex got to third base with two out but was stranded as Chase Headley grounded out.

Headley was 0-for-4 at the plate, but he made three dazzling plays at third base in Graig Nettles-like style. Newcomer Stephen Drew, shortstop by trade, did a nice job in his first big-league shot at second base and took part in a pair of double plays. Martin Prado arrived in Boston just before game time and entered as a pinch hitter in the seventh and remained in the game in right field where he is expected to play most often. He was 0-for-2.

Carlos Beltran continued his hot streak by driving in two runs. He homered leading off the fourth against Ranaudo and touched the rookie for an RBI single in the sixth that scored Ellsbury, who set it up with a key steal of second base. Since returning from the 7-day concussion list July 18, Beltran leads the Yankees with a .373 batting average in 51 at-bats. He is hitting .329 with five home runs over his past 21 games and 82 at-bats. Beltran has an eight-game hitting streak during which he has hit .448 with three home runs and eight RBI in 29 at-bats. In 11 games at Boston this season, Beltran is batting .356 with five doubles and five home runs.

In his second start for the Yanks, Chris Capuano had a solid outing and pitched into the seventh. He had a rough third inning allowing two runs and four hits, three of them for extra bases, but he settled down after yielding a run in the fourth and retired nine batters in a row before Betts led off the seventh with a single to right. Brock Holt bunted Betts to second, and Dustin Pedroia got him home with a single to center that proved the deciding run.

It was another quiet night offensively for the Yankees, who have lost five of their past six games and dropped six games behind the first-place Orioles in the American League East. Boston’s recent trading off of pitchers Jon Lester and John Lackey indicated they have put up a white flag on the season, but they were not conceding anything Friday night.

Red Sox outlast Yanks to take series

You could feel the air come out of Yankee Stadium in the third inning Sunday night when David Ortiz blasted a 0-1 pitch from Chase Whitley into the right field bleachers for a three-run home run and a 4-0 Red Sox lead.

The Stadium crowd was pretty lively until that point but turned gloomy at the reality of seeing the offensive-struggling Yankees down that much early against as solid a pitcher as Boston’s John Lackey.

Whitley had given up a run in the second inning on a double by Mike Napoli and a one-out single by Stephen Drew, but it was the Ortiz bomb that spelled disaster for the Yankees. It was career homer No. 450 for Big Papi, who ranks 37th on the all-time list. The Yankees would have some fireworks of their own, however, to work themselves back into the game.

It began with a gift run in the bottom of the third. Ichiro Suzuki reached base on a throwing error by third baseman Brock Holt. After Ichiro stole second base, Brett Gardner and Derek Jeter put Lackey to work. Gardner grounded out at the end of a 10-pitch at-bat with Suzuki crossing to third. Jeter then pushed Lackey to 11 pitches, pushing a single to right field on the last one to get the Yankees on the board.

The fireworks came in the fourth as Mark Teixeira (No. 15) and Carlos Beltran (No. 8) took Lackey deep to make it a one-run game. That brought the crowd back into play, but Yankees fans were not pleased at all with what came next.

Whitley came out of the game after he walked Jackie Bradley Jr. to begin the fifth. Shawn Kelley was not any better. He walked Holt and Daniel Nava, which loaded the bases with no outs and no hits. Dustin Pedroia lofted a flare just over first base for a two-run single that also sent Nava to third base.

Lefthander David Huff came in to face Ortiz and kept him in the yard with a flyout to shallow left field. Huff picked Pedroia off first base, but the runner kept himself in a rundown long enough for Nava to cross the plate while the out was made at first base. Just like that, the Yankees were down by four runs again.

Whitley, who was called up from Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in mid-May to pitch in the rotation after CC Sabathia went on the 15-day disabled list with right knee inflammation, did well in his first seven starts as he went 3-0 with a 2.56 ERA during that stretch. In his past two starts, however, the righthander has allowed 13 earned runs and 19 hits in 7 1/3 innings for a 15.95 ERA that has driven his season ERA to 4.70.

Unlike Saturday night’s 2-1 Boston victory, Sunday night was more like Yankees-Red Sox games we have come to know. The Yankees got two runs back in the bottom of the fifth on a triple by Suzuki, a double by Gardner and two infield outs.

Ichiro’s triple was a drive to right on which rookie Mookie Betts attempted a diving catch only to have the ball bounce past him. Ichiro’s 40-year-old legs got to third base, but there was a time he would have made it all the way home on such a hit.

Betts was playing in his first major-league game. He got his first hit, a single, in the fourth. I am amused at the idea of a player named Mookie with the Red Sox. Baseball’s only other Mookie — Wilson — broke Sox fans hearts with his tapper past first baseman Bill Buckner that won Game 6 of the 1986 World Series for the Mets. It turns out that Mookie Betts was not named after Wilson but after Mookie Blaylock, his mother’s favorite NBA player.

The Yankees finally got a pitcher who threw strikes consistently when Dellin Betances entered the game in the sixth and inherited a bases-loaded, no-outs situation. The Red Sox got minimal damage with one run on a sacrifice fly by Pedroia after Nava struck out. Betances won the battle against Ortiz, who grounded out to second.

Pushed to 96 pitches, Lackey was gone after the fifth. The Yanks lost a scoring opportunity in the sixth against Burke Bradenhop when Carlos Beltran, who had doubled with one out, was thrown out at the plate by Bradley on a single to center by Kelly Johnson.

In the seventh, Betances struck out Napoli with a high fastball. What an idiot.

Napoli did not fare any better in the ninth when he was called out on strikes against Jose Ramirez. By then, the die had been cast. Boston was polishing off an 8-5 victory saved by Koji Uehara. The Red Sox took the series, two games to one, as the Yankees once again failed to capitalize on Toronto and Baltimore both losing and remained in third place in the American League East. They also fell to 6-6 in the stretch of 15 games against AL East competition that concludes with the three-game set against the Rays starting Monday night at the Stadium.

Tanaka bested by Lester in classic pitching duel

Does anyone actually think Masahiro Tanaka should not have pitched the ninth inning for the Yankees Saturday night? I mean, really? Talk about severe second guessing. Yankees manager Joe Girardi was asked why he did not have David Robertson pitch the ninth instead of Tanaka.

Look, if Girardi knew that Tanaka was going to give up a solo home run to Mike Napoli on a ball that barely cleared the right field wall on a 1-2 pitch, then, sure, he would rather have D-Rob out there. But, come on, Tanaka was pitching a gem, deserved a better fate and certainly did not deserve his manager having to be grilled for staying with his best pitcher.

Yes, this one hurt, a 2-1 loss to the Red Sox for the Yankees, who failed to take advantage of Toronto and Baltimore both losing earlier in the day. But as good as Tanaka was, Red Sox starter Jon Lester was slightly better.

For one thing, Lester kept the ball in the yard. Both the runs off Tanaka were on solo homers. The other was by catcher David Ross in the third inning. If a pitcher is going to give up home runs, let them be with nobody on base. You hear that all the time, so cut Tanaka some slack.

Look at what he did in the fourth inning when Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz scorched him for a single and double, respectively. Strikeout, strikeout, groundout to the next three batters, slamming the door.

The Yankees’ only run off Lester was unearned due to an error by Boston shortstop Stephen Drew in the bottom of the third. Lester took a no-hitter into the sixth, withstood three singles that inning and continued to keep the Yankees off balance.

For a wild moment there in the eighth, it appeared as if the Yanks had taken the lead. Jacoby Ellsbury seemed to have stolen second base, continued to third on an errant throw by Ross and then headed for the plate that was uncovered. What Ellsbury and most of the people in the Yankee Stadium sellout crowd of 48,433 did not know was that the pitch Ellsbury stole on was a called third strike by plate umpire Andy Fletcher on Mark Teixeira.

The Red Sox did hit Tanaka hard in the ninth. Pedroia led off the inning with his third hit, a line single to center. Ortiz hit a blistering one-hopper gloved by third baseman Yangervis Solarte on the overshift that became a double play. Tanaka got two strikes on Napoli only to lose the battle when the Boston first baseman hit an opposite-field homer. Koji Uehara closed it out for the Red Sox with a 1-2-3 ninth for his 17th save.

Tanaka has lost consecutive starts for the first time this season. His three complete games are the most for a Yankees rookie since 1998 when Orlando “El Duque” Hernandez had the same total. It was a tough loss for Tanaka, but I for one applaud the manager for leaving him in the game.

Dueling video reviews

With help from a video review, Red Sox lefthander Jon Lester still had a no-hitter through five innings Saturday night. Although the Yankees had a run on the board, they had yet to get a hit when Yangervis Solarte appeared to have broken up Lester’s bid with an infield single with two outs in the bottom of the fifth.

It was an official scorer’s nightmare for Howie Karpin, who ruled the play a single. Solarte hit a dribbler near the third base line. Boston third baseman Zander Bogaerts made a nifty, bare-handed pickup, but his throw to first base was in the dirt. First baseman Mike Napoli stretched for the throw and made a nice scoop, but first base umpire Mark Wegner called Solarte safe.

Karpin was forced to credit Solarte with a hit because of the degree of difficulty Bogaerts had in making the fielding play. It all became incidental when Red Sox manager John Farrell asked for a review. Video replays clearly showed that Napoli’s foot was on the bag before Solarte reached first base, so Wegner’s call was overturned keeping Lester’s no-no in place for the time being.

The Yankees came right back in the sixth with a review request of their own when Dustin Pedroia led off with an apparent double. That call was also overturned when replays showed that Pedroia slid into the tag of second baseman Brian Roberts.

Lester’s no-hit bid did not last for long. Brett Gardner led off the sixth with a ground single through the middle for the Yankees’ first hit. Gardner was quickly erased when thrown out attempting to steal second base. Derek Jeter and Jacoby Ellsbury restarted the rally with singles, but Mark Teixeira flied out and Carlos Beltran struck out.

The Yankees had scored in the third inning without a hit. Shortstop Stephen Drew bobbled a grounder by Roberts for an error, and Lester hit Solarte with a pitch. Gardner advanced the runners with a sacrifice bunt. Roberts scored as Jeter grounded out to shortstop. Solarte crossed to third base but was stranded as Ellsbury also grounded out to short.

The Red Sox had gotten on the board in the top of the third on a solo home run by David Ross. Masahiro Tanaka showed off a good slider and splitter, but in the fourth Boston hit him hard with Pedroia lining a single to right and David Ortiz almost decapitating Pedroia with another liner to right for a double. Tanaka held firm, however. He struck out Napoli and Drew and retired Bogaerts on an infield grounder.

Aggressive play on bases proves costly

The Yankees ran themselves out of a potentially big inning in the first Sunday night and did so with two of their best base runners. Carlos Beltran, who singled with one out, was at third base and Jacoby Ellsbury, who followed with a double, was on second when Alfonso Soriano hit a fly ball to center field.

It appeared to be a routine sacrifice fly as Beltran trotted toward the plate. As it turned out, it would have been better if Beltran ran a bit harder. Ellsbury also tried to tag up, and that was where the run was lost.

Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. made a strong throw to third base that cut down Ellsbury before Beltran crossed the plate, nullifying the run the Yankees thought they had. In hindsight, Ellsbury might have been better off staying at second base. That way, Beltran would have scored easily with Bradley throwing to third base. Yet aggressiveness on the bases is a big part of Ellsbury’s game. It took a perfect throw to get him. Bradley unfortunately unleashed one.

While the Yankees were playing without Derek Jeter, the Red Sox were without their spark plug, second baseman Dustin Pedroia, who returned to Boston to have his painful left wrist examined. Pedroia jammed the wrist last week. The condition worsened to the point that he could not complete batting practice before the game and was scratched from the lineup.

Sabathia suffers birthday blues

In the future, CC Sabathia might be better served if he took his birthday off. Sabathia, who turned 33 Sunday, has made four starts in his career on his birthday and has yet to win. As a birthday boy, Sabathia is 0-2 with two no-decisions and a 7.48 ERA in 21 2/3 innings.

The lefthander got an early birthday present from his teammates, who took a 3-0 lead off Ryan Dempster in the first two innings. Sabathia gave it back and more, however, when the Red Sox scored four runs in the third on an RBI single by Dustin Pedroia and a long, three-run home run by Mike Napoli off a 1-2 fastball.

An inning later, Sabathia hit the leadoff batter and gave up three straight singles that resulted in two more runs for Boston. Jonny Gomes led off the fifth with a towering home run, the career-high 23rd off CC this year. Sabathia lasted one batter into the sixth but got one more birthday gift from his teammates when they rallied to tie the score in the seventh and get him off the hook.

But Sabathia could not be pleased with having squandered the early lead and failing to post a winning decision for the third straight start, a stretch during which he has allowed 13 earned runs in 18 innings (6.50 ERA) with 24 hits allowed, including five home runs. Sabathia’s record stayed at 9-8, but his ERA rose to 4.37. His career record at Fenway Park is 3-4 with a 4.93 ERA.

Stormy night for Kuroda

The rain that was expected before Sunday night’s game didn’t start falling until after the fifth inning. After David Ortiz led off the sixth with his 10th home run to push the Red Sox’ lead to 3-0 and Mike Napoli singled, rain came down hard during Stephen’s Drew at-bat and after he flied out to left field play was interrupted.

For the second straight start, the Yankees’ Hiroki Kuroda was paired with an unbeaten opposing starter. Last Tuesday night at Citi Field, it was the Mets’ 5-0 Mike Harvey in a game the Yanks eventually lost in the bottom of the ninth inning on the first blown save of the year by Mariano Rivera. Sunday night Kuroda was pitted against Boston’s 8-0 Clay Buchholz, who has mounted a Cy Young Award candidacy in the early going.

The Yankees managed two measly singles off Buchholz in the first five innings as their offensive malaise continued. Kuroda had a stretch of 10 consecutive scoreless innings end in the fourth as the Red Sox scratched out a run on successive singles by Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz and an infield out by Mike Napoli for his sixth RBI of the series.

The Red Sox jolted Kuroda with leadoff home runs in the fifth and sixth, respectively, by Jose Iglesias, his first of the season, and Ortiz. The two home runs in successive innings equaled the total Kuroda had allowed in his previous four starts covering 24 2/3 innings.

Play resumed but only momentarily. Boone Logan took over for Kuroda and finished the top of the sixth. Andrew Miller was announced as the Boston reliever for Buchholz but did not throw a pitch as another thunderstorm hit merely four minutes after the resumption of play. Back came the tarp. The crew got the infield covered in time as a storm of somewhat violent proportions resulted in cascades of water soaking Yankee Stadium.

The Red Sox’ 3-0 victory in the rain-shortened game was the seventh loss in the past eight games for the Yankees, who have totaled 15 runs over that stretch for an average of only 1.88 runs per game. By taking the series, 2 games to 1, Boston increased its lead in the American League East to three games over the Yankees, who dropped into third place, a half-game behind Baltimore.

The only good news for the Yankees was that catcher Chris Stewart found out that he does not have a concussion. Stewart was scratched from the starting lineup because of light-headedness and underwent a CT scan and other tests at New York Presbyterian Hospital. Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Stewart’s status will be re-evaluated Monday when the club also has a decision to make about how to create space on the 25-man roster for Andy Pettitte, who is expected to come off the disabled list to start the opener of a three-game series against the Indians.

Sabathia gets Yankees back on track

Subway Series hangover over. A little dose of CC was a big help.

In this case, the CC wasn’t Canadian Club whiskey but a pitcher named Sabathia, who not only righted the Yankees Friday night but also himself. The lefthander found his rhythm early amid hot and humid conditions and rang bells on the velocity pole he had not reached previously.

“I hadn’t seen a lot of 94s until tonight,” manager Joe Girardi said after the Yankees’ 4-1 victory over Boston that ended their five-game losing streak and got Sabathia his first winning decision in six starts since April 27.

Sabathia hit 94 miles per hour on his fastball occasionally and was regularly between 91 and 93 mph with his heater. CC talked after the game more about location than velocity but admitted he felt more like himself than he has for a while.

“It just felt good to get us back on the right track,” Sabathia said. “I always feel like it’s my responsibility to go out and have a good game and give us a chance to win, especially after what happened to us against the Mets.”

Sabathia was not part of the Subway Series sweep, but the five-game losing streak began on his watch with a poor outing last Sunday at Tropicana Field in an 8-3 drubbing by the Rays. Friday night was a different story.

“This is the kind of game we’re used to seeing from CC,” Girardi said. “This is almost where he is every year since he has been with us. When the weather warms up, he gets on a roll.”

Sabathia not only registered a few more ticks on the radar gun but had the bite back on his slider, the pitch he used for six of his 10 strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings. The only run he allowed was in the seventh on doubles by Dustin Pedroia and Mike Napoli. CC did not walk a batter.

“Anytime he was in a fastball count, he’d go to his breaking ball or his changeup to keep us off stride,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “He didn’t compound an issue by issuing a base on balls.”

Speaking of walks, the Yankees drew four of them off Jon Lester, twice as many as they had in the four games total against the Mets. Mark Teixeira started the Yankees’ two-run second inning with a walk. After Vernon Wells doubled, the Yankees scored on a single by Jayson Nix and one out later on a single by Ichiro Suzuki.

That would be all the support Sabathia would need, but the Yankees pushed across two more runs against Lester, who had defeated them back on Opening Day, on RBI singles by Kevin Youkilis in the fifth and Brett Gardner in the seventh.

It was also important to see Mariano Rivera get back on the bike again. Three nights after his stunning loss at Citi Field, Mo withstood singles by Pedroia and David Ortiz in the ninth to nail down his 19th save in 20 tries and 36th in a row at Yankee Stadium.

Age-old combination comes through again

The Yankees reached into their storied, recent past Thursday night to produce their first victory of the 2013 season. After being shoved around for two games by the Red Sox, the Yankees used some old-fashioned muscle and one of the most illustrious pitching tandems in the history of the game to get into the ‘W’ column.

Mariano Rivera began his farewell tour of the major leagues with a save of an Andy Pettitte start in the Yankees’ 4-2 victory. Mo got cuffed for a run, but he finished off the Red Sox to preserve Pettitte’s 246th career victory. Andy was in turn-back-the-clock mode with eight strong innings in which he allowed eight hits but only one run and one walk with three strikeouts. He was aided by three double plays, one of which he turned himself stylishly.

It was the 69th time that Rivera saved a victory for Pettitte, the most by a starter and reliever since the saves rule went into effect in 1969. Yet it was the first time for the duo since July 2010.

“You feel pretty secure when that guy comes in from the bullpen,” Pettitte said. “I’ll savor this season as much as I can.”

Pettitte has not said whether this will definitely be his last roundup. He was talking about savoring Rivera’s career finale which got off to splendid start Thursday night. Mo toed the rubber in a big-league game for the first time in 11 months and looked as if he had never gone away.

“It didn’t feel much different from other first games of the season for me, except that I had a long wait between them,” said Rivera, whose 2012 season ended last May in Kansas City. “There was a lot of emotion, but you have to control that. There were some times when going through therapy and the pain I wondered if I could come back, but my desire and passion for the game motivated me.”

Believe it or not, Mo got squeezed a bit by plate umpire Mike DiMuro, who I thought erred by calling a 2-2 cutter to Dustin Pedroia across the plate a ball that should have been strike three. Rivera eventually walked Pedroia, who scored on a one-out double by Jonny Gomes. Rivera then retired Will Middlebrooks on an infield grounder and struck out rookie Jackie Bradley Jr. looking to notch career save No. 609.

Francisco Cervelli supported Pettitte with good work behind the plate including a recovering stab for a runner trying to score on a wild pitch and a home run off the bullpen wall in left-center. Brett Gardner also homered as the Yankees used last year’s scoring method to good use. Lyle Overbay’s two-out, two-run single in the second gave the Yankees their first lead of the season, and they did not squander it.

“It was an important game,” Pettitte said. “You never want to get swept in your opening homestand.”

Pettitte was so efficient (96 pitches) that Yankees manager Joe Girardi did not have to use any other reliever but Rivera.

“It really helped with the trip coming up to only have to use one guy out of the pen,” Girardi said or Rivera, who will now take his tour on to Detroit and Cleveland.

“He will understand how he is appreciated around the game,” Girardi added. “What we have seen here has been pretty special for a long time.”

Hand bruise forces early exit for Kuroda

From the when-will-they-ever-learn department: Yankees starter Hiroki Kuroda reached with his pitching hand to try to snare a line drive up the middle by Red Sox right fielder Shane Victorino in the second inning. The ball skimmed off Kuroda’s fingertips and into center field for a single.

Kuroda was examined by trainer Steve Donohue but remained in the game – temporarily. The righthander walked one batter and hit two others with pitches over the next four batters. After the second hit-by-pitch, to designated hitter Daniel Nava, that forced in Boston’s second run, Yanks manager Joe Girardi decided to remove Kuroda. Cody Eppley did an efficient job of keeping the damage to a minimum by getting Dustin Pedroia to ground into an inning-double play.

Pitchers are warned constantly about the dangers of trying to catch a ball with their bare hand, but most cannot help themselves because it is an instinctual maneuver. The risk of a serious injury to their pitching hand is not worth attempting such a play. Roger Clemens was frequently guilty of this, but using one of the game’s freaks of nature as an example is unwise thinking.

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