Results tagged ‘ Eduardo Nunez ’

Yanks’ dominance of the Twins fading?

The streak of games in which Yankees starting pitchers allowed three runs or fewer ended at 14 Friday night as Vidal Nuno gave up four runs, all on home runs, by the fourth inning against the Twins in an eventual 6-1 loss.

Vidal gave up a solo home run to Oswaldo Arcia in the second inning. Two innings later, Minnesota went deep twice more on a leadoff blow by Josh Willingham and a two-run shot by Trevor Plouffe that landed in the netting atop Monument Park.

Prior to that, Yankees starters had not allowed more than three runs in a game since May 14, a period covering 83 innings in which they had a combined ERA of 2.82. It was the longest such streak by a Yankees rotation since a 15-gamer in 2009 from June 14 to July 1.

The Yankees at least got some length from Nuno, who lasted two batters into the seventh inning. The long ball has been an issue for the lefthander this year. He has given up nine home runs in 47 2/3 innings.

Curiously, Yankee Stadium has not been kind to Nuno. He is 0-3 with a 5.86 ERA in six career games covering 30 2/3 innings at the Stadium. In five career road starts, Nuno has a 2-0 record with a 1.84 ERA in 29 1/3 innings.

The Yankees failed to generate much of an offense against Twins starter Ricky Nolasco, who entered the game with a 6.12 ERA and winless in five starts since April 24. They scored one run in the third inning on a two-out, RBI double by Jacoby Ellsbury but spent much of the game running themselves out of rallies.

Brian Roberts led off the second inning with a single but was picked off first base and thrown out at second. Brett Gardner, running from second base on a single to right by Derek Jeter in the third, was caught in a rundown between third and the plate and tagged out. In the sixth, Roberts was gunned down again, this time at home trying to score from second base on a two-out single to right by Yangervis Solarte.

The Minnesota lineup included former Yankees infielder Eduardo Nunez as the designated hitter. He had an RBI single off Preston Claiborne in the Twins’ two-run eighth inning. Another former Yankee, pitcher Phil Hughes, will start for the Twins Sunday.

Mark Teixeira returned to the Yankees’ lineup after missing three games because of inflammation in his surgical right wrist and reached base three times on walks but did not advance beyond first base on a quiet night for the Yanks’ offense.

The Yankees’ mastery of the Twins, especially at the Stadium, during this century has faded somewhat. The Yankees have a 31-10 record at the Stadium against Minnesota but are under .500 (6-7) since May 16, 2010. The Yankees won 10 straight home series against the Twins from 2002 through 2011 but lost one series and split the other over the past two seasons. Overall, the Yankee are 26-10 against the Twins since the start of the 2009 season.

Nunez falls out of Yankees’ plans

It may seem harsh, but the Yankees could hardly be faulted for designating Eduardo Nunez for assignment Tuesday to create space on the 40-man roster for Yangervis Solarte, who impressed the club this spring with his versatility. Nunez was once thought of as the heir apparent to Derek Jeter at shortstop but could not even be kept as a replacement for backup shortstop Brendan Ryan, who is on the disabled list because of a spinal nerve condition.

In his time with the Yankees, Nunez showed promise with a decent stroke and good speed, but he was a defensive liability and proved brittle. He had a golden opportunity last year when Jeter was shelved for all but 17 games because of two ankle injuries, but Nunez had a disappointing slash line of .260/.307/.372 and missed 72 games himself due to injuries.

There was talk of Nunez perhaps platooning at third base with Kelly Johnson this year, but he could not even make the team out of camp. His defense made Nunez a less than desirous utility player. He might have been an offensive upgrade over the Yanks’ utility infielder of the past two years, Jayson Nix, but as the Yanks showed by re-signing Ryan the need for a solid defensive backup was coveted instead.

Nova makes scoreboard watching easy

There was not too much scoreboard watching for the Yankees Saturday. The only game other than theirs against the Giants in the afternoon that involved the clubs ahead of them in the wild-card hunt was the Orioles at St. Pete where the Rays won, 5-1. The Indians, Rangers and Royals were all scheduled at night.

So the best scoreboard watching for the Yankees was their own as inning by inning Ivan Nova kept tossing zeroes at the distant cousins from San Francisco. The righthander, who has been the Yankees’ best starting pitcher in the second half, finished up with a six-hit shutout, his second complete-game blanking of the season. This one, a 6-0 final, was clutch because of the timing when the Yankees simply have to win every game they play.

“If we play like we did today, there is no reason why we can’t win all seven games we have left,” Alfonso Soriano said.

Soriano ranks right up there with Nova as the most important Yankees post the All-Star Game. Sori smacked out another home run Saturday. That gives him 17 in 52 games with the Yankees, the same total he had in 93 games with the Cubs. He also raised his RBI total to 101 in becoming only the fifth player in history to drive in 50 or more runs each for two different clubs in the same season. The others were Matt Holliday with the Athletics and Cardinals in 2009, Manny Ramirez with the Red Sox and Dodgers in 2008, Carlos Beltran with the Royals and Astros in 2004 and David Justice with the Indians and Yankees in 2000.

Similar to what Justice did for the Yanks 13 years ago; Soriano has re-ignited the team’s offense with 50 RBI in 52 games and 36 RBI in 26 games at Yankee Stadium.

“He has been special since he got here,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “I think it is because he is excited to be here. He had fond memories of being here before and enjoyed it so much.”

Soriano’s 34th home run of the season overall was icing on the cake Saturday. The way Nova was pitching the three runs he got in the fourth were plenty sufficient. They came essentially from the bottom third of the order against Giants starter Ryan Vogelsong on singles by Mark Reynolds and Brendan Ryan and a walk to Chris Stewart that loaded the bases. A sacrifice fly by Ichiro Suzuki, an infield out by Alex Rodriguez and a two-out single by Robinson Cano scored all the runners. Eduardo Nunez contributed a two-run homer in the fourth, two innings before Soriano connected.

In the meantime, Nova (9-5) held the Giants to six hits and one walk with seven strikeouts in an efficient, 108-pitch effort. Nova had been the American League Pitcher of the Month for August but was 0-1 with a 7.07 ERA in his first three starts in September before Saturday’s gem. He had better command of his breaking ball and a good sinker that resulted in 14 groundouts. Splendid defense up the middle by Ryan at shortstop made this the kind of day to get ground balls.

So the Yankees pulled even with Baltimore again in the wild-card standings and would pay close attention to the night games to see where they stand heading into Sunday, which will be a special day for Mariano Rivera and they hope for the rest of the team as well.

Left olblique strain fells Gardner

When will it end? Seemingly every day this season a Yankees player has gotten hurt. They have had 18 players do 25 stints on the disabled list and have used a franchise-record 55 players.

Brett Gardner, who missed nearly all of the 2012 season because of a wrist injury but who stayed healthy for most of this season, became the latest casualty Thursday night. He struck out leading off the finale of the four-game series against the Orioles but did not take the field for the bottom half of the first inning and was replaced in center by Curtis Granderson.

It turned out that Gardner has a strained left oblique. This is an injury that kept infielder Eduardo Nunez on the DL earlier this year for seven weeks. The Yankees can only hope Gardner’s injury is not that severe.

A ground-gaining night for the Yankees

The Yankees finally had a good night Tuesday in their wild-card chase. They won and all the teams in front of them lost. They beat one of them, the Orioles, 7-5, while the Rays and Indians both were defeated. The Yanks are now two games out of the second wild card spot and a half-game behind Baltimore and Cleveland.

It was not a totally pleasant night, however. A team that has kept the medical staff working overtime since Opening Day had more bumps and bruises to report. Alex Rodriguez, who had two doubles and one RBI, came out of the game in the eighth inning because of tightness in his left hamstring. The Yankees are hoping it is not serious and that A-Rod be able at least to be the designated hitter Wednesday night.

Ivan Nova, who has pitched well despite dealing with a nagging right triceps, was lifted after six innings and 79 pitches and the Yankees trailing, 4-3. Again, the Yanks have their fingers crossed that he won’t have to come out of the rotation. Catcher Austin Romine took a nasty foul ball off his mask in the eighth inning and may have a concussion.

Before the game, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said that Boone Logan has not responded to a cortisone injection and that the club will send the reliever’s medical records to Dr. James Andrews, the noted orthopedist in Pensacola, Fla., which may not be a good sign.

The Yankees’ acquisition late Tuesday night of slick-fielding shortstop Brendan Ryan from the Mariners for a player to be named could be an indication that Derek Jeter may be unavailable for an even longer period than originally anticipated.

The state of the Yankees’ bullpen with David Robertson ailing (right shoulder) is such that Mariano Rivera was called on for a four-out save. He retired all four batters he faced for his 42nd save this season and career No. 650.

It was an impressive, comeback victory for the Yankees, who were behind, 4-1, through five innings. Solo home runs by Alfonso Soriano and Mark Reynolds in the sixth made it a one-run game, and the Yankee exploded ahead with a four-run eighth. Soriano and Reynolds did some more damage that inning against Orioles reliever Kevin Gausman.

Rodriguez got the Yankees started with a double. He tweaked the hammy while sliding into the plate and scoring on a single by Robinson Cano. Soriano followed with his second home run of the game, his 15th this year for the Yankees and 32nd overall this season. Sori leads the majors in multi-homer games with seven, four of which have come in his seven weeks with the Yankees. Doubles by Curtis Granderson and Reynolds marked five straight hits for the Yanks that inning and produced another run.

Nova, who entered the game with a 2-0 record and 1.52 ERA against the Orioles this year, gave up Chris Davis’ 49th home run of the season, a two-run shot, in Baltimore’s four-run fifth, an inning that was extended because of a throwing error by shortstop Eduardo Nunez.

Adam Warren (2-2), who ended up with the winning decision, pitched a perfect seventh. Shawn Kelley hurt himself with two wild pitches that helped the Orioles to a run in the eighth before Mo came on the scene to restore order. As he told everybody last Sunday, “I’ll be there.”

Pettitte comes up big but not bullpen

On a night when the Yankees were in a must-win situation and with the knowledge that neither setup reliever David Robertson nor closer Mariano Rivera was available, Andy Pettitte handled the pressure of coming up big time in a big situation. This should come as no surprise, of course, considering the pitcher in question has logged 276 2/3 innings in postseason play and is used to stressful workloads.

Pettitte would like to add to his postseason resume and did his part to help the Yankees remain in contention toward that goal Friday night with six sturdy innings that continued a successful run for the lefthander that belies his age, 41, and adds to his reputation as a go-to guy. The Yankees helped his cause by continuing to put up multiple-run innings – four two-run frames during his six innings of work.

It also did not hurt the Yanks’ cause that Red Sox starter Felix Doubront handed out free passes on a regular basis. Doubront walked six batters in his 3 2/3 innings and four of them scored. Alfonso Soriano got the Yankees off to a quick start with his 30th home run of the season, a two-run shot to left, in the first inning.

Doubront walked Vernon Wells to start the second inning, and Eduardo Nunez tripled him home. Chris Stewart’s sacrifice fly scored Nunez. Doubront walked two more batters with two out in the fourth and both scored on a triple by Brett Gardner. The Yanks didn’t need any walks to score twice in the fifth off righthander Rubby De La Rosa on a double by Robinson Cano and singles by Wells, Nunez and Mark Reynolds.

Pettitte was masterful. He allowed three runs, five hits and three walks with eight strikeouts and left with the Yankees ahead, 8-3, through six. Over his past six starts, Andy has pitched to a 1.75 ERA in 36 innings in lowering his season ERA from 4.71 to 4.03. He is 3-0 over that stretch with three no-decisions. Unfortunately, one of those no-decisions was Friday night.

Phil Hughes took the ball from Pettitte and, well, dropped it. In his first relief appearance of the season, Hughes gave up three hits and a walk and left the game in the seventh with the bases full, one run in and one out. Boone Logan did a nice job of striking out David Ortiz, but Mike Napoli proved stiffer competition.

Napoli worked the count full and fouled off two fastballs in the mid-90s before driving a third one to right field off the top of the wall just beyond the reach of Ichiro Suzuki. It was the sixth career grand slam and third this season for Napoli, who victimized Hughes earlier this season.

With that one swing, the score was tied. It only got worse. Preston Claiborne gave up a two-run home run to Shane Victorino in the eighth, and Joba Chamberlain had another rough outing in allowing the Red Sox two more runs.

All of Pettitte’s work went for naught, which was an absolute shame.

Late rally propels Yanks to exhilarating victory

There was an impending disaster facing the Yankees for seven innings Tuesday night. They were actually in danger of losing to the White Sox at a time when the Yankees need to have the upper hand against the lower order of the American League if they intend to play in October.

Let’s be fair here. The White Sox are a different team with Chris Sale on the mound. He has pitched far better (2.97 ERA) than his 10-12 record would indicate. And against the Yankees, he is simply lights out (2-0, 1.05 ERA). Well, at least until the eighth inning Tuesday night. The Yanks finally put enough of a dent in his armor for White Sox manager Robin Ventura to turn to his bullpen.

Please send our old pal a thank you note.

After Derek Jeter singled and Robinson Cano doubled with one out against Sale, the Yankees jumped on three Chicago relief pitchers for a five-run rally that had even more impact than the eight-run inning they exhibited the day before. This late charge that turned a potential loss into an exhilarating, 6-4 victory and had the Yankee Stadium crowd of 33,215 sounding like the whole borough of the Bronx was in attendance.

Cano’s double off the left field auxiliary scoreboard came on a two-strike pitch from Sale. So did the single by Alfonso Soriano that got the Yankees to 4-3 and the single by Alex Rodriguez that kept the line moving, both off righthander Nate Jones (4-5).

Curtis Granderson greeted lefthander Donnie Veal with a single to center that tied the score. There was a temporary sigh when Mark Reynolds struck out, but another abrupt message to an incoming reliever was in store. Eduardo Nunez, who made one of the best defensive plays of the game, got the crowd roaring with a double down the left field line to break the tie and tack on an insurance run as well.

Mariano Rivera laced it up into a bow with his 40th save; a huge victory for the Yankees, who jumped back in front of the Orioles into third place in the AL East and climbed a half-game closer to the Rays, who took a five-game losing streak into their game against the Angels. This was a game that will resonate for the Yankees if they can complete their quest for a postseason berth that seemed in serious peril after their disappointing 2-4 trip through St. Petersburg, Fla., and Toronto a week ago.

The pitcher the Yankees have relied on the most this season is showing signs of wear, which is not unusual for someone his age. Hiroki Kuroda, 38, has clearly hit a wall. He was not terrible Tuesday night but not good enough to beat the beatable White Sox. His teammates got him off the hook to avoid what would have been his fourth straight loss, but they owed him as much.

For four innings, Kuroda matched Sale in a 1-1 game. The Chicago run in the first inning ended Kuroda’s 21 2/3 scoreless innings streak at the Stadium. The Yankees’ run in the second came on a double steal with Vernon Wells scoring from third base.

Then in the fifth, Kuroda began to crack. He gave up a leadoff single to Alejandro De Aza and walked Gordon Beckham in an 11-pitch at-bat. Alexi Ramirez somehow got around on a 94-mph sinker and hit a hard grounder down the left field line. Soriano, who has played well in left field since coming to the Yankees, couldn’t stop the ball before it got to the corner and rolled past him as Ramirez legged out a two-run triple.

Kuroda and his infielders kept the inning from being worse. Dunn couldn’t get the ball past a tight infield and grounded out to Cano, who checked Ramirez at third. Nunez at shortstop went one better by gloving a liner by Paul Konerko and firing to Rodriguez at third base to double-off Ramirez.

Okay, 3-1 in the fifth is not the end of the world, but the Yankees couldn’t fire back right away. They failed to capitalize on Nunez’s leadoff double in the bottom of the fifth and stranded him at second base. In the seventh came that rarity when a player hit a foul home run and in the same at-bat hits a fair home run. De Aza’s 15th jack of the year made it 4-1 and ended Kuroda’s outing.

But not the game; oh, no, far from it.

After the game, Yankees manager Joe Girardi announced that Phil Hughes and his 4-13 record would go to the bullpen and that David Huff, who is 2-0 with an ERA of 0.60 over his past 15 innings, will go into the rotation and start during the upcoming four-game series with the Red Sox.

Long ball returns to Yankees’ arsenal

The power is back for the Yankees, is it ever. I don’t think we will hear people complaining about the Yankees relying too much on the long ball the way they did last year. As tepid as the Yanks’ offensive attack has been this year, watching balls go over fence is a welcome sight.

Alfonso Soriano led the way Tuesday night with two home runs and four RBI in the Yankees’ 7-1 victory over the Blue Jays. Sori fell into a slump as he approached his 2,000th career hit, but the same thing did not happen as he approached his 400th home run. He reached it one pitch after he cranked out No. 399 two innings earlier. Soriano also made a dazzling defensive play in left field in the ninth inning with a terrific, running and leaping catch to help stall a late Toronto rally.

Alex Rodriguez hit career home run No. 651, and Mark Reynolds went hard as well. Reynolds also played one inning at second base as both Robinson Cano and Eduardo Nunez came out of the game with injuries. Reynolds, normally a corner infielder, played second base twice in 2007 with the Diamondbacks. His ninth-inning, fill-in role included being part of a double play that ended the game. It was one of four twin killings for the Yankees in the game.

Cano left the game in the first inning after being hit by a pitch from Blue Jays starter J.A. Happ in the left hand. X-rays were negative. Nunez, who took over at second base and was a part of two double plays, twisted his right knee in the eighth. He remained in the game and got a single in the ninth. Manager Joe Girardi decided to play it safe and had Lyle Overbay pinch run for Nunez. Overbay stayed in the game at first base with Reynolds moving over to second.

Andy Pettitte pitched another beauty with seven shutout innings in which he allowed five hits and two walks with three strikeouts. Pettitte pushed his season record over .500 at 10-9 and in so doing reached double figures in victories for the 14th time pitching for the Yankees, which set a franchise record as he broke the tie he had shared with Whitey Ford.

It was a continuation of good fortune for Pettitte, who hit a bit of a wall at mid-season but has rebounded nicely. In his past six starts, Pettitte is 3-1 with a 2.94 ERA in 33 2/3 innings and has allowed two runs or less in five of those starts.

Derek Jeter, in his second game back from the disabled list, got into the mix with two hits and an RBI.

This was a satisfying victory all around for the Yankees, who were hoping to gain some ground in the postseason chase and moved within one game of third place in the American League East.

A break for Yanks: Cano’s hand not broken

The Yankees got good news on the medical front for a change. X-rays on Robinson Cano’s left hand that was struck by a pitch from J.A. Happ in the first inning Tuesday night were negative.

Cano has a nasty bruise and will likely miss several games, but fortunately he did not suffer the fate of teammates Curtis Granderson and Jayson Nix, both of whom sustained fractures when hit by pitches that kept them on the 15-day disabled list for extended periods.

The Yankees are a bit skinny in the middle infield these days. Eduardo Nunez took over for Cano and did a nice job at a position with which he is not all that familiar. He took part in a couple of double plays and looked like he had been playing second base all his life.

Soriano joins 400 Home Run Club

Two pitches, two home runs. How’s that for efficiency?

That is what Alfonso Soriano did in his first two at-bats Tuesday night at Rogers Centre. Sori’s first bomb was just that, a Jose Canseco-like towering drive right down the line. It scored Derek Jeter, who had singled in a run, and Robinson Cano, who was hit by a pitch, to give the Yankees and Andy Pettitte a 4-0 lead right off the bat.

At the end of the inning, Cano came out of the game and was replaced at second base by Eduardo Nunez. Here is where the Yankees miss someone like Jayson Nix, who is on the disabled list because of a fractured left hand that was also the result of being hit by a pitch. Blue Jays lefthander J.A. Happ was the same pitcher who broke Curtis Granderson’s left wrist with a wayward pitch in the first exhibition game of spring training.

Cano had been one of the constants for the Yankees this year. He had played much of the season without his regular infield partners – first baseman Mark Teixeira, third baseman Alex Rodriguez and shortstop Derek Jeter as well as A-Rod’s replacement at third, Kevin Youkilis, and Jeter’s replacement at shortstop, Nunez. Second base was the only position unaffected by injuries this year. In addition to the other infield spots, the Yankees also lost to the DL pitchers Phil Hughes, Ivan Nova, Michael Pineda, Joba Chamberlain and David Phelps; catcher Francisco Cervelli and outfielders Granderson and Zoilo Almonte.

So the Yankees are keeping their fingers crossed about Cano and hope he can cross the fingers on that left hand.

Soriano paid Happ back in the third inning by driving a first-pitch slider off the back side of the left field fence for his second home run of the game and the 400th homer of his career. Soriano became the 51st player to enter the 400 Home Run Club. Ahead of him on the all-time list in 50th place is Duke Snider with 407.

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